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Fantasy Football Busts: Awesemo’s Top Three Do-Not-Draft Tight Ends

Nathan Joyce



Sam Smith's WR vs. CB Matchups includes Top Week 7 NFL DFS picks like Hunter Henry and Robby Anderson | DraftKings + FanDuel lineups

Every year, like clockwork, you tell yourself, “I’ve got plenty of time” when it comes to fantasy football draft preparation. And what happens every year? You catch yourself uttering the phrase “man, this draft really snuck up on me.” With the year of COVID being unlike any other, it’s at least a little warranted since there are other more important things to be dedicating your time to — like a global pandemic for instance. As you read down this article, it’ll be like a quick-and-dirty course — a CliffsNotes version of fantasy football picks you should, or rather, should not make. We’re going to be reviewing the top three fantasy football busts, or, do-not-draft tight ends based on Awesemo’s expert projections and rankings, in comparison to industry consensus draft positions and rankings.

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Awesemo’s Fantasy Football Busts: Top Three Tight Ends

Hunter Henry (Los Angeles Chargers)

Henry comes into 2020 as Awesemo’s No. 10 tight end, which is a pretty fair ranking all things considered. With all due respect to Henry, he’s been a solid option when he’s been able to play. It’s just the whole being-able-to-play thing that’s been a bit of an issue for him. Granted, some of those injuries have been somewhat flukey, but the best ability is availability. Much of his production has come via his absolutely bonkers touchdown rate. Henry’s hauled in 136 balls in his four-year tenure with the Chargers, and 17 have gone for scores, or one every eight receptions.

All of that damage was done with noted tight end-loving quarterback Philip Rivers, who is now out of the picture. Tyrod Taylor, who isn’t quite the gunslinger Rivers is, takes over, which would likely mean baking in at least a slight decrease in targets as well as some touchdown regression. All in all, this is more of an indictment on the draft capital you have to invest in Henry, not his talent. As of now, Henry is being selected in the mid-70s overall, which is also where one of Awesemo’s best tight end values is being drafted — Hayden Hurst, No. 5 at the position. If you’re investing in a tight end at that point in the draft, you’re better off to fade Henry and go with Hurst drastically later or Tyler Higbee if you’re dead set on taking a tight end in that range.

Austin Hooper (Cleveland Browns)

After his best season as a pro — career highs in targets (97), catches (75) and yards (787) — it’s understandable why there’s quite a bit of hype surrounding Hooper. However, he enters this season with an entirely different cast of characters around him. No longer will he be playing with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the outside, nor will he have Matt Ryan feeding him the rock. This year, he’ll be flanked by Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and will have Baker Mayfield as his quarterback. With Jones and Ridley both having average depths of target (aDOT) of over 12 (Jones 12.2, Ridley 13.4), it left Hooper and his 6.4 aDOT free to roam on every underneath route. With his new teammates, that will likely change at least a little, with Landry having just over a 10-yard aDOT and being known for his work with the ball on underneath routes and near the line of scrimmage.

It’s not so much the new receiver corps that causes the most pause, it’s more of who is under center. Mayfield has shown a propensity to be erratic with the ball, exemplified by his 29 interceptable passes (fifth-worst in the NFL) a season ago. The move from Atlanta to Cleveland provides a slew of variables we didn’t have to account for last year. Being drafted as TE9, and right around pick 100 across the industry, Hooper lands about handful of slots lower in the Awesemo tight end ranks. With guys like Hurst, Jared Cook, and Mike Gesicki all popping better in Awesemo projections — and coming off the the board after Hooper — you’re better served to pass on Hooper.

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Noah Fant (Denver Broncos)

As a rookie, Fant appeared in all 16 games for the Broncos but didn’t do most of his damage until the second half of the season. Fant certainly has the ability to make the big play with 40 percent of his season output in receiving yards (228 of 562) coming in two games … and on a mere seven catches combined. Of course, the splash play is always a great tool to have in your box, but most times, the big plays are a bit flukey, especially from the majority of the tight ends. Fant never topped more than five catches in a week and saw more than five targets only twice all season.

The offense that is run in Denver is going to be mostly based around new free-agent running back Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton and prized draft pick Jerry Jeudy. So, where does that leave Fant? Most likely, he’ll be a bit of tertiary option but not completely on the outside looking in. Not to mention, second-year quarterback Drew Lock is a bit of a wild card to say the least, as the signal-caller for the offense. Projections don’t love Fant per se, but what lands him on this list is his draft position. He’s flying off draft boards in the 110 range and is consensus TE14 in the industry, but he barely cracks the Awesemo top 20. On the other hand, someone like Blake Jarwin, who slots in a handful of spots higher in Awesemo projections, is able to be drafted nearly 60 picks later.

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I'm a wannabe athlete whose athletic career ended after a long tenure riding the bench through JV baseball. The fantasy sports and sports betting degen side of me blossomed at age 12 when I found fantasy baseball and football, and led to a 12-year submergence into the poker scene -- I started playing "secret" cash games in my parents' basements by age 14. Luckily, I've finally found what I love to do -- write about "fake sports," which my girlfriend refers to it as, though it only took me until age 30. If you decide you like the words I write and follow me on Twitter (@nd_joyce), I apologize in advance for the copious amounts of dog photos you will see.

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