Joshua Abbe | Aug 28th, 2019
In one of the closest position battles out there between two tier two tight ends provide an opportunity to provide fantasy points on your roster when you pass on Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle. With both Hunter Henry and Evan Engram in offenses that should produce targets, they have the capability to be top tight ends at the end of the season. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Engram has an ADP of 5.09 (TE5) while Henry has an ADP of 6.04 (TE6) makes for an interesting choice during the draft process. Let’s look at some positives and negatives for both players at their current ADPs.
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Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants
Engram is in a prime position to finish possibly as a top tier tight end this year on a bad Giants team. With most of their wide receivers are either hurt or suspended, only Saquon Barkley will contend for major targets outside of Engram at the beginning of the season. Engram should be a focal point of the passing game for Eli Manning or when the rookie Daniel Jones takes over. Finishing as the TE13 at the end of the 2018 season, he had a low 45 receptions for 577 yards and only three touchdowns which were a disappointing dip compared to his rookie season when he had 64 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns.
Since Odell Beckham Jr. has left town there is a chance for a big uptick in all categories for Engram this season. With Beckham in New York, Engram averaged 3.5 catches for 38 yards in the 11 games he was on the field. Without Beckham, Engram averaged 4.7 catches for 59 yards in 15 games. Engram ranked TE5 in yards per reception (11.92) among 17 tight ends with at least 100 total catches. Another positive stat was the momentum to finish the season. OVer Engram’s last four games he produced 75 yards plus in each game to end the season while failing to aver more than 15 yards per catch in just once of those games (9.4 YPR).
The biggest downside to Engram is his injury history as he has been declared injury-prone by many. In order to have a breakout season in 2019, he will need to stay healthy all season long. Missing five games to a hamstring injury in 2018, he is already dealing with the same hamstring this offseason and just saw the field in preseason game three against Cincinnati where he did catch his lone target for nine yards. He will most likely sit out the last preseason game to rest considering Giants are already fighting lack of pass-catching depth with Golden Tate (suspended) and Sterling Shepard (thumb injury) both expected to miss time to start the season.
When they return, the target share may be spread thin depending on the depth provided for Manning or Jones in the latter half of the season when fantasy playoffs start. We already know the impact of Beckham and when he saw the field, Engram’s averages dropped 1.2 receptions and 21 yards in a span of 26 games. With Barkley, Tate, and Shepard to the mix during the most important weeks of the season, it might cause Engram’s fantasy value to drop.
If Giants move to a run-first offense behind Barkley, Engram might have to work on his blocking ability. Barkley is an exceptional rusher, so look for the Giants to want to put the balls in his hands. Last season the Giants were 29th in rushing attempts, only rushing on 22% of their snaps. With Barkley establishing himself as the runner he is, taking the pressure off Manning will be key. Lastly, if the rookie takes over, it might be a struggle to get in rhythm with Engram from the get-go.
Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
After missing all the 2018 regular season, Henry is fully healthy coming into his fourth NFL season. In 2017 where he caught 45 passes for 579 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games and I believe can put up TE1 numbers in 2019. Keenan Allen has a nagging ankle injury and with Melvin Gordon holding out, the majority of the target share would be between Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Henry.
The Chargers were 11th in passing yards per game last season and threw to the tight end 15% of the time. In 2017, they threw to the tight end 21% of the time and ranked 11th in the league. With Antonio Gates finally gone, Henry will be targeted much more this year. Expect Henry to be on the field for almost every single passing play as the Chargers completed 53% of their pass throwing to the tight end position last year.
Always coming off an injury there is speculation in how long till rust wears off. Henry, fortunately, played in the Chargers playoff game last year but wasn’t heavily involved. Now going into the 2019 season with such a significant injury, Henry must prove he is still the breakout candidate he was supposed to be in 2018. Allen is still there and when healthy, one of the best wide receivers in the game. Also last year the Chargers threw the wide receiver position 58% of the time which took a lot of shares away from the tight ends. If Gordon returns combined Ekeler still involved in the passing game, Henry may not see enough targets to break out as the Chargers targeted their running back on 27% of their pass from last season.
The guy I’m taking is Henry right now, point in case is his ADP leaves me breathing room to grab the best players at the running back and wide receiver positions and then come to the sixth or maybe seventh rounds and grab a tight end with a ton of potential to still break out and become a top-three tight end. Plus Henry’s quarterback is better than Engram’s. Factor in the Giants faces a tough schedule, ranking 31st for the strength of schedule, playing against several good defenses while Henry has the second easiest schedule for a tight end in 2019. So, take advantage.
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