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Dynasty Rankings Analysis - Tight End

darren waller fantasy football rankings news NFL DFS lineup picks

There are plenty of talented tight ends in the NFL these days, and many of them are 27 or younger and perfect to have on a dynasty fantasy football roster for the next several seasons.

Fantasy football general managers do not generally build their dynasty teams around their tight ends. That does not mean that having a couple of solid-to-awesome players at the position does not lead to championships and riches, though. The amount of young tight ends out there with upward mobility seems endless. Drafting two and having them as cornerstones of your fantasy franchise is definitely a way to make your squad a contender in your league this year and for years to come.

It is never too early to rank players for the upcoming fantasy season. Here is my analysis of RotoBaller’s 2021 dynasty rankings at tight end!

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Tight End Dynasty Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Tier Overall Rank
1 1 Travis Kelce 8 19
2 1 George Kittle 9 22
3 1 Darren Waller 14 34
4 2 Kyle Pitts 18 53
5 2 Mark Andrews 18 57
6 2 T.J. Hockenson 19 62
7 2 Noah Fant 21 69
8 3 Dallas Goedert 22 87
9 3 Evan Engram 23 97
10 4 Mike Gesicki 24 103
11 4 Hunter Henry 24 110
12 4 Irv Smith Jr. 24 111
13 4 Logan Thomas 24 113
14 5 Robert Tonyan 24 123
15 5 Austin Hooper 15 132
16 5 Jonnu Smith 15 136
17 5 Zach Ertz 16 143
18 5 Cole Kmet 16 147
19 5 Gerald Everett 16 149
20 6 Tyler Higbee 17 163
21 6 Adam Trautman 18 167
22 6 Pat Freiermuth 18 170
23 6 Hayden Hurst 18 172
24 7 Brevin Jordan 18 173
25 7 Eric Ebron 18 174
26 7 Blake Jarwin 18 178
27 7 Harrison Bryant 18 184
28 7 Anthony Firkser 18 185
29 7 Jared Cook 18 186
30 8 Dawson Knox 18 187
31 8 Rob Gronkowski 19 190
32 8 O.J. Howard 19 195
33 8 Chris Herndon 20 219
34 8 David Njoku 21 222
35 8 Hunter Long 21 226
36 9 Dalton Schultz 21 239
37 9 Dan Arnold 21 243
38 9 Thaddeus Moss 21 250
39 9 Jordan Akins 21 254
40 9 Tre' McKitty 22 269
41 10 Mo Alie-Cox 22 270
42 10 Will Dissly 22 275
43 10 Jack Doyle 22 282
44 10 Trey Burton 22 283
45 10 Ian Thomas 22 285
46 10 Albert Okwuegbunam 22 287
47 10 C.J. Uzomah 22 291
48 10 Kyle Rudolph 23 302
49 10 Tyler Eifert 23 314
50 10 Kahale Warring 23 316
51 10 Donald Parham Jr. 23 318
52 10 Jimmy Graham 23 319
53 10 Tommy Tremble 23 324
54 10 Cameron Brate 23 327
55 10 Jace Sternberger 23 335
56 10 Hunter Bryant 23 337
57 10 Drew Sample 24 351
58 10 Devin Asiasi 24 352
59 10 Foster Moreau 24 353
60 10 Dalton Keene 24 362
61 10 Josh Oliver 24 369

 

Tier 1

Kelce is the unquestionable top tight end in fantasy football after racking up five consecutive seasons of at least 83 receptions, 1,038 receiving yards and 117 targets. He has never missed more than one game in any year and has Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. His only issue in dynasty formats is that he will be turning 32 during the season, so maybe this is the time to trade him when his value cannot get any higher.

Kittle, one of the leaders of Tight End University along with Kelce and former fantasy stalwart Greg Olsen, could be No. 1 on this list by season’s end. But while Kittle is a few years younger so he has greater upside, he does not have Mahomes throwing to him, has not shown Kelce’s durability and has not shown the same penchant for finding the end zone as his university co-founder. Kittle only has 14 touchdowns in four seasons. Kelce scored 35 over the same span.

Waller had two more catches and one more target than Kelce had in 2020. He also has racked up 197 receptions and 2,341 receiving yards over the past two seasons, proving he was no one-year wonder. There is no reason to think Waller’s fantasy worth will take a nosedive this year, especially since no Raider receiver has made claim yet to becoming David Carr’s top target.

 

Tier 2

The sky is the limit for Pitts as no rookie tight end has entered the NFL with this much hype in a long time. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has always loved throwing to his tight ends, and No. 1 WR Calvin Ridley should create room in opposing secondaries for Pitts to roam. Rookie tight ends normally do not provide much fantasy value, but bank on Pitts to become the exception to the rule.

Andrews finds the end zone and open seems down the middle for big-chunk plays thanks to Baltimore’s play-action passing game and his precise route running. His numbers would much better if he played in almost any other offense, however. The Ravens’ run-first approach does him no fantasy favors.

Hockenson went in reverse and instead of being a rookie sensation and then suffering a sophomore slump, he had an injury-prone rookie campaign and followed with a super sophomore season. He is the linchpin of Detroit’s passing attack and is entering his third year, so he is one of the best gets in dynasty formats because he will be a top-5 fantasy tight end for a long, long time.

Fant is another talented tight end entering his junior season in the NFL, and his numbers and fantasy value are both trending in the right direction. He cannot be placed as high as Hockenson or others, however, until he has a breakout season and/or finally gets an above-averaged quarterback to consistently deliver him the ball on a regular basis. Fant also has two hungry wide receivers (Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy) he has to split targets with, which Hockenson does not.

