RB Latavius Murray is a Buy in Fantasy

RB Latavius Murray has huge potential with the Ravens

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

After some unfortunate injuries leading up to Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, including JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the stable of running backs for the Baltimore Ravens is going to look much different than expected. Their rushing attack, in addition to quarterback Lamar Jackson of course, will now likely come from a combination of multiple running backs. This is not uncommon for the Ravens, who use a creative run-heavy scheme and can support multiple running backs from a fantasy football perspective.

The distribution of carries in Baltimore is going to be something to keep a very close eye on over the early weeks of the season. They have a few different options for who could receive the biggest workload, including Ty’Son Williams, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell, but the leading candidate to have the most production is their newest addition to the roster, Latavius Murray. It may take a week or two to get him up to speed, but as soon as he is fully acclimated with his new team, he will likely take over as their RB1. Here is why Murray is a buy in fantasy leagues and the top choice of who to own in the ravens backfield.

Consistent and Reliable

Across his seven seasons in the NFL, Murray has only missed four games total. He has consistently solid production including 713 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns per season, 4.2 yards per carry, and just two lost fumbles in his entire career. He played in three very different schemes with the Raiders, Vikings, and Saints but that never impacted his steady output so changing teams again would not appear to have any negative effect on his game. He is used to playing in situations where he has to compete for carries so being in the Ravens currently crowded backfield is no different. He has always delivered positive results when given the chance and this may be his biggest opportunity for more touches in over five years. A bigger workload in an extremely RB-friendly scheme could mean big things for Murray this year.

Weak Competition

None of the other RB options on the Ravens are nearly as dependable as Murray. Freeman has been unable to stay healthy over the last three seasons, playing in just 21 games combined, and his yards per carry have steadily decreased. His 3.5 yards per carry over the last three years are significantly lower than his career 4.1 average, which indicates regression. Williams has not played an NFL game yet but was not at all a high prospect coming out of college. In fact, he was undrafted, which speaks to his perceived low potential as a player. Bell is an interesting situation but it appears that his best days are behind him at this point.

In his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell was one of the very best backs in the NFL with a very dynamic skill set. He eclipsed 2200 total yards back in the 2014 season and came close to the 2000 yard mark twice more in both 2016 and 2017. After sitting out the entire 2018 season because of a contract dispute, he has never been quite the same. Playing in 26 games over the last two seasons, he has recorded just 1716 total yards combined. In his prime that would be a down year for just a single season total. Now 29 years old and 4 years removed from elite status, it is more than likely that his best days are long gone.

Considering all of the question marks and inconsistencies with all of the other options, Murray is by far the most reliable back in Baltimore. All of them will get carries at some point and their play on the field will likely determine the share of touches moving forward. Murray is the newest to the team so he may not get too much of a workload in week 1 but as the season continues on it should increase drastically. All things considered, he is the leading candidate to be the RB1 for the Ravens and has an opportunity to have a huge season in this run heavy scheme. If there is one back to buy in fantasy right now, Murray is the best investment.

Fantasy Football: Week 1 Starts/Sits

Sit Tua Tagovailoa

By: Matt Gruber

Week one is just hours away and it’s finally time for the weekly starts and sits. This is the first installment of the 17-piece series aimed to help you make the roster decisions to give you an edge over your opponent. Let’s jump into it and hopefully win some championships.


Start: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles start their season on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. This is a juicy matchup as the Falcons were ranked dead last in the league in passing yards allowed. Furthermore, they surrendered 34 passing touchdowns last season which would rank them 27th in the league. Couple this with Hurts’ ability to run and he should be in for a big day.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Ryan vs. PHI, Trevor Lawrence @ HOU, Baker Mayfield @ KC

Sit: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins head to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. This is a definite avoid for me. Last season, the Patriots were 8th best when it came to passing yards allowed. In addition, this defensive unit gave up the fifth least amount of passing touchdowns to opponents. The last time Tagovailoa faced the Patriots he threw for a measly 145 yards and one interception. Leave him on your bench this week.

