A Few to Fade: Three Fantasy Football Tight End Fades for 2021

Fantasy Football Tight End Fades

Each year, heading into draft season, we start to settle upon players we love and players we hate, relative to ADP. This article will dive into the latter portion, my fantasy football fades. We never like to see players perform poorly, but we also need to identify players that look to be in disadvantageous situations. Here are three fantasy football tight end fades for 2021.

Fantasy Football Tight End Fades for 2021

Before we get into these fantasy football fades, I want to preface this by saying that all of these are relative to ADP. Of course, if any of them slip a few rounds, I’ll take a chance on them but that rarely happens. These are all based on Fantasypros PPR ADP data as of this writing. In case you missed them, the quarterback fades are here, the running back fades are here, and the wide receiver fades are here.

1. Kyle Pitts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have heard that Kyle Pitts is the greatest tight end prospect of all time. That very well may prove to be true. He’s still a rookie though. Looking at Pitts’ college numbers, he was dominant in 2020. In only eight games, he racked up 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 scores. Yes, that was in only eight games. He’s also an athletic freak with a crazy size/speed combo. Pitts measures in at just under 6’6” and 245 pounds and still ran a 4.44 40-yard dash. This guy is sure to be an absolute matchup nightmare for years to come.

The biggest issue with Pitts is that he’s ultimately still a rookie and the NFL is still a hard transition. There’s not much doubt he will be very good for a long time, but there are doubts as to how quickly he can transition to the NFL. He won’t be used as a normal tight end, but at his current ADP, he’s going to need to break records to pay off. He’s currently going as the 45th (TE4) player off the board ahead of more sure-fire guys like Tyler Lockett, Diontae Johnson, and D.J. Moore. Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson are both going afterward at the same position if you insist on taking a tight end in that range of the draft. Even that’s not advisable and instead just pass on Pitts and take one of the wide receivers instead.

2. Noah Fant

Moving on to another athletic freak, Noah Fant looks like one of the best fantasy football tight end fades for 2021. His athletic scores are off the charts as basically, every score is 95th percentile or better. Fant had a solid sophomore season in 2020. He saw 93 targets hauling in 62 of them for 673 yards and three touchdowns. He finished as the TE11 with 10.0 points per game on the season. So, as an athletic tight end on the rise heading into the typical year-three breakout, it should be “Noah Fant SZN” right? Not so fast.

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Let’s not forget Fant’s TE11 season last year came with Courtland Sutton sidelined for the year. Sutton is back this year and Jerry Jeudy is also expected to take a leap in his second year. Now we know that targets are earned but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll outearn Sutton or Jeudy this year. That leaves Fant as likely third-best in a questionable passing attack. He was only able to finish as the TE11 last year when he was the second target on the team and for some reason is currently going as the TE7 in PPR ADP. That seems like an expectant price for a guy in a worse situation. Pass on Fant in the “tight end dead zone” and take someone like Robby Anderson or Tyler Boyd instead while grabbing a couple of tight ends with upside much later in the draft.

3. Mike Gesicki

If Fant’s athletic scores are impressive, Mike Gesicki’s athletic scores are downright scary. This guy is 6’6” and 250 pounds and also has 95th percentile or better athletic scores. Most of those are 98th percentile or better. I’ll admit that last season I was extremely bullish on Gesicki. He was heading into his third season, had improved each year, had improved quarterback play, and there wasn’t much competition for targets. While Gesicki wasn’t a bust by any means, he was a bit disappointing last year. Instead of taking another jump, his stats mostly stayed stagnant. He finished with 85 targets, 53 receptions, 703 yards, and six scores. Gesicki finished as the TE8 with 10.6 points per game last year.

Also like Fant, Gesicki’s TE8 season came when he was the clear second target in the offense last year. The silver lining for Fant is that he was far more efficient than Gesicki. Gesicki was 14th or worse in three of the most important efficiency metrics (yards per route run, points per route, points per target) despite some of the highest opportunity volume among all tight ends. Another similarity with Fant is that Gesicki will likely be facing more target competition this year. The Miami Dolphins signed Will Fuller and drafted Jaylen Waddle in the first round. Gesicki will almost assuredly have a lower target share in 2021. With an ADP of 114th overall (TE12) pass on Gesicki and take Mike Williams, Darnell Mooney, or Marvin Jones instead while waiting even further to take a tight end with more upside.

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