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Fantasy Football Rankings: Top-32 Tight Ends

Heath’s gives you his Top-32 tight ends in the fake game.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Football is almost here, people. I still have three drafts to complete. Procrastination is clearly my game.

I am excited about the season and preparing to offer my tight end rankings here at Fake Teams each week. Look for those to drop every Wednesday. For now, here are my Top-32 safety blankets clustered into tiers. If you are drafting this weekend, please use a tiered approach. Let’s get down to it.

Tier One

1 Rob Gronkowski

Many will group Kelce in the same tier as Gronk, but Gronk is in a league of his own. I do most of my drafts on Yahoo, where Gronkowski’s overall ADP is in the 30s. The best tight end in the game going in Round 3 is MONEY. Unless you don’t play for money—then it’s bragging rights for an entire year.

Tier Two

2 Travis Kelce

3 Greg Olsen

4 Jordan Reed

5 Jimmy Graham

Here ends my second group. For my part, I am passing on Kelce this year. You can get similar production much later (i.e. Rudolph). Olsen vs. Reed is the classic “floor versus upside” debate. You decide for yourself, but since I play mostly head-to-head leagues I value floor (Olsen) above the oft-injured upside (Reed). Graham is still going to make his way in Seattle, where there will be more of an effort to get him involved in the red-zone this year.

Tier Three

6 Kyle Rudolph

7 Zach Ertz

8 Martellus Bennett

9 Delanie Walker

10 Tyler Eifert

This tier is a microcosm of my floor preference. Rudolph was tops among tight ends with 132 targets last year, and his rapport with Bradford is undeniable. Ertz is in a far better position for targets now that the Eagles have unloaded Jordan Matthews. Aren’t we one Alshon Jeffery injury away from Ertz being the primary target in Philadelphia? Either way you slice it, Ertz is primed to receive a lot of volume in 2017. I am a little down on Walker due to his age (33) and to the additions the Titans have made in the passing game (Decker, Davis, Taylor). They want to run, too. How much can you really expect from him? That he is still my TE9 is a nod to his consistency and to his ELITE quarterback. Lastly, I can’t deny Eifert’s ability to score. I just won’t own much of him due to others targeting him more aggressively.

Tier Four

11 Eric Ebron

12 Hunter Henry

13 Jack Doyle

14 Austin Hooper

15 Coby Fleener

My favorite pick from this group is Austin Hooper, who is the TE18 in most places. The Falcons let his competition (Jacob Tamme) walk, so Hooper stands to gain a lot of value this season. I love tight ends who are attached to very good quarterback play, and Hooper fits that bill. Fleener does too, unfortunately. You will never feel good about drafting him, but he is an upside tight end play every week because of Drew Brees.

Tier Five

16 Cameron Brate

17 Jason Witten

18 Antonio Gates

19 Charles Clay

20 Julius Thomas

Ah, the wily veteran tier. If you made it this far you are officially rolling the dice if you are hunting for a starting-caliber tight end. Brate, Gates, and Thomas are all pretty touchdown-dependent, while Witten should return value based on yardage and consistency. Clay has a chance to be both—I like his chances as Tyrod Taylor’s most familiar target entering this year.

Tier Six

21 Evan Engram

22 C.J. Fiedorowicz

23 Austin Seferian-Jenkins

24 Zach Miller

25 David Njoku

26 Vance McDonald

27 Dwayne Allen

Count me as one of the group that understands Engram’s position is more wide receiver than it is “tight end.” He will make some splash plays this season, and that should be all it takes to finish as the top rookie tight end. I am intrigued by McDonald in Pittsburgh. He is a clear upgrade over Jesse James, who is now completely undraftable. Allen is a great dart-throw if you do not draft Rob Gronkowski. He would immediately become a TE1 every week if Gronk missed time, which we all know is possible. Again—you should hunt for tight ends that are attached to elite quarterbacks. Allen makes a lot of sense as a depth play if you have the bench space.

Tier Seven

28 O.J. Howard

29 Jared Cook

30 Jermaine Gresham

31 Vernon Davis

32 Tyler Higbee

I am down on Howard compared to most experts, but I am high on Brate so the ranking makes sense. Of this group, I like Davis the most if I am fishing for upside. He proved he could still produce last season when given the opportunity, and we all know how brittle Jordan Reed can be. He is also wed to Kirk Cousins, another elite quarterback. You could make a similar argument for Cook, but even though he is the presumed starter in Oakland he is a perpetual disappointment. I am uninterested in him.

Honorable mentions: Gerald Everett, Dion Sims, George Kittle, A.J. Derby, Seth DeValve.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and happy drafting this weekend. Be sure to check back in here at Fake Teams starting Monday for Week 1 rankings at each position. It is finally time for football. Let’s go Giants!