Narrative Street: How do rookie TEs really perform?

The narrative says to avoid the rookie tight ends in fantasy football drafts. Tyler Loechner investigates how true that belief is.

| 2 months ago
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Narrative Street: How do rookie TEs really perform?


The NFL draft is on the horizon, and while most of us will get excited when a stud running back or wideout gets drafted, there’s typically not quite as much excitement when a tight end comes off the board.

But tight ends have been getting more and more important in fantasy football, and this year’s class features David Njoku, O.J. Howard, and others at the position with big fantasy upside. Will their landing spots make much of a difference in their rookie year?

The narrative: Rookie tight ends typically underperform from a fantasy perspective.

We typically don’t have a problem drafting rookie receivers or running backs in our fantasy leagues. But there’s a stigma attached to rookie quarterbacks and tight ends. Last week, we determined that you should avoid rookie quarterbacks for fantasy purposes. Is the narrative true for tight ends as well?

The findings

Like we did with quarterbacks, we examined all tight end production from the previous five seasons (since 2012). I compared rookies to second-year players, third-year players, etc., in terms of yards, touchdowns, catch rate, fantasy points, and more.

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Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

  • Bob Smith

    One of the most bizzare draft trends i’ve been seeing is Howard in the top 5, or even top 10. Gotta be kidding me. Outside of Gronk, the next best TE’s are Olsen and Reed, and even they wouldn’t be drafted that high. I’d take the best 10 WR’s or RB’s before i’d take the best TE (outside of Gronk)