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Third Year Breakout – Tight End

Tight ends usually take a little longer develop. @josh_ff leads you to some of the third year breakout tight ends.

Any good dynasty player should be prepared for the third year breakout. The Tight End Position can give your team a serious edge over your opponent. We’ve already seen Mark Andrews’ dynasty value skyrocket over the last 12 months. Dallas Goedert has been a favorite “dynasty stash” who’s managed 2 top 12 finishes already. The 2018 Tight End class has a few more surprises for Dynasty owners.

Both Andrews and Goedert are going to be tough to pry away from their owner. If they have Andrews, they’ve seen him perform. If they own Goedert, they likely drafted him knowing his talent. I’m not going to tell you these two guys aren’t worth the price, but there’s a third 2018 Tight End that could be more in your price range.

Some notable year three Tight Ends are below, in order of draft capital

  • Hayden Hurst
  • Mike Gesicki
  • Ian Thomas
  • Chris Herndon IV
  • Will Dissly

We’ve seen flashes from most of these offensive weapons, but there’s only one I believe you should pay up for. The Miami Dolphins tight end, Mike Gesicki could put your team over the edge in 2020 and beyond. Let’s breakdown why!

He’s a Physical Freak

Let’s rewind to the 2018 NFL Combine. Fellow Nerd Jon Diment breaks down the show Gesicki put on for coaches just two years ago in Indianapolis. Here’s Jon’s athletic summary on Gesicki.

Measuring in at 6’5”, 247 pounds, Gesicki’s combine scores accumulated to equal a SPARQ score of 150.0. That athletic score ranks in the 99th percentile of NFL TEs. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash (95th percentile), 22 bench press reps, a 41.5 inch vertical, a 129-inch broad jump, and a 4.10 20-yard shuttle (99th percentile agility score), to name a few. Additionally, he had a Speed Score in the 96th percentile and a catch radius in the 100th percentile.

Gesicki’s college playing style brought comparisons to Evan Engram and Colby Fleener. He’s lacking blocking skills, but he runs good routes, tested incredibly, and has solid hands. He’s clearly physically gifted, and that’s why the Dolphins selected him with the 42nd overall pick.

Play-making

The buck doesn’t stop at athleticism. A tight end in today’s era has to be able to make talented plays. Here’s a few flashes from Gesicki in the 2019 season to remind you of his capabilities.

The catch radius and body control on this play are insane. Fitzpatrick throws the ball behind Gesicki, and he manages to contort his body in the middle of the field to pull this in. On top of that, the concentration and hands needed to make this catch are top-notch. Gesicki was also aware that he was vulnerable in the middle of the field and avoided big contact from the safety.

Here Fitzpatrick leaves it short of Gesicki. Had Fitzpatrick got this over the top, it would’ve been a bigger gain. However, he didn’t which required Gesicki to slow down his route, and go over the defender for the catch away from the body. The adjustment was quick, and clean leading to 22 yard gain.

This last one is just fun. Gesicki has the outside edge on the coverage, and Fitzpatrick throws it at his waist. This 6′ 5″ tight end has no problem bending to the ball and reeling it in on third down.

Opportunity

What good is athleticism and talent if you don’t have the opportunity to show it off? In his rookie season, Gesicki didn’t see much of the field. Going into his sophomore season, the Miami Dolphins brought in a Patriots regime of Brian Flores, Chad O’Shea and George Godsey. The new coaching staff contributed to an increase in playtime from 400 snaps to 701 snaps. With the increase in snaps, Gesicki also saw 89 targets in 2019, nearly three times as many as 2018. Gesicki moved up 40 positions in ranks to tight end 12 in PPR formats. Chad O’Shea is no longer with the Dolphins, but Flores and Godsey remain as the Head Coach and Tight Ends Coach.

There’s some concern about the timing of Gesicki’s production. After Preston Williams’ season-ending injury, Gesicki’s production increased significantly. With Williams out of the lineup, Gesicki averaged 3.3 more targets, 1.1 more receptions and 9 more yards. Some of this is due to Gesicki naturally progressing as a tight end, and Gesicki should have some protection from Preston and Parker as he spent 35% of his snaps in the slot. 35% is behind only Austin Hooper among tight ends. Gesicki can be used all over as a move Tight End in the modern NFL.

With all of this improvement, Gesicki might face some adversity at the quarterback position. Fitzpatrick may be headed out the door at the end of 2020, but his replacement should be an upgrade. Most NFL analysts expect the Dolphins to use a top 5 pick at the position, which should lead to an overall long term improvement for the Dolphins offense. If the Quarterback drafted by the Dolphins happens to be Tua Tagovailoa, this would be great for Gesicki’s outlook. We saw what Tua was capable of with Irv Smith in a similar role at Alabama in 2018.

Conclusion

What more do you want from a 25-year-old tight end? Gesicki has the athleticism, talent, and opportunity to break out in 2020. Fantasy Football Calculator reports Gesicki’s ADP at the end of the 11th round, behind Jared Cook. At his current cost, the potential return on investment for Gesicki is worth the price! He might not match the output of Mark Andrews, but he could still find his way into top-6 tight end value!

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