2019 was a rebuilding year for the Miami Dolphins. For many fans, it means a whole lot of nothing as the team unloaded talent that they feel didn’t fit the image of new head coach Brian Flores. But for a young player like Mike Gesicki is was a time to prove his worth. He still flew under most people’s radar in fantasy football. Nevertheless, he carved himself out a role and honed his craft so that in 2020 he will be ready to break out and perform.
Mike Gesicki: The Fantasy Football Breakout Tight End for 2020
2019 in Review
Last year, Gesicki finished as the TE14 in terms of fantasy points per game with 6.9 in half-PPR leagues. On the surface, it is not exactly a promising number for someone who is supposed to be breaking out in 2020. However, he started coming on strong towards the end of last season. Looking at just weeks 9 to 17, Gesicki increased his points per game to a respectable 9.7, which was the TE7 during that span.
Gesicki’s yardage totals were still not popping off the charts. He only had two games with over 50 yards. But his targets were way up, and he only had one game with less than six. But the biggest thing that happened is that he emerged as a red-zone threat. All five of Gesicki’s touchdowns came in the second half of the year, including three in his last two games. On the year, he was third in the NFL in end zone targets to tight ends.
Overall, Gesicki finished the year with 51 receptions for 570 yards and those five touchdowns. And his 89 targets really pop off the stat sheet for a tight end, he just couldn’t convert on many of them, only notching a 57.3 percent catch rate.
Comparing Gesicki to the last two year’s breakout tight ends show similar yardage prior to their breakout year. George Kittle had 43 catches for 515 yards and two touchdowns prior to his 2018 explosion. Mark Andrews had 552 yards on 34 catches and scored three times. Now, it isn’t to say Kittle will become either of those players, but he is on the right track to blow up in 2020.
The Dolphins were an undermanned team that let the entire league know they were rebuilding in 2019. They traded some of their former first-round picks, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Laremy Tunsil away, as well as running back Kenyan Drake. They were content with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick under center for most of the year. Without Drake, their run game was nonexistent. The young receiver Preston Williams looked promising before he tore his ACL later in the year. After that, it was basically just DeVante Parker and Gesicki.
But things are going to be different in 2020. The team restocked on running backs, trading for former San Francisco 49er Matt Breida and signing former Chicago Bear Jordan Howard. This will help the team sustain drives after a league-worst 72.3 rushing yards per game last year. Williams is progressing quickly in his return from his ACL injury, and Parker is out to prove he can build on his successful finish to 2019.
The biggest reason to feel good about 2020 is rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Sure, the team is taking it slow with him after he ended his final college season with Alabama early due to injury. However, reports are that he is looking great in his recovery from his hip issue. Fitzpatrick likely starts the season under center and will be more than serviceable. But at some point in the year, Tagovailoa will take the reins.
Mike Gesicki ADP and Outlook
So what does this mean for Gesicki? Overall, he comes into 2020 with a much stronger supporting cast. There will be competition at quarterback, meaning the best signal-caller will be on the field. He will have two more than competent wide receivers to garner the attention of defenses. And Gesicki will be part of an offense with a much-improved run game that will keep him on the field and give him many more scoring opportunities. Plus, he will be in his third year as a pro.
Gesicki still seems to be flying way under the radar. ESPN has him as the TE14. FantasyPros gives him a little more credit with a TE12 ranking. Basically, these rankings are looking for him to finish exactly the same as he did last year. He is ranked behind the even more unproven Hayden Hurst, who landed with the Atlanta Falcons. He is also behind Austin Hooper. Hooper just got paid big money by the Cleveland Browns, but he still has David Njoku to compete with.
Something to consider though is that tight end rankings past the top ten are really tough to decipher. It’s really just “who is my guy,” so fantasy team managers should pay attention to when a guy like Jared Cook goes off the board. If Gesicki is their lock for a breakout year, it might be time to strike. Otherwise, Gesicki could disappear quickly. With his strong finish and huge red-zone share, Gesicki could put up big numbers in 2020.
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