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Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Tight End)


Recently, the RotoBaller staff put together ourĀ up-to-date rankings for dynasty formats. As you can see, the position is ruled by a clearly established top tier, consisting of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle. Our tight end rankings on RotoBaller reflect how dynasty startup drafts have generally played out this offseason. Kelce is usually the first tight end off the board. Once he goes, you can expect Ertz and Kittle to follow shortly thereafter, usually within the next 10-15 picks. Plan on spending a late second or early third-round startup pick if you want to build around one of these stud tight ends.

The tight end position is notoriously tough to learn at the NFL level. Whereas rookie running backs can usually be treated as plug-and-play assets, the tight end position takes longer to learn, resulting in a two or sometimes three-year learning curve. The next tier of tight ends is mostly populated by young, up-and-coming potential stars who may be ready to break out in 2019. One thing about the nature of the tight end position in dynasty is that you can build a contending team without a standout at the position, even if you have to cobble together production at the position with a few different guys.

That is one of the purposes of our consensus rankings. We are here to help you identify some of the less-valued players at the position who can help produce points once the regular season starts. In this article, I will analyze the tight end position and some strategies to internalize when it comes to drafting and building a successful dynasty roster.

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Dynasty TE Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Travis Kelce 20 5
2 1 George Kittle 28 6
3 1 Zach Ertz 30 6
4 2 O.J. Howard 63 10
5 2 David Njoku 67 11
6 2 Evan Engram 78 12
7 2 Hunter Henry 84 13
8 3 Eric Ebron 94 13
9 3 Dallas Goedert 109 14
10 4 Trey Burton 120 14
11 4 Austin Hooper 129 15
12 4 Noah Fant 138 15
13 4 Jack Doyle 139 15
14 5 Vance McDonald 146 16
15 5 T.J. Hockenson 148 16
16 5 Chris Herndon IV 151 16
17 5 Mark Andrews 161 17
18 5 Mike Gesicki 164 17
19 5 Jared Cook 165 18
20 6 Kyle Rudolph 178 18
21 6 Jordan Reed 180 18
22 6 Ian Thomas 183 18
23 6 Delanie Walker 191 19
24 7 Austin Seferian-Jenkins 200 19
25 7 Jimmy Graham 203 19
26 7 Irv Smith Jr. 204 19
27 7 Hayden Hurst 211 20
28 7 Jonnu Smith 216 20
29 7 Gerald Everett 220 21
30 8 Greg Olsen 232 21
31 8 Cameron Brate 235 21
32 8 Tyler Eifert 238 21
33 8 Adam Shaheen 246 21
34 8 Ricky Seals-Jones 249 21
35 8 Jace Sternberger 259 21
36 9 Will Dissly 273 22
37 9 Jason Witten 279 22
38 9 Nick Vannett 281 22
39 9 Demetrius Harris 286 22
40 9 Kahale Warring 299 22
41 10 Jesse James 313 23
42 10 Jordan Thomas 332 23
43 10 Jake Butt 335 23
44 10 Josh Oliver 338 23
45 10 Dan Arnold 342 23
46 10 Maxx Williams 360 24
47 10 Blake Jarwin 365 24
48 10 Foster Moreau 384 25
49 10 Geoff Swaim 394 25
50 10 C.J. Uzomah 395 25
51 10 Charles Clay 401 25
52 10 Jason Croom 404 25
53 10 Dawson Knox 414 25
54 10 Luke Willson 420 25
55 10 Caleb Wilson 421 25
56 10 Tyler Kroft 428 25
57 10 Ed Dickson 434 25
58 10 Drew Sample 439 25

 

Tier 1

As mentioned in the intro, the top tier of tight ends is pretty well established. Elder statesman Trave Kelce holds down the No. 1 overall tight end ranking while coming off an insane season where he caught 103 passes for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Tyreek Hill's 2019 status looking murky, Kelce has a chance to top those crazy numbers in 2019. The only thing that dings him (slightly) is the fact he will be turning 30 in October. That being said, tight ends tend to be productive later in their careers than running backs and wide receivers. See players like Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and Jason Witten, who were productive into their late 30s.

Kittle exploded on the scene in 2018, catching 88 passes for 1,377 yards and five scores. That yardage number set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end, which had been established just a few weeks earlier by the aforementioned Travis Kelce. At just 25 years old, Kittle is the youngest of the Tier 1 tight ends. The 49ers selected Deebo Samuel in the second round of the NFL draft in April, but they still lack a true alpha receiver. That bodes well for Kittle's chances to lead the team in receiving yet again in 2019.

Ertz's fantastic 2018 campaign surprisingly gets overlooked thanks to Kelce and Kittle jockeying for the yardage record. Not to be outdone, Ertz's 116 receptions broke Jason Witten's record for most catches in the season by a tight end. He didn't have the yardage that the other two did, but he remains an integral piece of the Philadelphia passing attack.

 

Tier 2

This tier is full of young, up-and-coming tight end options. O.J. Howard appears primed for a breakout season with Bruce Arians running the offense. Disregard the group-think idea floating around that Arians doesn't use the tight end in his offense. Go back over the years and try to find a tight end worth emphasizing in Arians' other coaching stops. He has never coached a tight end as skilled as Howard.

