This is fantasy football’s sweet spot for drafting tight ends

In the second in a series of six-part fantasy draft previews leading up to the NFL season, Fantasy Insanity discusses tight ends, defense/special teams and kickers. Next week: quarterbacks.

Not all fantasy positions are created equal. Some produce more points than others. Some are deeper. Some have a greater disparity between top scorers and potential substitutes. And some, basically, just don’t matter.

For example, does your league still use a kicker? If so, may I ask why? The best of the group doesn’t score much more than the worst, production is nearly impossible to project from week to week, and there’s always a more useful bench guy at a main position available in the last round of draft. Ask your commissioner to drop the kickers and add a seat to the bench.

Or defense/special teams. We don’t despise them as much as kickers, as there can be strategic advantages if you look closely enough at specific matches, especially in DFS. But they’re not so valuable that you should pick one before the last two rounds of your draft.

Which brings us to tight ends. This position takes a huge leap forward in relevance, but still falls into the low impact category. You don’t and shouldn’t have to wait until late in the draft to pick one, but we prefer that route to using a high pick.

It would be great to have Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews or Darren Waller, of course. But we’d rather have an extra starting running back or wide receiver come draft time where the best tight ends normally go — in the first six rounds.

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Instead, the fool prefers to wait. We’d rather skip this season’s 2021 Waller and try to find this season’s Dalton Schultz. Some of our favorite targets are Schultz, Dallas Goedert, Dawson Knox, Robert Tonyan and Albert Okwuegbunam. Schultz finished in the top three among tight ends last season but is drafted as a TE7 this season, although the Cowboys lost Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup’s return from an ACL injury is uncertain.

The problem with getting Schultz is the high volatility of his draft position. It averages around the middle of the fifth round, but it can often go all the way to the start of the fourth or the start of the eighth. We don’t want him in the top end and everything has to happen just early enough for us to be comfortable in the middle of his range, but we like him in the rear.

Dalton Schultz
Dalton Schultz
Sportswire icon via Getty Images

The Eagles’ addition of AJ Brown gives them a legitimate pass-catching threat in the NFL, which could hijack coverage from others, including Goedert.

We think Knox can shoot in a top-10 TE season. He took a big step forward last season and can build on that again this year. You have to worry about QB Josh Allen robbing Knox of some holds in the red zone by rushing for touchdowns, but in such a powerful offense we’ll take a chance.

Dallas Goedert
Dawson Knox
Dawson Knox
Boston Globe via Getty Images

We like Tonyan’s TD potential, and Okwuegbunam gets a huge QB upgrade.

If we miss all of that, we don’t mind picking Cole Kmet up pretty late.

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Certainly, when we wait as long as we often do for a TE, we prefer to grab a second to give ourselves some flexibility. And we have some super late guys who make us smile when we pick them: Cameron Brate or Kyle Rudolph from Tampa Bay.

Tom Brady no longer has Rob Gronkowski. With Chris Godwin returning from an ACL injury, his health and production will be uncertain. But someone is going to catch passes in this offense. And we like that either of the Buccaneers’ TE options are touchdown producers, even if they don’t rack up a lot of yards.

So feel free to sit down before grabbing a tight end. But you don’t have to wait all the way to the end.

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