If you're looking at the rookie tight ends from the NFL draft and wondering who is worth a flier in your fantasy football draft this information will help. History tells us that you should avoid rookie tight ends, period. But I know you won't take my word for it. You're probably still thinking you should draft O.J. Howard. Or that Evan Engram and David Njoku are worth a draft pick. Let's take a look at how 1st round and 2nd round rookies have performed in fantasy football over the past 20 years or so. That should temper your expectations and hopefully guide you toward a draft strategy of high upside running backs and wide receivers.
1st Round Rookie Tight Ends, Thou Shall Not Draft
Since 2000, what big names have been drafted in the 1st round and produced top 10 fantasy football stats? None. This is based on a list of big name tight ends such as: Jeremy Shockey, Vernon Davis, Kellen Winslow, Greg Olsen and Heath Miller to name a few. Shockey did net a couple worthy games and ended the season with almost 900 receiving yards but only a handful of touch downs. Now if you're in a dynasty league then obviously you're targeting rookies but you'll likely need to grab at least two TE since pass catching TE is such a difficult position to transition to at the NFL level. Sitting on TE is tough because it takes a couple years for them to really develop. If you're in a league with a shallow bench perhaps you should consider trading for a TE versus drafting a rookie and hoping he pans out in a couple years.
2nd Round Rookie Tight Ends Are Risky Too
We already know that rookies are just risky in general. Outside of running backs landing in optimal situations it's just risky to draft a rookie for your fantasy team. The tight end position is riskier than most even when you factor in the 2nd round draft picks since 1999 (minus 15/16 but only Hunter Henry had an impact). Out of that group the only outlier you'll find is Rob Gronkowski drafted in 2010 and Hunter Henry drafted in 2016. Gronkowski snagged and earth shattering 10 touchdowns his rookie season. This surpasses all rookies drafted in the 1st and 2nd round since 1997. Hunter Henry was a 2nd round draft pick in 2016. He finished his rookie season with 478 yards and 8 touchdowns. If you grabbed him off your waiver wire in week 4 he probably helped you out in touch down only leagues.
The Rookies You Want To Draft
If you're targeting rookies in your fantasy football draft you'll want to target wide receivers and running backs. More so running back than wide receiver. I avoid rookie tight ends, quarterbacks and kickers. Remember, your later round draft picks are all about upside. You're hoping to hit a home run once you get into the later rounds. You'll then build solid depth with waiver wire picks once the season starts. Good luck this season and happy drafting!