2020 FFWC Tight End Scoring Targets

Shawn Childs

FFWC Target Points Series
QB | RB1 & RB2 | RB3 & RB4 | WR1 & WR2 | WR3 & WR4 | TE | Flex | K & DST

The tight end position is where a fantasy owner can gain a significant edge over his opponents, especially if he lands the tight end that produces impact stats in the championship rounds of the playoffs in the high-stakes market. Last year fantasy owners saw the top three options (Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz) on draft day perform well, but each player had a regression in their fantasy points output. At the same time, three tight ends (Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, and Austin Hooper) proved to be values while closing the gap between the haves and have-nots.

Top 12 TE Fantasy point totals (2016 – 2019)

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In 2019, the top 12 tight ends averaged 70 catches for 815 yards and 5.5 touchdowns or 185.04 fantasy points in PPR leagues. Five tight ends scored over 200 fantasy points in PPR leagues. The top TE options in 2017 (173.18 fantasy points) had the lowest outcome over the last eight seasons. Last year’s scoring at tight end fell in line with the rebound in play from 2018 (187.88 fantasy points) The top four TEs in 2018 averaged 264.45 fantasy points compared to 229.23 fantasy points in 2019.

The difference at the tight end position compared to the running back and wide receiver positions is the gap between the 1st and 12th ranked options. The gap tends to be extensive, leading to the top tight end owners having a 75 to 100 point edge over the 9th to 12th tight end teams in the league in many seasons. Last year Travis Kelce outscored the seventh-highest scoring TE by over 87.8 fantasy points in PPR leagues, and the 12th-ranked tight end by 118.3 fantasy points.

FFWC Point Totals TE1 Observations

Travis Kelce remains the top tight end in 2020 thanks to him playing in an explosive offense and working almost as a WR1 for the Chiefs.

George Kittle tightened up the gap as far as ADP, but the 49ers want to run the ball a lot while playing top-notch defense. Kittle has the tools to be elite, but he needs some growth in his opportunity to knock Kelce of the top of the tight end mountain. Kittle should also be considered the top passing option for San Fran.

Zach Ertz lost some of his elite luster after getting banged up last year, and Dallas Goedert eating away at his chances.

Mark Andrews had room from growth after his breakout year (64/852/10) after working in a three-way split for snaps at tight end for the Ravens in 2019.

TE 13 to 24 Fantasy point totals (2016 – 2019)

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TE2 or Flex Player: Almost all fantasy leagues don't use a second tight end in their starting lineup. I'm using this grouping to show the drop-down at the tight end position after the top 12 starters, and also I want to show their value compared to the other players that could be played at the flex position. Last year the second 12 tight ends averaged 40 catches for 424 yards and 3.8 TDs or 106.43 fantasy points in full-point PPR leagues. 

Realistically, there are maybe only 15 tight ends that have value in most seasons. Anyone waiting at the tight end position could be digging themself in a considerable hole as some teams will double up at tight end so they can play that player at the flex position. In 2019, the 13th to 24th ranked TEs average only 6.65 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues.

FFWC Point Totals TE2 Observations

New York Giants TE Evan Engram

The decision when to draft your first tight end comes down to how you structure your team. If you wait at the tight end position, you hope to find an upside player that can deliver between 180 and 200 fantasy points. If you miss on this player, you may end up with a starting TE that falls into the back half of the second group of tight ends, which would probably deliver between eight and nine points per week. If you compare that player to the top six options in 2019, a fantasy owner will be losing at this position by six to ten fantasy points per week if the top players have elite seasons. 

The average RB3 averaged about 154.61 fantasy points last year, and the average WR4 scored 156.77 fantasy points. The goal of each fantasy owner would be to find a player that would beat the average scores at each position in your starting lineup. The first flex position's target number is 10.17 fantasy points per week or 162.78 fantasy points based on 2019, which is why it is imperative to know where the drop-offs are at each position. You also have to have a good feel for comparable values at the other positions so you will be able to make better decisions during the draft. 

In each draft season, the best name players don't always win, and many players do not repeat their success from the previous season. Depending on your scoring system, it is nice to have a second tight end that has upside, and that player may develop into a viable option at the flex position. By reviewing each position, you will see the average player scores, which will help you when you are making some decisions at the draft table. Everything is subject to opinion. Most decisions are based on stats from the previous season, so fantasy owners need to separate themselves from what happened in the past when making decisions about future results. Many players will have a solid resume to identify where the strongest pieces of the puzzle are. To win in fantasy football, you need to have a successful draft, plus you need to stay healthy all season. It is difficult to dominate your league over the first two-thirds of the season and then have enough left in the tank to finish strong over the last couple of weeks of the season where championships are determined.

Each draft is about team structure and getting an edge. Some draft slots are a lot tougher to have success, depending on your format. In my years of following the high-stakes events, there has been a common theme in many overall championship teams. Almost all of the overall winners have had one of the best tight ends in the league. I wrote an article a couple of years back about this, and I believe Tony Gonzalez was on the most overall winnings teams. Jason Witten and Antonio Gates were sprinkled on a couple of other winning teams. I could see Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz being on many future overall championship teams. Jordan Reed was the winning tight end play in 2015.

If you play in standalone leagues, you can win without having a stud tight end because those league titles usually are determined by head-to-head matchups. I still believe the tight end position gets disrespected in many formats. By creating an edge at this position, you increase your chances of winning as long as you get the other starting lineup positions right.