Finding a 16-game starter at tight end is not an easy thing to do in fantasy football. Guys like Travis Kelce and George Kittle are guaranteed to give top production, but they’re probably off the board midway through the third round. It’s hard to pass on an early running back or receiver, so several fantasy football players try to find a late-round tight end as their diamond in the rough. This year, Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin has a good shot to be that late-round stud.
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2020 Fantasy Football Outlook: Blake Jarwin
Last year, Blake Jarwin didn’t do much of anything as far as fantasy is concerned. Serving as the fifth or sixth option in the passing game, Jarwin ended the year with 31 receptions on 41 targets for 365 yards and three touchdowns. He played in all 16 games and ended the year as the TE28.
Most of the blame for his underwhelming season can be placed on Jason Witten. The legendary tight end decided to come back from retirement and retook the starting job. Former head coach Jason Garrett is obnoxiously loyal to his established players, so Witten saw the vast majority of the tight end targets.
However, it’s worth noting that Jarwin was remarkably efficient in the passing game. According to Player Profiler, Jarwin ended the 2019 season averaging 2.37 yards per route run. This was good for the eighth-best mark in the league, which is obviously an impressive feat. While the relatively small sample is somewhat concerning, yards per route tends to be a stable year-to-year statistic. Jarwin has the athletic potential and underlying numbers to suggest he’s capable of a breakout year, but does he have the opportunity?
Blake Jarwin is in the perfect position to succeed in 2020. Jason Witten somehow received 83 targets last year, and Jarwin should be first in line to fill Witten’s shoes. If anything, the younger and more athletic Jarwin has the potential to be more effective with his targets than Witten was with his. Dallas clearly believes Jarwin has the ability to fill this void, as they gave him a four-year, $22 million contract right before free agency.
At first glance, one may assign a sizable portion of Witten’s vacated targets to 2020 first-round pick CeeDee Lamb. Lamb is certainly a talented player, and he’s definitely going to receive his fair share of the targets. However, he’s probably going to see the majority of Randall Cobb’s 83 vacated targets. Even if the Cowboys don’t increase their passing volume, there’s going to be enough targets going around for Jarwin, Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup to be relevant for fantasy.
Of course, there’s plenty of reasons to believe that Dallas will throw the ball more in 2020. Jason Garrett was one of the most old-fashioned, ground-oriented head coaches in the league. In Garrett’s perfect world, the Cowboys would win every game by running Ezekiel Elliott as much as humanly possible. Mike McCarthy, meanwhile, historically likes to throw the ball early and often. Because of this, it’s safe to assume that there will be even more targets in 2020 than there were in 2019.
The biggest concern with Jarwin is that he doesn’t have a track record of success. Witten missed the 2018 season, but Jarwin didn’t do much of anything from a fantasy perspective. However, in his defense, that was only his second year in the league and he spent the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad. It’s not uncommon for tight ends to need a season or two before they’re ready to contribute at the NFL level, so Jarwin should be ready to go this time around.
Blake Jarwin Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Football Calculator has Jarwin going off the board with the 179th pick in PPR drafts. This puts him around the same spot as Dallas Goedert and Jack Doyle and he could easily go undrafted in redraft formats.
Quite frankly, this is inexcusable. Blake Jarwin won’t challenge Travis Kelce and George Kittle for the TE1 spot, but he should be one of the better tight ends in fantasy. Jarwin has just about everything fantasy football owners look for in a tight end: he’s in a great offense, has a clear path to the field, and has the trust of his organization. He should be a weekly start and has an outside shot at a top-five finish.
Each and every year, there is a different tight end that comes out of nowhere to have a breakout season. In 2018, it was George Kittle. In 2019, it was Mark Andrews and Darren Waller. This year, Blake Jarwin has as good a chance as anyone of being that breakout tight end.
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