Irv Smith Jr. Fantasy Outlook Provides Top-12 TE Potential in 2021

Irv Smith Jr.'s fantasy outlook provides top-12 TE potential in 2021.
Irv Smith Jr.'s fantasy outlook provides top-12 TE potential in 2021. / Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Tight end is one of the toughest positions to draft in fantasy football. The options quickly become very shallow once the big names are gone. Irv Smith Jr. of the Minnesota Vikings remains an underrated late-round flyer heading into the fall and has the potential to finish as a top-12 TE in 2021.

Irv Smith Jr. Fantasy Outlook

Smith may not be a household name quite yet, but he has the chance to become a go-to target for quarterback Kirk Cousins. With veteran Kyle Rudolph out of town, the third-year pro is now No. 1 on the depth chart and should take on a bigger role under first-year offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak.

The former Alabama Crimson Tide has racked up over 300 receiving yards on 30 receptions in each of his two NFL seasons. Smith also scored 5 touchdowns in 2020 and has averaged a solid 10.2 yards per catch in 29 games played overall. It looks as if the Vikings tight end is just getting started.

The upside Smith possesses comes from his opportunity to make an impact down in the red zone. Defenses will likely be looking to shut down the receiving duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, which means Smith can use his size (6-foot-2, 242 pounds) to create mismatches in coverage.

In fact, Smith already saw 12 red zone targets last season. That total tied for the second-most amongst Minnesota receivers and proves he has what it takes to exceed expectations.

Irv Smith Jr. ADP

Smith has an average draft position of No. 117 overall and No. 11 amongst TEs in PPR leagues, according to FantasyPros. The 23-year-old can battle for TE1 status this season and comes with a lot more upside than others drafted around him including the likes of Evan Engram and Tyler Higbee.

Smith checks in at TE16 in The Duel's 2021 fantasy football rankings.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.