No position has caused more frustration in the imagination than the tight end. With extremely limited exceptions, tight end production fluctuates widely from season to season, making investing in the position one of the biggest annual challenges for fantasy managers. But while poor selections have shifted the balance of the leagues, the odds of finding an overlooked gem seem a little higher here than elsewhere.
Finding sleepers for fantasy football doesn’t mean uncovering players nobody knows – it doesn’t happen anymore. Rather, finding sleepers in the modern sense means highlighting players who should beat their average draft position (ADP). Accordingly, instead of using the term “sleeper”, we can use “value” instead to underline the point.
Gerald Everett has only had a modest overall production in his four seasons in the NFL, but the tight end looked more than capable when it was highlighted in the Los Angeles Rams passing game. He is now moving up I-5 to join the Seattle Seahawks, where he reunites with Rams assistant Shane Waldron, who is now an offensive coordinator. Everett can finally establish himself as a start tight end while playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Seahawks roster has some competition for the role, mostly Will Dissly. However, with Everett’s current ADP (20th tight end), he offers a lot for the money.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Like Everett, Tyler Higbee has effectively worked on a timeshare in Los Angeles. Now that there’s no clear competition for targets among the Rams’ tight ends, Higbee can expect a bigger slice of the pie. He can also probably expect better passing play in general with Matthew Stafford replacing Jared Goff under the middle. So far, Higbees ADP (17th among tight ends) does not reflect this upward trend.
While rarely an exciting pick in fantasy, Jared Cook has made it into the top 10 in his second place for the past three years. The only exception, 2020, came in a season when the New Orleans Saints offensive lost Drew Brees for four games and saw him severely constrained in several others. Cook leaves New Orleans to follow Joe Lombardi to the Los Angeles Chargers and join an offensive with one of the league’s most exciting young callers, Justin Herbert. The Chargers won’t force-feed Cook, but he should see a lot of work in filling the void Hunter Henry left.
Rob Gronkowski has been the gold standard on the tight end for nearly a decade and has fallen out of favor with fantasy managers due to his age (32) and athletic decline. His ADP is currently outside the top 10 on the position. However, as he proved in his debut season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, he still has more than respectable numbers, scooping 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. Health aside, Gronk doesn’t need many breaks this season to come up with similar stats, which gives him a decent edge in the imagination.
Mike Gesicki, a low-end fantasy starter for the past two seasons, is entering a contract year with the Miami Dolphins. The offense should also benefit from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa having a full, normal offseason with more distance between him and the debilitating hip injury he sustained in college. Gesicki doesn’t need a lot of strength to jump from the number 7 fantasy scorer in his position to the top 5. Nevertheless, Gesicki’s ADP is currently outside the top 10.