Honorable Mentions: Andy Dalton @ LAR, Daniel Jones vs. DEN, Jared Goff vs. SF

Running Backs

Start: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Second-year running back James Robinson should be in for a huge day on the ground. He is going into Houston to face the Texans who were brutal against the run last season. Ranking last in rushing yards allowed and 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed, Robinson needs to be in your lineup. In his last game against the Texans, he gashed them for 99 yards and one touchdown. I am expecting similar results.

Honorable Mentions: Gus Edwards @ LV, Miles Sanders @ ATL, Raheem Mostert @ DET

Sit: D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions find themselves in a home matchup versus the San Francisco 49ers. Ranked inside the top seven for the least amount of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed, this is going to be a tough matchup for Swift and the rushing attack. On top of the stout defense he faces, he was dealing with a groin injury. Although he should be good to go, I will err on the side of caution here and keep Swift on the bench for this one.

Honorable Mentions: Zach Moss vs. PIT, Josh Jacobs vs. BAL, Melvin Gordon @ NYG

Wide Receivers

Start: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

This may be a bit of a surprise since their starting quarterback is Tyrod Taylor, but someone’s got to catch the ball. Cooks is the top target on this team and has a great matchup against one of the worst pass defenses in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ranked 27th in yards and touchdowns allowed last season, this Jaguars defense is a funnel. I am plugging Cooks into my lineup with confidence.

Honorable Mentions: Tee Higgins vs. MIN, Laviska Shenault Jr. @ HOU, DeVonta Smith @ ATL

Sit: Kenny Golladay, New York Giants

After missing a good portion of training camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury, it doesn’t get any easier for Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay. He will be going up against a solid pass defense in the Denver Broncos. Pair this with the fact Golladay will be playing in his first game with a new team and system, with little practice reps, and this is a no-brainer for me. Leave him on your bench.

Honorable Mentions: Michael Gallup @ TB, Chase Claypool @ BUF, Mike Williams @ WSH

Tight Ends

Start: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, the Rams are playing the Chicago Bears who have a good defense. However, last season, this Bears team gave up the second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. In addition, they gave up the third-most touchdowns to the position. Matthew Stafford loves his big pass catchers and when this team gets into the red zone, bet on Stafford to look for his 6’6” tight end in Higbee.

Honorable Mentions: Zach Ertz @ ATL, Tyler Kroft @ CAR, Austin Hooper @ KC

Sit: Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

In his Seahawks debut, Gerald Everett finds himself going up against the Indianapolis Colts. An overall solid defense, the Colts are exceptionally strong against tight ends. Ranked third last season in the least amount of fantasy points per game allowed to the position, Everett may find himself having a quiet day. I wouldn’t bank on a touchdown catch to salvage a disappointing day either, as the Colts only allowed three touchdowns to tight ends last season. I would look elsewhere for a tight end this week.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gesicki @ NE, Dawson Knox vs. PIT, Eric Ebron @ BUF

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to find more of my content on Twitter @FF_Worm. I am always available to talk fantasy football and answer any questions.

Fantasy: 3 RBs You’re Sleeping on in 2021

Three sleeper fantasy RBs to target

By: Jeremy Shulman

AJ Dillon

RB, Green Bay Packers

Current ADP: 63.6, RB28

I am shouting this one from the rooftops early this offseason. Dillon will appear everywhere in my writeups for the foreseeable future, because chances are you are too low on the second-year back.

Though Dillon’s claim to thigh supremacy in the league has been challenged recently by the Falcon’s Mike Davis thanks to Atlanta’s OTA Twitter posts, he’s still the reigning champion thanks to this:

Dillon has fully embraced his strengths, and it seems his team has, too.

Aside from inking starting running back Aaron Jones to a new, lucrative deal, the Green Bay Packers have seemed content to roll with Dillon as their RB2 in 2021. They began the offseason by letting former, productive backup Jamaal Williams walk in free agency, and the have added little competition in the backfield to-date. It’s doubtful anyone left on the wire can meaningfully compete with the Boston College product, and seventh-round draft pick Kylin Hill is likely just a special teams add.

