The Fantasy Footballers’ Top 10 TE Rankings for 2021
As the NFL season gets closer and closer, we continue to move our way through the positional players. Over the last couple of days, we tackled the QBs – you can check out the recap on QBs 1-10 and QBs 11-20 here. On Tuesday, Andy, Mike, and Jason discussed the top 10 TE rankings heading into the 2021 season. TEs were very efficient in the red zone in 2020, with 31% of TE TDs occurring there. That is the highest percentage in the last decade. A reminder that even lower volume TEs can be streamable, so if you miss out on one of the big three, all is not necessarily lost. Let’s look at the rankings.
Andy 1 | Jason 1 | Mike 1
ADP: 1.12 / TE1
Newly clean-shaven Travis Kelce is very good at football. Last season he had the second-best TE fantasy season of all time and was the most consistent TE you really could ever draft. He is the primary target on the highest-ranked offense in football. Do not overthink this and if you have a later pick in your draft, confidently draft Kelce, and you will not regret it. The only concern is how many more years Kelce has left in him.
Andy 2 | Jason 2 | Mike 2
ADP: 3.02 / TE3
Even though he catches passes from Derek Carr, The Wallerus has proven to be a target hog. In 2020 he had 145 targets, with over 27% of the team’s targets heading his direction. He might be slightly less consistent than Travis Kelce, but he is going in the third round, while Kelce goes in the first. As Jason mentioned, this allows you to grab a great RB in the second round and then Waller in round three.
Andy 3 | Jason 3 | Mike 3
ADP: 3.01 / TE2
The people’s TE George Kittle missed eight games in 2020 with an injury but still managed to be on a 17-game pace of over 13,00 yards. He is an aggressive player with elite talent as well as big-play ability, but Andy’s reason for ranking him lower than Kelce and Waller is simply the chance for re-injury. Battling two monster WRs when healthy in Brandon Aiuyk and Deebo Samuel, the distribution of targets is left to be seen. Those three have rarely been healthy at the same time and on the field together. Kittle does not catch many TDs, so if that number jumps, he ends up being a great value.
Andy 5 | Jason 5 | Mike 4
ADP: 5.03 / TE5
Mark Andrews represents a clear tier drop with TEs this season. Although not the huge league winner that Kelce or Waller could be, he has been a back-to-back top-five fantasy TE. Andrews is the clear number one for targets in Baltimore, but the passing pie continues to be extremely small. Andrews is going in the fifth round, and although he is a “good” TE, both Andy and Jason would go another direction with that pick.
Andy 6 | Jason 4 | Mike 5
ADP: 5.09 /TE6
T.J. Hockenson finished 2020 as the TE4, and he was quietly the TE3 from weeks 1-14. The QB transition from Stafford to Goff suggests there could be diminished quality for Hockenson, but the fact that there is not anyone else to throw to, suggests an uptick in quantity for him. Last season he had over 100 targets, and the Lions have lost two great WRs, so there seems a great chance that Hockenson’s target share will be high. If you hate to stream TEs, Hockenson’s volume could be enough to tempt you to draft him in the fifth round. The third season is often the TE breakout year.
Andy 4 | Jason 6 | Mike 6
ADP: 5.02 / TE4
For Kyle Pitts to get good enough value to be drafted at this position, and it would take the best rookie TE season of all time. ALL-TIME. And not just by a little. This is the conundrum of drafting Kyle Pitts. Andy made it clear the importance of viewing Pitts as a WR, and he believes that Pitts could hit over 1000 yards receiving with clear TD upside with a QB who loves to throw.
Andy 7 | Jason 7 | Mike 11
ADP: 10.06 / TE12
Tyler Higbee is currently going in the tenth round and is a recipient of a brand new shiny QB in Matthew Stafford. In past games, when Gerald Everett was out and Higbee was the only TE on the field, we saw an abundance of explosive play. In weeks 13-17 of the 2019 season, when Everett totaled four snaps, Higbee finished as TE1, 5, 3, 9, and 1. Mike says that he is someone in the later rounds which can take that jump, and you should be perfectly content drafting him at that point.
Andy 8 | Jason 12 | Mike 7
ADP: 9.08 / TE10
For a player finishing as TE3 last season, Robert Tonyan’s ADP has yet to surge, which is somewhat because of the Aaron Rogers off-season uncertainty. Tonyan led all TEs last year in true catch rate, pulling in 98% of his catchable targets. He has the potential to be a solid higher-level fantasy TE again in 2021.
Andy 9 | Jason 8 | Mike 13
ADP: 9.11 / TE11
As Jason said, now we are done talking about all of the good TEs. Although Mike Gesicki tied for most end zone targets among TEs with twelve, he is on a bad pass offense team with a QB that could go either way in 2021. For Gesicki and Dallas Goedert (ranked as TE10), Andy mentions that the cost of drafting either of these two TEs is too high.
Andy 12 | Jason 10 | Mike 8
ADP: 7.02 / TE7
With bleach blonde Zack Ertz still a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, you cannot bank on Dallas Goedert being your go-to guy. Drafting Goedert in the seventh round from a team with a questionable offense is a scary prospect.