The 2020 fantasy football season is in the books. As usual, tight end proved to be the most barren position in the league. However, this year was even worse than usual, with basically no one outside of the top two being reliable on a weekly basis. Travis Kelce easily won the tight end and fantasy football MVP. Robert Tonyan won the breakout player. Read on to see who won the other Superlatives.
Fantasy Football Tight End Superlatives Featuring Travis Kelce and Robert Tonyan
Fantasy Football MVP: Travis Kelce
This one was definitely the easiest choice of the entire awards. Travis Kelce established himself in a tier of his own in 2020. He averaged over 17 points a game and had almost 60 more points than the next tight end in half-PPR scoring. In fact, Kelce’s 260.3 points put him only behind Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill as pass-catchers.
If that seems ridiculous, it is. It is actually historically ridiculous, giving Kelce the third-best season ever at the tight end position, behind just Rob Gronkowski’s 2011 year, and Jimmy Graham’s 2013 season.
Kelce has been a borderline first-round pick at tight end for years. That hasn’t happened since Gronkowski’s heyday. But Gronk carried a huge risk for injury taking him in the first. On the other hand, Kelce doesn’t carry as much of that risk. He has only missed two games in his career. One of those games was Week 17 of this year, but only because he rested.
Next season Kelce with turn 32, so as he gets older, the injury risk will increase. But at this point, that is all that can slow him down. For those picking at the turn of round one or early round two, taking him wouldn’t be the worst move in the world.
Cemented His Spot at the Table: Darren Waller
Although Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller didn’t finish as the top tight end, he definitely is worth giving a shout out to. Waller came out of nowhere in 2019 to finish as the TE5 in points scored. Many wondered if he was going to be a one-hit wonder. The Silver and Black were severely lacking receiving targets last year, leading many to believe Waller would regress after the team added a bevy of wide receivers in both the draft and free agency.
Instead, Waller got even better. He garnered even more targets, and went over 100 total reception. And he also addressed his biggest weakness in 2019 – touchdowns. Waller was held to just three in 2019, but ballooned to nine in 2020. Like Kelce, Waller also cemented himself into the fantasy football record books. In week 13, his 13 catch, 200-yard, two-touchdown day was the fifth best PPR performance in history.
The Raiders offense is likely to look largely the same in 2021, so Waller’s dominance will only continue.
Biggest Disappointment: Zach Ertz
Aside from Waller and Kelce, the tight end landscape was largely a wasteland. 60 points separate Kelce from Waller. Then, 60 points separate Waller from the third best tight end. But then, only 30 total points separate the rest of the top-ten tight ends. Coming into the year, Zach Ertz was one of those top three tight ends. But this year he was 28th in points-per-game, a hard fall from grace. Ertz dealt with injuries that limited him to just ten games. Nevertheless, he only averaged a paltry 5.6 points-per-game when he played.
Ertz will be somewhat of an enigma coming into 2021. He is only a year removed from five straight seasons of at least 800 receiving yards. So, he may have a bounce back season next year, and prove to be a value in drafts. On the other hand, his decline could continue, as the team features the younger Dallas Goedert in their offense.
Breakout Player: Robert Tonyan
Robert Tonyan is perhaps one of the weirder breakouts of 2020. Tonyan came into his third NFL season totaling just 177 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Now, the article has mentioned the TE3 a few times to this point, but not by name. Well, that would Tonyan, becoming a favorite target on the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
But what makes Tonyan so interesting is that he rounded out the top three despite not even finishing top ten in yards or receptions. Instead, Tonyan made up for his lack of yards with cashing in for pay dirt. Tonyan tied with Kelce for first in the league with eleven receiving touchdown at the tight end position.
Tonyan is a risky play next season. Touchdowns are the most volatile stat in football, making him a prime regression candidate. But with Rodgers chucking him the rock, and after gaining his trust, he may just continue to develop into an elite playmaker at the position.
Watch Next Year: Noah Fant
The Denver Broncos had mostly a season to forget. They finished fourth in the AFC West. They dealt with injuries to key players on both sides of the ball, including Von Miller on defense, and Courtland Sutton on offense. Quarterback Drew Lock was up-and-down his second NFL season. But one promising young player is Noah Fant at the tight end position.
Fant totaled 673 yards and scored three touchdowns on the year. Like many players, he had his own injury issues on the year that limited his production. He started the year off hot, accumulating nine catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games. But after that, it would be seven games before going over 48 yards again. But after that, five of his six games he had at least 48 yards, and he added another touchdown.
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