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Positional scarcity at the running back and wide receiver positions makes spending an early draft pick on a tight end all but pointless in most scoring formats. For those of you who are choosing to wait until the later rounds of your draft to select a prosperous tight end, I have the perfect list for you!

In this article, I’ll be taking a look at a few tight ends with late round average draft positions (ADPs) in 10-team, standard scoring formats on that have a great chance of outperforming their current ranking.

As a small caveat, keep in mind that many of these tight ends will have heightened values in PPR formats. Therefore, they may not all qualify as ‘late round tight ends’ in that particular scoring format.

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Hunter Henry (TE, LAC) – 11.07, TE-11

While it originally looked like Ladarius Green was going to be the Antonio Gates replacement, the successor role has been handed over to Hunter Henry, who showed plenty of flashes during his rookie year. Despite the fact that Gates is still hanging on by a thread, Henry should not be ignored in 2017 fantasy drafts.

Henry hauled in 36-of-54 targets for 478 yards and an outstanding eight touchdowns last season, with seven of those touchdowns coming within the 20-yard line on a top of the line 63% catch rate. Only two other players had more red-zone touchdowns than he did in 2016: Jordy Nelson and Cameron Brate. It was overtly clear that Henry earned the trust of Phillip Rivers as the year wore on and we have seen how consistent that kind of chemistry can churn out fantasy points. Expect a bounce-back season from the Chargers’ offense and a whole new level of production from one of the team’s best scoring threats.


Jack Doyle (TE, IND) – 13.04, TE-12

In my opinion, the best value at the tight end position for 2017 is Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle. Now the unquestioned starting tight end for the Colts, Doyle managed to catch 59 passes for 584 yards and five touchdowns last season while working as second-fiddle to the now New England Patriot Dwayne Allen. His 75 targets are bound to increase under offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who is renowned for increasing tight end usage on team’s he has been on.

Year Team TE Target Share
2007 Cleveland Browns 31.6%
2008 Cleveland Browns 27.9%
2011 Carolina Panthers 29.4%
2012 Carolina Panthers 21.3%
2015 Indianapolis Colts 21%


With uncertainty surrounding the quarterback situation, Doyle is sure to be a consistent weapon that will be targeted whether we see Scott Tolzien or Andrew Luck under center. Take him in the thirteenth round with confidence.


Austin Hooper (TE, ATL) – 13.07, TE-15

The Atlanta Falcon operated with a committee approach for the tight end position in 2016, providing the rookie version of Austin Hooper with the needed time to transition to the demands of NFL competition. Overall, Falcons’ tight ends combined for 788 yards and 10 touchdowns while Jacob Tamme shared time with Hooper last season. However, with the team letting Tamme hit the free agent market, eyes have turned to Hooper to carry much of the workload.

In one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL, taking a shot on a tight end that will have plenty of red-zone opportunity is a high upside situation. Standing tall at 6’4, Hooper will draw the lion’s-share of targets at the tight position without Tamme around and has already been talked up by Matt Ryan in the preseason. Although his target share will be uncertain given the number of receiving threats on the team, he will make for a solid late round flier with a great chance to return on investment.


Must Avoid: Jason Witten (TE, DAL) – 13.06, TE-14

Jason Witten will end up in Canton one day as an all-time great NFL tight end who was one of the most consistent players at his position. Unfortunately, his days of fantasy relevance are likely over. The Dallas Cowboys offense has focused primarily on the run game in recent years and has produced incredibly inconsistent target shares on a game-by-game basis for Witten, as he had seven games with four or fewer targets last season. As a result, in 2016, he produced as a top-15 fantasy tight end in only six games.

With the Dak Prescott-Dez Bryant connection starting to heat up by the end of last year, Witten’s touchdown upside that was already limited to begin with has virtually vanished. Consider that he has found the end-zone five or fewer times over the last three seasons and Bryant is going to demand a large portion of red-zone targets on his own. I love Witten as a player, but not a fantasy asset.


Fantasy Surprise: Eric Ebron (TE, DET) – 13.08, TE-16

In the aftermath of posting career-highs in catches and yardage last season, Eric Ebron came out and said that he was constantly “banged up” throughout the year. Yet, he was still eighth among tight ends in yards and 10th in catches, and for the first time in his career, opponents started to scheme defensively to take him out of games.

Anquan Boldin has left the team and leaves a large possession role in his wake. Boldin’s 99 targets included 24 in the red-zone, something that Ebron will have to improve on to stay fantasy relevant in 2017. However, with mostly positive signs coming surrounding the potential for a breakout year, I fully expect Ebron to be better than the 16th ranked tight end. His stock has largely fell due to a hamstring injury he suffered in practice, but he should be ready to go Week 1 and could develop into a useful tight end option in a pass-happy Lions offense.


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