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Tight Ends to Avoid in 2021 Fantasy Football

The staff lets you know which tight ends you should be avoiding this year in fantasy football.

As we close out TE Week, here are the tight ends our staff is avoiding this year in fantasy football (ADP via FF Calculator).

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons (Clark)

ADP: TE4, 4.08 

I did it. I’m sorry, Pete.

I’m excited about Kyle Pitts, and if anyone is going to break the mold both about what we should expect from rookies and what we should expect from young tight ends, Pitts is the guy. However, Pitts doesn’t come substantially cheaper than the top three tight ends and is more expensive than veteran Mark Andrews. Drafting Kyle Pitts at his current ADP is a parlay bet with a straight bet payout, and that is a bet I’m not making in 2021. 

Note from Pete, the editor: Clark is dead to me.

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (Nic)

ADP: TE6, 5.08

T.J. Hockenson is being treated as the No. 1 pass catcher in Detroit. This may be a fair assumption to make, given that he’s a much better player than offseason signees Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, and Kalif Raymond who are currently Detroit’s top wide receivers. But we’re talking about an archaic offense run by Anthony Lynn, via the blank mind of Jared Goff. And even though Hockenson is a more talented player than the aforementioned receivers, those guys still have to get targets—there are more mouths to feed in Detroit than people seem to realize.

It is entirely possible that Hockenson is able to put up mid-to-low TE1 numbers this season, but the same goes for guys like Robert Tonyan, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett who are going between 5 and 10 rounds later than Hock’s current ADP. Pass on the Lion and get yourself a Packer, Ram, or Waterfowl if you opt to pass on one of the elite guys in the first four rounds.

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (Paddi)

ADP: TE7, 6.11

As much as I love Noah Fant’s talent, I’m just not buying him at his current ADP. Fant finished 2020 as the TE12, averaging 7.9 points per game, with only three double-digit fantasy scores all season, and two of those were in Weeks 1 and 2. He was also one of the more inconsistent fantasy tight ends, finishing 17th out of the top-24 tight ends in my NECC rating.

Whether it’s Drew Lock again or Teddy Bridgewater who’s throwing Fant passes this year, either way it limits Fant’s production, especially with Courtland Sutton returning to the receiving corps. I have him ranked as my TE13 and I have a 10th round grade on him. If he continues to be picked in the sixth or seventh round, I’ll happily look elsewhere for my fantasy tight end.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (Pete)

ADP: TE8, 7.08

I’m 100% here for the Logan Thomas success story. Transitioning from a quarterback to a tight end in the NFL and succeeding is remarkable and his recent contract extension is well deserved. That being said, those who draft Thomas hoping to hit on the next top-5 tight end this year I think are going to be sorely mistaken.

While Thomas did indeed finish the TE6 in .5PPR last year, he did so as one of the least efficient tight ends in fantasy, averaging 1.81 points per touch (33rd out of 43, min. 10 games). Much of his production last year came as a result of seeing well over 100 targets thanks to Alex Smith and the lack of pass catchers in Washington.

Washington enters 2021 with much more pass catching talent. Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic will all battle with Thomas for targets. While a player who’s more efficient with their touches might survive a decrease in workload, Thomas likely will see a dip in fantasy production when his target ceiling is limited.