Can Noah Fant make a year-three leap?

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We have finally reached the last weekend to draft. After weeks of research, adjustments and preseason action, we're on the cusp of the 2021 NFL and fantasy football seasons. Given the high volume of drafts that will be completed today and tomorrow, we're taking one last look at one of fantasy's thinnest positional groups. Of course, that means we'll be talking about tight ends. With elite options at the very top and a number of high-ceiling options behind them, it's a particularly important year for managers to have a sound understanding of the TE landscape before and during drafts.

At NBC Sports EDGE, we're striving to give you the tools to guide you to winning your league's fantasy football championship. Aimed at giving you the knowledge you need to make the best draft decisions in a wide variety of formats — from projections, rankings, league sync, tiers, sleepers and busts to exclusive expert columns — this year's edition is the finest we've ever produced.

For a taste of what our Draft Guide has to offer, we've given sneak-peeks into a variety of the tools available in our 2021 NFL Draft Guide, from the NBC Sports EDGE+ Premium package. We have already featured our first expert mock draft, sleepers, overall half-PPR rankings, half-PPR RB rankings, half-PPR WR rankings, QB Dynasty Rankings and RB Dynasty Rankings for 2021, look at our updated QB Tiers. Today we're diving the latest RB tiers.

With our positional tiers, you gain a well-rounded understanding of a given player's value within their respective position group. Featuring expert breakdowns and keynotes for the players in each tier, we're confident our TE tiers can help you identify your top targets for every draft before Thursday's kickoff. Whether you're targeting a proven, elite option like Darren Waller or an upside pick like Noah Fant, this year's crop of tier three TEs can offer affordable late-round prices with upside. This preview features tight ends in tier three.

Check it out:

Tier Three

11. Noah Fant - DEN

12. Robert Tonyan - GB

13. Mike Gesicki - MIA

14. Evan Engram - NYG

15. Anthony Firkser - TEN

16. Rob Gronkowski - TB

Fant’s surrounding cast of mouths to feed is stronger than anyone else in the second tier, which nudges him down to this group even though we should expect a year-three leap in talent alone, especially if there’s a quarterback change ahead of Week 1. The 27-year-old Tonyan emerged from nowhere to break out with 52/586/11 — the last number tied Kelce for the league lead — after totaling just 14/177/2 through his first two seasons. Even so, another top-four finish is an impossible task since he averaged just 3.3 catches and 36.6 yards per game. Gesicki was much more efficient with Ryan Fitzpatrick (24/395/3, 9.4 yards per target) but he did total 29/308/3 on 43 targets from Tua Tagovailoa. Engram appeared in all 16 games for the first time in his career, but only had career-low averages in receptions (3.9) and yards (40.9) to show for it. Firkser notably saw nine and seven targets in the only two games Jonnu Smith, who has since signed with New England, was either injured during or absent for in 2020. Gronkowski also appeared in every game but caught three or fewer passes in 11-of-16 outings.

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