FF Tips

Evan Engram: Too Risky or Too Cheap?

By Jared Smola 11:05am EDT 5/18/20

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What You Need to Know:

  • Engram missed 8 more games last year, bringing his total up to 14 through 3 NFL seasons.
  • But he finished top 7 in PPR points per game for the 3rd straight year.
  • New OC Jason Garrett featured Jason Witten in his passing game throughout his 13 seasons in Dallas, so Engram is set up for heavy volume again in 2020.

Same old, same old for Engram last year: Injuries and TE1 per-game production.

Injury history

He missed Week 6 with a sprained MCL and the final 7 games of the season with a sprained left foot. He ended up having surgery on that foot in mid-December to stabilize a tendon, so his status will need to be monitored this summer.

Engram has now missed 14 of 48 games through 3 NFL seasons. There was a concussion and bruised ribs in 2017, another concussion, a sprained right MCL and a hamstring injury in 2018 and then the knee and foot injuries last year. He’s earned the “injury-risk” label.

TE1 production

But he’s also been a TE1 for fantasy squads when he’s been on the field. Engram posted a 64-722-6 line in 15 games in 2017, ranking 5th among TEs in PPR points and 4th in PPR points per game. His catches, receiving yards and TDs are all top 7 marks by a rookie TE since the 1970 merger.

Engram tallied 45 catches, 577 yards and 3 scores in 11 games in 2018. He finished 7th at his position in PPR points per game.

2019 brought new career highs in catches (5.5), yards (58.4) and PPR points (13.7) per game. Engram scored as a top 10 TE in 5 of his 8 outings, including a pair of top-4 finishes.

Since entering the league in 2017, Engram ranks 5th among TEs in catches per game and 6th in yards per game. Only Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Rob Gronkowski and George Kittle have averaged more PPR points per game.

And Engram has been efficient. Among 37 TEs with 100+ targets over the past 3 seasons, he sits 13th in yards per catch and 21st in yards per target. He ranked 11th among 31 qualifiers in yards per route run as a rookie, 6th out of 28 in 2018 and and 15th out of 35 last year.

So however you slice it, Engram has been 1 of the better pass-catching TEs in the league over the last 3 years.

2020 outlook

If there’s a question beyond durability, it’s volume. The Giants have a deep group of pass-catchers in WRs Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton, plus RB Saquon Barkley. Engram averaged a strong 8.5 targets per game amidst that group last year — but he benefitted from injuries/suspensions to all 4 of those guys. Among Engram’s 8 games, Shepard missed 4, Tate 4, Slayton 2 and Barkley 2. In fact, those 5 guys didn’t play a single game together all last season.

So it’s unclear exactly what this Giants offense will look like when all 5 are healthy. And the move to OC Jason Garrett adds another layer of mystery. Garrett brings a strong track record to New York, though. The Cowboys ranked top 16 in passing yards in 10 of Garrett’s 13 seasons, including 8 top-10 finishes.

And, of course, Jason Witten regularly produced big seasons in Garrett’s offense. He averaged 112 targets, 80 catches, 845 yards and 5 TDs across 12 seasons under Garrett. We’re certainly not giving Garrett too much credit for getting numbers out of a Hall-of-Fame TE. But it’s nice to know this his offense has always featured a TE.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

There’s 1 big question with Engram: Can he stay healthy? He’s missed 14 games over 3 NFL seasons with knee, foot, rib and hamstring injuries — plus 2 concussions.

But when he’s been on the field, he’s been a major fantasy asset. Engram has ranked 4th, 7th and 7th among TEs in PPR points per game over the last 3 years.

We’re projecting similar production in 2020. Engram sits 5th at his position in projected fantasy points per game. And the injury risk is largely baked into his price tag. He’s worth his ADP even if you get 8-10 games of top-5 production out of him. And if he strings together 16 games, he’ll be a smash value.

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