Knowing how to approach the TE position in the FFPC Main Event is a crucial part of your draft. The TE-premium scoring can make the position something to build your draft around. Does the 1.5 PPR make the position worth attacking early in drafts? Or can we fade the early TEs and draft a bunch later? Let’s take a look.
All of the top 5 Main Event finishers from 2019 had a top 12 TE on their roster. 4th-place team Marvin Garden had Mike Gesicki, who finished as TE12. The other 4 teams all had at least 1 top 10 TE, some had 2 and my team that finished 5th had 3 top 12 TEs. Below is a list of the top 12 TEs from 2019 and which TEs the top 5 finishers owned.
The numbers in parentheses are where that player finished during weeks 14-16, the Main Event Championship weeks.
Notice that Kittle -- and not Kelce -- was on 2 of the top 5 teams, despite them finishing 1st and 2nd at the position. As we can see from last year’s results, having good TEs is very important -- but you don’t necessarily need to draft the top ones. Tyler Higbee was on as many top 5 teams as George Kittle and he was dropped by most teams before his massive breakout the 2nd half of 2019. Mark Andrews and Mike Gesicki were picked in the double digit rounds of drafts last summer. You need great TE play, but you don’t need to draft the top dogs.
With that said, Kelce finished as TE1 last year and would have finished as the WR2 or RB5 in FFPC points. So it’s safe to say that he lived up to his lofty draft status. Kelce is a super safe pick in the back half of Round 1 in your Main Event draft and I can’t blame you for pulling the trigger on him. I don’t like taking Kelce in Round 1, however, due to roster construction issues. If I take Kelce in Round 1, my rosters are usually very thin at RB. In previous FFPC strategy articles, I talked about the importance of leaving the first few rounds with a couple of RBs.
Kittle is definitely a target of mine in the 2nd round. His current FFPC Main Event ADP has climbed and is at 1.12, but he has fallen as low as the 2.05. If I can grab a RB at the back half of Round 1 and get Kittle coming back in Round 2, I’m all in on that. Kittle could finish as the TE1 in 2020 and is definitely the safest pick at the top half of round 2.
Last season I was all over Zach Ertz. I took him at 2.10 on my 5th place Main Event team and he delivered, finishing as the TE 4. I was a little worried about him getting banged up, so I handcuffed him with Dallas Goedert. Goedert finishing TE10 was a huge surprise considering Ertz only missed Week 17 and finished as a top 5 TE himself. The injuries at the WR position in 2019 can explain some of the targets that were funnelled Goedert’s way, but he’s a young, talented TE who should be a significant piece to the offense. Ertz is being slept on and has fallen to a 3.06 ADP in the 2020 Main Event. He has even gone as low as the 4.3 after having another stellar season in 2019. Goedert is being drafted as the TE16 with an ADP of 9.8 after his breakout 2019 season.
Taking Ertz in Round 3 or 4 and hedging/handcuffing him in Round 9 or 10 with Goedert is a strong play. If Ertz finishes as a top 5 TE in 2020 and Goedert does nothing, I won’t care that I spent a 9th or 10th round pick on Goedert. If Ertz gets injured, then Goedert would be a target monster and likely a top 5 TE. If both rock out like 2019, then I’m really sitting pretty. In this case, I would not draft a 3rd TE and just look to add a free agent for the bye week.
If I don't get any of the top 4 TEs in Kelce, Kittle, Ertz and Mark Andrews, I’ll generally wait and take value that falls. I’m particularly high on Tyler Higbee and Hayden Hurst.
Higbee was a league-winning monster last season, as he was on 2 of the top 5 Main Event teams. The Rams found something in Higbee and will run more “12” personnel this season. I realize that Higbee’s rise to power in 2019 coincided with TE Gerald Everett being sidelined with injury. If you believe that Everett will take work away from Higbee and that the Rams will run more “12” personnel (2 TEs on the field), then pull the Philly approach. Draft Higbee at his ADP of 6.08 and TE7, then come back and draft Gerald Everett in the 16th round. If Higbee and/or Everett are studs, then you’re all set. In my opinion, there’s a very low chance that neither TE produces.
Hurst is in a great situation. The Falcons traded a 2nd-round pick for him after Austin Hooper left for Cleveland in free agency. I see Hurst immediately filling Austin Hooper's role that made him the TE4 in points per game in 2019. The Falcons will be in shootouts all year playing in the NFC South and only WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley should see more targets. Hurst is currently being drafted as the TE8 with an ADP of 6.11, but he has upside into the top 3 or 4 at the position.
Always be prepared to grab TE value as it drops. With the dual flex in the FFPC, you can start up to 3 TEs on any given week. In Week 16 of 2019 in the Main Event, I started Ertz and Goedert and they led me to a monster big-money week. Even if you draft 1 of the stud TEs early, always look to grab a TE that you love in the double-digit rounds. Here are some guys I am targeting as my TE2 later in the draft.
Jonnu Smith (10.03 ADP)
Jonnu is ready to breakout. He will likely be 2nd on the team in targets and will thrive off of the play-action pass.
Eric Ebron (11.11 ADP)
The return of Big Ben should lead to a high volume passing game. Ebron is probably the best red zone threat on the team.
Irv Smith (12.10 ADP)
The 2nd-year TE saw his role grow over the 2nd half of last season. He has been dominating in camp and could finish 2nd on the team in targets behind WR Adam Thielen.
Have fun drafting your Main Event teams in 2020. I hope to see you finish in the money… right behind me!