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Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Tight End)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right?

We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.)

But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand those rankings, a way of figuring out what all of those numbers and names and tiers and so on all mean? That's why I'm here today. We're going to look at our dynasty tight end rankings and then try to make sense of some of the most important things about the rankings. Ready? Scroll on down!

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Dynasty TE Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Tier Overall Rank
1 1 George Kittle 5 21
2 1 Travis Kelce 6 25
3 1 Mark Andrews 8 50
4 2 Zach Ertz 10 60
5 2 Hunter Henry 11 68
6 2 Austin Hooper 11 69
7 2 Evan Engram 11 70
8 3 Darren Waller 12 76
9 3 Noah Fant 13 91
10 4 Dallas Goedert 13 94
11 4 Tyler Higbee 14 99
12 4 T.J. Hockenson 14 100
13 4 Mike Gesicki 14 113
14 5 Irv Smith Jr. 15 130
15 5 O.J. Howard 15 140
16 5 Hayden Hurst 16 145
17 5 Jonnu Smith 16 147
18 5 Ian Thomas 17 160
19 5 Chris Herndon IV 17 161
20 6 Jared Cook 17 162
21 6 Eric Ebron 18 169
22 6 David Njoku 18 174
23 6 Will Dissly 18 177
24 7 Jack Doyle 18 178
25 7 Cole Kmet 18 180
26 7 Jace Sternberger 18 186
27 7 Dawson Knox 19 189
28 7 Blake Jarwin 19 202
29 7 Gerald Everett 19 204
30 8 Devin Asiasi 20 205
31 8 Adam Trautman 20 215
32 8 Rob Gronkowski 21 220
33 8 Kyle Rudolph 21 226
34 8 Adam Shaheen 21 253
35 8 Greg Olsen 22 263
36 9 Vance McDonald 22 267
37 9 Dalton Keene 22 272
38 9 Trey Burton 22 283
39 9 Tyler Eifert 22 284
40 9 Jimmy Graham 22 287
41 10 C.J. Uzomah 22 288
42 10 Colby Parkinson 22 291
43 10 Albert Okwuegbunam 22 294
44 10 Hunter Bryant 22 296
45 10 Foster Moreau 22 297
46 10 Kaden Smith 22 298
47 10 Harrison Bryant 22 299
48 10 Josiah Deguara 23 301
49 10 Thaddeus Moss 23 306
50 10 Kahale Warring 23 312
51 10 Brycen Hopkins 23 313
52 10 Josh Oliver 23 317
53 10 Jacob Hollister 23 319
54 10 Delanie Walker 23 333
55 10 Jason Witten 23 334
56 10 Cameron Brate 23 344
57 10 Darren Fells 24 346
58 10 Ryan Griffin 24 347
59 10 Jared Pinkney 24 348
60 10 Jordan Reed 24 349
61 10 Mo Alie-Cox 24 350

 

Top Tier Analysis

Tight end's a shallower position than running back or wide receiver, so our top tier's got just three names in it, and honestly it's more like a two-player first tier and a one-player 1.5 tier, but whatever!

The only two tight ends ranked in our overall top 25 are George Kittle (21st) and Travis Kelce (25th). These are, without a doubt, the two best tight ends in the NFL.

Kelce still gets the nod in re-draft leagues, but in dynasty, Kittle's nudged ahead of him to be the overall TE1 in our rankings.

 

Tight Ends Who Are Trending Down

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - TE15

Okay, okay, okay: I believe that whole "Bruce Arians hates tight ends" thing now. Howard caught 34 passes for 459 yards and a touchdown last season, which would be fine if he was supposed to be a streaming TE2 or something, but Howard was being hyped as a breakout candidate and ended up playing in an offense that led the NFL in passing yards, so the fact that he didn't produce in that scenario isn't a great sign. He's still young, but Howard looks like he's never going to live up to the high expectations that were placed on him when he entered the league.

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints - TE20

You know that Kenny Chesney song "Don't Blink?" Well, I blinked, and somehow in that time, Jared Cook became 33 years old. He was still fine last season and he caught a career-high nine touchdowns, but Cook's on the wrong side of 30 and the Saints drafted Adam Trautman, potentially signalling that they're looking towards a post-Cook world. It makes sense, as the journeyman hasn't played a third season with a team since 2015 with the Rams.

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns - TE22

What...what happened here? Njoku seemed like a future star after 2018, when his second NFL season saw him catch 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns. He opened 2019 with four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, then broke his wrist against the Jets. He returned for the final two games of the year, but had just one catch for four yards while playing 24 total snaps. So, was he just not healthy at the end of the year? Or is there something deeper at play? How you respond to that probably decides how you feel about him right now in fantasy; personally, I think TE22 is a value for a fourth-year tight end with plenty of upside still.

Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears - TE40

Graham's probably never going to be a viable fantasy tight end again, but a win-now dynasty owner could maybe get a little use out of him? Maybe?

 

Where The Top Rookies Rank

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears - TE25

This was not a good tight end class, but Cole Kmet was the best player in it. The Bears need a long term starting tight end, because despite bringing in Jimmy Graham this offseason, Graham isn't that. Kmet is a big-bodied receiver who can carve out a nice role in the red zone, but he'll have to break through the crowded tight end group at Soldier Field first. He's the top dynasty rookie at this position, but I don't think he has a solid hold on that role, because he could be in for a big set back as a rookie when he struggles to see the field.

Devin Asiasi, New England Patriots - TE30

Is Asiasi the Rob Gronkowski replacement? No. Is he a tight end playing for Bill Belichick and thus in a slightly better position than other rookie tight ends because we can use New England's past tight end usage to make a guess that he'll get more targets than other rookie tight ends? Yeah, sure. (Can you tell I'm excited about this tight end class?)

Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints - TE31

Trautman won't get much of a look right away because of Jared Cook, but he has a chance to be a key piece of this offense in whatever the post-Drew Brees version of it looks like. Maybe potentially a solid TE2 in a year or two?

 

Let's Find Some Value Guys!

Here are some non-rookie players ranked outside of our top-12 who have a decent chance of one day breaking into our top-12.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings - TE14

While Smith didn't accomplish too much as a rookie -- he had 36 catches for 311 yards and two touchdowns -- he also had to contend with the presence of Kyle Rudolph. The two virtually split targets, with Rudolph having one more but catching six touchdowns. Rudolph is still around, which limits Smith's re-draft upside, but in dynasty he's still looking to be the top tight end here moving forward, and when Rudolph held that role alone, he consistently got a ton of targets, including 132 of them in 2016. If Smith gets full rein to be THE guy in a Mike Zimmer offense, watch out.

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans - TE17

With Delanie Walker gone, Smith finally gets the chance to be the guy in Tennessee. Last year, he caught 35 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns while playing 71 percent of Tennessee's offensive snaps. I think we'll see that number jump up to the mid-80s this year, if not higher, and with the Titans going into 2020 with Smith planned to be the starter, the playbook should feature him a little more heavily.

Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers - TE18

I don't feel as good about Thomas under Matt Rhule as I would have under Ron Rivera because Rhule ran a lot of 10 personnel in college, but in what should be an offense where passing the ball is the main focus and pass attempts rise in a post-Cam Newton universe, Thomas will have a chance to establish himself as a low-end TE1. He struggled last year, but don't forget he only played 27 percent of the team's offensive snaps.

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