Fantasy Football

Evan Engram Fantasy Preview 2023

Evan Engram

Engram was drafted 23rd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He played with the Giants for five seasons. In his rookie season, he played 15 games and had a career-high 115 targets and six touchdowns. In his last season with the Giants, Engram played 15 games and had 73 targets, 46 receptions, and three touchdowns. He also had six drops that season. For his career with the Giants, Engram had 23 drops, including 11 drops in 2020.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Engram as an unrestricted free agent last season. In the 2022 season with the Jaguars, he had career highs in receptions (73) and yards (766) on 98 targets. When Engram was targeted last season, Trevor Lawrence had a 111.4 passer rating and, during the season, Engram seemingly broke the curse and finished the season with only three drops.

Latest Odds

I am a DFS girl. There is nothing more satisfying than playing and winning in DFS. To help decide your lineups in DFS and redraft, you need to know a player’s odds for yards, receptions, or touchdowns. These are early odds but here are some of Underdog Fantasy’s pick ‘ems for Engram and a BetMGM long shot.

  • Higher/Lower: 625.5 Receiving Yards
  • Higher/Lower: 4 Receiving TDs
  • +2000 to win Offensive Player of the Year

Let’s start with the easy one; no tight end has ever won Offensive Player of the Year. If you insist on going crazy and bet a tight end will win the award, put your money on Travis Kelce, who is currently +3000.

Last season Engram had a career-high 766 receiving yards; before that, his second-best was his rookie season. In his 2017 rookie season Engram had 722 receiving yards, a 20% target share and 115 targets. Last season he had 98 targets with a 17.1% target share.

The Jaguars have added wide receiver, Calvin Ridley. Ridley’s last season was in 2021. In that season, Ridley had a 27.4% target share.

Last season in Jacksonville, Christian Kirk had a 23.2% target share, and Zay Jones had a 22.0% target share. Look for Engram to regress to his mean in receiving yards. Taking out the two seasonal outliers of over 700 yards would give Engram 526.5 receiving yards. Go under.

Engram has only had more than four receiving touchdowns in one season. In his rookie season, he had six receiving touchdowns. His four touchdowns last season were his second-highest total. It’s a push.

Current ADP

  • 88 overall
  • TE8

Last season Engram finished TE5 in PPR fantasy leagues and TE6 in standard leagues. According to fantasypros.com, he is going behind Kyle Pitts (TE5). Darren Waller (TE6) and Dallas Goedert (TE7).

The lower expectations are due to the arrival of Ridley. However, behind Pitts and the Atlanta Falcons, who averaged 32.9 rushing attempts per game while passing the ball, the second-fewest times in the league (24.4) seems a stretch.

Look for Engram’s floor to be TE10 and his ceiling to be TE8.

Fantasy Insights

Engram’s fantasy value is an indirect correlation to the arrival of Ridley. The Jaguars also drafted Penn State tight end Brenton Strange in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

When playing more than 10 games in the season, Ridley has had nine, seven, and 10 touchdowns. In addition to being a threat to Engram’s targets, Ridley threatens Engram’s touchdown ceiling. Last season Engram was targeted eight times in the red zone. Engram finished with four touchdowns. Again, the addition of Ridley potentially caps Engram’s targets in and out of the red zone.

Strange is currently listed third on the depth chart behind Engram and Luke Farrell. Last season Chris Manhertz and Dan Arnold were the other two tight ends on the field. In 17 games, Manhertz had eight targets with a 1.4% target share. In Arnold’s 17 games, he had 13 targets and a 2.3% target share.

Strange excels in yards after the catch. According to Lance Zierlein, Strange has  “pedestrian catch production and is an above-average runner after the catch. Strange gets after it as a lead blocker, in-line or in space. He could fly under the radar as a future starter…”. Strange and Farrell do not pose a threat to Engram’s production. Engram should easily lead the Jaguars’ tight ends in targets and routes run similar to last season. The question is how involved will the Jaguars’ tight ends be now that they have three receiving options at the wide receiver position?

 

Fantasy Value

Last season Engram finished as TE6 in standard and TE5 in PPR leagues. His current ADP has him as the eighth tight end taken off the fantasy board.

Per Sports Info Solutions, Engram was first among tight ends in catches on run-pass-option plays. His 17.8% target share was 14th among tight ends but was second in routes run. Engram led all non-running backs with 493 yards on targets of five yards or less. The Jaguars did not acquire a threat to Engram’s short-yardage volume. Their reluctance to use Travis Etienne (7.8% target share and 35 receptions) is a bonus for Engram.

However, Engram’s short-yardage volume may not be enough to sustain his fantasy value. Last season he was second for tight ends and 18th overall in yards after catch (465) but that is volume dependent. The Jaguars will move the ball downfield more capping Engram’s volume.

In the 2022 season, Engram scored 48.5% of his 177 fantasy points in Weeks 13-16. He was TE1 during that time. But in the other 13 weeks, he finished as TE25.

In Weeks 1-12, Engram had one touchdown. In Week 13, he had one touchdown, and in Week 14, he had two touchdowns. That coincides matches what the team was doing. The Jaguars were 18th in red zone touchdown percentage through the first eight games. Over the final three games, they rose that percentage to 10th.

Engram’s red zone percentage was 50%. He was targeted eight times and came away with four touchdowns. Don’t count on touchdowns to boost his fantasy value. Lower volume and touchdown ceiling at four lowers his overall fantasy ceiling.

Engram is 103rd overall and the 10th tight end off the fantasy board. The acquisition of Ridley is depressing Engram’s value. The good news is for a few weeks Engram will be better than the 10th tight end. In redraft leagues, his undervalued makes Engram a great acquisition in the later rounds.

 

Dynasty Value

Engram is 28 years old. He has just signed a $42.5 million contract to stay with the Jaguars for three years. The Jaguars are also trending upward. This year, they also acquired a (younger) tight end.

Engram is currently a buy-low candidate. If you can get him low now, do it because you will sell high mid-season. Sell high when Engram has his breakout in two or three games earlier while Ridley gets familiar with his new team.

Engram is 28, and by the end of this contract will be 31. Meanwhile, the 2023 NFL Draft was loaded with good tight ends, some of whom even ended up in advantageous locations. Dalton Kincaid in Buffalo, Sam LaPorta in Detroit, and Michael Mayer in Las Vegas will be better dynasty candidates, especially as first-year tight ends generally are not as productive in their first year.

 

Bold Prediction

This bold prediction comes to you solely from the mind of @gladysLtyler and is no reflection on Gridiron Experts. Engram will be a top-five fantasy producer in Weeks 1-5. He will then fall off and reside in the TE 12-15 for the season.

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