Studying the Understudies Tight End Edition
In part 4 of our understudy series, we are gonna be taking a look at the tight ends that could produce if they get the opportunity. The tight end position is already very volatile by nature in fantasy football, so if you aren’t drafting a top 4 option, it’s a lot of guesswork as to who can be the top guy. Today, we are gonna be taking a look at some players who have very minimal cost but could turn into worthwhile contributors.
Drew Sample is in line for a greater role in 2021 after demonstrating impressive growth from his rookie to sophomore seasons. Sample is a former second round pick, and the only thing standing in his way to starting is the recently return from injury of C.J. Uzomah. Overall, the Bengals offense took under step forward with the drafting of LSU stud receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Joe Burrow at the controls with his many offensive weapons should lead to some great opportunities for the tight end. Drew should be able to take advantage of his one on ones and destroy coverage in the intermediate and deep middles of the field. Drew Sample has shown incredible steps forward in his development as a route runner and playmaker. That drive, combined with his already solid blocking, should afford him the chance to start his year and become a key cog in the Bengals attack.
Harrison Bryant came as a surprise as a fourth round pick out of Florida Atlantic. The Browns play multiple tight ends, but Bryant was still third on the depth chart at the beginning of the season behind the athletic David Njoku and free agent signing Austin Hooper. AS the season wore on, Bryant was able to impress the coaching staff enough to the point that he was beginning to get on the field and eat into Njoku’s snaps. Harrison would eventually end the season with more targets and catches. The timing was fortuitous because Bryant was able to take over for Hooper after he missed two games due to injury. He turned that into very solid production and should start the season as the no 2 TE behind Hooper. Bryant should still work into the week-to-week game plan and should get a shot at the number 1 spot at some point this season.
Parham is a huge size/speed athlete who is more big slot than actual tight end. He spent most of 2020 backing up since departed starter Hunter Henry, but he was able to cash in on some playing time to end the year to the tune of five receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Henry is gone to New England now, and in his place the team signed Jared Cook. Cook has been a solid veteran tight end for a number of years and figures to be in line to start in the Chargers offense. Parham will be able to get on the field, as he is probably the best run blocker on the team. He will have to parlay that playing time into more opportunities as the year goes along. He will also have some serious competition from 2021 third-round selection Tre’ McKitty. If he can unseat Cook as the primary option at tight end and hold off McKitty, he will have insane red zone value in an offense that figures to take another step forward under second year QB Justin Herbert.