2019 Fantasy Football - Dynasty Buys - Tight Ends





By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

When looking for players to acquire in dynasty, you will always need to take risks and get creative, especially before the draft and free agency. I have a list here of some obvious and some not-so-obvious players I am looking to add to my dynasty teams this spring.

Ian Thomas, Panthers
Tight ends as a whole are tough to predict because there aren't many who become consistent fantasy players even if they are good. But that can also bring their value down, and if you hit on the next George Kittle, you're in for a big boost to your dynasty team. Ian Thomas isn't a player who is going to fly under the radar, but he's also a player who was productive in his rookie season, which isn't a regular occurrence for tight ends. For much of the 2018 season, he was behind Greg Olsen, but Olsen's foot injury pushed Thomas into the starting lineup Weeks 13 through 17, and he produced 25 receptions on 32 targets for 242 yards and two touchdowns. That put him at fourth in receptions and first downs for tight ends during that stretch. The main question surrounding Thomas' value for 2019 is Greg Olsen, who wants to return. He is the reason I think you can get Thomas at a slight discount, and with Olsen's foot now taking him out the last two seasons; there's no reason Thomas won't be a useful tight end in 2019 and then for years to come.



Mark Andrews, Ravens
Andrews was drafted after Hayden Hurst, but he ended up playing ahead of him and putting up better numbers with Lamar Jackson starting. Jackson didn't throw the ball that much once he got behind center, but when he did, Andrews was his most productive receiver. With Jackson starting, Andrews caught 13-of-18 targets for 308 yards, 11 first downs and one touchdown. The second-most productive receiver was Willie Snead, who ended up with just 203 yards with Jackson at quarterback. Andrews managed an incredible 23.7 yards per reception. Yes, this is a very small sample size, but there's no doubt there was a good connection between Jackson and Andrews, and after an offseason as the starting quarterback, we should see Jackson throw the ball more and I expect Andrews will again be one of Jackson's top targets, and for dynasty, maybe this connection grows for years to come.

Chris Herndon, Jets
Herndon ended his rookie season second on the Jets in receiving yards and touchdown reception, but fourth in targets. He didn't have a fantasy season to be remembered, but not many rookie tight ends do and what he did do was significant with a rookie starting quarterback who missed time with injuries. From Weeks 6 to 16, Herndon ranked sixth in tight end fantasy points, catching 33-of-45 passes for 447 yards and four touchdowns. He and Robby Anderson were the only Jets receivers even to show a pulse last year, and they both should be ready to keep their connection with Darnold going in 2019. Herndon could lose a couple of games to suspension after a drunk-driving charge, so keep that in mind, but in dynasty, that is just a blip on the radar.



Vance McDonald, Steelers
The Steelers are going through some major upheaval right now and will likely have trouble keeping up with their offensive production from last season with Antonio Brown gone, but that should be good news for McDonald, who could end up seeing more work. McDonald was a yards-after-catch - YAC - stud, racking up 360 YAC yards on just 50 receptions, which helped him get into the top 12 for fantasy tight end scoring. McDonald was third in the league with 7.9 YAC per reception. When he gets the ball in his hands, he is going to gain more yards than most tight ends, and with Brown gone, there's a good chance he sees more than 50 receptions next season.



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