The Broncos have made moves after moves this offseason to add weapons to the offense. This has made Broncos Country incredibly excited about what this offense could be in 2020. Fans of the Broncos had to sit through a poor offense last year that scored just 17 points a game. This year, the Broncos could score around 24 points per game – a difference of a touchdown per game from the previous season.
Only 12 teams in the NFL scored 24 or more points in 2019. For the Broncos to make the jump into the 24-PPG club, the new pieces on offense will have to play at a high level. This would be good news for Broncos fans, but it would also be good news for fantasy football GMs.
With fantasy football drafts going on right now (yes, this early), it’s interesting to note how the fantasy community is looking at the 2020 Broncos. In this series, we’ll look at the current ADP (average draft position) in 12-team PPR leagues for the Broncos offensive players at Footballguys.com. For those of you that don’t know, I have worked for Footballguys.com since 2005 and it’s where you can find all my fantasy football opinions.
Today, we look at Broncos tight end Noah Fant. Where is he going in drafts, and what is the reasoning behind his ADP?
Noah Fant | TE12 | 10.12
The Broncos moved back in the 2019 NFL Draft to the No. 20 overall pick and then selected tight end Noah Fant out of Iowa. He was known as a receiving threat with speed and size that would make him an immediate weapon in the NFL. Fant did just that, working with three different quarterbacks and flashing that first-round talent from time to time. He also had some bad games, but Fant worked through those struggles to make the most of his rookie season.
He finished his first pro season with 66 targets, 40 receptions, 562 receiving yards and three touchdowns. That was good for the No. 14 fantasy tight end spot. Fant’s 8.3 yards after catch in 2019 ranked 15th in the NFL and was the best mark among tight ends. That last stat shows just how dangerous Fant can be as a “seam ripper” for the Broncos offense. With two 100-yard games as a rookie and finishing as a high-end TE2, fantasy GMs are excited about the second-year pro’s upside in 2020.
Fant is currently going off the board as the No. 12 fantasy tight end near the end of the 10th round (12th pick) in 12-team PPR leagues. He is going right after Hunter Henry (Chargers) and Jared Cook (Saints), and right in front of Austin Hooper (Browns) and T.J. Hockenson (Lions).
Last Year’s Comparison
In 2019, the No. 12 fantasy player at the position was Jason Witten, then of the Cowboys. Last year, Witten was targeted 83 times, caught 63 of those targets for 529 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He was a security-blanket target for Dak Prescott last year, a role that Fant could be playing for Drew Lock in 2020.
Those numbers are all achievable for Fant this season, but it depends on how much his role is impacted by rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. He was a college teammate with Lock at Missouri and has established strong chemistry with the Broncos passer. Okwuegbunam caught 17 touchdowns in two seasons with Lock tossing him the rock and the Broncos could use him as a red-zone weapon this season. If that happens, it would certainly take some looks and potential touchdowns away from Fant.
I feel projecting Fant for around 50 catches this season is fair. He should get more than 500 yards receiving, maybe even pushing for around 600 yards based on his yards-after-the-catch ability. Throw in a small handful of touchdowns for Fant, let’s say three or four, and you can see how he could end his second season around the same spot he was in 2019.
Overvalued or Undervalued?
The Broncos have offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to run the show this season. In two seasons as the Giants head coach, Shurmur worked with a first-round tight end in Evan Engram. In those seasons, Engram was not available for the full season playing only 11 games (2018) and eight games (2019), respectively. In those injury-shortened seasons, Engram finished as the No. 13 and No. 19 fantasy tight end. If healthy for a full season, Fant should be able to best those numbers.
So, is Fant overvalued or undervalued by Fantasy GMs?
The answer here depends on what you think of Okwuegbunam and how much you believe the rookie will cut into Fant’s production and snaps – specifically in the red zone. If Okwuegbunam gets most of the red-zone work at the tight end position, then Fant will likely be a bit overvalued for where he’s going in drafts right now. However, if the rookie doesn’t make the impact some think he could near pay dirt then Fant should be a solid pick for where he’s getting drafted. He is not undervalued in the fantasy community but instead getting drafted right around where he should be.
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