For a lot of people the offseason means a break from fantasy football however for those like me (and likely you if you’re here reading this) who play the best format fantasy football has to offer, now is the time to refine your team so you can compete for championships. In this article I’ll be going over 2 players I think all of you should target in your dynasty leagues if you have any sort of need at the tight end position.
To kick it off we’ve got the Saints tight end entering his second year, Adam Trautman. Trautman went to college at Dayton where he hauled in 70 receptions for 916 yards and 14 TDs in his senior year, totaling 178 receptions for 2,295 yards and 31 TDs in his career there. He’s a guy who didn’t make too much of an impact in the NFL in year 1 but someone I see breaking out in year 2 for a few reasons.
For starters, Jared Cook will most likely be a cap casualty. Cook was a good red zone threat for New Orleans and wasn’t a particularly bad player this year but he didn't play at anywhere near the level he did in 2019 and he fumbled the Saints season away in the divisional vs. the Bucs. Not to mention the fact that the team is $70+ million OVER the cap and letting go of Cook frees up $9 million. Cook leaving would free up a healthy 60 targets, all at the TE position. This would also allow Trautman to step into the role of TE1 for an elite New Orleans offense. If for some miraculous reason Jared Cook stays with the team this offseason Trautman may not be able to make that big of an impact right away in 2021 but he should still be a good asset for the future regardless.
Now that we’ve established Trautman’s potential role in the offense let’s look at him specifically as a player. According to playerprofiler.com, Trautman had a 38.1% College Dominator Rating. This means he accounted for 38.1% of Dayton’s receiving production. For reference, this ranks in the 97th percentile for all qualifying TEs. Pretty good, huh? Trautman is an excellent talent, my TE1 entering the draft last year, and was able to prove how good he was at Senior Bowl week, against good competition, drawing lots of praise from the general media and draft scouts. For example, here is one evaluation from Pro Football Network.
Trautman, at 6’5” 255, has an excellent build for a TE and will create mismatches all over the field, making him the perfect red zone threat for Jameis Winston; his likely QB. Just take a look at the highlights at 0:34 and 0:49 of the video below to get a sense of how good this guy is at going up and getting the ball with a defender playing good coverage.
All in all Trautman’s clearly got the talent and could potentially step into a starting role on an offense that was top 5 in scoring with 41 year old Drew Brees and Swiss Army knife Taysom Hill as their QBs. Jameis Winston’s big arm will only expand this Saints offense and create opportunities for better box score numbers for all the pass catchers in New Orleans. Like always though, every player has got a price. You don’t want to go around offering Travis Kelce or first round picks for this guy but if you can get him for cheap, like I mentioned before, the reward greatly outweighs the risk. And lastly, if you’re still not convinced, you don’t need to believe me, you can believe so many other outlets who have Trautman pegged for a breakout year such as Bleacher Report, PFF and New Orleans reporters.
The second target I have for you guys today is Bears TE, Cole Kmet. Coincidently, he is pretty much in an identical situation to Trautman. He is, like Trautman, entering his second year in the league after a lackluster rookie campaign. However with other pass catchers likely on the move this offseason, the opportunity is there for Kmet to become the favorite target of whoever starts at QB for Chicago in 2021.
Bears star WR Allen Robinson is a free agent and is very unlikely to resign with the team. Not only are the Bears in the negative when it comes to cap space (-500,000 according to spotrac), but Allen Robinson has repeatedly hinted at leaving the team when his contract is up. From liking twitter posts suggesting he should go to other teams to saying “I personally feel like we had an opportunity to be able to get something done over the past 365 days,” it really doesn’t seem like he’ll be in a Bears uniform come September.
The same can be said for veteran TE, Jimmy Graham. Graham played less than 50% of snaps in 6 of his last 7 games for the Bears including being on the field for only 13 of the team's 50 offensive snaps in their playoff loss to the Saints. The Bears can free up $7 million in cap space if they cut Graham and according to the Chicago Suntimes, “The Bears likely will move on from Graham this offseason.”
What does all of this have to do with Kmet? Well, combined, Graham and Allen Robinson would be leaving behind a whopping 227 targets from last year, 76 of which specifically from the TE position. While it’s entirely possible, likely even, that the Bears add pass catchers in the offseason, it’s unlikely they would be of the caliber to command a substantial amount of those targets in their first year in Chicago. Kmet might not just be the starting TE on this offense but the most, or second most, productive pass catcher on the roster.
Kmet already started to “breakout” at the end of last year in terms of playing time and he’s got the potential to turn that playing time into production in 2021. In the last 5 games of the regular season he played on more than 77% of snaps in all of them and averaged 6 targets per game. That’s a 16 game pace of 96 targets which would’ve been good for 6th among TEs last year.
Kmet himself is a great player, the second best at his position in the 2020 draft class in my opinion. He isn’t necessarily the most athletic player but he makes up for that with his size and hands. His coach, Matt Nagy, had this to say about him last offseason, ‘‘When you see that feeling of someone like Cole, you see the personality, the size, the strength, the makeup. How do you not get excited about that? I am, and I’m looking forward to his future... the ceiling for him is so high.”
Good tight ends are extremely hard to come by in fantasy football these days so taking a shot on Kmet or Trautman who both have so much upside would be a savvy move especially considering you wouldn’t have to give much up to acquire them..