TE Evan Engram | New York Giants | 2nd Year
2017 Stats: 64 receptions, 722 yards, 6 TD
In a 3-13 season, Evan Engram was one of few bright spots for the New York Giants last year. He finished in rare air among rookie tight ends, with the sixth-most yards (722) and third-most catches (64) ever and only one (Jeremy Shockey-2002) has surpassed him in both categories among rookie tight ends since 2000.
Engram did hit a bit of a rookie wall at a fairly inopportune time for his fantasy owners, with a total of four catches for 27 yards in Week 11 and 12. But he rebounded with seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in Week 13 against the Raiders (also known as the game Geno Smith started). Then a rib injury cut short Engram’s Week 16 (one catch for 12 yards), and he missed Week 17.
Engram had the second-most targets among tight ends last year (115), behind only Travis Kelce. He finished as the fifth-highest scoring tight end in ESPN PPR leagues (173.6 points), despite scoring just one touchdown after Week 10 and having more than four catches just twice in his last six games (less than five fantasy points three times in that span).
Assuming Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy all season, and he’s not traded, Engram’s target volume is sure to drop. But he did have 25 targets in the three full games he played with Beckham last year, and 26.5 percent of the Giants’ target share from last year is gone (161 of 607, leaving out one pass attempt by running back Shane Vereen). Rookie running back Saquon Barkley will step into a fair chunk of that, with Vereen, Orleans Darkwa and Paul Perkins leaving behind 91 targets from 2017. Beckham will also carry heavy volume, but some of his return to a typical target share will lead to a reduction for someone like Roger Lewis (72 targets last year).
Last season’s 7.7 targets per game looks like the high-water mark for Engram this year. But he also had a poor catch rate (55.7 percent), aided by 11 drops to lead all tight ends. Engram used those drops as a motivating factor through the offseason, for what that’s worth.
Engram is TE6 off the board in Fantasy Football Calculator 12-team mock drafts right now (pick 6.03-standard scoring; pick 6.06-PPR scoring). That’s obviously solid TE1 territory, with a repeat of last year’s numbers in mind. But there’s room for upside, with an easy to project catch rate improvement and the Giants’ offense all but sure to improve this year. I’m not quite there in my projection, but Engram is a darkhorse to finish as this year’s highest scoring fantasy tight end.