The Salary Cap Roundtable Series
Joining a salary cap league can be intimidating for even a seasoned fantasy football player. Fortunately, the Footballguys staff has experience in this format and will help you. Over the summer, we'll cover various topics ranging from basic to advanced strategies.
How do you treat the tight end position? Do you chase the Travis Kelce/Mark Andrews/Darren Waller/George Kittle types or do you want to save money at the position? What's the ideal number of tight ends for you to start the season?
I will generally not have a high-priced quarterback and tight end, it's one or the other or neither. If I can get a decent top-four tight end for less than $17, I may pounce. I usually will not go over $20 for any tight end, especially if the format is not tight end premium. If I do it's because I feel like I got good value at running back and/or wide receiver. And by good value, I mean I was able to land a WR1 or RB1 without going over $40. Generally speaking, I tend to spend approximately $10-15 at the tight end position and I am not opposed to spending less if the value is there.
In addition to paying up for a high-level wide receiver, I have been training myself to be more aggressive at tight end in recent years. The fall-off is typically steep from the haves and have-nots at tight end and paying for one of the top options provides a strong tactical weekly advantage. They can score like a wide receiver, the elite tight ends can be cheaper than a receiver, and yet more difficult to replicate than their similarly-valued receivers. Even if not finding an elite tight end in the initial salary cap draft, I would be more than comfortable going into the start of the season with a single tight end. Pivoting to the flavor of the week or month is generally easily accessible from the waiver wire even if dead wrong with your initial poker chip.
In a perfect scenario, I have locked in an anchor at running back, have my two top wide receiver positions filled with room to spare, and I can aggressively target a top tight end. If you hit on those four positions, have a deep bench stocked with value risers at running back, and can flip through a couple of options at WR3, you will have the best team in your league. Ideally, I start a season with one player each at quarterback, tight end, kicker, and defense and fill the entirety of my bench with running backs who could increase in value and wide receivers in ambiguous situations, which could rise as the top target in their offense. If your other targets price you out of a top-tier tight end, invest in two or even three pieces like Dawson Knox, Zach Ertz, or Albert Okwuegbunam, who could emerge as key contributors in solid offenses.
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