2017 Fantasy Football Rankings - Tight Ends
1. Rob Gronkowski - Gronk was absolutely ridiculous last year. Gronk averaged 21 yards per catch. 21! He’s really amazing but the elephant in the room with Gronkowski is his proneness to injury. He’s currently going at the back end of round 2 in ADP. It’s a risk but he’s no more or less risky than anyone else in round 2 to be honest. They all have warts but none of Gronkowski’s are performance related. If he plays 16 games you have a leg up every single week. Unfortunately you do have to hold your breath whenever he is hit. Scared money don’t make money though.
2. Travis Kelce - Since the aforementioned Gronk was hurt last season and that opened the door for Kelce to finish #1 amongst tight ends. When Jeremy Maclin sat last season, Kelce’s average yards per game went up 30 and he caught three more passes a game on average. His ceiling will always be somewhat limited by the quarterback and the limited point scoring ceiling for the offense but he’s the safest tight end in fantasy if you ask me. He has the most ideal combination of ceiling and floor of any of these guys.
3. Jordan Reed - If you told me that we could get Jordan Reed a new body and thus increase the likelihood of him playing even 14 games, I’d honestly rank him #1. He’s led the league in points per game in PPR formats at tight end for each of the last three seasons but he just can’t stay healthy. You have to take Reed with the intentions of using him for less than a whole season. If you can live with that and ride out the production while it’s there, then Reed is for you.
4. Greg Olsen - Picking between Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham was harder than it needed to be for me but here we are. Similar to Kelce, Olsen’s floor is incredibly stable and the man never gets hurt. The Panthers have added a bunch of new weapons but I don’t think that affects Olsen much especially when it probably means more time in the slot from him. He’s a matchup nightmare and has been incredibly productive when running routes from there.
5. Jimmy Graham - The durability is the biggest reason I have Graham at five instead of four. Jimmy claims to feel a whole lot better than last season which is believable since he was coming off a major injury and I feel like there’s some touchdown progression coming for him. Graham is too big and talented to not be used more inside the 10 yard line. I think the Seahawks fix that.
6.Kyle Rudolph - Rudolph is a weird case because it feels like he’s been around forever and he finally had a really good season. Given the type of throws Sam Bradford likes to make and Rudolph’s abilities, I’d be fairly shocked if he started living like he was before 2016. And even if he does, most of the draft community doesn’t believe he can replicate what he did so his ADP is very reasonable. His second half pace last year over a full season = 100 catches 1000 yards 6 TD.
7. Tyler Eifert - Eifert has scored 18 touchdowns in his last 21 games. Touchdowns are absolutely paramount for a fantasy tight end. He’s another one with injury issues but he has 12 touchdowns kind of upside. Take him and pray.
8. Eric Ebron - I know, I know. You took Eric Ebron the last two years and were disappointed and thus you’re over it and subsequently over him. He’s 23 years old and still really productive from a historical perspective when comparing him to other tight ends that age. If he caught the same five touchdowns he caught in 2015, he’d have been the #8 tight end. With Boldin gone, you’d think his redzone work would increase thus facilitating that touchdown progression. Just view Ebron with an open mind.
9. Zach Ertz - Ertz closes out every season with a bang and last season was no different as he was the number one tight end in fantasy over the last month of the season. Without Jordan Matthews in the fold, you would think Ertz would be more involved in the middle of the field which could lead to more catches. In PPR formats, it’s within a reasonable range of outcomes that Ertz finishes as a top 5 PPR tight end.
10. Jack Doyle - Andrew Luck loves throwing the ball to tight ends and Doyle averaged the most yards per route run of any tight end not named Rob Gronkowski. I know Luck’s injury status is a huge concern but just take Doyle at the built in discount and hope for the best.
11. Martellus Bennett - Picking between Bennett and Henry was difficult. I’m not big fans of either one but Bennett doesn’t have another tight end ready to steal off his plate. Bennett will probably be over drafted and I will have no exposure because well… he’s put up one great statistical season in the NFL and Aaron Rodgers doesn’t utilize his tight end as much as Tom Brady does and Bennett wasn’t even that good last year. That said, he might mess around and put together multiple touchdown weeks and give you a boost.
12. Hunter Henry - Henry scored eight touchdowns on 36 receptions. I don’t think that is sustainable to score touchdowns on 22% of your catches and Antonio Gates is still there to eat into some of his targets. Maybe he has a breakout and Gates turns out to be an insignificant factor but I can’t see it. He’s a touchdown dependent, plug and play type.
13. Delanie Walker - Walker is the type to get you 60/700/5. The Titans drafted Corey Davis and signed Eric Decker so that might cut into Walker’s touchdowns. He’s a relatively boring tight end at this point.
14. Jason Witten - He has finished inside the top 12 fantasy tight ends for 13 years. My guy is going to catch 5 yard hooks until the very end.
15. Charles Clay - His percentage of team targets was fifth among tight ends. With Sammy Watkins out, one wonders if that could stand to go up. Even if it doesn’t, he’s a boring TE2 who can give you TE1 weeks.
16. Coby Fleener - Fleener is clearly not good at football and I know many of us got burned but at least this year he’s practically free and the Saints lost a lot of targets from last year’s squad. There are worse ways to use a 14th rounder.
17. Antonio Gates - Antonio Gates seems like a cinch for five or so touchdowns. I’m not even sure what else you can reasonably expect from him.
18. Austin Hooper - Starting tight end for what’s supposed to be one of the best passing offenses in football. I think he’s being slept on a little bit assuming he’s on the field the majority of the time.
19. Austin Sefarian Jenkins - This is where we are now.
20. Benjamin Watson - If you take him, just don’t bother watching Joe Flacco play football.
21. Cameron Brate - I think people are sleeping on his potential volume given that he’s essentially the Buccaneers slot receiver at the current juncture. Winston and Brate also have a rapport.
22. O.J. Howard - I think he’s more intriguing from a keeper/dynasty perspective than season long. I think he will be used to block way more than most think.
23. Jessie James - There will be the one random 6/70/2 game from James this year. Outside of that, there’s not much here.
24.David Njoku - Apparently he’s been struggling in camp but he’s a rookie tight end. These things are expected. I don’t expect any impact from him this year either.
25. Dwayne Allen - Gronkowski insurance.
26. C.J. Fiedorowicz - Find you a woman that loves you the way Brock Osweiler loved checking down to the tight end last season. Anyway, I think he can return value if Tom Savage plays longer than all of us expect.
27. Julius Thomas - Damn, remember when this guy was the second tight end being taken off boards? That was three years ago and it feels like a decade ago.
28. Evan Engram - He probably blocks better than Ereck Flowers.
29. Jared Cook - I remember when Cook was on breakout lists for like five years straight. He could catch five or so touchdowns from Mr. Carr this year.
30. Gerald Everett - Sean Mcvay likes him and he’s super athletic. Those two things are enough for him to be included on this list.
31. A.J. Derby - Jake Butt probably isn’t ready to make an impact for a while and Mike McCoy apparently makes the tight ends an emphasis in his offense. This is a name to monitor
32. Vernon Davis - Jordan Reed insurance.