As Green Bay’s RB2, Dillon projects to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 attempts on the ground and even a couple shots through the air. Though not a prolific pass catcher, he should be used to spell Jones and keep him fresh during the season on early downs and could be incorporated in drive rotations much like Dallas’ Tony Pollard has been utilized in the past. If quarterback Aaron Rodgers sticks around, this offense is elite and should push for another 13-win season, making mop up duty routine. If Rodgers refuses to reunite with the team, a reliance on the running game is probable and Dillon wins again.

For 2021, Dillon is an elite backup option who should be taken before almost all others who won’t receive a full workload. His ADP isn’t exactly low, but when you’re looking at Pollard, Kenyan Drake and Ronald Jones, take Dillon first and enjoy the production with extreme upside if Jones goes down.

Gus Edwards

RB, Baltimore Ravens

Current ADP: 108.5, RB45

This one makes no sense to me. Edwards is only 26 years old and has recently received the backing of his team with a nice salary bump in 2021. Given his previous usage, the departure of Mark Ingram and the Ravens’ reliance on the running game, it’s clear that Edwards is primed to outperform his current ADP.

First, Edwards has averaged 138 carries per season. Plus, he’s hovered around that number in each of his 3 years, so that carry mark should be considered his floor in 2021. Though Dobbins is primed to see more than the 134 carries he earned last season, and Lamar should top out at his career average of 160 per year, there should be plenty of work for Edwards to exceed value this year. And, with team RB3 Justice Hill not posing much of a threat, the pie is split just three ways in Baltimore.

Considering Mark Ingram’s move to Houston, there are just 72 carries up for grabs in this offense. Though that’s not much of a vacated workload, Ingram earned a 25.8% snap share and a 30.3% opportunity share according to Player Profiler in 2020. While many expect Dobbins to eat up most of the available work, I see it more as a 50/50 split. Edwards is assured to see the field more often, which should yield more fantasy points given his top-10 efficiency numbers at the position from a year ago.

Finally, it’s no secret by now that the Ravens run more than any team in the NFL. Last season, not even the Patriots and Titans came close to the 55/45 rushing to passing split that Baltimore employed. Though Roman and the team have made a concerted effort to bolster the wide receiver room this offseason, it’s still a good bet that the Ravens lead the league in rushing attempts again in 2021. If the trend holds, you’ll want the RB2 in this offense.

As with AJ Dillon, Edwards has historical usage on his side and a clear RB2 role out of the gate. If something happens to Dobbins, he’ll dominate touches with Hill likely mixed in at a lower rate and on third downs. Get Edwards on your team this season.

Travis Etienne

RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Current ADP: 117.4, RB49

With both Dillon and Edwards, I’m still expecting their teams’ RB1s to have great seasons. For Travis Etienne, however, I’m expecting he takes the reins as the Jaguars’ lead back in short order.

Etienne currently sits in a position to smash his ADP in 2021 thanks to a new coach familiar with his work and the top QB in the class pushing to get his college teammate on his new pro squad. The rookie back is a first round selection in Urban Meyer’s first season. That alone displays a supreme investment in the Clemson product, and it may hint at Meyer’s feelings about last year’s breakout, UDFA James Robinson.

We love Robinson in the fantasy community. He literally came out of nowhere to post top-10 numbers at the position. Forced into action after the Jags jettisoned Leonard Fournette and with backs ahead of him contracting COVID, Robinson took hold of the job over the summer and never let it go. However, Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo weren’t exactly elite competition, allowing Robinson to record the #1 opportunity share for all backs in the NFL in 2020 according to Player Profiler. And the Jags didn’t exactly have any expectations for their season, evidenced by their #1 overall pick in the draft this year.

Enter Meyer, Lawrence and, now, Etienne, who come with high expectations to turn this team around in short order. With the 25th overall selection, Etienne should see a significant split in the backfield immediately as Robinson is phased out of the workhorse role. Etienne also profiles as the better receiving back, even working as a receiver during rookie minicamp, giving more credence to the idea that an initial third down role, and maybe some positional versatility, is in his future.

With the rapport Lawrence and Etienne have already developed in their three years together at Clemson, with the significant draft capital investment this new regime has bestowed upon him and with the fact that Robinson carries no contract concerns given his UDFA status last season, Etienne will take over this backfield sooner rather than later. Don’t miss out at his current low price, especially in PPR leagues.

