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Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends

Ranking the Top 32 tight ends for 2017.

NFL: Preseason-Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions
All the Ebron.
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For the past two years yours truly has contributed fantasy football rankings at FantasyPros with a host of the industry’s top experts. It an accomplished group, one that I am surprised they allowed me to join. Anyway, my first year’s overall accuracy ranking was about what you would expect (#101 of 122). Last season I improved to 42nd out of 125 experts, though. Actual growth or variance? Only time will tell.

Here at Fake Teams we offer in-season rankings for every fantasy football position during the season. Over the last two years my part in that has been tight end rankings. My first year with tight end accuracy was rough (last or close to it) but in 2016 I finished 10th of 125. What helped the most was identifying streaming candidates in quality matchups—especially those tied to elite or nearly elite quarterbacks. The key was being willing to rank those guys among the position’s elite during a given week, and fading some of the guys with high draft capital in tough matchups.

This year I aim to do it better, so make sure to follow along leading up to the season. Look for each week’s tight end rankings to come out prior to the Thursday Night Football game (Thursday afternoons, usually). Now without further ado, let’s check out my first pass at tight end rankings for the 2017 season.

Tight End Rankings

RANK PLAYER TEAM NOTES
RANK PLAYER TEAM NOTES
1 Rob Gronkowski NE You may question his health, but not his talent or his scoring upside.
2 Travis Kelce KC The top two options are pretty clear this year.
3 Greg Olsen CAR It is a battle of floor vs. upside with Olsen and Reed for the #3 spot.
4 Jordan Reed WAS The concussion history scares me, but his upside is undeniable.
5 Jimmy Graham SEA They want him more involved in the red-zone this year.
6 Eric Ebron DET The most obvious breakout candidate, ever.
7 Tyler Eifert CIN Eifert has 18 TDs over his last 21 games...problem is injuries, not talent.
8 Kyle Rudolph MIN Was tops among NFL tight ends with 132 targets in 2016.
9 Martellus Bennett GB An ironman who leaves Brady for A-Rod. Buy, buy, buy.
10 Delanie Walker TEN Love his QB, but he is 33 years old.
11 Zach Ertz PHI He gets a bump with Jordan Matthews gone to Buffalo. Philly's new slot WR!
12 Hunter Henry LAC If we knew he had more opportunity, he would be ranked far higher.
13 Jack Doyle IND He was the #13 TE in 2016 and Dwayne Allen is off to New England.
14 Cameron Brate TB Was #1 among NFL tight ends in yards per route run in '16.
15 Coby Fleener NO I don't like it either, but tight end is a cesspool. He is tied to Brees.
16 Jason Witten DAL Now I really don't like it. But Dez's tough CB schedule benefits Witten.
17 Austin Hooper ATL The Falcons did not re-sign Jacob Tamme. Is wed to Matt Ryan. Buy.
18 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU "Fedora" should see enough targets to matter (had 89 last year).
19 Charles Clay BUF Finished 2016 on fire and is now Tyrod's most familiar target.
20 Antonio Gates LAC Detecting a trend? Gates is ancient but he will be a threat in the red-zone.
21 Julius Thomas MIA Cutler and Bennett were once a solid pairing. Injury concerns here, though.
22 Austin Seferian-Jenkins NYJ Quincy Enunwa is lost for the season and ASJ is drawing rave reviews...
23 David Njoku CLE Of the rookie tight ends, I like his opportunity the best and his QBs the least.
24 Evan Engram NYG An uphill battle to contend with OBJ, Brandon Marshall, and Eli's inaccuracy.
25 Dwayne Allen NE The TE2 for New England...wouldn't use him unless Gronk was out.
26 O.J. Howard TB Brate is still the starter, Howard still the rookie tight end.
27 Jared Cook OAK Never seems to live up to his billing.
28 Jesse James PIT Not a generational talent, but he is starting in a high-octane offense.
29 Erik Swoope IND A candidate to move higher if he produces in the next few weeks.
30 Benjamin Watson BAL Would love to hear more positive news from BAL, who love using their TE.
31 Vernon Davis WAS Similar to Dwayne Allen--his value soars if Jordan Reed is out.
32 Tyler Higbee LAR Someone has to catch passes from Jared Goff...right?

Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter and let’s have a dialogue about where you agree or disagree. It’s almost time for football, ladies and gents!