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Dynasty Tight End Rankings Analysis (June)


We are closing in on the 2018 NFL season and training camp is right around the corner. As fantasy owners are gearing up for another exciting season, the Rotoballer staff continues to update our rankings for all formats. Kyle Richardson, Steven Halupka and yours truly have put together consensus rankings for dynasty leagues. Today, I’ll be breaking down our tight end tiers in this rankings analysis.

Tight ends aren't the most glamorous position in the fantasy world, but they are essential nonetheless. We've been fortunate enough to see some exciting young players drafted in the last couple of years, so the position may be experiencing a renaissance of sorts if those players are able to pan out.

To check out our Dynasty rankings at wide receiver, read Part One to examine tiers 1-3 and Part Two to learn about tiers 4-10. Now, on to the tight ends.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Dynasty Tiered Rankings - Tight End

Position Tier Position Rank Overall Rank Player Name
1 1 24 Travis Kelce
1 2 26 Rob Gronkowski
1 3 34 Zach Ertz
2 4 45 Evan Engram
2 5 64 David Njoku
2 6 71 Kyle Rudolph
3 7 102 Jimmy Graham
3 8 105 Trey Burton
3 9 107 Greg Olsen
3 10 108 Jordan Reed
3 11 110 O.J. Howard
4 12 123 Jack Doyle
4 13 141 Delanie Walker
4 14 144 George Kittle
4 15 146 Jared Cook
5 16 159 Gerald Everett
5 17 162 Cameron Brate
5 18 171 Ricky Seals-Jones
5 19 172 Hayden Hurst
5 20 180 Tyler Eifert
5 21 181 Charles Clay
5 22 183 Austin Hooper
5 23 186 Dallas Goedert
6 24 199 Mike Gesicki
6 25 201 Eric Ebron
6 26 218 Austin Seferian-Jenkins
6 27 221 Adam Shaheen
6 28 258 Mark Andrews
7 29 262 Jordan Akins
7 30 276 Jake Butt
7 31 291 Tyler Kroft
7 32 294 Vance McDonald
7 33 299 Ian Thomas
7 34 302 Jesse James
7 35 304 Jermaine Gresham
7 36 311 Chris Herndon IV
7 37 315 Vernon Davis
8 38 320 Tyler Higbee
8 39 331 Durham Smythe
8 40 332 Maxx Williams
8 41 333 Dalton Schultz
8 42 335 Stephen Anderson
8 43 336 Troy Fumagalli
8 44 338 Tyler Conklin
8 45 346 Benjamin Watson
8 46 354 Antonio Gates
8 47 355 Jaylen Samuels
8 48 356 Josh Hill
8 49 358 Ryan Izzo
8 50 366 Demetrius Harris

Tier 1

The top three tight ends are nearly universal across all league types and scoring formats. Dynasty presents a unique risk when it comes to The Gronk, however. Although he is always at the center of controversy, much of the noise we hear about him suddenly retiring early or getting traded is just that--noise. Gronk probably won't play til he's 40 like his quarterback, but you shouldn't make the mistake of looking five years down the road simply because it's a dynasty league. If Gronk gets you two or three more seasons of top-five TE production (do you really think Brady will play until he's 45?), he's still well worth holding onto.

Ertz shouldn't be adversely affected by Dallas Goedert right away, as it usually takes a couple of years for tight ends to develop as route runners. Be wary of his TD total dropping, though. Before scoring eight times in 2017, Ertz had never scored more than four times in his first four NFL seasons. The entire Eagles offense is due for regression in that sense, as Carson Wentz was overly efficient in his league-leading 7.5% touchdown percentage, much like Matt Ryan the year before. The Eagles' 38/9 pass/rush TD ratio should skew the other way at least a little.

Tier 2

It's no surprise to see Evan Engram at the top of the second tier. He won't be relied upon as much with Odell Beckham on the field, but he did show an ability to make plays down the field and has to be considered a budding star. Engram made 18 receptions of 15 yards or more, finishing with 11.3 yards per reception. Engram doesn't need to be taken over Kelce, Ertz, or Gronk just yet, however. His target total could regress a bit and we still can't say who will be quarterbacking the team past 2018.

The first relative surprise comes at the fifth spot, where second-year player David Njoku jumps ahead of established players like Kyle Rudolph and Jimmy Graham. Obviously, he has youth on his side and a ton of potential, but he didn't do much as a rookie and will now have more competition for targets. Plus, it should be noted that he is in Cleveland, which has finished 30th, 31st, and 32nd in points scored each of the last three seasons respectively. That said, Njoku finished with a higher PPOpportunity (1.58) than Engram (1.51), according to FFStatistics.com, and could rival his fellow second-year player's production if he develops chemistry with Baker Mayfield.

