2020 Streaming Tight End Strategy Guide

Senior fantasy football expert Roy Larking breaks down tight end streaming strategy and draft candidates for the 2020 season.
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Another action-packed Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) is fast approaching, and contests are being offered daily in the FFWC Draft Lobby. This feature helps fantasy owners get up to speed on tight ends that have streaming potential during the 2020 NFL season.

What is Fantasy Football Streaming?

Streaming is a fantasy football strategy that players employ when they don't have consistent "stud" starters at any particular position. While kickers and defense/special teams are the most commonly streamed positions, streaming can be used to fill out a weekly roster at any position. Streaming requires owners to properly manage their roster and make savvy waiver wire moves weekly.

Most NFL teams have at least one tight end they rely on as a receiving option. A handful of teams use two tight end sets regularly as well. In some leagues, like the FFWC World Championship contests, tight ends can be used as a flex player, limiting the number available on the waiver wire. Keep that in mind when deciding to stream tight ends as usually just ten of them post double-digit points each week.

Upper echelon tight ends are often matchup-proof players that can be plugged in all season long. Owners who draft one of the top tight ends turn to streaming to cover the bye week. When the need exists, fantasy owners are advised to check the ideal bye week tight ends recommended by the our experts. That fantasy feature recommends possible bye week replacements for the top 12 tight ends.

Fantasy owners looking to draft mid-level tight ends can use the FFWC tight end by committee tool to pair up quality players. The goal here is to pick players that are not projected to produce low point totals during the same week. Using that tool makes inter-roster streaming simple and stress-free. We also offer rankings on every player, which helps make tough draft-day decisions easier.

Owners who build their roster with low ranked tight ends use a streaming strategy throughout the entire season. Paying close attention to players available on the waiver wire can help uncover tight ends that have favorable matchups. Streaming tight ends can be risky as there’s no guarantee that quality players will be available on the weekly waiver wire. It is wise to own at least one point producing tight end. 

There is a limited number of top-level players available on draft day, so fantasy players need to be aware of which tight ends are streaming candidates. Owners who miss out on studs like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz can pick up lower-ranked tight ends in their drafts. Less consistent undrafted tight ends, scheduled to play a weak defense, can be added via the weekly waiver wire.

For example, the Cardinals (18.6) Cowboys (16.1) and Seahawks (15.2) allowed themost tight end fantasy points per game during the 2019 fantasy season. Fringe players, like Ricky Seals-Jones, Will Dissly, and Kyle Rudolph, produced like top tight ends at various points during the year against those teams. Here are some lower-level tight ends that have streaming potential during the NFL 2020 season.

Streaming Tight End Candidates

Irv Smith – Minnesota Vikings

Looking to build on a decent rookie season (36-311-2), Irv Smith will challenge Kyle Rudolph for the TE1 position in Minnesota. Smith and Rudolph posted similar numbers last year, and the Vikings have high hopes for their 2019 second-round draft pick out of Alabama. Smith doesn't have a prototypical tight end size (6' 2", 240), but he has great speed, athleticism, and solid route-running ability. With top receiver Stefon Diggs in Buffalo, Smith is a prime candidate to receive some of the 94 targets Diggs garnered last season. 

Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins

Entering his third season, Mike Gesicki will be the TE1 in Miami, and there isn't much competition behind him. Uninspiring, during his rookie year, Gesicki was targeted 32 times and caught 22 passes for 202 yards and no touchdowns during the 2018 season. Gesicki had 89 targets last year and caught 51 passes for 570 yards and five touchdowns. That includes a 14-163-3 line during the final three weeks. Gesicki is a projected tenth round selection and is a prime candidate to be paired with a similar tight end. He's a top option for those owners looking to fade the TE position so you can focus as many picks as possible on other positions.

Dawson Knox – Buffalo Bills

Following an up-and-down rookie year, Dawson Knox enters his sophomore season as the TE1 in Buffalo. On the up side, Knox hauled in 29 receptions for 402 yards and two touchdowns last season. On the down side, Knox had a 12-percent pass drop rate, which was the most among qualifying tight ends. The addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs will help Buffalo stretch the field and open up opportunities underneath for Knox. Tyler Kroft is the Bills TE2, but he missed 16 games due to injury during the last two seasons.

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers

With All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen moving on to Seattle, Ian Thomas assumes the TE1 role in Carolina this year. Entering his third season, Thomas has 52 career receptions for 469 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas is in a good spot with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who is efficient in the underneath passing game. Bridgewater targeted TE Jared Cook 34 times during six games with the Saints last season. Thomas is a gifted athlete and will fly under the radar due to playing behind Olsen during his first two seasons.

Chris Herndon – New York Jets

After a productive rookie season (39-502-4), Chris Herndon played just one game for New York last year due to a suspension and injuries. Both rookies in 2018, Herndon developed good chemistry with Sam Darnold, which should continue this season. Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder, and rookie Denzel Mims top the Jets receiver depth chart, and Herndon will challenge them for targets. Loaded with athleticism, Herndon will be a security blanket for Darnold and provide a big target in the red zone.

Jace Sternberger – Green Bay Packers

A third-round pick during the 2019 NFL Draft, Jace Sternberger, is projected to start as the TE1 in Green Bay. Sternberger doesn't have much competition as Jimmy Graham is now in Chicago, and 15-year veteran Marcedes Lewis sits second on the Packers depth chart. During his final college season at Texas A&M in 2018, Sternberger posted 832 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Beyond Davante Adams, the Packers are thin at receiver, and Sternberger is poised to become a safety valve for Aaron Rodgers.

MORE FROM SI FANTASY

Another action-packed Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) is fast approaching, and contests are being offered daily in the FFWC Draft Lobby. This feature helps fantasy owners get up to speed on tight ends that have streaming potential during the 2020 NFL season.

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