Throughout the season, the Rookie Report Card has covered some of the biggest rookies and not only looked at their performance to date – but also their long term upside. Now that the regular season has wrapped up and fantasy owners are looking towards the future, we have an opportunity to take one last look at the 2018 season and assess these rookies – A final report card if you will.
We covered 34 rookies throughout the season, including five tight ends. Let’s look one more time at each of their first seasons, as well as a quick glimpse into their futures.
Mark Andrews, TE BAL
Season Stats: 34 receptions, 552 yards, three touchdowns
Andrews had an up-and-down rookie season but despite having five 50-plus yard games and catching three touchdowns, didn’t ever jump into the list of “startable if he catches a touchdown” tight ends that seemed to be never-ending. With that said, however, he did show signs of life late in the season after Lamar Jackson took over under center which should give dynasty owners some hope going into 2019.
Although he’ll have to compete with fellow 2018 rookie Hayden Hurst for playing time, Andrews should have the upper hand in the competition as he was far more productive and appeared to have much more chemistry with Jackson. If he takes a step forward in the off-season, Andrews could become part of that list of “startable tight ends” sooner rather than later.
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Will Dissly, TE SEA
Season Stats: eight receptions, 156 yards, two touchdowns
Rookie Report Card: Week One
It’s easy to look back fondly on the Dissly’s surprising start to 2018 when he caught six passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the opening two weeks of the season, but dynasty owners clinging to that outburst should think twice about where his value lies.
A torn patella tendon is a brutal injury to return from and reports out of Seattle say the injury could linger into 2019, which unfortunately makes Dissly only rosterable in the deepest of dynasty leagues.
Mike Gesicki, TE MIA
Season Stats: 22 receptions, 202 yards, no touchdowns
It was a forgettable rookie season for those of us who ranked Mike Gesicki as the top dynasty tight end in 2018 rookie drafts. Not only was his production lacking, but he appeared to lack the explosion and athleticism that we all were so excited about coming out of Penn State.
Although I wish we could have seen one or two plays that flashed his athletic upside during his rookie season to remind us all of his field-stretching, high-pointing potential, I’m going to chalk up Gesicki’s rookie season to the age-old theory of tight ends taking time to find their way in the NFL. I expect a big leap forward in year two despite all of the question marks surrounding him in Miami.
Dallas Goedert, TE PHI
Season Stats: 33 receptions, 334 yards, four touchdowns
Rookie Report Card: Week Three
Despite catching just 33 passes as a rookie, Goedert may have been the most impressive rookie tight end. But the roadblock of Zach Ertz in Philly is sure to keep dynasty owners from investing heavily in the former Jackrabbit.
In limited action, Goedert made an impression – particularly in the red zone – by using his big frame to create space and high point footballs. Currently the TE12 in the most recent DLF ADP, you’ll have to pay low-end TE1 prices to acquire him which may be too much to pay considering his likely limited opportunities in the near future. But if there is any potential discount in that price tag, Goedert is the premier young tight end trade target this off-season considering his age (24) and high-end TE1 upside.
Chris Herndon, TE NYJ
Season Stats: 39 receptions, 502 yards, four touchdowns
Rookie Report Card: Week Six
Appearing to find chemistry with quarterback Sam Darnold as the season progressed, Herndon began to look comfortable and confident late in the season. Showing enough speed to outrun linebackers and appearing to understand how to use his big frame (6’-4”, 254 pounds) to outmuscle smaller defensive backs, his production picked up in the second half of the season.
Already the TE17 in DLF ADP, dynasty owners have begun to see Herndon as one of the top developmental tight ends. If you believe in Darnold (which I do), you should expect a big leap forward in year two making him a steal right now considering that ADP.
Hayden Hurst, TE BAL
Season Stats: 13 receptions, 163 yards, one touchdown
Although he was drafted two rounds before fellow rookie Mark Andrews, Hurst was outproduced handily by the third rounder in their rookie seasons. His career got off to a rocky start as he missed the first four weeks of the year with a foot injury and couldn’t find any chemistry after returning. Although he should still be seen as a developmental prospect with some upside at the end of a bench, it’s obvious at this point that Andrews is the tight end to own in Baltimore.
Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin, TEs DAL
Season Stats: 12 receptions, 116 yards, no touchdowns
To be honest, Schultz is barely worth mentioning in this article as he was a non-factor as a rookie. Instead, it was second-year tight end Blake Jarwin who, despite catching just six passes for 42 yards in the Cowboys’ first ten games, hauled in 28 balls for 297 yards and three scores over the next eight (including post-season.)
All things told, most of Jarwin’s production came in just one game and Schultz certainly wasn’t ready to make a dynasty worthy contribution. But with that said, it’s unclear how ready for prime time either Dallas tight end is. Neither is a lock to be dynasty relevant going forward.
Ian Thomas, TE CAR
Season Stats: 36 receptions, 333 yards, two touchdowns
Rookie Report Card: Week 17
It was only a handful of weeks ago that I wrote about Thomas in the final edition of the Rookie Report Card so I won’t get into too much detail here but here are the Cliff’s Notes.
Although his role in 2019 is unknown due to the unsure future of Greg Olsen, Thomas should be seen as one of the top developmental tight ends in dynasty leagues. His upside, as well as his 2019 potential, should have him ranked in the top 15 at the position already.
Jordan Thomas, TE HOU
Season Stats: 20 receptions, 215 yards, four touchdowns
Rookie Report Card: Week Eight
Thomas caught 20 passes as a rookie, which was a surprise to most considering he caught a total of 31 passes in his college career and entered the league as a big question mark when it came to being a downfield threat. Nevertheless, he made the most of his opportunities and developed into a sparingly-used outlet receiver for Deshaun Watson – who seemed to like to look his way in the red zone.
Despite his success as a rookie and the lack of competition on the depth chart, Thomas is at best an end of bench roster consideration at this point. And even then, he’s only worthy of a roster spot in large leagues.
Thanks for checking out the Rookie Report Card in 2018. I’ll be back in 2019 with my thoughts on the new crop of rookies.
- Rookie Report Card: Henry Ruggs, Collin Johnson and Tyler Johnson - October 17, 2020
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- Rookie Report Card: Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk - October 3, 2020