Until Nick Vannett finds meaningful playing time, Fantasy managers shouldn't bother adding him to rosters.
Vannett anticipates having chances to make plays in the passing game with New Orleans. "I'm just excited for being in this system, especially as a tight end." Vannett said during minicamp. "I think they do a great job of really giving us a legit shot of making plays in this system." Spending time with Seattle, Pittsburgh and Denver since being drafted out of Ohio State in 2016, Vannett never topped 20 receptions in a season in college and has only done it once through five years in the pros. While New Orleans' Sean Payton represents the first offensive-minded head coach that Vannett will play under in the NFL, the potency of the Saints offense going forward largely hinges on the ability of Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill to replace future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees. While Vannett should see plenty of playing time this year after the Saints decided against further bolstering the tight end position through the draft, the 28-year-old seems significantly less likely to emerge as a fantasy asset compared to Adam Trautman, who racked up 916 yards and 14 touchdowns during his final season at Dayton in 2019.
Vannett agreed Wednesday with the Saints on a three-year contract, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. The Saints let Jared Cook and Josh Hill go this offseason, so Vannett is part of their plans to replace them. Vannett suited up in 15 games with the Broncos last season, recording 14 receptions for 95 yards a touchdown while playing second fiddle to top tight end Noah Fant. The 28-year-old will need to compete with 2020 third-round pick Adam Trautman for the top spot on the depth chart in New Orleans, though both players should have roles on offense. The Saints could also add more competition at the position through the draft.
Vannett has been released by the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports. Vannett was to slated to earn $2.678 million this coming season, so the move frees up some extra cap room for the Broncos. The 28-year-old hauled in 14 of his 21 targets for 95 yards and a TD in 15 games last year, while earning most of his keep with his blocking. He'll look to catch on elsewhere as a depth tight end.
Vannett brought in 14 passes of 21 targets for 95 yards and a score in 15 games during the 2020 campaign. Vannett stepped up a bit following the season-ending knee injury to fellow tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. The 27-year-old had three of his four multi-catch games during the final six contests of the season, including a four reception outing in Week 13 against Carolina. He did well in providing QB Drew Lock with a safety blanket underneath. The question heading into 2021 is whether that's worth $3.6 million against the cap when cutting him would cost just $875,000. Vannett is a strong blocker and a solid veteran presence, but he might be squeezed out with returning youngsters Noah Fant, Andrew Beck and Okwuegbunam.
Vannett didn't catch his lone target in Sunday's 48-19 loss to the Bills. Vannett logged 16 snaps on offense, finishing behind Noah Fant (44) and Troy Fumagalli (19). Fant was the only position mate to catch a pass, however, as he finished with an 8-68-1 line on 11 targets. Vannett and Fumagalli will continue to compete for the No. 2 role in Denver's offense, and it could simply shape up as a timeshare moving forward.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/12||Green Bay Packers||5||5.78|
|3||09/26||@New England Patriots||7||6.13|
|4||10/03||New York Giants||11||6.63|
|5||10/10||@Washington Football Team||9||6.47|
|8||10/31||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||21||7.80|
|14||12/12||@New York Jets||32||11.25|
|15||12/19||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||21||7.80|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||29||20||177||1||9||8.85||23|