Rob Gronkowski leads the way, But is the gap between him and number two that far? He’ll be taken in the first round in most drafts. You may want to wait and get the next couple guys instead.
1. Rob Gronkowski
Everyone loves having a productive tight end. Gronkowski is the best. But with him going in the first round you may be better off waiting a couple of rounds and grabbing Reed or Olsen in PPR leagues. His stats are more of a second round pick. Which is where I’d try to take him. I’m sure he’ll be long gone. Brady wont be back until week 5. I think Garoppolo will be fine, but you never know. With Martellus Bennett joining the team it could take away a few TD’s. Or it may not and there’ll both both tough to deal with. You just may be better off waiting on a tight end in PPR leagues. Standard scoring he’s a late first rounder.
2. Jordan Reed
Reed’s biggest issue is staying on the field. He’s missed plenty of games in his short career but he can explode when he’s healthy. 11 TD’s last year should be mirrored in 2016. Around 1,000 yards and 80-90 catches is a realistic vision depending on how much he plays. You can get Reed late third early fourth round and I suggest you do. It also gives you a chance to fill-in 3 other spots before tight end.
3. Greg Olsen
I owned Greg Olsen in 3 of 4 leagues last year. I took him in the fourth round in each league and it really paid off. He’s getting older but i still envision a very good year. The Panthers get Kelvin Benjamin back and that will help free Olsen up a little more. His 7 touchdowns from last year could go up a couple. 7-8 is what i expect. I’d look for him in the fourth round and leave him in every week.
4. Delanie Walker
Walker is one of the most underrated players in fantasy. He’s a PPR machine in a young and up and coming offense. Mariota has a year under his belt and connected with Walker 94 times last year. He scored 6 times and went for over 1,000 yards. I’d target Walker in the 4-5th round.
5. Tyler Eifert
Eifert was a breakout star in 2015. His foot injury could slow the start of his season. Even missing some games. In a PPR league you may want to take Delanie Walker ahead of him. Even when Eifert comes back it’ll be a wait and see on how effective he is. He’s young with a good QB and AJ Green on the field with him. Eifert should be a quality red zone guy at worst when he returns. But if he suits up week one expect another good year.
6. Gary Barnidge
Everybody was won over by Gary Barnidge last year. Especially after the Butt catch. he had 79 receptions over 1,000 yards and 9TD’s. If someone can replace Travis Benjamin and Robert Griffin isn’t a complete disaster Barnidge should have another nice year. He may not match last season, but i expect numbers that come somewhat close.
7. Travis Kelce
Kelce was disappointing last year. He ended the year with 5 touchdowns. 2 of them came in the firs half of the opening game against Houston. So he only scored 3 times after that. His 72 receptions helped in PPR leagues. This is a real make or break season for Kelce. He still has potential to be much better.
8. Martellus Bennett
I love the duo of Gronkowski and Bennett. He wont catch 90 balls unless there are injuries around him. But expect 55-65 exceptions and 6-8 touchdowns. Even more if some happens to Gronk or multiple receivers. People who are down on Bennett puzzle me. The Patriots have had success utilizing two tight ends in the past.
9. Coby Fleener
Fleener is underwhelming and often injured. He joins a Saints offense primed for a big year. He can be productive at times. This Saints offense his a good fit for him. If Fleener can stay on the field he could be a great draft pick. There’s a bust factor that comes with him too.
10. Zach Miller
Miller’s overall numbers aren’t eye-popping. But almost all of his production came from week 9 on. Bennett is gone and Miller could be a solid tight end this season. You may want to get a younger upside guy to go along with him. If this offense can stay healthy it could be a nice year for the Bears offense all around.
11. Antonio Gates
Gates caught 12 touchdowns two years ago in a freak season. I’m expecting a good first 7-10 weeks and then a slowdown. At 36 years old Gates needs 8 touchdowns to beat Tony Gonzalez’s record (111). He could do that this year. Gates could end up as a top ten Tight End this year.
12. Zack Ertz
Although his receptions and yardage have gone every season, his trips to the end zone have become less frequent. At this point he’s a solid PPR tight end. In other formats he’s not going to help much. If Ertz can find the end zone 5-7 times this year it would make him a usable tight end in all formats.
13. Julius Thomas
It was an ugly start for Thomas in Jacksonville. But after coming back from injury he was decent. In a high-flying passing attack, Thomas will get his share of looks.
14. Eric Ebron
Ebron has been disappointing since being selected in the first round. But he did get better from year one. He scored 5 touchdowns a year ago. Ebron is another injury guy. He’s already got an ankle sprain. But at a position that thins out quick during the year, Ebron is a name to own. Best expectations are 55 receptions, 600 yards and 6 touchdowns. Coming into year three he needs to improve.
15. Kyle Rudolph
In 2015 Rudolph had a similar year to his best NFL season in 2012. The biggest difference was 5 touchdowns compared to 9 in his second year with the Vikings. If Bridgewater targets him in the red zone, Rudolph could be a nice option for your team
16. Dwayne Allen
Allen hasn’t been able to stay on the field. He’s more of a red zone target. In 2014 Allen scored 8 touchdowns. If the Colts can rebound from last season and Allen stays healthy, 5-8 Touchdowns is a realistic range.
17. Jimmy Graham
Graham is still recovering from last years injury. He may miss the beginning of the season. Graham still has some name value. So if you end up with him on draft day and have another tight end you feel good about. I’d try to package him in a deal. I don’t expect a big year from Graham. Things didn’t seem right last year. It was his first season with the Seahawks. I’d have him much higher if he was in camp practicing.
18. Clive Wolford
I loved Wolford coming out of the draft last year. I like his ability to score, line-up all over the field and his landing spot in a young and up and coming offense. While all of the talk will go to Carr, Cooper and Crabtree in the passing game. Wolford is a name to know and draft this year. He has been slowed by injuries last year and this past spring. But if he can stay healthy i love Wolford as a breakout Tight End. I really like Wolford, but until he does something on a consistant basis you can’t expect a ton of production.
19. Austin Hooper
It looks like Hooper could be the starting tight end in Atlanta. It’s a great opportunity to be productive right away as a rookie. Atlanta hasn’t had a good Tight End since Tony Gonzalez. But with any rookie I’d temper expectations. He could vault up this list. Or have a tough learning curve and not emerge until later in the season. Keep an eye on Hooper during the year.
20. Hunter Henry
Henry has looked very good in camp so far. I never rely on a rookie tight end. I wouldn’t draft Henry unless it’s a dynasty draft or you have a massive bench. Henry could surprise this year and could be a nice pick up mid-season if Gates gets hurt, popped for PED’s or age catches up with him. But keep him on your watch list.