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The Broncos drafted Fant with the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, making him the second tight end selected after his Iowa teammate T.J. Hockenson. At Iowa, Fant totaled 1,013 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final two seasons. While Hockenson broke out and outproduced him in 2018, Fant still had a solid season, improving in both receptions and yards. Hockenson was the top tight end for NFL teams due to his superior blocking skills, but Fant profiled as a speedy receiving threat. Fant was a perfect prospect for the new, pass-happy NFL.
Fant immediately became the Broncos’ top receiving tight end and their second receiving weapon behind Courtland Sutton. The Broncos lacked alternative options, with just Emmanuel Sanders coming off an injury and DaeSean Hamilton behind Sutton. They also had a blank depth chart essentially at tight end. Therefore, they expected Fant to contribute right away.
Despite his lofty spot in the pecking order, Fant didn’t do much for fantasy owners in 2019. Outside of a couple of boom weeks, Fant wasn’t a good tight end or even a streamer. Fant burned me four times in my 2019 streaming series. He finished as TE21 or worse in each of those weeks, and he would’ve significantly hurt your fantasy teams if you played him in those seemingly favorable matchups.
Even though Fant didn’t produce in fantasy football, he succeeded for a rookie tight end. He far exceeded Hockenson’s production, and he was the best rookie tight end since Evan Engram in 2017. Fant performed better than Mark Andrews did as a rookie in 2018 and George Kittle in 2017, both of whom broke out for massive sophomore seasons.
However, the Broncos added multiple receiving weapons to their offense, crowding the competition for targets in 2020. They drafted wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler and tight end Albert Okwuebunam in the 2020 NFL Draft, and they also signed stud running back Melvin Gordon in free agency. Therefore, Fant will have a tough time gaining target share in Year 2, even if he leaps forward.
Also, quarterback Drew Lock is unproven. He has both high-end upside and no floor, which made him a part of my dynasty daredevil article. While Fant played well with both Lock and Joe Flacco in 2019, he needs Lock to succeed to unlock his true potential. Given Fant’s mix of upside and risk, he comes in as my TE11. I think that’s a fair price to pay based on his range of outcomes.
However, Fant’s Year 2 uncertainty makes him a perfect dynasty buy target. Fant only turns 23 years old in November, but tight ends rarely hit their true potential until their age-25 season. With that said, Fant is not like most other tight ends. He showed more as a rookie than all but a few players, and he has first-round draft capital.
Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend waiting until his peak age to buy Fant. Capitalize on the Broncos’ draft picks, and buy Fant right now. Once dynasty owners see Fant’s dynamic ability on the field in Year 2 with Lock, you’ll never be able to acquire him. In a regular dynasty league, I would consider sending two 2021 second-round picks in exchange for Fant. If I’m playing in a tight end premium league, I will upgrade that offer to a 2021 first-round selection. Now is your opportunity to get a young stud tight end at a discount. Don’t miss it.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.