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!Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, rankings, projections, 15 lineup tools and daily Premium DFS research/tools including our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station and so much more! Sign Up Now!
Dynasty TE Rankings
|Position Rank||Position Tier||Player Name||Overall Tier||Overall Rank|
|14||5||Irv Smith Jr.||15||130|
|19||5||Chris Herndon IV||17||161|
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.
More Dynasty League Strategy
Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.