Bust to lust – TE Edition 2020

In this series, I will be looking at the positions of Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver and Tight End.

As the title suggests I’m only looking at players that were a bust in 2019 but we will lust for in 2020.

This time I look at the Tight Ends.

Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers

2019 was a mixed bag for Henry. The Chargers were hyped up to be in the mix for a playoff spot. The D was looking mean and Henry was coming back from a full season out.

Then the season started, Henry got injured in the first game and was out for the next four games. With the bye week added on Henry was only properly available for half a fantasy season which ended up being just 7 games.

On top of this, the Chargers were not on top form and Rivers’ arm was beginning to let him down. Rivers had his 2nd highest interception rate of his NFL career being picked 20 times. Not only that but he seemed to be dialling up more big plays as his intended air yards went from 3497 in 2018 to 5025 in 2019. Throwing it up for the likes of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.

So why go back?

Henry finds himself in the 3rd tier of TEs for his ADP. Going at 68 overall and the 6th TE off the board. He has hot competition as following him at 70 and 71 overall is Evan Engram and Austin Hooper.

Here’s why I choose Henry over Hooper. This coming season the chargers are either going with Tyrod Taylor or they are bringing in a rookie QB. Either way, Henry is a safe pair of hands to be able to dump the ball off to.

Tyrod’s average completed air yards per attempt the last two seasons have been down at 3.2 and 2.3. Even though he is capable of passing further downfield his stats show he is more comfortable passing shorter passes.

Even though Hooper was the TE1 before his injury took him out for the season he now finds himself in a two TE battle with Njoku in Cleveland.

Evan Engram is being drafted at the same spot and Engram is an excellent player who could have been added to this list. However, I eventually chose Henry over Engram due to Engram’s foot injury he picked up in week 9.

Engram eventually needed surgery on his foot and was still in a walking boot 4 or 5 weeks ago. Granted all reports say he should be healthy and ready to go for the new season but that could mean missing time training reducing his ability to get up to speed with the offence.

Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers

2019 came and went for Ebron and unfortunately finished 4 games early after heading to IR and getting surgery on both ankles. He showed great promise coming into the season but a few factors knocked him down.

The Andrew Luck retirement was a major factor. In 2018 Luck was playing at a high level and slinging the ball Ebron’s way. He managed to haul in 13 TDs from 66 receptions.

Another major factor was in 2018 Doyle wasn’t around all that much and so Ebron wasn’t sharing any of the TE work. 2019 was a different kettle of fish as Luck was gone and Doyle was back. This pushed Ebron off starting duty and sharing way too much work as part of the TE system. Ebron played in 11 games but only started 2 of them.

Doyle took a big chunk of his work in 2019 and meant he only racked up 3 TDs and 375 yards. Compared to his 2018 season getting the 13 TDs and 750 Yards.

So why 2020?

Ebron has moved on from Doyle and the Colts and headed over to Pittsburgh. Big Ben loves a TE that can get him out of trouble and Ebron loves a QB that can make that happen.

Ben loved to use Heath Miller as his get-out clause and has struggled to find that man to fill the void left by Miller when he retired. Ebron is exactly the player that has the potential to be that guy.

Yes, Big Ben is coming back after his Elbow surgery and Ebron is coming back from his ankle surgery but both are on course to be available for training camp and ready to go for a new season.

Vance McDonald is still on the team but his 2019 season wasn’t anything to write home about and the fact the Steelers went out and picked Ebron up says a lot on where they stand with Vance.

Ebron’s ADP right now is down at 141 overall, making him the TE17. At this point, you are picking up bench players and filling last-minute spots on your roster making Ebron a nice addition to your team.

Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts.

Doyle is in a very similar position as Ebron. Coming back from an injury-plagued 2018, 2019 was a building year. He took over the starting TE job but wasn’t able to capitalise on the opportunity.

Luck retiring at the last moment didn’t help things and the fact that the TE job was shared between himself and Ebron, high fantasy numbers weren’t coming from Doyle.

Doyle did slightly better than Ebron collecting 43 receptions with 4 TDs.

Is 2020 the year?

It has all the elements to become the year for Doyle. Ebron has moved on, opening up the TE position for Doyle to really grab hold and make his. Double the targets make Doyle a nice prospect for 2020. Not only that but veteran QB Philip Rivers has joined the Colts.

In my previous write up, I wrote about how Parris Campbell will thrive from Rivers being behind Centre and the same can be said for Doyle. Rivers is a QB that is most comfortable throwing close to the line of scrimmage rather than downfield. Parris and Doyle will open up plenty of options for Rivers to use.

That and Doyle also averaged 5 yards after the catch which is going to be needed to get the Colts rolling in 2020. That’s a better average than Odell’s 4.4 and better than TY Hilton’s 4.7

One more thing, Rivers loves a TE to throw to. Whilst at the Chargers his go to guy was Antonio Gates. Rivers managed to get Gates the ball enough times to get Gates to the Probowl 8 times in his career. With this in mind it makes Doyle that little bit more enticing.

Doyle’s ADP right now 145 overall and the TE 18 again being a nice add toward the closing stages of a draft.

ADP value

Looking at both Doyle and Ebron’s ADP, you are able to pick them up in the back end of the draft. Knowing this gives you the ability to pick up a late round guy who has the ability to get you the points and not waste a pick earlier in the draft. This way you can go about filling your roster with better players and come back later for a good TE.

Thats my triple hit of Tight Ends. Hold tight for the Big Bang, Quarterbacks.

-Pittsy @PittsyNFL

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