Fantasy football has been around for a long time. However, recently fantasy football has expanded into different styles of play. From keeper to dynasty to DFS, we also have best ball. Unlike season-long leagues and DFS, you don’t set your weekly lineups with best ball. All you do is draft your team and forget about it until after the season. Each week, the highest-scoring lineup automatically gets set for your team. Unlike season-long leagues, where you have to worry about the weekly floor of your players, in best ball, you want the players with the most upside.
Superstar players like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, and Travis Kelce are still very valuable in best ball. However, players with safe weekly floors but limited upside like Josh Jacobs and Tyler Boyd are less valuable. Instead, fantasy owners want to target players with massive upside to go off any given week or score zero fantasy points like Mike Williams and Latavius Murray. However, just like in any fantasy football format, there are sleeper players that can help you win your best ball leagues. Today, I gave my five favorite sleeper tight ends with an ADP outside the top 100 on Underdog Fantasy.
Be sure to check out all of Fanelli’s Best Ball Sleepers.
Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (136.1 ADP)
Over the first two seasons of his career, Tonyan combined for 14 catches and two touchdowns. Then, last season, Tonyan broke out with 52 catches and 11 touchdowns. Furthermore, Tonyan finished as the TE3 in half-point PPR scoring, averaging 9.4 fantasy points per game. However, many expect Tonyan to regress this season after having a 21.2 percent touchdown rate last year. While that is likely to happen, Tonyan is currently drafted as the TE14 on average on Underdog Fantasy. That is way too low, given his upside and weekly ability to score. While there will be weeks where Tonyan fails to reach the end zone, there will be weeks where he finds the end zone and scores 14 or more fantasy points.
Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (142.6 ADP)
During his time with the Los Angeles Rams, Everett never turned into a consistent fantasy player, averaging 4.3 half-point PPR fantasy points per game for his career. However, Everett has produced for fantasy owners in the past when given a chance. Over the past three seasons, he has two games with 17 or more fantasy points in half PPR scoring. In Seattle, Everett will take over as the clear starting tight end in an offense expected to let Russell Wilson cook this season. Last season, the Seahawks targeted their tight ends 108 times. Other than D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks lack proven receiving threats. Expect Everett to be used as a mismatch move tight end, and have several massive performances as defenses focus on stopping Metcalf and Lockett.
Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots (148.7 ADP)
In the offseason, the Patriots spent over $87 million to sign Hunter Henry and Smith. After signing the pair of tight ends, the Patriots did very little to improve their passing game weapons. With the retirement of Julian Edelman, the Patriots have a hole at slot receiver. However, expect Smith to play most of his snaps at the position. In his finals season in Tennessee, Smith played nearly 20 percent of his snaps from the slot. Many believe the Patriots signed Henry to play a traditional in-line tight end role with Smith playing as a mismatch move offensive weapon. If Cam Newton or Mac Jones can provide consistent quarterback play, Smith is a steal as the 17th tight end off the board.
Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (158.2 ADP)
Speaking of Henry, after he signed with the Patriots, his former team was quick to sign Cook as his replacement. Over the past three seasons, Cook has 22 touchdowns, scoring at least six each season. Furthermore, Cook has scored 10 or more fantasy points per game in two of his past three seasons. In Los Angeles, Justin Herbert will welcome Cook when the Chargers are in the red zone. With Herbert throwing to him, Cook has the potential to finish the season as a top-12 tight end. As the 19th tight end off the board on average, Cook’s upside is too good to pass up at his current ADP.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (168.7 ADP)
Currently, Kmet’s ADP has been push down because the Bears haven’t released Jimmy Graham yet. However, the second Graham gets his walking papers, Kmet’s ADP will skyrocket. Until Graham is released, keep taking advantage of Kmet at his current ADP. Despite splitting time with Graham, Kmet finished the 2020 season on a positive streak. From Week 13 on, Kmet had six or more targets in four of five games, averaging 6.6 fantasy points per game. While those numbers aren’t earth-shattering, the Bears have high hopes for Kmet this season. Unless Graham remains in Chicago this season, Kmet has a chance to have a sophomore season breakout.
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