Where’s Waller?! Search for the next breakout Tight End
The biggest advantages in fantasy football are hitting BIG on your late-round picks in redraft and stashing potential breakouts in dynasty. Every year we have a couple and in 2019 that breakout was Darren Waller. Bursting on the scene for 90/1,145/3(should’ve been 6). Now I’m here to help you identify the next big star of 2020 at the TE position.
There are 3 BIG names I could see a breakout of for 2020: Jonnu Smith, Ian Thomas, and Blake Jarwin. Let’s break it down.
If you haven’t heard of Jonnu Smith by now, you haven’t been paying attention. He’s a top tier athlete at the TE position and has everything you want in an up-and-coming TE. Opportunity, athleticism, good offense and draft capital. Drafted in the 3rd round in 2017, Smith has been trapped behind another worldly TE in Delanie Walker but his career is coming to an end and I fully expect him to retire or at least take the back seat to Smith in 2020.
Since Walker’s injury and Tannehill taking over, Smith went on to produce 29/342/3 in ten games, despite two goose eggs along the way. Giving you a 16 game pace of 58/684/6. A respectable stat line for a guy coming into his own. Smith has shown promise and his athleticism in the offense cannot be denied as proven by a 57 yard rush on a TE end-around. This early in the offseason his price is relatively low. One example I’ve seen has Smith going for a late 2020 2nd. Easily worth the price of a potential breakout star in 2020 and beyond.
Ian Thomas is basically in the same boat as Smith stuck behind a former superstar at the position. Smith has above average athleticism, draft capital, and a massive opportunity coming his way. Ian Thomas never got the opportunity to shine this year but started twice, one of those turning into 5/57/1. Little is currently known about the Panthers offensive changes for 2020 but having Cam Newton back is a massive boost. Historically throughout his career, Newton has favored the TE position. Thomas initially disappointed in 2018 when Olsen has hampered all season by injury but I’m giving him the pass that it takes TE’s a little longer to develop into a quality starter. I think he’s reached that level and should be even easier to acquire than the previously mentioned player.
Are you seeing a trend here yet?
Blake Jarwin is another above-average TE just waiting for the guy in front of him to retire. Fortunately for Jarwin, Witten is sure to retire, Swaim was allowed to leave via free agency and backup Dalton Schultz received almost no playing time. Jarwin had 7 games over 35 yards receiving as a backup which projects well for him going forward. An RFA this offseason, I would be shocked to see Jarwin play anywhere except Dallas next year. We will see if this new Mike McCarthy offense features the TE more than it did in GB. Witten has been Dak’s safety valve for his entire career. Sliding a more athletic Jarwin boosts the entire value of the offense for everyone involved.
Sustaining consistency at the TE position is, in my opinion, the biggest advantage in fantasy. Having a plug-and-play weekly starter that you can acquire at a reasonable price is just the kind of thing you need to take your team to the next level.