27 Jun Fantasy Football: Pre-Training Camp TE Rankings
By: Mike Stromme
Alright, ladies and gents, it’s officially that time of year! Time to get ready to start to think about fantasy football.
A few things to keep in mind:
These rankings are pretty straight-forward, and geared towards basic full-point PPR formats.
These rankings are fluid, and will be updated throughout the rest of the offseason/preseason whenever I see fit (injuries, trades, etc). I don’t see too much happening between now and Week 1 from a roster movement stand-point that would impact the names on this list, but you never know. Let’s just hope nobody goes down with a catastrophic injury like a torn ACL or something, get arrested, or suspended between now and then. But hey, there’s always going to be something… Trust me, there’s always something!
These rankings are generally just going to be a straight-forward list. For further analysis, tune into The Best Damn NFL Show Ever and Ever, with my co-host, Lou Landers. We will be LIVE on-air every Tuesday evening at 6:30 P.M. EST on The SportsCrew Radio Network. The show will make it’s 2017 debut on America’s birthday, The Fourth of July! Grab a hot dog off the grill, a Corona out of the cooler and come join us!
The stats beside my TE ranks are MY personal projections, not the respective player’s stats from last season. File any complaints or grievances to @stromme_93 on the Twitter machine.
1) Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: (112 Targets, 73-1,103-7)*
2) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: (133 Targets, 97-1,242-5)
Both these guys have the opportunity to produce WR1-type stats at the TE slot. Kelce is the top receiving option on his team, and some would argue that Gronkowski is the same on the Patriots. Both guys are BEASTS, but a full 16 games from Gronk could be a game-changing pick for your squad, especially with his current ADP being a round later than previous years.
*Gronkowski’s stats are projected over 13 games.
3) Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins: (105 Targets, 80-840-6)*
4) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers: (134 Targets, 83-1,098-5)
5) Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: (121 Targets, 83-857-6)
This tier has tight-ends that can put up WR2 numbers in PPR formats. While Reed has more upside than the other two players in this tier, his upside is capped more by injury concern than opportunity. Olsen has proven year in, year out to be Cam Newton’s most reliable target, and should see a high-volume of targets. As should Kyle Rudolph, he saw 8.8 targets/game after OC Pat Shurmer took over in Week 8. Even with regression factored into Rudolph’s projections, he still should see a boat-load of targets. In that dink-and-dunk, short-yardage passing scheme Shurmer likes to run, Rudolph should lead that team in targets.
*Jordan Reed’s stats projected over 13 games.
6) Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks: (101 Targets, 66-884-6)
7) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: (107 Targets: 73-835-5)
8) Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: (70 Targets: 47-566-7)*
9) Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans: (102 Targets: 64-769-6)
All of these tight-ends have the ability and potential to creep into the top three by season’s end. All four guys are dangerous in open space, red zone threats and vital components of their respective offenses. That being said, selecting one of these guys doesn’t come without risk. Graham, Ertz and Eifert all have had sketchy health concerns in the past. As for Walker, his upside is relatively capped due to the plethora of other options around him in Tennessee (Decker, Matthews, Davis in the passing game; Murray, Henry and Mariota in the red zone).
*Eifert’s stats projected over 12 games.
10) Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers: (72 Targets: 49-586-5)*
11) Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers: (106 Targets: 74-850-4)
12) Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: (92 Targets: 67-705-5)
13) Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions: (72 Targets: 54-646-3)*
With this tier of tight-ends, I feel like each guy has a relatively safe floor with a hint of upside. While none of these guys are the first or second option on their respective teams, they’ll still produce a safe, “meat and potatoes” type of line at the end of the week. There might even be a week or two where a guy from this tier sneaks into the top-five in a particular week, but don’t expect anything major on a weekly basis.
*Bennett and Ebron’s stats are projected over 13 games respectively.
14) O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (67 Targets: 40-564-4)
15) Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts: (75 Targets: 60-549-5)
16) Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints: (77 Targets: 46-547-4)
17) David Njoku, Cleveland Browns: (86 Targets: 50-651-5)
18) Evan Engram, New York Giants: (74 Targets: 44-543-4)
Each tight-end in this tier has the potential to move-up my rankings. There are pros and cons to taking a chance on each and every one of these players.
Howard and Engram are high-upside, rookie tight ends in legitimate offenses that could easily be in my top ten at some point in the season, but are inexperienced and each have a competitor for snaps.
Doyle and Fleener are both high-upside guys in elite passing attacks, but both have the potential to have snaps/targets siphoned from them by the guy behind them in the depth chart.
Njoku doesn’t have any competition, plays in an offensive scheme that favours tight-ends (especially in the red zone), but concerns regarding experience and talent around him could cap his upside.
Despite the concerns of each tight-end in this tier, each guy can easily out-perform their current rank and are all well-worth a mid-to-late round dart in PPR formats.
19) Ben Watson, Baltimore Ravens: (106 Targets: 65-682-4)
20) Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills: (95 Targets: 61-604-3)
This tier is essentially the same as Tier 4, minus the upside. Pencil-in both these guys for 8-10 fantasy points a week and forget about it. Don’t expect anything more than a high floor with a low ceiling.