Fantasy Football

NFL fantasy football: Tackling the tight end dilemma

Contrary to popular belief, the dictionary definition of insanity has nothing to do with faulty expectations based on repetitive processes. Which means fantasy enthusiasts who every year try to convince the world that This Is Finally the Year that the fantasy tight end position is deep aren't demented. Maybe they're just overly hopeful.

I'm trying to soften the blow of this continued folly in a futile attempt to soothe my own ego.

Yes, I am among the guilty. Every summer, I look over the fantasy tight end position with a mixture of anticipation, trepidation and discombobulation. But the better angels of my analyst nature always tend toward positivity. The mental conflict usually goes something like …

Marcas: Logically, tight end can't be that deep. Even if everything goes according to plan, there are -- at best -- 12-15 players that we expect to be truly productive fantasy options. That means in 12-team leagues there's about one for each manager. But when you factor in the inevitable injuries and underperformance, that number is likely to shrink dramatically by season's end. It's just not feasible.

Also Marcas: But … Mike Gesicki in the 12th round!

Of course, our enthusiasm for the year was eventually doused like so many Wonder Woman sequels. (For the record, I enjoyed WW84. Drag me.) It was a similar scenario to 2019. And 2018. And … you get the point. Every season has featured three or four top-flight tight ends while everyone else is scrounging for weekly touchdown upside. Nonetheless, we persist.

It's enough to make some people wonder whether we should ditch the position in fantasy football altogether. Get it.

Side note: This trend to want to ditch positions we can't easily project is disheartening. There should be an element of unpredictability. But that's an argument for another column.

Let's live in the now, shall we? In the now, we have a position that is as top-heavy as any in the fantasy game with just a handful of players that inspire any amount of weekly confidence. It's a position that, even at its best, is the shallowest in the fantasy game despite most leagues requiring that managers start just one. Yet since this position isn't going away any time soon, maybe it's time to take a real look at how we can make the most of what we have heading into the 2021 season.

To that end, I'm going on a journey over the next few weeks to dive deeper into fantasy tight ends. Not physically, of course, because … COVID. Some of the rest stops I plan on taking along the way include:

The Elites: Let's look at the names at the top with a deeper look at their positional value and how early we should think about drafting them.

The Mids: This has been the peskiest group over the past few years -- equal parts promise and disappointment. Alas, we'll continue to try slotting these players so let's look at a smarter way to do it.

The Upsides: Here is where our tight end hope springs eternal. Perhaps some of that hope is misguided. Maybe we've just expected too much. Let's figure out how to keep things in perspective.

You're all invited to come along. I won't call this a hero's journey but if we come to some concrete conclusions and you want to call me a hero afterward, I won't complain.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is plagued by distractions. Send him your quesOOOH, new Nick Waterhouse on Bandcamp. I mean… find him on Twitter or Instagram.

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