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Best Ball Tight End Rankings and Tiers


There is less than a week remaining to join a best-ball draft before the NFL season kicks off. If you're doing a last-minute draft, you obviously want to check our updated rankings and tiers first before taking the plunge.

The tight end position is more intriguing than ever. Aside from the obvious top three players, there are several young targets that could ascend to fantasy stardom. It's easy to forget about the veterans like Olsen and Walker, though, who might want up representing the best value when it's all said and done.

As always, we will keep updating our rankings in all formats during the final days of draft season; you can find the latest rankings right here.

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Updated Tight End Rankings - Best Ball

Position Rank Overall Rank Player Name Position Tier Overall Tier
1 16 Travis Kelce 1 2
2 22 Zach Ertz 1 3
3 35 George Kittle 1 4
4 57 O.J. Howard 2 5
5 61 Evan Engram 2 6
6 67 Hunter Henry 2 6
7 85 David Njoku 3 7
8 87 Jared Cook 3 8
9 89 Vance McDonald 3 8
10 99 Austin Hooper 3 8
11 111 Eric Ebron 4 9
12 112 Mark Andrews 4 10
13 116 Delanie Walker 4 10
14 124 Trey Burton 4 10
15 129 Chris Herndon IV 4 10
16 131 Dallas Goedert 4 10
17 133 T.J. Hockenson 4 10
18 140 Jack Doyle 5 11
19 147 Tyler Eifert 5 11
20 151 Greg Olsen 5 12
21 153 Jimmy Graham 5 12
22 168 Kyle Rudolph 5 13
23 169 Jordan Reed 5 13
24 178 Demetrius Harris 6 14
25 186 Mike Gesicki 6 14
26 193 Noah Fant 6 14
27 195 Gerald Everett 6 14
28 196 Will Dissly 6 14
29 201 Ian Thomas 6 14
30 202 Cameron Brate 6 15
31 214 Charles Clay 7 15
32 217 Ricky Seals-Jones 7 15
33 232 Tyler Kroft 7 16
34 234 Blake Jarwin 7 16
35 235 Geoff Swaim 7 16
36 237 Dawson Knox 7 16
37 241 Darren Waller 7 16
38 244 Jonnu Smith 7 16
39 248 Jason Witten 7 17
40 255 Jake Butt 8 17
41 260 Hayden Hurst 8 17
42 274 Luke Willson 8 18
43 275 Josh Oliver 8 18
44 276 Irv Smith Jr. 8 18
45 278 Nick Vannett 8 18
46 284 Josh Hill 8 18
47 288 Tyler Higbee 8 18
48 289 Jordan Thomas 8 18
49 290 Jace Sternberger 8 18
50 291 Jason Croom 8 18
51 293 Benjamin Watson 8 18
52 296 Jesse James 8 18
53 302 C.J. Uzomah 9 19
54 324 Kahale Warring 9 19
55 329 Rob Gronkowski 9 19
56 330 Adam Shaheen 9 19
57 332 Jeff Heuerman 9 19
58 338 Vernon Davis 9 20
59 340 Matt LaCosse 9 20
60 380 Jacob Hollister 9 20

 

Tier 1  

You know the drill. Kelce will be the first TE off the board, followed by Ertz and Kittle in some order. In typical BB10 best-ball drafts, these players should be viewed as second or third-round selections. If you join a FFPC Satellite League that includes a TE premium of 1.5 PPR, then things change a bit. Kelce is typically the seventh player taken on average in FFPC best-ball formats, with Ertz at 18 and Kittle 20th overall. The cost for an elite tight end is high, which forces you to weigh the potential reward of having a dominant player at that position over a volatile running back or a steady wide receiver.

In a tight end premium league like Scott Fish Bowl, those three tight ends all finished as top-15 fantasy scorers, ahead of most wide receivers. In non-premium formats, it might be best to play it safe and find value later on since you can stack three other players at the position.

 

Tier 2

Seeing as how one of my 2019 bold predictions was OJ Howard outscoring George Kittle, I can't complain if you spend a fifth-round pick on him. In FFPC, all three players in this tier will cost you a fourth-round pick, so these could be favorable backup options if you missed out on tier one.