Grab any or all of these RBs in your 2021 drafts and you’ll finally be able to rest easy.

*all ADP data used in this article sourced from: https://fantasydata.com/nfl/fantasy-football-ppr-adp-rankings/rb

Fantasy Football: 2021 Wide Receiver Sleepers

Tee Higgins is the ultimate fantasy sleeper

By Jesse Moeller (Twitter: @JMoeller05)

What makes a “Sleeper” in fantasy football? Is it someone who you think is undervalued compared to the ADP? How about a young player who will take off in 2021? There are numerous terms we all use to describe them in fantasy football circles. Breakout candidates usually go hand in hand with the term sleeper. They both serve the purpose of illuminating a player who we view as a steal at the current ADP.

I will list players in different categories who will give you production that exceeds the ADP.

The Supreme Being

(A Player Drafted WR20 or later will finish as a top 12 WR)

Kenny Golladay (ADP: WR20)

Golladay could not have asked for a better situation to walk into in 2021. The Giants’ offense was in desperate need of an Alpha wide receiver. Golladay is more than capable of filling that role. As you can see from the tweet above, Golladay specializes in winning contested catches. He is the best wide receiver in the NFL at this. He gets paired up with a DGAF quarterback (Think of Brett Favre if you are unsure what it means) in Daniel Jones, who has never been afraid to throw it up to this playmaker.

Even with the Giants linked to drafting a rookie wide receiver in the upcoming NFL draft, I do not see it having much impact on Golladay’s role and workload for the upcoming season. Look at the current roster. There is no competition for the X receiver role in that offense. The Giants have desperately been missing this type of talent the last few seasons.

Golladay battled injuries that cut the season short, as he only finished five games. He was one pace for another 60 reception 1,000 yards season. Where Golladay can genuinely be a boom for fantasy managers is his ability to generate touchdowns. He led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2019 with 11 and will be amongst the leaders in 2021.

Draft Golladay with confidence, as he will produce some of the best numbers in the league in 2021.

Boy Wonder

(1st or 2nd Year Player Going as WR 30 or Later)

Tee Higgins (ADP: WR31)

A player who fell to the second round of the NFL draft and rookie drafts last year due to his poor measurables immediately paid dividends for those fantasy managers who selected Higgins. He pushed A.J. Green aside and took ahold of the Bengals’ alpha role in the second half of the season. Higgins was 28th in the NFL in targets, and amongst rookies, he was 5th. That number will only go up in his second season.

Countless rumors are floating around that the Bengals draft Ja’Marr Chase as the 5th pick in the upcoming NFL draft. (it’s bananas, right?) which can seem like a worry for Higgins moving forward. It is not something that should worry managers. There are still plenty of vacated targets available (195 available, to be exact) in that offense for 2021. Say Chase comes in and puts up a Jeffersonesque 125 targets; there is still room for him to expand on his role in the offense.

Even after Burrow’s injury in week 11, Higgins still received a minimum of 5 targets each game while averaging 7.2 targets per game. He managed to produce with Brandon Allen as his quarterback. You better believe he will put up spectacular numbers with Burrow in 2021. Use the discounted ADP to your advantage this season. Grab Higgins in the 6th or 7th round of your drafts, and enjoy the elite wide receiver production.

Triumphant Return

(Player coming off of injured season will finish as a top 24 WR)

Courtland Sutton (ADP: WR 34)

It was a lost season for Sutton in 2020. He tore his ACL and was out for the season in week 2, which was incredibly disappointing for a player coming off of 1,112 yards, 72 receptions on 126 targets with a massive 26.1% target share.

With how much talent the Denver offense has, it is a pick your poison for defenders. Who do you try and take away? The Alpha X receiver in Sutton, the route running savant in Jeudy, or the explosive athletic tight end in Fant? No matter what defenses do, they will be in trouble against this high-powered attack. Each player has a distinctive role in this offense for the 2021 season.

Getting Sutton back healthy will help the team move the other wide receivers back to more comfortable positions. Sutton is a matchup problem that should thrive even with the less than ideal quarterbacks on the Broncos roster. Sutton put up the massive statistics while having a Catchable Target Cate and Target Quality Rating ranked 65th or below in 2019.

