The Fantasy Footballers Rankings: Top 10 Tight Ends Recap
On the latest podcast, Andy, Mike, and Jason went through their top-10 Tight End rankings. This article recaps the podcast. Andy, Mike, and Jason generally agree that their strategy this year is to either draft a top-4 tight end or punt the position and draft a tight end late. In such a thin position, it’s very top-heavy and there is a lot of risk after the top few players. Similarly, there are a lot of tight ends with upside that you can draft in the double-digit rounds (Jonnu Smith – Jason, Blake Jarwin – Mike, Chris Herndon – Andy…to name a few). It’s also important to keep in mind that historically, the TE10 does not provide much of an advantage compared to the TE15. So draft someone that you believe in or load up on the other position groups and take a lottery ticket later in your draft!
Don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Draft Kit for even deeper analysis, video profiles, 2020 projections, and other helpful tools for your draft.
1. Travis Kelce (ADP 2.08) – Andy: 1/Jason: 1/Mike: 1
Surprise, surprise. Travis Kelce is an incredible athlete on a top-3 NFL offense. Kelce has finished as a top-2 fantasy tight end each of the previous four years. He just signed a contract extension and has the NFL’s best passer throwing him the ball. He’s as safe as they come and should repeat as a top-2 tight end this season.
2. George Kittle (ADP 2.12) – Andy 2/Jason: 2/Mike: 2
George Kittle comes in as the clear number two ranked tight end. Kittle just also signed a contract extension. He’s an elite blocker and pass-catcher, and he might end up being the only viable “receiver” on the 49ers at the start of the season. Kittle should see an incredible workload and will compete with Kelce as the most valuable tight end this season. Last season, Kittle led all tight ends in forced missed tackles as well as 3rd down receptions (in only 14 games played). Kittle is an elite fantasy player with a high floor.
3. Mark Andrews (ADP 4.10)- Andy: 3/Jason: 3/Mike: 3
Mark Andrews had a breakout season in 2019 despite playing in limited snaps. He had the most 20+ point fantasy games in 2019 and was clearly Lamar Jackson’s favorite target. Will Hollywood Brown usurp Andrews as the number one pass-catcher this season? Will Andrews see more targets now that Hayden Hurst is gone? Andrews represents a tier drop compared to Kelce and Kittle because there’s a bit more risk. But don’t hear what we’re not saying! Andrews should return a solid value in 2020 as a locked and loaded fantasy asset.
4. Zach Ertz (ADP 5.04)- Andy: 5/Jason: 4/Mike: 5
It’s the same storyline every year…”Ertz was great last season, but only due to injuries to the wide receivers on the team. We should expect Wentz to spread the ball around now that the receivers are healthy.” Then we hear about another injury like Alshon Jeffery. Desean Jackson is 33. Marquise Goodwin opted out this season. Who’s left on the Eagles? Rookie Jalen Reagor has the chance to be the lead receiver, but rookie receivers are rarely productive Day 1. Meanwhile, Ertz has been a consistent target monster for years now. We should expect the same in 2020. For some reason, many are fading Ertz to the point where his average draft position (ADP) is slipping. Ertz is a fine draft pick this season.
5. Darren Waller (ADP 5.12)- Andy: 6/Jason: 5/Mike: 4
The WALLERus had 28% of his team’s total receiving yards last season, which paced all tight ends. Darren Waller had 1,145 yards last season but only 3 touchdowns. The Raiders ran the offense through the tight ends last season…but part of that was due to necessity. Keep in mind that Antonio Brown was on the Raiders roster last year at this time and was released right before the season began. Waller certainly stepped up as the lead dog in Oakland, but now he’ll have more competition from rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. Oh, and don’t forget about sophomore Hunter Renfrow. Regardless, Waller should remain a target hog in Las Vegas if you’re willing to pay a late 5th round pick.
6. Jared Cook (ADP 10.06)- Andy: 4/Jason: 6/Mike: 10
Cook had nine touchdowns on 65 targets last season. That’s insane! Only three NFL players had more receiving touchdowns in 2019: Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp, and Mark Andrews. The Ballers disagree about Cook’s value in fantasy this season, but he’s relatively inexpensive. Cook is on a high powered offense and has touchdown upside, if nothing else.
7. Mike Gesicki (ADP 13.03)- Andy: 8/Jason: 8/Mike: 8
Coming into his third season, there is a lot of optimism surrounding Gesicki this season. He’s an athletic freak, and tight ends take a few years to develop in the NFL…so he could take a big step forward this season. Still, no one knows who the starting quarterback is going to be for the majority of the season in Miami (Fitzpatrick or Tua). Gesicki is a dart throw, but he has as much of an opportunity to succeed as anyone after the big four.
8. Tyler Higbee (ADP 8.06)- Andy: 12/Jason: 10/Mike: 6
Higbee had more games with 7+ receptions than Mark Andrews or George Kittle last season. He also led all tight ends with a 79.2% catch rate (min 50 targets). Higbee blew up at the end of the 2019 fantasy season, scoring 15+ fantasy points in every single game from Weeks 13 – 16. He was a league winner, and it seemed like the Rams started designing plays around him. Higbee largely remains an unknown, but he had a stretch of games that was awe-inspiring. The range of outcomes for Higbee is wide open…but if he turns into this season’s Mark Andrews, he’ll be an incredible value.
9. Evan Engram (ADP 7.04)- Andy: 7/Jason: 15/Mike: 7
Evan Engram has been very productive when healthy…but the question with him is always health. If he played all 16 games, Engram would be talked about in one of the top tiers of tight ends. Jason is the lowest on Engram while Andy and Mike have more optimism. Fortunately, Engram is a plug and play kind of player when healthy. Like the other tight ends in this range, Engram has a wide range of outcomes. Are you willing to draft Engram in the 7th round? Mike is, but Jason isn’t.
10. Hunter Henry (ADP 9.01)- Andy: 15/Jason: 9/Mike: 11
“If you got the number 10 tight end every week, you are losing at the position.” While he wasn’t talked about for long on the podcast, Hunter Henry has shown stretches of high-level production. Now he has a new quarterback in either Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert depending on who wins the starting job (and will they keep it?). Henry has name recognition, which puts him at a 9th round ADP. Jason is the highest on Henry, but the Ballers would rather wait and take a flier on someone several rounds later instead of drafting Henry.