I have some interest in Irv Smith. He’s not as heralded as the other second-year tight ends (T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant) but he has some of the same selling points.
The Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs, so they’re going to need others to play a bigger role in the passing game. Adam Thielen will be their No. 1 option, but they’ll need some others to be involved. Smith should be one of those guys.
Minnesota also has Kyle Rudolph at tight end, of course. But I think they’ll use two tight ends on most downs, and Smith has good receiving ability. He came on some last year. After a slow start in his first five games, he caught 30 passes in his next 10.
Picking through the historical numbers, I see the trends are pretty good for second-year tight ends who catch 30-40 passes as rookies (so this is one that applies not only to Smith but also Fant and Hockenson).
Of the last 30 tight ends to catch 30-40 passes as rookies, 70 percent of them ranked higher (using PPR scoring) in their second season. Over half (16) of these 30 tight ends ranked in the top-10 in their second year (cumulative scoring, using PPR scoring). Of those 16, all but three were players who didn’t rank in the top 10 in their first year.
I’m not advertising Irv Smith as a player who should be starting for your team in a fantasy league. But he makes sense as a late-round pick in a reserve role. Some chance he develops into something serviceable.
In the chart below, the tight ends who got worst (using PPR scoring) are tagged with black dots. Three of them are guys who hardly played at all because of injuries (Eifert, Amaro, Herndon). Two others served mainly as backups (Shea, Thomas).
|SOPHOMORE TIGHT ENDS WITH PROMISE|
|1988||Ferrell Edmunds, Mia.||33-575-3||32-382-3||-18%|
|1990||Eric Green, Pitt.||34-387-7||41-582-6||18%|
|1994||• Andrew Jordan, Min.||35-336-0||27-185-2||-19%|
|1996||Rickey Dudley, Oak.||34-386-4||48-787-7||75%|
|1997||Tony Gonzalez, K.C.||33-368-2||59-621-2||59%|
|1998||• Stephen Alexander, Was.||37-383-4||29-324-3||-20%|
|2000||Bubba Franks, G.B.||34-363-1||36-322-9||60%|
|2000||• Aaron Shea, Cle.||30-302-2||14-86-0||-69%|
|2001||• Eric Johnson, S.F.||40-362-3||36-321-0||-29%|
|2002||Randy McMichael, Mia.||39-485-4||49-598-3||13%|
|2002||• Doug Jolley, Oak.||32-409-2||31-250-1||-27%|
|2003||Jason Witten, Dall.||35-347-1||87-980-6||195%|
|2004||Ben Troupe, Ten.||33-329-1||55-530-4||84%|
|2004||Chris Cooley, Was.||37-314-6||71-774-7||82%|
|2005||Bo Scaife, Ten.||37-273-2||29-370-3||12%|
|2005||Heath Miller, Pitt.||39-459-6||34-393-5||-15%|
|2006||Owen Daniels, Hou.||34-352-5||63-768-3||59%|
|2007||Greg Olsen, Chi.||39-391-2||54-574-5||54%|
|2009||Brandon Pettigrew, Det.||30-346-2||71-722-4||118%|
|2010||Jimmy Graham, N.O.||31-356-5||99-1310-11||205%|
|2013||Zach Ertz, Phil.||36-469-4||58-702-3||37%|
|2013||Mychal Rivera, Oak.||38-407-4||58-534-4||32%|
|2013||• Tyler Eifert, Cin.||39-445-2||3-37-0||-93%|
|2014||• Jace Amaro, NYJ||38-345-2||DNP||-100%|
|2016||Hunter Henry, S.D.||36-478-8||45-579-4||-4%|
|2017||David Njoku, Cle.||32-386-4||56-639-4||52%|
|2018||Mark Andrews, Balt.||34-552-3||64-852-10||95%|
|2018||Dallas Goedert, Phil.||33-334-4||58-607-5||64%|
|2018||• Ian Thomas, Car.||36-333-2||16-136-1||-56%|
|2018||• Chris Herndon, NYJ||39-502-4||1-7-0||-98%|
|2019||Noah Fant, Den.||40-562-3||?-?-?||?|
|2019||Irv Smith, Min.||36-311-2||?-?-?||?|
|2019||T.J. Hockenson, Det.||32-367-2||?-?-?||?|
|2019||Kaden Smith, NYG||31-268-3||?-?-?||?|