Sutton can be top 24 W.R. this upcoming season, and getting the alpha of a receiving game in the 8th round is the value that I will not be able to pass on. Take it and run to the bank!

Mr. Irrelevant

(Player going in the 14th Round or Later will finish as a Top 36 WR)

Nelson Agholor (ADP: WR 80)

Before last season, Agholor considered a first-round bust due to his inconsistent play in Philadelphia the previous five seasons. In 2020 it all came together for Agholor. He led the Las Vegas wide receivers in targets, yards, and touchdowns to the tune of 48 receptions for 896 yards and eight touchdowns.

This team drafted both Henry Ruggs and Braylon Edwards in the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and those two combined for a worse season than Agholor. It was one of the more surprising things of the 2020 season, as Agholor and Waller were a fantastic 1-2 punch down the Raiders stretch.

Nelson Agholor was the best big-play wide receiver in the league last year. The tweet above shows how much of a problem he was on deep vertical passes the previous year. Agholor finished second in the league in yards per reception at 18.7 along 4.64 yards after contact on each reception. Every time he touched the ball, it was a big play for the offense.

His production led to a two-year 22 million dollar contract with the Patriots. He is locked into the number one receiver in New England for this upcoming season, as he should give you some boom weeks in 2021 with his signature ability. Considering he is free in redraft, grab him with one of your last picks and enjoy the flex production he will provide for your team.

Fantasy Football: Impact of losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith on the Tennesee Titans Offense

Titans offense without Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith

By: Chris Thomas

The Tennesee Titans prioritize signing defensive playmakers like Bud Dupree and Denico Autry early in free agency. However, in the process of signing those players, they lost two of their top pass catchers from a season ago.

After a breakout season in 2020-21 former fifth overall pick, Corey Davis signed a 3 year $37.5 million deal with the New York Jets. Former Titans starting tight end Jonnu Smith also left the team for the New England Patriots. Smith signed a 4 year $50 million deal making him the richest tight end in NFL history.

When both Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith’s production from a season ago is accounted for the Titan’s offense has lost 106 receptions for 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns in free agency. Removing that type of production will impact an offense the following season. It will also impact the fantasy values of the players on that offense.

Here is how the removal of Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith from the Titans offense impacts their fantasy-relevant offensive players.

Ryan Tannehill 

Last year was Ryan Tannehill’s first full season as the Titans starting quarterback. Despite a dip in production between weeks 7 and 10 where he only averaged 15.26 points per game against some tough opponents, Tannehill finished the year as the seventh-highest scoring fantasy quarterback. He averaged 21.9 points per game last year. 

Unless the Titans replace Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith with available free agent veterans or early in the draft, it is more than likely that Tannehill’s production will drop. Davis and Smith made up 37.6% of Tannehill’s completions, 43.5% of Tannehill’s passing yards, and 39.4% of his passing touchdowns in 2020-21. 

That production won’t be completely lost. Other pieces in Tennessee should take on a chunk of that production. But the less talented weapons that Tannehill will have this upcoming season won’t be able to replicate the production Davis and Smith have done in this offense the past few seasons. 

From a fantasy standpoint, Ryan Tannehill drops out of the weekly starting territory in standard ten team leagues. Instead, he becomes a bye-week replacement quarterback that is likely on the waiver wire for most of the season like Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, or Matt Ryan. Tannehill should finish in-between the range of QB12-15.

Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry was one of the only first-round fantasy running backs that did not disappoint last season. Henry was taken in the middle of the first round in most standard leagues and finished the year with 331.1 PPR points which was third among running backs only behind Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook. Henry averaged 20.8 points per game and had four performances with over 35 PPR points per game.

Since Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith have left the Titans Henry becomes even more important to the Titan’s success because he is one of their only playmakers. New Titans offensive coordinator Todd Dowling may actually put more of an emphasis on the running game than they did under Arthur Smith. That is crazy to think about considering the Titans were second in the league in team rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and rushing attempts. On top of that, they were also second in the league in rushing yards per carry with 5.2 yards per attempt.

