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Fantasy Football Dark Horse Tight End Key to Better Results

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Last year Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts likely hurt many rosters in fantasy football leagues. Pitts had received quite a bit of hype before the season started and this made it tempting for many fantasy managers to try and grab him early in their drafts. Leagues in which Pitts was taken in the third round or higher likely caused those teams to suffer all season long. Many managers who took Pitts last year are likely banishing him from their roster considerations for the upcoming NFL season.


Yes, Pitts did have terrible quarterback play hurting his value, but is this year going to be any better? Anyone taking Pitts before the fifth round of draft action is taking a huge gamble. True, Marcus Mariota is gone from Atlanta as the quarterback and is now fighting for the backup job on the Philadelphia Eagles this summer behind Jalen Hurts. The questionable dynamic of potentially bad quarterback play still shadows the Atlanta Falcons.


As much as we blame poor quarterback play for Pitts terrible results last year at tight end, perhaps offensive schemes via the coaching had something to do with the numbers too. Pitts has plenty of athletic talent, but the question is if the Atlanta Falcons can deliver him the football enough.


Desmond Ritter may be the qb starter for the Falcons when the season begins, and his trajectory is unknown. Ritter will not likely go in the first 20 selections of most fantasy drafts, this should give you a perspective regarding his outlook for this season. Do you want to bet on Kyle Pitts results as a tight end as he plays with an unproven quarterback in Ritter, or someone else like Taylor Heinicke?


Kyle Pitts could produce much better than last year, it would be hard not have improved results. However, Pitts production via fantasy points may not carry enough numbers to reasonably take him over an available wide receiver still remaining in the draft who can be used in the 'flex' as point producer within the choice for a WR/ Running Back/TE that is available on many fantasy platforms. If Kyle Pitts is available in a ten team league format in the fifth round of a draft he may be worth the risk, but there are other options. You definitely need a tight end or two on your roster, but it is a question of overall value delivered via points ultimately, and your 'streaming' capabilities as the season progresses.


The Value Case: Cole Kmet of the Chicago Bears as a Viable Tight End


The potential of waiting out the first ten rounds before taking a tight end may seem crazy, but the ability of grabbing better producing players from solid wide receivers is tempting. Starting to look for a tight end in rounds nine and ten from the remaining group could deliver solid comparable value, this after Travis Kelce goes in the first or second round, Mark Andrews is taken perhaps in the third round, and perhaps George Kittle is grabbed. The handful of remaining tight ends in the middle rounds may not deliver enough value per their overall draft position for your squad.


Some folks will be uncomfortable with the following notion, but Cole Kmet who plays for the Bears could be a sneaky late pick in most fantasy leagues. Yes, his quarterback Justin Fields is getting plenty of publicity this summer, but Kmet remains somewhat in the shadows as a dark horse candidate as a tight end starter. His numbers however in the last half of the 2022 season improved significantly, this after his initial start was rather slow which make his numbers when averaged look mediocre to many considering tight end values.


Fantasy managers should note in the last handful of games the Bears played in 2022, Kmet produced among the top ten tight ends and higher in most fantasy leagues. As of now on many draft boards, Cole Kmet is finding an overall average number within the 120 range as a potential selection. Kmet finished strong last season and this is a solid indication his numbers could improve in 2023.


Grabbing Kmet in the 10th round of a draft may be viable an option if someone else doesn't beat you to the pick. If Kmet stays healthy and the Bears offense gets better as expected, because of Justin Fields being more experienced and having better weapons at wide receiver it would not be a surprise to see Cole Kmet deliver much higher value as a tight end. This upcoming coming season should see the field open up for Kmet as defenses have to focus on other dangers the Bears now possess offensively.

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