2017 Rankings Analysis – Tight Ends in Dynasty Leagues

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One of the best features of any dynasty league is the fact that it takes place year-round. Owners do not have to wait until late July or August to draft their rosters, they can make moves to positively or sometimes negatively impact their fantasy teams throughout the off-season, pre-season and regular season.

As with any season-long format, rankings are consistently shifting and moving depending on player performance and outlook for the remainder of that season. For dynasty rankings, the jostling not only has to do with 2017 projected performance, but also performance in future years.

Here is the list that we will be going by to determine the quarterback tiers, which is subject to change throughout the 2017 preseason and regular season.

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2017 Dynasty Tight End Tiered Rankings

Tier One

1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Travis Kelce
3. Jordan Reed

Jordan Reed and Rob Gronkowski could be placed in a tier of their own, but they come with too much injury concern to pull away from Travis Kelce. Each of the three tight ends come with elite receiving abilities, and they are in high powered offenses. This group is essentially based around the amount of risk one wants to take as a fantasy owner. If you are looking for a safe option without much injury concern, Kelce is the best option. If you would rather have injury concern, but also bring in elite fantasy upside, Gronkowski and Reed are slightly better. Overall, these three options are head and shoulders over the other players at their position, especially since no one in the group is older than 28 years old.

 

Tier Two

1. Hunter Henry
2. Tyler Eifert
3. Jimmy Graham
4. Zach Ertz
5. O.J. Howard

This group is filled with high-upside, young tight ends. Hunter Henry split snaps with Antonio Gates last season, but was still able to transition to the NFL much easier than most rookie tight ends. Tyler Eifert likely would have been placed in the first tier if it were not for his injury history. He has not played 16 games since entering the NFL, but if he can find a way to stay healthy, he's an elite tight end. Jimmy Graham is an aging tight end that continues to post elite numbers. He's currently a top-five tight end in the NFL, but he likely only has a few seasons left, as he'll turn 31 this season. Zach Ertz has looked outstanding in each of his last two seasons, as he has caught at least 75 passes with 800 yards in those seasons. The only concern with his game is his touchdown production. O.J. Howard was unmatched potential at the tight end position, but it is a tough position in the NFL, and it is far from a guarantee that raw talent equates to guaranteed success. If he hits his potential, he will be an All-Pro tight end.

 

Tier Three

1. Greg Olsen
2. Eric Ebron
3. Evan Engram
4. David Njoku
5. Kyle Rudolph

Greg Olsen will seemingly be an elite tight end until he retires, but he recently turned 32 years old and the Panthers have stated that they do not want to commit another deal to him. He's in the same boat as Jimmy Graham, but at a slightly older age. Eric Ebron has been the "breakout candidate" for the last three years, but this year seems more likely than others. He's young, athletic, has shown consistent improvement, and is playing in a dominant offense. Evan Engram and David Njoku are two rookies that come with elite potential, but are very specific players. If they both hit their full potential, they could be Pro Bowl players, but this position is not one to assume players will reach their potential. Kyle Rudolph broke out last season, but there are too many question marks surrounding him to have him any higher. Can he stay healthy? Was last season a fluke? Will he be the same player once Sam Bradford leaves?

 

Tier Four

1. Martellus Bennett
2. Austin Hooper
3. Delanie Walker

Martellus Bennett is an aging tight end that is in a great position. He's now in an elite situation in Green Bay, and he should find success as long as he can avoid injury. Austin Hooper displayed good potential in limited games last season and he's still only 22 years old. He's also playing in an elite offense. Delanie Walker has been a top-5 tight end, but he's 32 years old and only has a few years left, especially with Jonnu Smith now in the mix.

 

Tier Five

1. Cameron Brate
2. Jack Doyle
3. Gerald Everett
4. Julius Thomas
5. Adam Shaheen
6. Coby Fleener
7. Tyler Higbee
8. Dwayne Allen

Cameron Brate is still only 26 years old and a favorite of Jameis Winston, but with O.J. Howard in the mix, it is only a matter of time before he is the backup right end. Jack Doyle broke out in a big way last season, but he's already 27 years old and fairly unproven for his time in the NFL. Gerald Everett and Adam Shaheen are in the same boat. They both came out of small schools, but are high upside prospects. Julius Thomas is coming off two bad seasons, but he is now reunited with Adam Gase, who he averaged a 54/640/12 line with in two seasons. Coby Fleener had somewhat of a disappointing season last year, but there have been positive reports in the Saints camp and he is till only 28 years old. Tyler Higbee was an elite prospect coming out of college, and there is little reason to believe he does not come with tremendous upside in Sean McVay's offense. Dwayne Allen is in the same position as Martellus Bennett last season, but Allen is not seen nearly as valuable. He's the handcuff to Rob Gronkowski, but Allen will also be a red zone factor for New England.

 

Tier Six

1. Jesse James
2. Jonnu Smith
3. Jared Cook
4. Maxx Williams
5. Charles Clay
6. Jake Butt
7. George Kittle

This tight end is oozing with young, high upside players. Only two players are older than 28 years old (Jared Cook and Charles Clay), while the other five tight ends are 23 years old or younger. Cook and Clay are the players that are going to be more relevant this season, while the younger tight ends have significantly brighter futures. James, Williams, and Kittle all have the potential to produce this year, as well. Of the group, Smith brings the most upside, as he's an athletic receiving tight end that will be learning behind Delanie Walker. It's also easy to get excited about Jake Butt and George Kittle, although they are not nearly the same receiver as Smith.

 

Tier Seven

1. Zach Miller
2. Jason Witten
3. Antonio Gates
4. Gary Barnidge
5. Jordan Leggett
6. A.J. Derby
7. Vance McDonald
8. Austin Seferian-Jenkins

This group has a wide variety of players. Zach Miller, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates all have the potential to contribute this season at a high level, but none of the trio will likely play more than one or two years. Gary Barnidge worked his way into this tier because of his unknown situation. If he signs with a team, he will likely start and make a great option. For now, he is unemployed, though. Jordan Leggett, A.J. Derby, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are three tight ends with some upside, but could only see limited opportunities in their careers. Vance McDonald is another player that has upside when given the opportunity, but it's tough to assume he will see that at age 27.

 

Tier Eight

1. Vernon Davis
2. Jermaine Gresham
3. Clive Walford
4. Ben Watson
5. Eric Swoope
6. Josh Hill
7. Will Tye
8. Ryan Griffin
9. Xavier Grimble
10. Ladarius Green

This is essentially the extra tier. None of these tight ends make great options, as they are either aging, injured, or lacking talent. Of the group, Eric Swoope comes with the most upside, as he could potentially form the same way Jack Doyle did before him. Aside from that, there are older backup tight ends that do not possess much consistency or upside, but could produce value if someone ahead of them on the depth chart is injured.

 

More 2017 Dynasty League Strategy


Check out all of RotoBaller's 2017 fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.