The only downside to Henry having a larger role in the offense is that teams will be able to stack the box against Henry more frequently and could have more success. Due to the lack of playmakers that have surrounded Henry over the last couple of seasons defenses will put more focus on Henry and will stack the box with defenders to limit Henry’s production. Defenses will want to take their chances on leaving Titans playmakers (outside of A.J. Brown) in single coverage on early downs and short-yardage situations in order to try to keep Henry at or behind the line of scrimmage.

So overall the impact of Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith leaving Tennesee on Derrick Henry is that he should receive more carries than he has in previous years. But his yards per carry could go down because defenses now do not have to worry as much about the Titans passing attack beating them if they focus solely on Henry. This leaves Henry in a similar position as he was before Tennesee lost Davis and Smith. Henry should still be drafted in the first round in fantasy drafts and should be an RB1 in all leagues. He will still be in similar fantasy territory as Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara next season.

A.J. Brown

In his second season, A.J. Brown continued to show the big play ability he showed during his rookie season. However in 2020-21, Brown was more consistent with his production. Fantasy owners felt more comfortable playing Brown every week knowing he would likely put up between 12-21 PPR points per game when he was healthy. Despite playing in only 14 games last year Brown scored the 12th most fantasy points among wide receivers last season. His 17.7 PPR points per game was sixth among wide receivers.

Brown has the most to benefit from former teammates Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith signing elsewhere. Now that Brown is far and away the most dangerous weapon in the Titans passing attack he could be in line for a career year. Secondaries may pay Brown more attention. But it shouldn’t affect his overall production considering the defenses already paid Brown the most attention out of the Titans pass catchers when Davis and Smith were on the team. Brown should definitely see a major increase in targets which should lead to an increase in total production.

It is insane to think about what Brown’s numbers could jump to in 2020-21. He already led the team in targets, catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Now that the Titans second and third highest producing players in each of those categories are gone Brown should receive a large percentage of that production go his way.

If the Titans do not add any other major playmakers and Brown could stay healthy for the 2021-22 NFL season he could easily rise to WR1 conversation in fantasy in standard leagues. It would be hard to imagine Brown not exceeding his 17.7 PPR points per game from a season ago. Last year he was able to put up that type of production with only one game where he reached double-digit targets and receptions. That game was Week 17 against the Houston Texans where he had ten catches on eleven targets for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Next season A.J. Brown could reach the upside and production of other star wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, and Calvin Ridley. All of which should be drafted as WR1’s next year in fantasy in all formats.

Josh Reynolds

In order to soften the blow of losing Corey Davis, the Tennesee Titans signed former Los Angeles Rams receiver Josh Reynolds to a one-year $1.75 million deal. For the last couple of seasons, Reynolds has been the fourth wide receiver in Sean McVay’s offense. He was able to fill into any receiver’s role in the Rams offense whether it was being the team’s deep threat or creating plays over the middle in the slot.

His versatility has made him a great insurance policy for when Cooper Kupp was hurt in 2018, Brandin Cooks was hurt in 2019, or 2020 second-round pick Van Jefferson wasn’t ready to become one of the Ram starting receivers. During his eight starts in 2018-19, Reynolds had 29 catches for 402 yards and five touchdowns. This past season Reynolds had career highs with 52 receptions on 81 targets for 618 yards during thirteen starts.

Automatically Reynolds is considered the second receiver on the Titans depth chart. He is not only the team’s second receiver but could also be considered the team’s second option in the passing game. Reynolds has never been more than a team’s third-option offense. It is very possible that Reynolds could have the best season of his career during the 2020-21 season in Tennesee.

Due to the lack of consistent fantasy-relevant production in the past and depth at the wide receiver position, it is hard to expect much out of Reynolds in a standard ten-team league. However, in a 12 team or deeper PPR league’s Reynolds could be a sleeper due to the number of targets he will see. Reynolds shouldn’t be drafted in standard leagues but could be a player to take a flier on in deeper leagues as a sleeper. If Reynolds thrives in his new role in Tennesee he could creep his way into flex territory in deeper leagues. If that was the case Reynolds would be in the same range as wide receivers like Randall Cobb, Denzel Mims, and Allen Lazard.

