At this time of year, we should be stocking our dynasty benches with long-term upside plays if we are out of the playoff hunt, and even if we are in the playoffs, it’s time to cut your depth to a lean and mean level and still maximize your bench spots for future growth. For the next four weeks, we’ll look at each position and sort out end of season dynasty stashes and players to monitor next offseason into Snorkel, Scuba, and Submarine levels of league depth. This week, tight end, one of the most fun positions to scavenge for diamonds in the rough with its numerous converts and long-term projects
Dawson Knox, BUF - Knox should have been drafted or at least added in dynasty leagues, but double check because his lack of splash games this year could make him overlooked. He has elite measureables for the position and he’s developing with a young quarterback who should grow with him.
Hayden Hurst, BAL - Hurst is clearly behind Mark Andrews in the Ravens target pecking order, but with a healthier second year under his belt and more expansion in the Ravens passing game, he could become a sometimes starter in fantasy leagues, and Andrews spent all season on the injury report so that’s another path to instant value down the line as Hurst had a 61-yard score when Andrews went out earlier this season.
Josh Oliver, JAX - Oliver’s injury-riddled season won’t be good for his development, but at least his wagon is hitched to Gardner Minshew. He was drafted to be the team’s long term receiving tight end and might be on waiver wires after his bust of a rookie year.
Ian Thomas, CAR - Thomas looked like a future fantasy factor playing in place of Greg Olsen last year. When Olsen missed a few games with a concussion this year, Thomas was a fantasy non-factor, but he is still early in his development curve and Olsen will retire soon. The Panthers face uncertainty at quarterback, making Thomas a little less attractive in dynasty leagues.
Blake Jarwin, DAL - Jarwin has looked more deserving of targets and playing time than Jason Witten all season, and perhaps next year Witten will gracefully step aside and allow Jarwin to be the primary receiving tight end. He has showed good ball skills and ability to rip the seam. If Amari Cooper is signed long term that opens up the middle of the field for Jarwin, and if he’s not that frees up targets for Jarwin.
Kaden Smith, NYG - Smith hasn’t looked overwhelmed despite being a sixth-round rookie which is a good sign because he had subpar measureables and missed the end of his final college season with a foot injury. Evan Engram is still the starter for the Giants, but he has been unable to stay healthy the last two years and just decided to have foot surgery.
Ricky Seals-Jones, CLE - Seals-Jones continues to have his moments as a converted wide receiver playing tight end and he’s still only 24. He’ll be a restricted free agent next year and the Browns may not put up a big fight to protect him with a tender.
Jordan Akins, HOU - Akins was a third round pick only last year and he has had a few moments where his straight line speed and ability after the catch showed, but he has also been sharing snaps and targets with Darren Fells while he has been having a late career renaissance. There’s still a chance he breaks out although he is very old for a player on a rookie contract, turning 28 next year. It’s still tempting to invest in players connected to Deshaun Watson
Jordan Thomas, HOU - Thomas is a massive converted wide receiver who was snagging short touchdowns from Deshaun Watson before Darren Fells made it cool in fantasy leagues this year. He’s been hurt and didn’t have a good summer, but he still has a high ceiling for fantasy leagues and the allure of being on the other end of Watson’s passes.
Mo Alie-Cox, IND - Alie-Cox is a basketball convert who is still getting his feet under him on the football field. He has improved as a blocker and is a load after the catch in addition to being somewhat swift for a massive target who is hard to stop at the catch point. He could be the #2 tight end with Jack Doyle this year.
Foster Moreau, OAK - Moreau has scored five touchdowns in limited action before getting hurt this year and he’s coming on sooner than expected after coming out of LSU as a raw athletic prospect who was a better blocker than receiver.
Dan Arnold, ARI - Arnold was claimed by the Cardinals and he already notched his first touchdown with the team. The Cardinals don’t have a long term receiving tight end and Arnold is a converted wide receiver, so he could find a home in the air raid.
Logan Thomas, DET - Thomas remains a fascination of mine as a converted quarterback who looks better as a receiver every year. He’s obviously athletic for the position and could be a late bloomer as a 2020 free agent with a team that should have a plan to use him as a second tight end.