by Alex Kurpeski and Angel Maldonado Tejada
Tight Ends are the enigma of fantasy football. There’s only a select few that are elite while the rest of the position is extremely volatile. If you don’t invest a Top-36 pick into the position, sometimes the best strategy is to wait until the later rounds and find someone on the verge of breaking out. Today, we’re taking a loop at three players who can be acquired for cheap in most dynasty leagues while having Top 12 potential.
TE Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys:
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from Jason Witten, leaving Blake Jarwin as the team’s starter at the tight end position. At 6’5, 250 lbs Jarwin is your typical in-line tight end in many ways, operating as a useful blocker while also being able to move the chains and stretch the field in the passing game (8.9 yards per target in 2019). With three receiving touchdowns in each of the last two seasons and a career high 31 catches in 2019, Jarwin did enough to compel the Cowboys to sign him to a three-year, 24.25 million dollar extension this offseason.
Even with the addition of rookie first-round pick CeeDee Lamb at the wide receiver position, there should be plenty of room for Jarwin to produce in 2020. Considering Jarwin was the TE28 in fantasy last season while playing behind Witten (the TE11), there is clear top-10 upside for him this season, especially if he sees the bulk of the 83 targets vacated by Witten, not to mention the targets left behind by Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin as well. Based on the contract given to Jarwin, it would appear as if Dallas believes Jarwin has the potential to be one of the best in the league at his position. Any tight end on a high flying offense is worth a flier; factor in the expensive contract extension, the targets left behind, the Cowboys history of TE relevance, and his chemistry with Dak Prescott and Blake Jarwin is in line to be a top 10 Tight End for a great price.
TE Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers:
There’s a Greg Olsen sized hole in the Panthers offense and Ian Thomas may just be the man to fill it. New times are here for Carolina as first year head coach Matt Rhule and new offensive coordinator Joe Brady attempt to reignite a passing game that has become stagnant in the last couple of years. While Thaddeus Moss wasn’t particularly noteworthy during his time at LSU, he was moved across the formation often. Should Joe Brady use Ian Thomas in a similar way , he will be put into a position where he can do damage against slower LBs and smaller Cornerbacks. The new regime also brought an upgrade at QB with Teddy Bridgewater being next in line to helm the Panthers offense. Needless to say, he’s a major upgrade over Kyle Allen and Will Grier. In addition, the Panthers lack a solid No.3 option in the passing game behind D.J Moore and Christian McCaffrey. While his 12.9% drop rate is concerning, he’s in a position where he can help your fantasy team in 2020 and beyond.
TE Josh Oliver, Jacksonville Jaguars:
It’s easy to forget that Josh Oliver was a 3rd round pick in 2019. Oliver has the physical tools to be an impact player in the NFL, with his 4.63 40 yard dash ranking in the 87th percentile for his position. That speed will allow Oliver to stretch the middle of the field and create space for himself and others. While the Jaguars signed Tyler Eifert this offseason, that’s a name we’ve not heard in any meaningful capacity for years and Oliver should be given every opportunity to win the starting job. In a growing offense with a young QB under center, and the coaching staff’s support, Oliver may prove a fantasy relevant asset for little to no cost.
Are you looking to acquire any of these tight ends in your dynasty leagues? Let us know and make sure to follow @3CoSports for daily fantasy football content.