Anthony Firkser

The Tennessee Titans managed to retain one of their pass-catching tight ends Anthony Firkser on a one-year deal. Now that Jonnu Smith is a member of the New England Patriots, Firkser will likely be the Titans starting tight end last season. Last season when Smith missed Weeks 12 & 13 Firkser became a popular fantasy pick-up. Even though he disappointed in Week 12 against the Colts he showed promise filling in for Smith Week 13 against the Browns. He had five catches on seven targets for 51 yards. That was good for 10.1 PPR points, which many will take from their starting tight end considering the lack of depth and talent at the position.

Firkser has a great relationship with new Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing because Downing has been the Titan’s tight end coach since 2019. Since Downing is so familiar with Firkser he may plan on making him a featured player in the Titans offense next season. Firkser’s only competition for the team’s second option in the passing game is Josh Reynolds.

Even though production from the tight end position in fantasy has been scarce over the last number of years there are still better options than Firkser who should be drafted in standard 10 team fantasy leagues. Firkser should be considered a fringe TE2 in fantasy leagues. He should be valued between TE15-25. Other tight ends within that range include Dan Arnold, Eric Ebron, and Jimmy Graham. However much like the players previously mention Firkser has the upside to finish within the top-10 if he has a breakout season.

When both Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith’s production from a season ago is accounted for the Titans offense has lost 106 receptions for 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns in free agency. Removing that type of production will impact an offense the following season. It will also impact the fantasy values of the players on that offense.

3 Rookie TEs to Target in Fantasy Drafts

Kyle Pitts Is a Generational Talent

By: Rich Maletto

There are three rookie tight ends to target that, I believe, are head and shoulders above the rest of the field as we head into the NFL draft season. Below I will discuss who they are and why you should target them in your upcoming fantasy drafts. We will even cover when you should look for them in your drafts. Rookie tight ends are rarely impactful their rookie year, but they can also give you an edge if you hit on one. 

Kyle Pitts

This first tight end is the only one I would consider targeting in any of my redraft leagues. Kyle Pitts is a complete freak of nature. He measures over 6’5″ tall and around 235 lbs. For those asking, yes, he’s roughly the same size as Calvin Johnson, who was 6’5″ and 237 lbs. Megatron also ran a 4.35 40 yard dash time at the combine. No one believes we will see anywhere near as fast of a time from Pitts if Pitts were able to get into that sub 4.5 range; wow, lookout. The last official time I could find online was 4.70 seconds from 2017

Let’s be clear about a few things. Currently, Pitts is listed as a tight end. I have read somethings that state some teams see him more as a receiver than a tight end. In my honest opinion, he plays all over the field, and I don’t care what teams list him as. It’s all going to depend on two things. Do teams think Pitts can put on enough size to take on edge rushers consistently, or does he have enough speed to play on the outside regularly? 

How teams list, Kyle Pitts will determine where we can play him on our rosters. The fact remains, it doesn’t matter what position he will play. He’s too talented not to be on the field. In college, Kyle played inline, split out wide and even out of the slot. He is a complete mismatch nightmare. Pitts may not be the best blocker for a tight end, as he tends to get bulled over by larger edge rushers, he does have decent technique. Pitts will be a solid blocker on the outside, though. 

Depending on Kyle’s 40 time, and depending on how the pro days go, we could see teams taking Pitts in the top five on the NFL draft. Unlike most rookie tight ends, I don’t think you have to worry about Pitts not seeing enough snaps. Don’t be surprised to see him lineup all over the field, especially in three-wide sets. Pitts is also a tremendous red-zone target. There is so much to be excited about that I can’t stand it!  

Pat Feiermuth

Pitts is a receiving mismatch, but he is by no means a prototypical tight end. On the other hand, Pat Freiermuth is maybe the most complete tight end in this class. At 6’5″ and 258 lbs, he has the size and ability to play inline. Immediately for an NFL team, Freiermuth is much more ready to play as a full-time tight end. 