 

Tier 3

Goedert no longer will be stuck in Zach Ertz’s shadow and should blossom like a tulip in the spring once Ertz is finally traded to another organization. Do not be shocked if Goedert gets 120 targets as he and rookie receiver DeVonta Smith divvy up the targets from Jalen Hurts. Hopefully Hurts does not hurt Goedert’s value with some of his wounded ducks he throws.

The supporting cast around Engram was upgraded after Kenny Golladay inked his multimillion-dollar deal with the Giants. But while Golladay might open room over the middle for Engram, will it help Engram catch the ball better when Daniel Jones puts passes right in his hands? Engram’s drops have become legendary and keep him from a higher ranking.

 

Tier 4

Gesicki set career-highs in receiving yards and touchdowns in his third year and helped fantasy managers most when he scored four touchdowns in four games between Weeks 12 and 16 – the most crucial stretch in fantasy seasons. The quick chemistry Gesicki and franchise QB Tua Tagovailoa share bodes well for Gesicki for the future --- and for his dynasty value.

Henry is young, skilled, finds the end zone and just signed for multimillions with a New England team who was as desperate for tight end help as Jeff Bezos was to get into outer space. The problem is that Jonnu Smith signed with the Pats, too, and the jury is out on whether or not this tight end twosome will be as prolific together offensively as Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were back during New England’s glory days.

Smith Jr. is locked in as Minnesota’s No. 3 option in its passing attack behind standout receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. He should easily double his yardage output and get into the 700-yard range this year, but his biggest asset is being Kirk Cousins’ second-favorite target (behind Thielen) in the red zone. Smith Jr. will improve by leaps and bounds in Year Three.

Thomas shocked the fantasy world by finishing third among tight ends last year in receptions and scoring six touchdowns after only reaching the end zone twice in his first four NFL seasons. He is 30 years old so he does not have as much dynasty appeal as some of the younger tight ends ahead of him, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his QB, he should be able to duplicate his 2020 numbers in 2021 --- at worst.

 

Tier 5

Tonyan and his dynasty owners are happier than birds in a bird bath that Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay’s fold for one more season. Green Bay’s top tight end burst onto the fantasy scene with 11 touchdown catches last season, although he averaged less than 40 yards per game so it is understandable why he is not ranked in the TE top 10.

The rest of the tier is loaded with high risk-reward guys who could make or break a dynasty fantasy squad. Hooper’s first season in Cleveland did not go well and he has to battle Harrison Bryant and David Njoku for tight end targets in a three-way logjam. Smith is in the same boat as tight end teammate Hunter Henry in New England --- can they both be viable fantasy options on a run-first team with shaky quarterback play?

Ertz’s fantasy value is tied to what team he will start the season with. If he somehow stays in Philly, then his value drops because of Goedert and Hurts. If he gets traded then it all depends on which team acquires him.

Kmet’s fantasy value this year will be stunted by veteran touchdown machine Jimmy Graham still being in the way, although his long-term value for dynasty purposes is better. Everett gets a chance to be a No. 1 TE in Seattle, but it is hard to determine if he will provide fantasy feasts or famines on a weekly basis.

 

Tier 6

Which Higbee doe fantasy managers get this year? The one who had 522 receiving yards over a five-game stretch in 2019, or the one who had 521 receiving yards all last season (15 games)?  Having Matthew Stafford at QB and not having Gerald Everett stuck with him in a tight end timeshare situation are two positive points, but I see him finishing with 700 yards and a half-dozen scores.

Trautman will be New Orleans’ numero uno tight end with Jared Cook taking his talents to the Chargers. That would sound better on paper if Drew Brees was still the quarterback and Michael Thomas still had two healthy ankles. Trautman seems like more of a roster stash in dynasty leagues than a big performer in 2021.

Freiermuth has Eric Ebron blocking him at the top of Pittsburgh’s depth chart, so he is another youngster whose better fantasy days will be coming in 2022 and beyond. Draft him as a TE2 and he should develop into a TE1 for your dynasty team eventually.

 

Tier 7

Jordan is a fifth-round rookie who has inconsistent and injury-prone Jordan Akins ahead of him on Houston’s tight end list. Jordan has above-average speed but will probably be greener than spinach as he figures out how to play in the NFL in his first year.

Ebron and Cook are fantasy veterans who have made millions of fantasy GMs happy during their solid careers. They are probably one-year guys in dynasty leagues as their prime years are behind them, but both can be TE2s and can be spot-played as starters when matched up against porous defenses. Do not write either off even if Father Time is nipping at their heels.

 

Tier 8

Knox’s fantasy value is middle-of-the-road at best, and if Buffalo trades for the aforementioned Ertz than his value will be immediately torpedoed. Knox has a nose for the end zone, but his low yardage totals still preclude him from being in a higher tier no matter what other tight ends end up with him on the Bills roster.

Gronkowski and Howard are in danger of nixing each other’s fantasy values if both of Tampa Bay’s tight ends manage to stay healthy. Before you think Gronk is the better option, remember that when both suited up for the Buccaneers’ first four games of 2020, Gronkowski had a line of 14-88-0 while Howard had a line of 11-146-2.

 

Tier 9 and Lower

All three of Indianapolis’ tight ends are on top of each other in Tier 10 as their fantasy values are virtually identical since the most productive one of the trio changes from week to week. If Carson Wentz’ foot injury is serious and keeps him out for multiple weeks, you might as well put the Indy tight end threesome in Tier 100. 



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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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