Winning your fantasy football league isn’t easy, but finding the right tight end is a good way to give yourself a competitive advantage over the rest of your league. The tight end landscape is absolutely desolate, and there are only about four or five week-in, week-out starters for fantasy purposes. Adam Trautman is one of the more popular late-round dart throws, but does the New Orleans Saints tight end have what it takes to break out for fantasy football?
2021 Fantasy Football Outlook: Adam Trautman
Identifying A Breakout Candidate
There is no foolproof way to find the right late-round tight end, but it possible to narrow down the candidates. Athleticism matters for every position, but it is crucial for tight ends. As seen below, tight ends need to reach a certain athletic threshold to have any chance of sustained fantasy success. This makes sense intuitively, as tight ends need to be big enough to hold up in the trenches and fast enough to get open against coverage. Put simply, it’s hard to do that without being an athletic freak.
This is a complete list of everyone with two or more top 5 finishes at the TE position since 2003.
Notice anything about their Relative Athletic Scores?
This is a Brevin Jordan tweet. pic.twitter.com/jXRinaaWjY
— Drew O. (@DFBeanCounter) April 10, 2021
Trautman’s 8.76 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) puts him right at the athletic threshold required for sustained success. Being athletic is obviously a good thing, but we still need some evidence that he actually knows how to play the game of football.
Trautman didn’t do much as a rookie, but that is not uncommon. It’s practically impossible for rookies to produce at the NFL level, so one bad season shouldn’t mean anything. Based on his college profile, Trautman appears to check every box you like to see in a prospect. His 97th percentile college dominator is absolutely fantastic, while his 66th percentile breakout age and 58th percentile SPARQ-x score are solid enough. Additionally, he has Day 2 draft capital, which does tend to be a solid indicator of NFL success.
Basically, Trautman checks all the boxes you look for in a prospect, but just barely. He’s JUST athletic enough to succeed, his breakout age is JUST good enough to be impressive, and his late-Day 2 draft capital is JUST good enough for the New Orleans Saints to have faith in his talent. Trautman isn’t foolproof, but he can succeed in the right environment. The only question is whether or not New Orleans provides that ideal scenario.
Projecting the New Orleans Saints Offense
Trautman’s profile suggests that he’s good enough to succeed in the right situation, but he’s not so talented that he’s destined to thrive regardless of surrounding. The ideal situation for Trautman is playing in a high-volume, high-scoring offense with very little in the way of target competition.
For years, the New Orleans Saints have struggled to find an adequate second option in the passing attack. Michael Thomas is obviously the unquestioned alpha and Alvin Kamara will get his looks, but there is no third option in this offense. Tre’Quan Smith is not the answer, and Marquez Callaway only has 21 receptions to his name. Trautman is in an ideal situation from a target standpoint, but how is his quarterback situation?
Drew Brees called it a career after 15 years in New Orleans, leaving Jameis Winston as the heir apparent. Say what you will about Winston as an NFL quarterback, but his aggressive and volatile style of play is absolutely perfect for fantasy. Downfield targets are generally better for fantasy than short targets, and Winston absolutely loves to push the ball downfield. Additionally, his penchant for turnovers means that shootouts should be pretty common, which is also fantastic for fantasy. Brees is obviously a better real-life quarterback than Winston, but there is a strong case to be made that Winston is better for fantasy.
Adam Trautman Fantasy Football Average Draft Position
As of this posting, FantasyData has Adam Trautman as the 27th tight end off the board. This average draft position puts him in the same general range as guys like Cole Kmet, Gerald Everett, and Blake Jarwin.
Considering he’s essentially free, Trautman is the perfect late-round tight end option. While I would personally prefer Gerald Everett, there are plenty of factors that suggest Trautman could be the next breakout tight end. As a player, his athleticism, college profile, and draft capital suggest he has what it takes to succeed at the NFL level, and he’s in the perfect situation. Jameis Winston is a yardage machine, and there is no other proven option in this offense outside of Michael Thomas.
Sean Payton has always loved his tight ends and with Jared Cook heading for free agency Adam Trautman, that Saints traded up to get in last year’s draft, is in an incredible position.
So go ahead and trade away your 3rd round pick and reap the rewards.pic.twitter.com/mIDDxlAHpL
— Elvin Ryan (@ElvinRyan_FF) February 4, 2021
Of course, opportunity and draft profile aren’t everything. There is a very real chance that Trautman doesn’t work out at the NFL level, but he is well worth a gamble at his current price. You should be able to tell pretty early in the season if this isn’t going to work out and, if he doesn’t, just stream the tight end position.
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