The curious thing for me is how fast does Freiermuth run the 40 at his pro days. He’s projected to be right around that 4.70, but if he can run a little quicker, it would be huge for Freiermuth. Not to be crass, cutting few tenths of a second getting down to a 4.67 could be a big difference for Pat in both contract pay and where he gets selected. Freiermuth has been labeled with a moniker referencing Gronk because he can be a blocking tight end and split out wide. 

When you Pat Freiermuth at Penn State, you notice something about him that you also see with Pitts. Both of these gentlemen bails out their quarterbacks. Freiermuth has some incredible catches down the sidelines catching balls that looked they were headed out of bounds. Pat has excellent hands, and he also goes up and high points the ball. I don’t know if you can count on a lot of fantasy points in year one. He’s ready to start for an NFL franchise, but typically tight ends need a little time to come into their own. 

Brevin Jordan

The last tight end is probably not someone you would consider drafting in any redraft league. Bervin Jordan is a heck of an athlete and is dynamic with the ball in his hands. Jordan is listed at 6’3″ and 245 lbs. He’s a little undersized to play consistently inline. He can put on the size and strength and work on his passing technique, which needs improvement. The power of his game, though, is out in the open field.

Even though he’s dynamic with the ball in his hand, getting the ball in his hands might take a little time at the NFL level. He’s a bit raw with his route running. He does project to be under that 4.67 forty time, and he looks plenty quick enough on the field. There’s plenty to like about Jordan, and I think we might need a second or third year to see a real breakout. Jordan reminds me of Irv Smith in some ways. 

Where to Target these TEs in Drafts

As fantasy players, these incredible athletes are only somewhat important to us no matter how good they are at football. We need to invest players that will be on the field and involved or have no value on our rosters. That’s just the fact of the matter. Once they are on the field, they also need to be involved in the game plan.

Kyle Pitts, I firmly believe, will do that. He’s going to be a first-round pick, and Pitts is going to see the field early. There is an opportunity for immediate return on investment with Pitts. As such, in redraft leagues, I would be willing to draft Pitts as an upside TE2. That puts you taking him in the 15th round or so. You may have to take him sooner, but I don’t think I would want Pitts any earlier than after the first 12-15 tight ends were selected.

For dynasty, if this was a rookie draft, you better be ready to select Pitts in the top five spots. Regardless if it’s just hype, Kyle Pitts is going early and often in rookie drafts. For your startup fantasy drafts, while I wouldn’t condone it, I have a feeling Pitts is going to be selected in the first three rounds. There is a lot of hype around him, and it’s all going to depend on how early you are willing to go on an unknown entity. 

Pat Freiermuth will see the field, I believe, early. Since he can be counted on blocking and being split out, he can be used in many ways. I think in redraft, you could get Freiermuth a bit later than Pitts. Freiermuth would be your TE2 that you could pick up as your last pick or even as a free agent pickup. It’s a name you should watch, though, because he will see the field.

In dynasty rookie drafts, he will be available in the middle to end of round two, maybe slips a little further back depending on if it’s a Superflex league or not. In startup drafts, this is a name that might fall a little. I would target him as the second rookie tight end taken. Pat Freiermuth doesn’t have the hype surrounding him that Pitts does. You might be able to snag Freiermuth in the double-digit rounds. 

Brevin Jordan does have plenty of upsides, but I would rather have him sitting on my taxi squad instead of my active roster. I mentioned earlier that I see some Irv Smith similarities, and as excited as I am about Irv Smith, it will be a three-year project come this fall. We might see the same from Jordan. So, I am avoiding him for redraft leagues. Note the name and watch the numbers, but do not target Jordan in the draft.

Jordan does offer some exciting upside at the tight end positions for dynasty leagues. Ideally, you would have a taxi spot for Jordan to sit on for the year to see what happens. If this is a rookie draft and not a Superflex league, you can probably wait until the end of the third round and into the fourth round before drafting Jordan. In a startup league, it’s tough to say. You will have to draft based on when you see some of the second or third tier wide receivers come off the board.

One thing to remember about any draft, every draft is different. No matter how much you mock, you will never know how a draft will go. You have to have some feel for the draft and try to keep more than one target in mind. Once we see the NFL draft, we will have a much better idea of how the fantasy committee will rate these talented tight ends.

  • By Rich Maletto @BodaciousBeer

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