Why Buy High?
Travis Kelce will be gone by the end of the second round in 90% of 12-team drafts, and Zach Ertz and George Kittle will follow suit by the end of the third round. Kelce stands alone, and his ADP is entirely justifiable. Ertz and Kittle's ADPs, on the other hand, are both understandable and misguided. Both players earned their respective draft positions by providing a substantial weekly edge over every (non-Kelce) tight end in 2018. But Ertz and Kittle didn’t appear on so many championship rosters last year based on raw production alone.
Ertz was usually a fourth-or-fifth-round pick, while Kittle had a 12th-round ADP last August. Their bargain prices allowed fantasy managers the opportunity to surround their stud tight ends with elite running backs and wide receivers in the early rounds of drafts.
This year, however, drafting Ertz likely means missing out on foundational wide receivers like A.J. Green or T.Y. Hilton, while taking Kittle squanders an opportunity to pick potential stud running backs including Derrick Henry and Marlon Mack. Instead of drafting Ertz and Kittle at their respective ceilings headed into this season, shouldn’t we be looking to replicate the roster construction that worked so well for their fantasy managers last year?
It’s unlikely we’ll see another tight end of Kittle’s magnitude emerge in the late rounds (we tried to identify some for you here anyway), but there is a way to invest your early draft capital in running backs and wide receivers and still come away with top-3 tight end production this year.
The key is to prioritize drafting Hunter Henry
- Before tearing his ACL last May, Henry was on a rare career trajectory
- Antonio Gates is finally out of his way
- Both Philip Rivers and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt are accustomed to leaning on tight ends in the passing game
- Henry is a bonafide touchdown-maker
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