Tight end is arguably the hardest part of your fantasy football rankings. And folks often respond to that by avoiding the issue entirely. They might reach early in their draft for someone like Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, or T.J. Hockenson, sometimes losing value in the process. Or they fall victim to another fantasy football myth; that all tight ends after the top few are the same. They’re all just touchdown dependent and inconsistent. So they just draft whoever and then just leave him in there, hoping their running backs, wide receivers, and quarterback will carry their team. If that’s how you’ve looked at the position in the past, no amount of fantasy football cheat sheets or mock drafts have really been able to save you from yourself.
Fantasy Alarm members, however, know that we’ve found a new way to look at tight end. A late-round tight end drafting strategy that helps you beat the fantasy football waiver wire (or, at the very least, helps you identify the right waiver adds early). For a couple of years now, it’s been our secret weapon in finding fantasy football sleepers. It’s called Yin & Yang Tight End.
The concept is simple enough that you may have even done a version of it in the past without realizing it. Most fantasy leagues are 10-12 team leagues with one tight end. That means, if your tight end isn’t in the top five or six, you have a below-average tight end. That’s Math. The idea for our strategy is that, if you don’t get an elite tight end, you wait and take two. You take one player who is relatively “safe” early on but doesn’t offer a particularly high ceiling (Yin). And you take another that is potentially too risky to start week one but has some path to the high-end upside (Yang). You start the Yin early on in the season hoping that the Yang breaks out. If the Yang doesn’t look like he’s going to hit, you drop him and stash another upside play. Rinse and repeat until you find this year’s breakout.
We’ve done this in the past to find guys like Evan Engram, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, Logan Thomas, Evan Engram again. If you think back to those seasons, you really couldn’t trust those guys to be your only tight end right from the jump. Logan Thomas in 2020, for instance, was TE26 through six weeks then finished as the TE3. In hindsight, it seems easy to just draft and start guys like that but that’s also ignoring all the hyped-up breakout picks that just did nothing and really hurt your fantasy teams while you scrambled to find a replacement. Cole Kmet might have finished as the TE8 last year but he started the season with back to back zeros.
A lot of folks just plan to sit back and hope to get lucky off the wire. So we beat them to the punch. We take one “safe” tight end we can start Week One. Then we dedicate a bench spot to the highest upside option regardless of floor. We draft the best option and, if he doesn't hit, we're quick to swap him out early on for the next best one. We take our destiny in our hands and let your league mate who is banking on getting lucky just coast into third place.
Dynamic Tier Tight End Fantasy Football Player Rankings
To help you with this process, we’ll be providing the Yin & Yang tight end options via our new Dynamic Rankings. If guys break out (or even if Yin guys prove more reliable than we thought) they will get moved up to the Standalone section. After Week One and each subsequent week, we will shuffle around the rankings so that you can create the right balance for your team and give yourself a shot at glory. Here is a look at the system.
|HOW TO USE:|
|There is a myth in the fantasy football world that suggests you should only ever draft one tight end. And while that may be true for the top tier, after that the best way to find up is drafting two - one "safe" player to start early on while stashing a high risk, high reward option. We call this strategy Yin & Yang Tight End. |
Standalone - If you draft one of these players at ADP, you are investing enough in the position that you (hopefully) only need to worry about a fill in for bye weeks. That doesn't necessarily mean we like all of these options at ADP.
Yin: These are the "safe" tight ends in that they have a defined role and should offer some sort of floor early on. But they also have capped ceilings as many of them are third or fourth on their own team in the target pecking order. player to start early on while stashing a high risk, high reward option. Whether you prioritize drafting your Yin or Yang tight end first depends on how risk averse you are.
Yang - This is where we are taking our shot on upside. There is some uncertainty surrounding these players which makes them difficult to trust in your lineup right away but all we care about is upside. You may need to either stash this player or drop them for the hot pickup while we search for that upside.
The Rest: Most of these guys are fairly touchdown dependent making them only viable in best ball or other deep formats like 2 TE leagues.
Handcuff: These are the players who could become fantasy relevant if the starter gets hurt.
- QB Dynamic Tier Fantasy Football Player Rankings
- RB Dynamic Tier Fantasy Football Player Rankings
- WR Dynamic Tier Fantasy Football Player Rankings