(All offseason long, PFF Fantasy editor Daniel Kelley will attempt to figure out the solution to some of the biggest fantasy football draft conundrums for the 2019 season. This is The Decider.)
Most of the fantasy football blogosphere will likely advocate a pretty uniform approach when it comes to tight ends in 2019. You either want one of the first off the board (Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle), or just punt the position and take some late value and hope for a surprise. After all, every slot from QB6 to QB20 put up a decade-low in PPR points. The value just hasn’t been there.
But somebody has to draft the second tier at the position.
If your draft has shaken out such that you’re interested in a medium-high tight end after the first three big names have gone off the board, you might be faced with the decision of O.J. Howard or Hunter Henry. They are the contenders in this week’s version of The Decider.
Howard has played two seasons for the Buccaneers, coming in as a 2017 first-rounder, and though he hasn’t had massive playing time, he’s been productive. Across 24 combined games, he has 83 combined targets, 60 receptions, 997 yards, and 11 touchdowns. That’s a 16-game pace of 55 targets, 40 receptions, 665 yards, and 7 touchdowns, or roughly 148 PPR points, TE8 in 2018. Of course, that applies the same value to his 2017 rookie year and his 2018, and we know that tight ends have a steeper learning curve than the other positions. Howard averaged under three targets a game as a rookie, then nearly five as a sophomore. In 10 games in 2018, Howard was the No. 15 PPR tight end, No. 1 on a per-touch basis among tight ends with at least 30 targets. He was also PFF’s second-highest-graded overall tight end, behind only Kittle and a notch above Kelce.