David Njoku has as much potential as any tight end in the league and has shown flashes on the field at times. Sure, he still drops some catchable passes but his abilities as a red-zone weapon and a run-after-the-catch weapon are undeniable. There is a good bit of competition for targets in Cleveland, which limits his upside slightly. If you grab Njoku, I would recommend drafting an older, "boring" tight end later in startups for steady production as Njoku continues to develop.

With Odell Beckham Jr. playing for the Browns, Evan Engram's production should more closely resemble that of his rookie year instead of his slightly disappointing sophomore campaign. There are a lot of vacated targets to go around in New York.

Hunter Henry should finally be ready to break out. Fully healed after an ACL tear last spring and without Antonio Gates around to eat into his production, look for Henry to cement himself as a top-six dynasty tight end.

 

Tier 3

It doesn't take long for the tight end position to become dicey in dynasty leagues. Eric Ebron turned in a career year with the Colts in 2018. He should remain a big part of what Indy wants to do on offense, but his 14 combined touchdowns from a year ago are going to be hard to repeat.

Dallas Goedert was one of the top tight end prospects in the 2018 draft but he remains stuck behind stud Zach Ertz. Drafting Goedert in dynasty is an exercise in patience as it may be another year or two before he starts to produce. His price is a bit too rich for my tastes considering the waiting period that will be required.

 

Tier 4

Tier 4 brings us Trey Burton, Austin Hooper, Noah Fant, and Jack Doyle. Burton's usage in 2018 was disappointing, to say the least. Now he has even more competition for targets in Chicago. Hooper is my favorite of this group. He quietly finished as the TE6 in PPR leagues last season and has shown incremental improvement over his three NFL seasons.

Best-case scenario, rookie Noah Fant turns in a similar season to what Evan Engram gave us as a rookie back in 2017 while operating as a pumped-up wide receiver. Worst case, he is the second coming of Mike Gesicki, an uber-athlete who struggles to translate those gifts to on-field production. The Denver offense could struggle in 2018, which is a concern. Doyle was a favorite target of Andrew Luck in the past but he missed most of the year with a hip injury. Now he has been passed on the target totem pole by Eric Ebron and perhaps rookie Parris Campbell.

 

Tier 5

This is an interesting tier with plenty of value and one worth emphasizing if you miss out on a Tier 1 or 2 tight end. Vance McDonald, T.J. Hockenson, Chris Herndon IV, Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, and Jared Cook round out this group.

McDonald will see a huge uptick in usage with Antonio Brown playing for the Raiders. He should have no trouble finishing as a top-10 fantasy tight end in 2019. The only concern for McDonald is health as he has struggled with injuries over his career. Hockenson landed in a questionable offense but is arguably a better tight end prospect than teammate Noah Fant. Herndon looks primed to make a big leap in a Jets offense that could be much better than expected in 2019.

Andrews flashed in 2018 but is only going as far as Lamar Jackson's arm takes him. Gesicki, as mentioned above, got tons of opportunity in his rookie year but did next to nothing with the chances. It is too early to call him a bust but it would have been nice to see something, anything, out of him. Cook is my favorite out of this group. He is getting old (32) but he has a fantastic situation playing for an explosive Saints offense.

 

Top Value Plays in Remaining Tiers

These are a few names to keep an eye on as the summer progresses. Their ADP could shift based on training camp news.

Ian Thomas, Tier 6 - Thomas continues to be a value. Veteran Greg Olsen was rumored to be retiring to take an announcer job earlier in the offseason, but that has since been refuted. That being said, Olsen probably only has one more season left if he does choose to come back and has really struggled with injuries over the past two seasons. Thomas showed well when Olsen was injured in 2018.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tier 7 - ASJ landed in a great spot with plenty of vacated targets following the Rob Gronkowski retirement. The veteran tight end will vie for targets with recently signed, and unretired, Ben Watson. ASJ was a top tight end prospect once upon a time and could flourish in the Pats' offense.

Tyler Eifert, Tier 8 - Eifert has struggled to stay on the field, appearing in just 14 of 48 games over the past three seasons. Of course, the last time he stayed healthy, he scored 13 touchdowns back in 2015. Eifert remains an injury risk, but he's extremely cheap and has plenty of upside if he stays on the field. There is talk of new head coach Zac Taylor using Eifert at the "F" tight end position, where he will do less blocking and more route running. That could help him stay upright this season.

Kahale Warring, Tier 9 - The Texans made Warring the No. 86 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Incumbent Ryan Griffin got arrested at the end of April and his standing with the team is "precarious", according to the Houston Chronicle. Warring is a great athlete with an early breakout age in college who could push for starter snaps as soon as Week 1. The Houston offense is an offense to buy, which also helps Warring's case.

Charles Clay, Tier 10 - If Clay has anything left in the tank, he is worth a look as a flier in dynasty. He was a popular sleeper candidate last season before turning in an injury-filled, ineffective season with the Bills. Now an Arizona Cardinal, Clay could see tons of opportunity in new coach Kliff Kingsbury's pass-first, spread offense.

Be on the lookout throughout the summer as we continue to evaluate players in our rankings!

More Dynasty 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.