Aside from Howard's tremendous upside (if he stays healthy), Engram appears to be the safest pick, at least in the early going. Golden Tate's four-game suspension was upheld, so there will be one less reliable target for Eli Manning. We saw how Engram performed late last year when Odell Beckham was shelved, averaging 5.5 receptions and 80 yards per game over the last four contests. In a generally disappointing sophomore season, Engram finished strong and proved that he can shoulder the load when called upon.

 

Tier 3

The most conspicuous thing you'll notice in this tier is who isn't there - Eric Ebron. While FFPC and BB10 drafters both have him as the TE7, our rankings staff prefers him outside the top 10. We knew regression was already coming; Andrew Luck's absence just solidifies that.

As for who does reside in this tier, some fantasy owners are of the belief that Vance McDonald will be the best TE value of 2019. Jesse James is gone, as is a certain receiver with a large chest (in his mind). McDonald is more of a receiver than a blocker and could take on many of those targets vacated by former Steelers. That means Big Ben will have to consciously look his way more often, as the coaching staff has indicated McDonald's snap count won't necessarily increase. He will have to be a bigger part of the gameplan and prove that he can move the chains consistently.

David Njoku falls to ninth in FFPC and BB10 ADP ranks but he has the most likely chance to be a top-five finisher at this position. If you believe Baker Mayfield is a top-five QB, then why shouldn't he support an elite pass-catching tight end? Sure, OBJ and Jarvis Landry are there. But if this offense clicks like we think it can, there is enough room for all three receivers to be productive. It's not as if Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins negate Travis Kelce's value...

 

Tier 4

Personally, I'll be doing most of my TE shopping in this area on draft day. Unless a player like Njoku or Hooper fall outside the top 100 picks, I'm waiting until my other positions are settled and then making either Mark Andrews or Delanie Walker my "starting" tight end. At opposite ends of the spectrum, one is known for his consistency and veteran leadership. The other is coming off his rookie season and has another talented tight end to compete with.

In redraft, I'm hanging my hat on Walker more often and taking a young tight end as a backup. Prior to last year when he tore his ACL, Walker had posted four straight seasons of 800 or more receiving yards and five straight seasons of 60+ receptions.

In best-ball, give me Andrews and his breakout potential. He was much more productive in the second half of the year, not coincidentally when Lamar Jackson took over as QB. Two catches and 44 yards per game isn't overly thrilling but Jackson should be better as a passer and they may take the cuffs off him in second down, actually allowing him to throw the ball.

Tier 5

Experience abounds in this tier of former fantasy stars. Among the choices, it might be surprising to discover that I prefer Greg Olsen and Tyler Eifert over Jimmy Graham and Jordan Reed. Olsen may be on his last legs but as long as he can go, he will be one of Cam Newton's top targets. Eifert has experienced a slew of injuries but last year's wasn't a recurrence of a previous incident - it was a fluke. With A.J. Green out for at least a couple of weeks, Eifert will be a streamer to consider in redraft and a nice TE2 option in best-ball throughout the season.

Tier 6

What the what is Demetrius Harris doing here? I know we're high on the Browns offense this year and Njoku has a chance to excel but could this offense sustain two tight ends? Probably not, but if you're playing in a deeper league like FFPC that includes a TE premium, he could have enough value to roster over more questionable picks like Charles Clay or Blake Jarwin.
When searching for a TE3, Will Dissly is an ideal sleeper. He exploded for 105 yards and a TD in his first NFL game, then followed it up with 42 yards and another score in Week 2. A season-ending injury erased a promising campaign but it's allowed him to fly completely under the radar this draft season. He is the type of player that has no redraft value but could be useful in deeper best-ball leagues.

Tier 7 and beyond

Darren Waller has gotten some hype from experts and scouts but the buzz hasn't extended to his ADP climbing in any way. He still has to contend with Antonio Brown and won't have the same luxury Jared Cook did last year of being the only viable receiver on the field. He's worth a late-round flier but we don't advise taking him earlier than the top 25 tight ends.

Rob Gronkowski still has an ADP. That's right - people are willing to burn a late-round pick on the chance he comes back this season. That seems unlikely, considering he has barely been retired at all and just explained how he was in agonizing pain for months after the Super Bowl and couldn't mentally sustain the energy to play any more. I understand hanging onto him in dynasty but you can do better things with a pick in best-ball that you can't do anything with once the draft is over. Gronk is gone - let it go people.

More Best-Ball League Strategy


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