The tight end throne has been taken for quite some time because Travis Kelce is the undisputed tight end champion of the world. All the talk at the beginning of the 2021 season was between tight ends T.J. Hockenson, Darren Waller, George Kittle, maybe Kyle Pitts, and of course Kelce. Mike Gesicki was so far down that he was an afterthought TE. The truth is Gesicki is now the number one contender for the TE 1 crown. Don’t make the mistake of upgrading him too slowly like many fantasy analysts do.
First, to be the champion of the tight ends, the player has to have the talent. And judging by the metrics, Mike Gesicki easily checks the talent box.
As you can see, Gesicki’s Best Comparable Player is Vernon Davis, and he ranks near the top of every workout metric on the chart. It is safe to say if Gesicki fails, it won’t be for a lack of talent.
Now, let’s look at the data. Gesicki in 2021 has managed a 73.0-percent (No. 15 among qualified tight ends) Snap Share, 18.0-percent (No. 8) Target Share, 737 (No. 1) Air Yards, 75 (No. 4) targets, a 9.8 (No. 4) Average Target Distance, and 291 (No. 2) Unrealized Air Yards. This tells me he is doing a lot with the time he is playing on the field. What’s even better for a player like Gesicki is his 73.3-percent (No. 29) Catchable Target Rate. Though his 89.1-percent (No. 20) True Catch Rate is much better. Keep in mind the Miami quarterback situation is in flux this year as they continue to play a game of musical quarterback chairs between Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett.
<editors note: as the author of Late Round Tight End Roulette, I would be remiss not to mention my favorite of Gesicki’s metrics, and the one that best explains why he’s so good: his 10.86 (99th-percentile) Agility Score at 6-6, 247-pounds>
Travis Kelce, the current undisputed tight end champion of the world, ranked as the TE 1 in the previous two seasons. Kelce has an 86.2-percent (No. 5) Snap Share, 22.4-percent (No. 4) Target Share, 98 (No. 1) targets, 720 (No. 23) Air Yards, a 7.3 (No. 14) Average Target Distance, and 353 (No. 1) Unrealized Air Yards. What’s particularly interesting is that Kelce’s 75.5-percent (No. 23) Catchable Target Rate and 90.5-percent (No. 14) True Catch Rate are super close to Mike Gesicki’s marks.
Those are very comparable numbers for two tight ends that were drafted nine rounds apart. Now, I know what you might be saying.
“But Seth, Travis Kelce will have Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball for the rest of his career! Mike Gesicki is stuck with Tua Tagovailoa or Jacoby Brissett or some other below average quarterback!”
This is the part where I say I agree, but Gesicki is due to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the Dolphins have already drafted another tight end (Hunter Long) to take his place. My guess is Gesicki won’t be sticking around Miami. There are many tight end needy teams. How about the Green Bay Packers, assuming Aaron Rodgers stays, the Tennessee Titans, or the Los Angeles Chargers? Gesicki is going to have his pick, and even with a less than ideal situation, he was as high as TE3 on the season.
<editors note: While Kelce “only” has an 11.51 (60th-percentile) Agility Score at 6-5, 260-pounds, we could predict that he would be a star due to his insane college efficiency metrics>
My prediction is Mike Gesicki will gradually fall down the ranks this year as Miami’s quarterback struggles will continue. He will finish anywhere from No. 5 to No. 10 in fantasy scoring, but his ADP won’t reflect his true upside. Gesicki is without a doubt the least sexy, most sexy, tight end in fantasy football. It doesn’t make sense to me. His metrics are off the charts, the production is there, and his quarterback stinks. My guess is next year he will be overshadowed by players like T.J. Hockenson, Kyle Pitts, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, and of course Travis Kelce. However, Gesicki will be the best value tight end drafted, and has a good chance to be the best tight end in fantasy football.
Obviously, a lot depends on the landing spot, but Gesicki looks a lot like Kelce to me. Remember, it took Kelce a while to break out too, around age 27. Just saying.