Tier 3

Trey Burton is going to be taken far earlier than he should in many redraft leagues, since the Bears are not going to be a pass-heavy offense and Adam Shaheen will be splitting duties with him. In dynasty, he's a safer pick since he's got a four-year, $32 million contract and a promising young QB to work with. He may not pay immediate dividends, but Burton is a pure pass-catching TE that could go from overvalued in the preseason to undervalued after the season.

O.J. Howard was the first tight end selected in the 2017 NFL Draft at 19th overall, but his fantasy stock leaves him 50 spots lower than Engram and Njoku. The presence of Cameron Brate is mainly to blame here, but the recent suspension/confirmation that Jameis Winston is a dumbass doesn't help things either. Howard carries risk, but he should still see enough action to make him startable in 12-team leagues.

Tier 4

Jared Cook could see plenty of targets in Oakland, but he is still a risky play. Over the last three years, Cook has just eight top-12 weekly finishes. By contrast, Jack Doyle has 13 and Delanie Walker has 29. Walker still suffers from ageism, although 33 isn't ancient for a tight end. Recently retired Jason Witten was productive up until age 36.

George Kittle is the player most likely to jump into the top-10 from this tier. While he won't be catching passes from his former college QB anymore, Jimmy Garoppolo has to be considered a massive upgrade. He scored his first and only 100-yard receiving game in Week 16, ending his rookie year on a high note.

Tier 5

Tyler Eifert ought to be far higher based on ability and production, except his chronic injuries represent a concern that hasn't disappeared. Back surgery is no joke and Eifert hasn't been cleared to play as of yet. He's also suffered injuries to his neck, elbow, and shoulder in the past. Tyler Kroft proved to be a capable red zone threat, which could make Eifert expendable at some point.

Ricky Seals-Jones wasn't drafted and didn't play tight end in college. The big-bodied receiver caught on with the Cardinals, who haven't had a stud at tight end since Jackie Smith back in the St. Louis days. Jermaine Gresham tore his Achilles last year and isn't expected to be ready for the season opener, so Seals-Jones has a fairly secure position as the starter. His value will be limited to the number of touchdowns he catches, but that could be said for nearly every TE at this point.

In dynasty formats, shouldn't rookies be valued far higher? No. Eric Ebron, Maxx Williams, Jace Amaro, Troy Niklas... the list of tight ends drafted in the first two rounds who were a waste of a roster spot goes on and on. Hayden Hurst and Dallas Goedert were tremendous college players and athletic enough to be impact players at the pro level, but it's still a 50/50 proposition. Goedert is stuck behind Ertz, while Hurst will be competing with Mark Andrews just to see the field. They should each be considered as a low-end TE2 with upside in dynasty, but nothing more.

Tier 6

Mike Gesicki tore up the Combine, ranking in the 95th percentile or higher in every tested category. So what? He joins a Dolphins team with no true competition at tight end (A.J. Derby doesn't count) and should get more action than any other rookie tight end. Big deal. He's going to play for a team that will fight to stay out of the dark, dank AFC East basement and has no identity on offense. Early reports indicate that he's been slow to pick up the playbook and has looked lost at times during OTAs. Ruh roh! Gesiciki looks the part of the next Travis Kelce, but don't fall in love with his metrics until you see him in action first.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is becoming a popular sleeper in fantasy circles and rightfully so. ASJ looks to have turned his career around and was even able to put up some big games despite wearing a Jets uniform last year. Jacksonville is both the best and worst landing spot for him as a team that will be run-first (and second and third...), but also in need of a playmaker at TE and in the red zone. With A-Rob gone and a slew of undersized receivers on the roster, ASJ could carve out a role for himself. Consider buying low on him before training camp gets underway.

Tier 7 and above

Vernon Davis is 34 and should be a backup entering the season. He still is worth stashing because fragile Jordan Reed is sure to miss time at some point. Davis was leading the league in yards per reception halfway through the season and finished 17th at 15.1 Y/R. He still has elite athleticism at the position and shouldn't be ignored.

Ben Watson is another vet that could play a larger role than anticipated. Typically ignored in dynasty, Watson has a real chance to be a top-20 TE and streaming option throughout the 2018 season. The Saints chose not to draft or sign a high-profile free agent tight end, so Watson should be the main recipient of several short red zone targets. Back in 2015 with this same Saints team, he was targeted a whopping 110 times.

Chris Herndon is speedy, has great hands, and seems to have one of the easiest paths to immediate playing time among all rookies, but a recent DWI arrest clouds his outlook considerably. The Jets + fantasy production at tight end have never mixed anyway.

Dalton Schultz wasn't the fastest TE at the combine (4.75 40 time), but he could play more than anticipated. Rico Gathers is a popular sleeper, but he is coming off a lost season due to injury and is still completely unproven. If he struggles or gets reinjured, Schultz could be the beneficiary.

 

Updated Tiered 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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