SportsGuyRy’s 2018 Fantasy Football Rankings
Tight End Edition (1-10):
*Photo provided by Stats LLC*
Welcome back for part 2 of the 2018 Tight End fantasy football rankings.
As you saw in our last article, there were a couple of typical big names that slid out of the top 10 due to consistent injury concerns. As we dive into the top 10 here, let’s notice the fact that there are only a couple of elite prospects here in a shallow position group.
As we got through this list, you must start to evaluate the value you are getting with each player and what potential each guy brings to the table. As you’ll notice, I give the total points scored last year in the description. Take a look at the value you are getting at that juncture of the draft. How many better producers will you be able to get and holding off on a tight end for another couple of rounds. It’s a smart approach given outside of the top 3-5, you’re sitting in a tough spot for draft value.
We will start with #10, who’s one of my sleeper favorites this year:
10. David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – Ranked #20 TE to end 2017 with 55 points (3.7 per game)
*Photo provided by Browns Wire – USA Today*
David Njoku is one of my sleepers at TE. There’s so much to like about the second year pro. He flashed plenty last year and with more competency at the QB position, he should do well. Although he only had 386 yards on 32 receptions, he did turn in 4 touchdowns.
This year, he’s working with either a low risk, efficient QB in Tyrod Taylor or a rookie QB who needs his safety valve in Baker Mayfield. With Jarvis Landry in town and Josh Gordon likely joining the team soon, he should be fighting for the third most targets with Duke Johnson. If the preseason game is any indication, he’s in for a big season after that 2 touchdown performance.
9. Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – Ranked #24 TE to end 2017 with 48 points (3.2 per game)
*Photo provided by Chicago Tribune*
In limited action, Trey Burton was one of the most intriguing players at the tight end position in the NFL. If David Njoku is my 1A sleeper at TE, Trey Burton is my 1B. He played for a dynamic offense with the Eagles and when given the opportunity to start, he shined. In a spot start in week 14, he put up 71 yards and 2 touchdowns. I luckily picked him up for a spot start in fantasy that week.
There’s a lot to love about Burton. He’s a move type tight end who might not be the strongest blocker but can move all across the formation and catch the ball well. He’s put up 575 yards over the last two seasons with 6 touchdowns (5 coming last season). That allowed him to sign a big contract with the Bears.
He should do well in the Bears offense too. Bill Nagy is the coach and produced the offense that Travis Kelce has shined in over the last couple of years. He should have plenty of opportunity working with a young QB. Burton should be considered a sleeper candidate at TE.
8. Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – Ranked #7 TE to end 2017 with 93 points (5.8 per game)
*Photo provided by ESPN.com*
Another year and another 800+ yard receiving season for Delanie Walker. Topping 800 yards 4 years straight is quite impressive. He’s averaged 5 touchdowns per season as well in that time frame. Walker plays on a team that’s run first with a beast – Derrick Henry. The Titans don’t have a ton on the offensive side, with Corey Davis still needing to show what he has and Rishard Matthews being a solid #2.
Walker is entering this season at 34 years young and I’m starting to wonder when the downhill turn will happen. He’s been consistent enough to trust as your 8th best tight end.
7. Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – Ranked #6 TE to end 2017 with 94 points (5.9 per game)
*Photo provided by TheOdysseyOnline.com*
Kyle Rudolph is a frustrating player for me. As a big Vikings fan, I feel he should be much better than he is on the field. He’s a fantastic human being off the field and appreciate everything he does for the Minneapolis community.
Back to football. He’s frustrating. A player with tons of talent but is limited athletically. He can’t break tackles, and he doesn’t get much for yards after catch. He does however catch the ball well and especially in the red zone. Over the last 3 years, he’s played in every game. He’s averaged 622 yards per season and 7 touchdowns.
I’m intrigued this year. He has the best quarterback he’s ever played with this season besides maybe his 2015 season (I love you Teddy). He’s in a tough spot behind Thielen, Diggs, Cook and maybe Treadwell in pecking order but he’s going to be the main red zone target.
6. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – Ranked #45 TE to end 2017 with 25 points (3.6 per game)
*Photo provided by Panthers Wire – USA Today*
What a bad year for Greg Olsen in 2017. He got hurt after week 2 and it essentially until week 15. However, the Packers game really showed the world what Olsen has left still. He took 12 targets and turned them into 9 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. That’s where most of his points last year came from.
