Over the last few years, tight ends have ceased to become as important as they once were, and it all stems from one key issue: Outside of Travis Kelce, they simply don’t produce enough points for you to key in on them earlier in drafts.
This really isn’t caused by anything other than the talent pool among skill position players becoming deeper, as more teams draft wide receivers that get more playing time, or teams choose to have their tight end focus on blocking more than pass-catching.
A way to fix the tight end position has entered the conversation in recent years, though, and it helps to ensure that tight ends don’t just get passed over in favor of you drafting your WR3 or a flex option.
That league setting is called tight end premium, or tight end bonus scoring.
What is the Tight End Bonus Strategy?
Simply put, tight end bonus leagues emphasize the points that tight ends accrue on receptions or yards. The most common league setting we’ll see in this format is that tight ends receive 1.5 points for every reception they get, as opposed to 1 point per reception that running backs and wide receivers get in that league.
You won’t see it as much as some other league settings, given that not every platform currently offers the scoring.
With TE Bonus scoring, you may opt to draft premium tight ends at least a round earlier than you normally would, capitalizing on the current scarcity of the position in order to have an edge on your draftmates.
Best Tight Ends To Target With this Strategy
Simply put, you don’t want to go too overboard with tight end premium scoring.
Remember, the position is already pretty scarce. After the top ten or so options, the field thins out a bunch and the options start to become little more than dart throws.
You have to pick your spots wisely with this scoring and make sure you don’t draft a tight end simply for the sake of drafting a tight end due to the scoring instead of drafting, say, a rookie wide receiver who has a higher ceiling.
📈 Draft the best tight ends using our fantasy football rankings.
Tight End Bonus Strategy Risks and Rewards
As mentioned above, the biggest risk you take with tight end bonus scoring is that you may pass on a safer option with a potentially higher ceiling in favor of a tight end who may not be quite as good but you feel has a solid chance of scoring just as many points as the player you pass on.
Take, for example, Pat Freiermuth, who currently goes as the TE9 in PPR drafts. About a round before him, you may find players like Jahan Dotson, Marquise Brown, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
With the TE Bonus, Freiermuth may seem just as valuable as these players, but their ceilings will often surpass his, even with the extra half-point per reception that is standard for these leagues.
You have to weigh the pros and cons, and in a situation like this, it may be worth waiting a couple of rounds and grabbing two tight ends for a cheaper cost but have similar upside.
More often than not, you will find that TE Bonus will mostly make a difference only to the elite tight ends. Kelce, for example, is worth a high first-round pick with TE Bonus scoring.
TE Bonus Advice & Tips
What is TE Bonus scoring?
Tight end bonus scoring, also known as tight end premium, is a scoring format where the tight end position gets greater than the standard amount of points allotted to tight ends per reception. The standard will be 1.5 points per reception to tight ends, a half-point per reception increase.
How should I construct my roster in TE Bonus scoring leagues?
You should construct your roster seemingly as you would in a normal scoring format. Just be aware that tight ends will tend to be drafted up to multiple rounds earlier than usual due to scarcity and assumed points output.
Be prepared to have to reach on elite tight ends, like Kelce or Mark Andrews.
Can I afford to wait on the tight end position in TE Bonus leagues?
In short, yes you can. Players will definitely reach on tight ends, but you can take advantage by scooping up strong value plays at other positions, and then waiting until later in your draft to take a tight end (or multiple).
The later you wait, the more recommended it is to take multiple high-upside tight end picks.