Chan Gailey doesn’t have a history of using tight ends, but he also hasn’t had a good history of… tight ends. Tony Gonzalez was the one notable guy he had, and he gave him his career high in targets in 2008 as OC of the Chiefs. Scott Chandler was also somewhat of a thing when the Bills had absolutely no WRs in 2012 outside of Stevie Johnson. He was 2nd in receiving yards on the Bills that year, but that isn’t what’s promising.
What is promising, is Gailey’s willingness to run tight ends out of the slot, especially if he has one as athletic as Gesicki. We’re not comparing him to Tony Gonzalez, but Gonzalez lined up in the slot almost 80% of the time in Gailey’s lone year with him (2008), jumping Gonzalez’s usage there by 100% from the year prior (2007, 40% slot). It shot right back down to 49% in 2009 when he left to the Falcons. Chandler also lined up in the slot about 60% of the time under Gailey in 2011 (6th in NFL among TEs), and 73% in 2012 (3rd in NFL among TEs).
Mike Gesicki might be entering somewhat of a perfect storm, as he also lined up out of the slot a ton in 2019 at a rate of 72%, which ranked 1st among all TEs. He lined up in the slot more than 100 snaps more than the next tight end. He was 4th among TEs in receiving yards from the slot, only behind Mark Andrews, Jared Cook, and Travis Kelce. He was 2nd in targets and receptions among TEs coming out of the slot last year, as well, only behind Mark Andrews.
Gesicki and DeVante Parker can very well be the top two target funnels for this offense, whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa under center, especially with Preston Williams currently rehabbing a torn ACL. If you’re worried about the rookie taking over, Tyler Thigpen was the QB who gave Tony G his career high in targets under Gailey, so Tua should be able to keep Gesicki fantasy relevant.
With Gesicki improving noticeably from Year 1 to Year 2, his Year 3 can be his breakout given the situation he finds himself in.
Spoiler alert… it’s looking pretty good for DeVante Parker, too.