Tight End is a crucial position in PPR formats. With receptions being counted as points, fantasy owners will want to take a look at guys who get plenty of opportunities to catch the ball. My top 10 list will be graded off of the player’s offensive system, quarterback throwing the ball, last year statistics, team schedule, and the ability they have at the TE position(route running, catching, speed etc.).
1. Rob Gronkowski- By far the number 1 tight end on my list, Gronk has all the skills you look for in a tight end. With elite size and speed along with great route running and huge hands, Gronk is nearly impossible to cover on the field. Especially towards the end of the season when Brady starts heating up fantasy wise, look for Gronk to dominate in the red zone once again like every other year. This was an easy decision putting Gronk as number 1 and all fantasy owners should do the same heading into fantasy drafts.
Draft Projection- Mid to Late 1st round pick.
2. Jimmy Graham- Not too sure how I feel about Jimmy being traded to the Seahawks. Going from a pass happy offense in the Saints to a run heavy offense in Seattle, it will be interesting to see how Jimmy Graham does fantasy wise. I still expect him to get a ton of red zone looks like he did with the Saints, but maybe look for his catches and yards to go down a little bit. Also Jimmy will have to stay healthy to be among the elite for fantasy tight ends. All that being said, Jimmy has the talent to be elite but can he do it again with his new team?
Draft Projection- Early 3rd round pick.
3. Greg Olsen- Greg continues to be an elite tight end every year. With him being Cam Newton’s most reliable target, Olsen should be among the elites once again. With possibly the best route running for a tight end and solid speed, Greg is a mismatch for every team’s secondary. With over 1,000 yards and 84 catches, if Olsen could just get his touchdowns closer to 10 instead of 6, he could easily overtake Jimmy Graham for the number 2 tight end spot.
Draft Projection- Mid to Late 5th round pick.
4. Travis Kelce- Mr. Kelce burst onto the scene last year, really showing fantasy owners his capability. With similar traits to Gronk, Travis is a huge mismatch for defensive secondaries. Standing at 6’7 with great speed for a tight end, I am glad to see the Chiefs are finally getting the hint to use this guy more. Look for Travis Kelce to improve once again statistic wise as the Chiefs are going to be looking his way even more in the red zone with Travis being the clear cut number 1 tight end in Kansas City. Also playing in the AFC West, Kelce should have no issues having huge games with the Broncos,Chargers, and Raiders all who struggle against covering opposing tight ends.
Draft Projection- Early 6th round pick.
5. Antonio Gates- He may be getting a little old, but Antonio Gates sure showed fantasy owners that he has plenty left in the tank during last year. Gates who has had some foot issues in the past, dominated secondaries last year especially when it got to the red zone. Now it may be kind of tough to repeat another 12 touchdown season, but with Antonio being Phillip Rivers number 1 and clearly most reliable target, he should be around the 10 touchdown range by the time the season ends. Also, like mentioned in Kelce’s report, Gates plays in the AFC West as well. Antonio Gates has been tearing up the AFC West his whole career and fantasy owners should expect nothing less heading into this year.
Draft Projection- Early 8th round pick.
6. Martellus Bennett- Last season, Martellus finally showed fantasy owners what he is capable of doing. With 90 catches and over 900 yards along with 6 touchdowns, Marty B was among the elite in last year’s tight end class. The only reason I put Gates ahead of Bennett is because I want to see him have a great year once again to show consistency. With the departure of Brandon Marshall, Marty B will get to move up the food chain in Chicago. Expect his touchdowns to get closer to 10 next year with him being an excellent red zone target. Martellus has good size for a tight end and is a very physical route runner. He certainly has the potential to finish in the top 5 for tight ends, we just have to wait and see. Take a chance on Marty B with his late round value.
Draft Projection- Late 8th round pick.
7. Julius Thomas- We all know Julius is a touchdown machine in Denver, but can he do the same in Jacksonville with his new QB? Can Julius also go a full 16 games staying healthy? Those are the two biggest questions I have with Julius Thomas. Julius was a top 5 tight end last season, but with not having Peyton Manning throwing him the ball anymore, I just could not keep Julius in my top 5 list. Julius still has elite athleticism(possibly the most out of all tight ends) and should still see plenty of touchdown opportunities, but once again Peyton will not be throwing him the ball. Top 10 is where I have Julius ranked, as all fantasy owners should do the same. He still has great value with being a later round fantasy pick this year.
Draft Projection- Late 9th round pick.
8. Delanie Walker- Going from the 49ers to the Titans was certainly a great choice for Delanie Walker. Not much of a blocking tight end(which doesn’t matter in fantasy), Delanie is one of the best receiving tight ends in the game. With a solid 63 catches and 890 yards, Delanie shows that he is a reliable target in Tennessee. The only thing that scares me is his red zone opportunities with only having 4 touchdowns all of last year. With new talent coming into the Titans receiving core, I expect the yardage and catches to maybe drop a little, but with the defenses focusing less on Walker, expect him to see more touchdown chances. Fantasy owners should treat Walker as a top 10 tight end which I expect him to finish as.
Draft Projection- Late 10th to Early 11th round pick.
9. Jason Witten- It hurts me to put a future HOF in Jason Witten this low on the list, I just wish Dallas would use him more often in the passing game. One of the most reliable targets in the game, Jason has always been one of Romo’s go to guys. With excellent route running ability and great hands, Witten is one of the best tight ends in the game. But fantasy wise, with the low amount of chances he gets, Witten is just inside the top 10 on my list. I expect a little more usage from Witten with the departure of Demarco Murray, fantasy owners should expect more red zone chances for Mr. Witten.
Draft Projection- Early 12th round pick.
10. Owen Daniels- I have seen many tight end lists with Owen Daniels outside the top 10, around the 13 to 14 range but how? Do these people realize that Peyton Manning will be throwing him the ball? You can hardly ever go wrong with using Peyton’s number 1 tight end. Owen Daniels is also a vert talented tight end as well, with 527 yards and 4 touchdowns last year under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak(now head coach for Owen Daniels),he is certainly capable of being a top 10 fantasy tight end. He has tremendous value as well with being a later round selection. Fantasy owners will have to keep a close eye on Owen Daniels during the drafts.
Draft Projection- Mid to Late 14th round pick.