He was close to retirement and almost took a role in the booth but decided to stick around for another year at least. I question his love for continuing to grind in the game and with the foot injury last year leaves some concern.
However, this was the first time since his rookie year he didn’t play in all the games in a season. His previous three seasons, he averaged 80 receptions for 1050 yards. He gets a handful of touchdowns a year typically so let’s see if his 12th season mirrors most of his career.
5. Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers – Ranked #4 TE to end 2017 with 106 points (6.6 per game)
*Photo provided by Zimbio*
I somewhat jumped off the Jimmy Graham train once he tore his patella a few years ago. I assumed his career was mostly over and I was wrong. In 2016, he turned in a 923 yard season with 6 touchdowns and although the yards were down significantly to 520, he was a red zone monster with 10 touchdowns, his first time going double digits since his last year in New Orleans.
There’s a lot to like about Graham this year. He’s moved on from Seattle to Green Bay, having the great Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. The tight end hasn’t traditionally been great in this Packers offense but there hasn’t been this talent there in a long time. I hate it personally but it’s great for hopeful fantasy owners.
4. Evan Engram – New York Giants – Ranked #5 TE to end 2017 with 100 points (6.7 per game)
*Photo provided by Giants Wire – USA Today*
Evan Engram had a great rookie season for a rookie. Typically, rookies have a hard transition into the NFL but given Engram is more of a big receiver than a tight end, his transition went well. Starting 11 games and playing in 15, he had 64 receptions for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns.
This was all done with an anemic offense with a bad Eli Manning playing in an even worse offensive system. Now I know he didn’t get an upgrade at QB but with Odell Beckham Jr. coming back and Pat Shurmur bringing an offense that made Case Keenum a good player, I’ll bet this offense is better this year. Oh, and I forgot, Saquon Barkley has arrived is looks great. Keeping this offense balance should help everyone, including Engram.
3. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – Ranked #3 TE to end 2017 with 119 points (8.5 per game)
*Photo provided by Zimbio*
How consistent has Zach Ertz been over the last 3 years? Very consistent is the answer. He’s had 75, 78 and 74 receptions over the last three years for 853, 816 and 824 yards respectively. Where he finally broke out last year was in the category of touchdowns, totaling 8 last year after having 13 in his first 4 NFL seasons.
The biggest complaint I have with Ertz is he hasn’t had a fully healthy season since 2014. Last year he got close with 14 games. Sitting in a great spot with a solid Carson Wentz returning and an offense that plays well to the tight end, you should feel confident rolling with Zach Ertz this year.
2. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – Ranked #2 TE to end 2017 with 143 points (9.5 per game)
*Photo provided by The Wearing of the Green (and Gold)*
Coming off the best year of his career, Travis Kelce’s value his firmly planted as the second best option at tight end. He plays in a very tight end friendly offense under Andy Reid with a gunslinger rookie QB and some other great pieces around him. Coming off back to back 1000+ yard seasons, he needs to be right up there with Gronk.
Last year he turned 83 receptions into 1038 yards (down from 2016) and 8 touchdowns in 15 games. He’s remained very healthy over his career and is just electric on the field with fun touchdown celebrations and competitive spirit. There’s really no flaws in his game. The biggest concern would be if those other pieces now in this offense take away production from him. With Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt – that’s a lot of mouths to feed.
1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – Ranked #1 TE to end 2017 with 150 points (10.7 per game)
*Photo provided by Zimbio*
Okay, this is an obvious choice. Rob Gronkowski has been the TE1 for most of his career. He might quite literally be the best tight end in the history of the NFL. I know this is a big statement, so I don’t take the statement lightly, but I would take Gronk over the likes of Kellen Winslow, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jason Witten. No one does it better from an all-around perspective of receiving and blocking.
The biggest negative Gronk has is his health. He hasn’t played in all 16 games in a season since 2011, which was his 1327 yard, 17 touchdown season. Last year he got close with 14 games for 1084 yards and 8 touchdowns. He’s set up well for success this year with Edelman gone for a few games and no other real legitimate threat on the roster. He should be targeted early and often.
The tough part here is deciding where he should be drafted. Some folks will say round 1. Others will say round 2 or 3. I’m still trying to determine his value over all other TE’s (besides #2 on my list) and where that breakeven point is with WRs and RBs.
Thank you for reading my opinions on the top Tight Ends for the 2018 Fantasy Football season.
Keep an eye out for my Defense and Kicker rankings coming out here soon!
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