Though there aren’t many fantasy assets to be found on the Miami Dolphins, there will in all likelihood be one or two guys who manage to become relevant at some point. In the past, it was Jarvis Landry who could be counted on. Now that Landry is in Cleveland, someone will have to step up and take his place. That someone could be Mike Gesicki, the Penn State tight end whom the Dolphins selected with the 42nd overall pick.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 27, 2018
Gesicki was the second tight end taken after Baltimore’s Hayden Hurst and is arguably the top fantasy option among rookies at the position. Unfortunately, that typically doesn’t mean much.
Reasons to Get Excited
Without playing a single snap, Gesicki is already elite in one area. His SPARQ score is in the 99th percentile among NFL tight ends. It’s no surprise considering what he did at the combine. Though his college teammate, Saquon Barkley, got all of the hype, Gesicki’s performance was comparably impressive.
He finished tied for first among tight ends in the 40-yard dash and second in the bench press. In every other event (vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle) he finished first. He has all of the tools to be successful right away.
Gesicki struggles as a blocker, so Miami’s decision to spend an early-second-round pick on him gives us some indication of what they think of his receiving ability. He’s a matchup nightmare who will be difficult to stop if his workout numbers translate to the field.
Miami head coach Adam Gase has a positive history with tight ends. As Denver’s offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, Julius Thomas scored 24 total touchdowns. As Chicago’s offensive coordinator in 2015, Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller combined for eight touchdowns. He hasn’t had as much success in Miami, but his tight ends were Dion Sims and Thomas, who had become a reclamation project. Gesicki could be just the type of player Gase has been waiting for.
Reasons to Pump the Brakes
This is not the sort of tweet you want to see about a rookie who could have fantasy value.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) June 8, 2018
It’s early, and things seem to have improved somewhat. But considering the poor track record rookie tight ends have, bad news from beat reporters is worrying.
Rookie Tight Ends
This was covered in the Hurst article, but it’s worth mentioning again. Rookie tight ends are not typically viable fantasy options. It’s considered to be a difficult position to learn and only certain aberrations have managed to succeed in their first season. Considering Gesicki’s less-than-ideal situation, he’s unlikely to break the trend.
Let’s dive into that less-than-ideal situation a bit more. The Dolphins are in the bottom-five of most power rankings, largely due to question marks at quarterback. Ryan Tannehill is the presumed starter with castoffs Brock Osweiler, Bryce Petty and David Fales waiting in the wings.
Tannehill is decent enough, but we haven’t seen him since December of 2016. Should Tannehill struggle or deal with another injury, the backups don’t inspire confidence. The Dolphins were 28th in the league with 6.3 yards per attempt in 2017, and that was with Landry still on the team. It is within the realm of possibility that Miami’s passing game will be even worse in 2018.
If you’re going to use a rookie tight end, Gesicki is the best option. There is some appeal in his athleticism, receiving skills and lack of competition for targets. But there are so many mid-level tight ends, such as Charles Clay or Austin Hooper, who will be more reliable. Gesicki’s upside is undeniable, but it’s more likely we see him shine sometime after 2018.
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