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Dynasty Tight Ends - Football Rankings Analysis

The tight end position has always been one that can be a true difference-maker for a fantasy football team. It wasn’t too long ago that Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were first round picks in redraft leagues, and nobody thought twice about it. While the rest of your team is streaming tight ends week in and week out, you’ve got one of the best pass-catchers in the game, giving your team a serious edge over your opponent every week. There is a reason that Gronk still gets drafted in the first round at times, although in recent years, this hasn’t quite been the case any more.

In recent years, there have been a couple of new names to the tight end scene, and they are Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. Kelce gave Gronk a run for his money this year, and Ertz put up excellent numbers that weren’t far off from Gronk either.

Recently, over at RotoBaller, we put together our dynasty rankings, and some of the results have been pretty eye-opening. Dynasty owners know all about tiers and the edge that you can get on your league by using them in your rankings. I’ve been using tiers during my drafts for a few years now, and they can be a very nice tool and help you out immensely. Let's see how we valued tight ends in our early dynasty rankings for 2018.

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Dynasty Tight End Tiered Rankings

Tier Rank Player Name Pos Aaron Pierre Kyle Steve
1 23 Rob Gronkowski TE 32 26 21 22
1 32 Travis Kelce TE 34 31 30 29
1 46 Zach Ertz TE 62 42 40 46
2 49 Evan Engram TE 57 43 43 77
2 56 Hunter Henry TE 61 60 57 72
3 79 Greg Olsen TE 76 88 66 92
3 90 David Njoku TE 87 63 60 153
3 92 Kyle Rudolph TE 96 106 75 89
3 101 Jimmy Graham TE 75 108 84 136
3 103 O.J. Howard TE 82 65 101 145
3 117 Jordan Reed TE 122 105 #N/A #N/A
3 128 Adam Shaheen TE 105 146 98 #N/A
3 131 Jack Doyle TE 116 127 151 127
4 137 Delanie Walker TE 108 144 135 131
4 140 Eric Ebron TE 114 131 144 154
4 147 Gerald Everett TE 113 166 #N/A 157
4 148 Tyler Eifert TE 127 138 #N/A 173
4 150 Austin Hooper TE 120 143 136 190
4 163 Cameron Brate TE 129 153 #N/A 192
5 170 George Kittle TE #N/A 139 163 181
5 182 Charles Clay TE 174 258 105 161
5 184 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE #N/A 152 150 223
5 196 Ricky Seals-Jones TE 158 199 #N/A 203

Tier One

Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz

Tiers essentially are a ranking system that you can use during your drafts as well as when valuing players for trades. Tier one at the tight end position is the best of the best. Personally, I have never been a huge advocate for going out and grabbing Gronkowski in the first round of drafts, and the tiers for our dynasty rankings represent that. If I’m in a dynasty draft, and I want a stud tight end, I’ll do whatever I can to wait on drafting one and taking Ertz or Kelce, whoever ends up falling to me.

Gronkowski still has the slight edge on Kelce and Ertz, but it is very close. Despite the talks about a possible retirement, as of now, we move forward with understanding that he will be returning. Having said that, there is more of a chance that I’d wait longer than normal to draft a tight end. Wait an extra few rounds and take the value that comes to you with Kelce or Ertz. They have both proven to us that they are extremely important weapons and pieces of their perspective offenses and have years of fantasy production ahead of them.


Tier 2

Evan Engram, Hunter Henry

Tier two includes a couple of young, talented tight ends who have a bright future ahead of them. Evan Engram had an excellent rookie season, as he turned into the main weapon in that Giants offense, largely due to the injuries to the receiving corps. I wouldn’t expect the same production in 2018, but Engram has shown us he is a big time playmaker, and a nice red zone weapon. Don’t be upset when he doesn’t repeat this production next year, but he is going to a nice option for years to come.

Hunter Henry was a very popular breakout candidate a year ago. Many dynasty owners were buying in and it made perfect sense. The idea that Antonio Gates is basically done, and Henry produced despite the continuous production out of the seasoned vet. 2018 could be the year that Henry breaks out, or it could take another year. Regardless, he has shown us that he can produce and will be a nice red zone option for Philip Rivers and that Chargers offense. I would be very happy grabbing either Engram or Henry on my dynasty teams and reaping the benefits for their careers.


Tier 3

Greg Olsen, David Njoku, Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Graham, Jordan Reed, Jack Doyle, O.J. Howard

Tier three is where these rankings begin to get interesting for me. Keep in mind, these are our consensus rankings, so there are definitely going to be some that I am not on board with. Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed are the two that I’m going to ask you to disregard. They are more towards the fourth or fifth tier for me due to their age.

