Is This Guy Ready to be Your Breakthrough TE? | Draft Sharks

FF Tips

Is This Guy Ready to be Your Breakthrough TE?

By Matt Schauf 8:06am EDT 6/19/20


This is a free preview of a Draft Sharks player profile. DS Insiders have access to 200+ profiles right now.

What You Need to Know:

-- Fant posted the 17th-best PPR season for a rookie TE since the 1970 merger.

-- Both he and QB Drew Lock could use some work on their efficiency.

-- New OC Pat Shurmur has been friendly to TEs recently.

-- Denver added quite a bit to the offense since last season.


Nice Debut

Fant enjoyed a solid rookie season after arriving in Denver as the #20 overall pick. He posted the #17 PPR season by a rookie TE since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, ahead of players such as Zach Ertz, Mark Andrews and George Kittle, and just behind Chris Herndon and Jordan Reed.

Fant’s 66 targets tied for 14th in that group. He delivered the 8th most receiving yards and 10th most yards per reception. His catch rate, however, ranked just 65th -- a product of both a TE and QB who need refining.

Pro Football Focus graded Drew Lock near the bottom of the league as a passer over his 5 weeks of starting last season. It also graded Fant just 31st among TEs in receiving for the year.


Shurmur Here to Help?

After the season, Denver fired 1st-time OC Rich Scangarello and hired Pat Shurmur, whom the Giants had just canned. Shurmur has spent all or part of 11 seasons as an NFL OC or HC across 5 franchises, and his recent offenses have been kind to TEs.

Each of those 5 squads found more than 15% target share for the lead TE. Three of those teams had a TE garner more than 19% of team targets (adjusting Evan Engram’s numbers to account for missed games). Those TEs were pretty good: Zach Ertz, Kyle Rudolph and then Engram. But it sounds like Shurmur also likes his new guy.

In his February introductory news conference, Shurmur called Fant “very similar” to Engram and said he had a “really, really high opinion” of the TE during last year’s draft process. Shurmur acknowledged that Fant is primarily a receiver but also credited him with being a “gritty blocker.”


New Offensive Pieces

Last year’s Broncos offered plenty of room for Fant to draw targets. With 66 of them, he ranked 2nd behind Courtland Sutton’s 126, with DaeSean Hamilton next at 52. This year’s squad presents more competition.

Denver drafted WR Jerry Jeudy 15th overall and looks poised to make him the #2 wideout right away. The Broncos also drafted WR K.J. Hamler in Round 2. And after ranking 9th in the league in RB target share last season, Denver paid up in free agency for Melvin Gordon, who has well outperformed Phillip Lindsay in the passing game.

The crowd might cap Fant’s upside, but a share in the 15% range remains quite doable. To add some context: Only 5 TEs reached 15% target share throughout the NFL last season. A 15% share of last year’s 504 attempts would have tied Fant for 12th at the position in targets (76). Denver ranked just 27th in pass attempts in 2019. Shurmur has had just 2 offenses rank lower than 16th in pass attempts (and 1 of those came in Chip Kelly’s first Philly season).

The impressive speed in the Broncos’ WR corps can help create space for Fant to work the middle of the field.


Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Fant’s fantasy debut provided optimism, and Denver’s OC change to Pat Shurmur offers some more. He’ll face more competition for targets, and both he and his QB need to develop.

But this former 1st-round pick presents enough athletic upside to be worth betting on in low-TE1 range.

Share This!

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments:

comments powered by Disqus

In This Article

Related Fantasy Football

Podcast: Late Spring ADP Check 6-3-20

Which WR could win you your league? Which RB situations are worth stacking -- or avoiding? And which TE are we hoping doesn't listen to this podcast?

4:06pm EDT 6/3/20 Read More
Podcast: Best-ball ADP Check 2-19-20

We're a long way from 2020 NFL kickoff, but fantasy football best-ball drafts have been going for a while. Let's see who's going too early, what to do with the top rookies and where to mine for values.

12:02pm EST 2/19/20 Read More
Podcast: Week 17 Preview 12-26-19

Most leagues might be done after Week 16 ... but not all. So we're running through Week 17 right along with you, talkin' situations to monitor and sleepers to target.

3:12pm EST 12/26/19 Read More
Podcast: Defensive Look Ahead 11-19-19

Jonathan Williams. Bo Scarbrough. Darrel Williams. Are these really the key names heading into Week 12? And where can you find help this week and beyond on defense?

1:11pm EST 11/19/19 Read More
Premium Content Week 8 Streaming Picks

Did Noah Fant actually give us something to use amid a terrible Week 7 fantasy outing? Plus, there's a bonus D pick among the Week 8 selections ...

11:10am EDT 10/23/19 Read More
DFS Podcast: Week 5 DraftKings 10-4-19

Which NFC North RB is the better volume bet and just how low can your search for a cheap defense go in Week 5?

7:10pm EDT 10/4/19 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: AFC West Projections 6-13-19

What will Antonio Brown mean for the Raiders? What do a new QB and new coaching staff mean for the Broncos? Which Charger is getting drafted way too early? And how much will Tyreek Hill even play in 2019? The answers could shape how you draft ...

1:06pm EDT 6/12/19 Read More

Read More Articles

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Download on Google Play