I'm usually not a proponent of carrying multiple TEs in most leagues, but it was an impressively dire week 1 for a lot of usual reliables, and injuries have opened up some intriguing options. Curious what everyone else thinks of Jonnu Smith and Ian Thomas, who are now going to step in for consensus top-8 guys at the position.
Jonnu Smith is pretty exciting to me. He's super-talented, and Tennessee targeted the tight end 12 times in week 1. Luke Stocker isn't much of anything. Smith has already shown his abilities, most notably on that crazy screen TD he scored last year as rookie, running through half of a defense from 20+ yards out. Walker was the only other guy Mariota looked at more than 3 times besides Corey Davis and Dion Lewis, and had 7 targets before he was lost for the season.
The elephant in the room is whether Mariota is hurt enough to get Gabbert some starts...but Gabbert also made Ricky Seals-Jones look pretty darn good at the end of last year. The smaller elephant is that OC Matt LaFleuer barely used the TE with the Rams last season--under 100 total targets for the whole group--but that roster had a lot more at WR than this Tennessee team.
I don't know that we can draw many conclusions for a weird twice-delayed game full of injuries that started at 1 and finished at 7:30 pm, but I do see a pretty clear path to 6 targets/week for Smith, and the potential to eventually become the #2 target behind Davis.
Ian Thomas has the physical profile and opportunity in a so-so Carolina lineup. I'm intrigued but less interested in rostering him in redraft than Smith, simply because it seems to me that Cam Newton has typically targeted Greg Olsen because he's Greg Olsen, not because he's a tight end. Ed Dickson had one big game last year when Olsen was out, but otherwise didn't make any noise, and Funchess is already a tight-end-sized target who does all right in the red zone. Still, Thomas is also way more of a move TE than Ed Dickson ever was, so there might be something there.
Any one else have thoughts on these guys?