- Noah Fant can continue to be a solid fantasy producer in 2023: Going undrafted in most leagues, there is value to be had for the Seattle Seahawks’ top tight end.
- Betting on a rookie tight end: Sam LaPorta boasts the receiving profile needed to earn a key role in the Detroit Lions‘ passing game, even as a rookie.
- Making the most of the Arizona Cardinals’ tight end situation: There is a clear value and fade among Arizona’s tight ends that require fantasy managers’ attention.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
July officially kicks off fantasy football draft season, which means there are some early trends in average draft position to take advantage of, whether it involves fading or targeting a player at their current ADP.
Using ESPN’s live draft trends, this list identifies three tight ends that are currently getting drafted beyond where I have them ranked and two that are getting drafted well ahead, so I make a case to target or fade each player at their current ADP.
- ESPN ADP: 169.7
- Positional ADP: TE29
- My rank: TE21
This past year was Fant’s first season with the Seahawks after getting traded as part of the deal that sent Russell Wilson to Denver, and while there was some competition at the position, Fant still managed to finish as the PPR TE17 on the year. Fant achieved this mostly by staying healthy since his points per game dropped off a fair bit, going from 10.0 points per game in 2021 to 7.2 last season.
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks were a top-five team in targeting the tight end last season, which partly had to do with leading the league in 12 personnel rate (two tight ends), so with more tight ends on the field, they naturally saw more targets. However, the Seahawks have been among the top-five teams in 12 personnel in each of the past three seasons, but it was only this last year with Geno Smith at the helm and Fant in the picture that they even found themselves above the league average in targets to the tight end position. To get to the top five, it showed a clear tendency from Smith, which was helped by Fant’s ability to get open – doing so at a high 68.3% rate of his targets.
While sharing targets last year with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson, Fant will likely have to do so again in 2022, as both are still on the roster. The team also spent a first-round pick on Jaxon Smith-Njigba in this year’s draft, which could give them a reason to spend more time in 11 personnel, where Fant led the Seahawks’ tight ends in receiving snaps out of that personnel group by 100 snaps. Having him as the only tight end on the field and benefiting from plays that are drawn up for a tight end will only continue to help him thrive in Seattle and deliver fantasy production.
Fant’s ADP of TE29 could be a significant value on a team that was above average in pass rate and top five in targets to the tight end position last season. Assuming that continues into 2023, Fant will have the opportunity to greatly outperform fantasy expectations given his connection with Smith as the top tight end in that offense.