More Sports:

August 28, 2021

Fantasy football tight end sleepers: Sit back and wait for veterans Jared Cook, Zack Ertz

Fantasy football NFL
8_01052020_EaglesvsSeahawks_Zach_Ertz_credKateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Zach Ertz during the Philadelphia Eagles wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on January 5, 2020.

If you aren't someone who owned Travis Kelce or Darren Waller last year on your fantasy squad you probably are still feeling burned by the tight end spot. And you should.

Last year, just two of the 115 tight ends who caught a pass accumulated 1,000 yard seasons and only three had more than eight touchdowns. If the gap between the haves and have nots continues this season, it might be a grind to find a tight end who isn't just a streaming play.

While we can't predict the future, we do think there is some potential out there for a few tight ends to bounce back and be productive members of your fantasy squad in 2021. We've already examined sleeper quarterbacks, sleeper running backs and sleeper wide receivers. Now, here are three veteran pass catchers who fit the bill, and are worth targeting if you kick the can on the tight end spot to the end of your draft:

Jonnu Smith, Patriots (ADP: 150)

Because there are typically 10 or 12 teams drafting tight ends in your league, we are considering anyone above 12 in ADP among tight ends a sleeper, and Smith fits the bill. Newly acquired by Bill Belichick's Patriots, rookie Mac Jones could find a lot of comfort in getting the ball out to his tight end early and often.

Smith actually finished as TE9 last year with the Titans but for whatever reason is being docked to the teens in projections this year. Take advantage of that, as Fantasy Pro's Kyle Yates experts the 26-year-old to make good on his massive free agency deal, exceeding 700 yards receiving and scoring six TD.

Zach Ertz, Eagles (ADP: 163)

Ertz was really bad last year, playing in a lackluster Eagles offense and with a lackluster Eagles quarterback in the slumping Carson Wentz. He was battling injuries all year and did not look like himself one bit in 2020. Trade rumors have been following Ertz since the draft and many are not high on his prospects for this coming season.

However, the 30-year-old has looked great in Eagles camp, participated in the preseason and showed he could still be a useful target for young quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is likely to dump it off to a security valve at tight end quite frequently. The Eagles have shown they like to use 12 personnel in camp this year and Ertz could still be a productive contributor playing alongside Dallas Goedert. And — if he is traded — an acquiring team would likely use him as their top tight end option making his stock even higher. He's worth a late round stab.

Jared Cook, Chargers (ADP: 183)

Cook may be 34, but he's an end zone magnet. Over the last three seasons, playing for the Raiders and the Saints he's posted 22 touchdown catches. With Hunter Henry out of Los Angeles, sophomore phenom quarterback Justin Herbert is surely going to be looking Cook's way in the red zone this season.

He may not be flashy, and his upside is probably just around 600 yards and 7 or 8 TD, but he has shown he is a reliable option for those scrapping at the tight end spot and is worth a pick up at the end of your draft.

Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_macy

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports