Jonnu Smith
The Jonnu Smith fantasy breakout season is coming. 2020 feels like the year Smith can become the next Mark Andrews and burst onto the scene. (Will Newton/Getty)

I always love looking for that fantasy breakout tight end. I’ve swung and missed in the past but last year I hit in a big, big way. I scooped up Mark Andrews for $1 buck and signed him long term. My only regret was not doubling down and taking Darren Waller to go along with him whom I was high on prior to the season. There are a lot of names out there that I like this year but Jonnu Smith is standing out like a sore thumb.

The Jonnu Smith fantasy breakout season is coming in 2020. Just gear up for it. For starters, Delanie Walker is gone and so are his 30 targets from a year ago. For the first time in his career, Smith is the number one tight end for the first time in his career. That matters.

Smith doesn’t have a lengthy track record of success but his athleticism and small sample size is encouraging. Smith wasn’t a player I was head over heels in love with coming out of the draft but certainly thought he had a shot to develop. Just from the little I’ve seen thus far in the NFL, he looks like someone who’s going to make it.

The former Florida International tight end is explosive. There’s no denying that. In 2018, Smith averaged 12.9 yards per catch and 12.5 this past year. Those are both really excellent marks. Only 4 other tight ends can say they averaged at least 12.5 yards per catch the last 2 years. Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, O.J. Howard, and Jared Cook qualify. Jonnu Smith also fits into that group.

Smith, 24, ranked 2nd in yards per target and 8th in total yards after the catch despite ranking 24th in receptions at the position. Smith also broke 14 tackles this season. That ranked 3rd at the tight end position. Only George Kittle and Travis Kelce had more broken tackles. The only difference is, Smith did so on 35 receptions.

The Titans are not the sexiest offense to be part of for pass catchers in fantasy. AJ Brown will be fine but the others have not had much success in past years. Smith can change that. The Titans targeted their tight end 25 percent of the time last year which ranked 8th in the NFL. Nobody really trusts Corey Davis, Adam Humphries is a nobody, and Tajae Sharpe bounced in free agency. Who else is getting thrown the ball?

The other good news is that Tennessee likes Smith. How do I know? How many tight ends get carries in an offense? Smith got 4 rushing attempts last year and actually carved out 78 yards out of it. The Titans like Smith a lot and realistically he could be a 2nd or 3rd running back on the depth chart. Not a joke.

That doesn’t mean Smith is a lock to breakout. You’re looking for dart throws and smart dart throws. This is a smart one to take a swing at in fantasy.

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