As the 2021 NFL season got underway,managers began to see a light at the end of a very long and dark tight end tunnel. The Big 3 — Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and George Kittle — were all the rage in drafts, but with Kyle Pitts, Dawson Knox and Dalton Schultz joining usual No. 4, Mark Andrews, there was suddenly more to the tight end position than what we were used to seeing.
Excitement grew even more with the return of Rob Gronkowski and every Hunter Henry touchdown scored. And though not every fantasy team’s tight end burden has been lessened just yet, the emergence of a few more names are certain to help ease the pain.
Consistency at the position is always difficult to achieve, but over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of promise, which starts with the well-traveled Dan Arnold who has found a home in Jacksonville. Since being acquired by the Jaguars, Arnold has seen his role as a pass-catcher steadily increase, and has averaged eight targets and 65 receiving yards per game. He hasn’t gotten into the end zone yet, but his red-zone opportunities should increase moving forward.
Minnesota’s Tyler Conklin is another name on which to keep tabs as his role in the passing attack has become increasingly steadier as well. Some might consider adding Conklin as chasing his Week 10 two-touchdown performance, but he is another player who is consistently seeing six targets per game, 50-60 receiving yards and a handful of red-zone opportunities. Not to mention, over the past three weeks, he’s moved up to third in target share on the roster.
If you’re looking for a deep dive and some promise on the horizon, look no further than preseason darling Adam Trautman of the Saints. He was a sleeper pick to open the season, but with the team’s quarterback issues and other offensive struggles, he became a forgotten man. However, since Trevor Siemian has taken over under center, Trautman has become a favorite target, seeing six or seven per game — including four red-zone looks in the past three games. If this type of consistency maintains, just like Arnold, the touchdowns should follow.
Though you would be hard-pressed to find elite-level tight end production on your waiver wire, there seem to be enough serviceable players out there to tide you over. And should you have a surplus of running backs or wide receivers, perhaps a package that includes one of these more consistent tight ends lands you one of the top names. At least the position is no longer the desolate wasteland it used to be.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at. Follow him on Twitter and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to for all your fantasy football advice.