David Njoku, Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Graham, OJ Howard, and Jack Doyle would be my tier three candidates at the tight end position. First and foremost, the uber-talented, raw, and just plain athletic Browns rookie, Njoku. His rookie year numbers weren’t exactly mind-blowing, but he showed us a lot this year. Despite the brutal Browns offense, Njoku made several very athletic plays in the red zone, and ended the season with 386 yards and four touchdowns. To produce in such an awful offense and with so much room to grow, I love the investment in Njoku going forward.

Kyle Rudolph and Jimmy Graham are very close for me, but the slight edge goes to Rudolph thanks to his age and the uncertainty of Graham’s future. Whether he ends up in Houston, returns to Seattle, or a reunion with Drew Brees in New Orleans, there is some uncertainty here. Regardless, his talent cannot be ignored, and I’d be happy having him for a few more years.

OJ Howard is right on par with Rudolph and Graham, but the underrated tight end, Cameron Brate, makes this situation a little more questionable. If Brate heads out of Tampa Bay this off-season, Howard will move up in this tier, and possibly up towards tier two. If Andrew Luck finally comes back healthy, Doyle should be even better than he was in 2017. He was a very nice surprise for owners, and even with a backup QB, they still utilized him a lot.


Tier 4

Delanie Walker, Eric Ebron, Adam Shaheen, Gerald Everett, Tyler Eifert, Austin Hooper, Cameron Brate

Delanie Walker has been a very undervalued tight end over the past few years, and he definitely was again in 2017. He leads tier four for me as I expect him to produce once again in that Titans offense that loves to utilize him. Eric Ebron has been given up on by many, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ended up breaking out in 2018, if he can stay healthy that is.

Personally, the next of this tier for me would be Cameron Brate. As mentioned previously, he is extremely underrated, and many owners counted him out last year after the Buccaneers used their first round pick on the talented tight end, who fell in the draft to them. Assuming Brate is back in Tampa Bay in 2018, I expect him to be a big part of that pass attack once again. If he ends up leaving, he could still end up producing, depending on where he goes.

Gerald Everett and Adam Shaheen are very close in this tier following Brate, and they are both good candidates to go out and buy low in your dynasty leagues if you can. Both of their perspective offenses want to utilize their big and talented weapons, and I expect them both to take a nice step forward in 2018.

Austin Hooper and Tyler Eifert I am fine with at the end of this tier, but Eifert is definitely the last one here. Multiple back injuries and other issues have riddled his career, despite starting off with a ridiculous amount of touchdowns in his first few seasons. I can’t count on someone with injuries like this to be reliable. Hooper was a very popular breakout candidate a year ago, but that entire offense just wasn’t the same without Kyle Shanahan. There is a chance that Hooper and that offense bounces back, but my hopes aren’t very high in that regard.


Tier 5

George Kittle, Charles Clay, Austin Seferian-Jenkins

This is the final tier that I feel comfortable drafting players I hope to start on a weekly basis. Many of the players in these lower tiers are streaming options in redraft leagues, and are worth holding onto and owning a few of them in your dynasty leagues.

George Kittle could see a boost with Jimmy Garoppolo, as they had a nice connection in 2017 that should continue to grow. Charles Clay and Austin Seferian-Jenkins both had very surprising seasons in 2017, but they aren’t long-term options for me. Clay has a series of injuries in his past that he can’t seem to shake, and Seferian-Jenkins has off-field issues that are very concerning. They both should produce at times, but neither are players I want to rely on a regular basis.


The Rest

The last of these players aren’t even worth putting into tiers at this point. The tight end position is one that falls off pretty quick and isn’t very deep. Once you get past tier four, you’re really getting into options that are matchup-dependent and very hit or miss. Unless you have a stud tight end, this is where the weekly ‘Start or Sit’ articles come in handy.

This should be taken into account when you’re drafting your dynasty teams as well as redraft. Do you want to pay up for a stud tight end and never have to worry about who to start? Or do you sit back and stockpile WRs and RBs, and stream a guy like Charles Clay or Eric Ebron? Personally I tend to take what comes to me in drafts. If I’m not crazy about who is available in rounds three or four, I’ll consider grabbing Ertz and rolling with him every week. If I like what’s on the board, I can live with streaming tight ends. Dynasty owners don’t have the luxury of streaming tight ends, but having several of these lower tiered players can be a nice solution.


More Dynasty Rankings and Analysis

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.

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