Trying to find a good tight end is one of the hardest tasks in fantasy football. Put simply, there just aren’t enough starting-caliber options to go around, which means that you’ll probably end up having to throw a late-round dart in at least one of your leagues. While none of the following players are guaranteed to succeed in 2021, each one has a decent shot at fantasy relevance and are available for basically nothing.
Note that, in order to qualify for this list, the player in question needed to be outside of the top-20 at the tight end position. Average draft position was obtained via FantasyData.com, so there is a chance that some of these players will be higher or lower on other aggregate ADP sites.
Fantasy Football Tight End Sleepers: The Five Best Options In 2021
Gerald Everett (Current ADP: TE22)
Seattle Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett is currently my favorite of the fantasy football tight end sleepers. Historically speaking, tight ends need to be athletic in order to carry fantasy relevance, and Everett is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league. According to PlayerProfiler, Everett has an 86th percentile SPARQ-x score and tested at or above the 75th percentile in all major athletic metrics. He also had some great collegiate production and the second-round draft capital that implies he knows how to play football.
Everett flashed at times with the Rams, but he never managed to put it all together. However, the biggest reason for that could be head coach Sean McVay. McVay is a fantastic offensive mind, but his 11-personnel scheme doesn’t allow for much production from the tight end. Now in Seattle, Everett has a chance to catch passes from the great Russell Wilson while operating out of the same offense that made Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister fantasy-relevant for a little while. With Seattle desperately needing a third option in the passing attack, Everett could be in for a breakout season.
Note: If Julio Jones ends up on the Seattle Seahawks, disregard everything you just read.
Adam Trautman (Current ADP: TE28)
The New Orleans Saints passing game consists of Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and absolutely nobody else. Say what you will about Jameis Winston as an NFL quarterback, but his aggressive, volatile style of play is the best thing in the world for fantasy football. This team will be throwing the ball early and often, and somebody will have to emerge as the third option in this offense.
That somebody might as well be second-year tight end Adam Trautman. My personal TE1 in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dayton product recorded an absurd 97th percentile college dominator while displaying the athleticism, hands, and route-running prowess that translates to the next level. With Jared Cook and Josh Hill out of the way, there is nobody standing in his way to fantasy relevance.
Adam Trautman route running: 💯
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 22, 2020
Anthony Firkser (Current ADP: TE26)
Fantasy football is all about chasing volume and hoping efficiency follows. A.J. Brown is going to lead this team in targets by a comfortable margin, but it’s hard to project anything beyond that. The Tennessee Titans lost Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in free agency and didn’t do too much to replace either player. Josh Reynolds is nothing more than a replacement-level depth piece, meaning that the opportunity is there for a decent season.
Tennessee is historically a run-heavy team, and Firkser has never recorded more than 39 receptions in any given season. There is a very real chance this doesn’t work out, but he is well worth the risk at his current ADP. He has the collegiate production, decent athleticism, and Tennessee will probably throw the ball more this year than in years past. While the Titans will still want to run the ball, they lost too many valuable defensive pieces and will have to throw to keep up with the opposing offenses.
Note: Once again, Julio Jones could completely ruin Firkser. Ignore all of this if Jones lands in Tennessee
Anthony Firkser was reportedly the "busiest pass catcher” in the portion of OTAs open to #Titans media. Reminder Firsker saw 9 and 7 targets in the only two games Jonnu Smith was injured/absent for last year.https://t.co/UttON9NvuM
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) May 28, 2021
C.J. Uzomah (Current ADP: TE37)
Joe Burrow has no shortage of weapons in Cincinnati, but this high-volume passing attack should have enough targets to support a tight end. Joe Burrow loved throwing to tight ends in college, and that trend continued into the NFL. While injuries obviously impacted Burrow’s final line, the fact of the matter is that Uzomah saw 11 targets in just 1.5 healthy games – that’s fantastic news for a tight end.
Burrow is coming off of a very serious knee injury, which means he’ll probably play a little more cautiously in 2021. Historically speaking, quarterbacks tend to play more conservatively when first returning from knee injuries, and take some time before they’re ready to start slinging it deep. This is great news for Uzomah, as he makes his living in the short part of the field and could turn into a decent PPR play.
— Dave Latham, Lifelong Bucs Fan (@DLPatsThoughts) May 8, 2021
Dan Arnold (Current ADP: TE38)
The Carolina Panthers are one of the hardest offenses to project, as the team has a brand new quarterback and lost wide receiver Curtis Samuel in the offseason. There are some vacated targets here, and Sam Darnold will probably be an upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater. Dan Arnold showed some flashes in Arizona, and if Terrace Marshall isn’t ready to be a Day 1 contributor, Arnold could be the third or fourth option in the passing attack. Additionally, we also know that the Panthers plan on using Arnold as a pass-catcher and not a blocker, which is always good for fantasy football.
Arnold ended up getting a 2-year deal worth $6M to join Carolina.
This type of access is awesome.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) May 30, 2021
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