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Tight End Half-PPR Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

We continue with our breakdown of RotoBaller's early 2020 draft rankings for Half-PPR leagues by looking at everyone's favorite position - tight end!

While the names at the very top are no surprise, the next tier looks vastly different from a year ago. There are also some young, upcoming players that could make a fantasy splash in 2020.

Let’s dig deeper into the Half-PPR TE Rankings where we’ll take a look 2019 production and attempt to forecast outlooks based on changes in team context or whether that production was sustainable.

 

Tight End Half-PPR Rankings and Tiers

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Travis Kelce 18 3
2 1 George Kittle 20 3
3 2 Mark Andrews 45 4
4 2 Zach Ertz 48 4
5 2 Darren Waller 53 5
6 3 Tyler Higbee 69 5
7 3 Hunter Henry 70 5
8 3 Evan Engram 84 6
9 4 Rob Gronkowski 102 7
10 4 Jared Cook 103 7
11 4 Austin Hooper 105 7
12 5 Noah Fant 121 8
13 5 Mike Gesicki 129 8
14 5 Dallas Goedert 130 8
15 5 T.J. Hockenson 132 8
16 5 Jack Doyle 136 9
17 5 Jonnu Smith 143 9
18 5 Eric Ebron 148 9
19 6 Hayden Hurst 160 10
20 6 Blake Jarwin 169 10
21 6 Irv Smith Jr. 177 11
22 6 Ian Thomas 186 11
23 7 Chris Herndon 200 12
24 7 Darren Fells 214 12
25 7 Greg Olsen 219 13
26 7 Kyle Rudolph 220 13
27 7 O.J. Howard 231 13
28 7 Will Dissly 236 13
29 7 Dawson Knox 244 13
30 7 Jace Sternberger 246 13
31 7 Jimmy Graham 250 14
32 7 Devin Asiasi 253 14
33 8 Adam Trautman 267 14
34 8 Dalton Keene 282 15
35 8 Gerald Everett 285 15
36 8 David Njoku 291 15
37 9 Ryan Griffin 303 15
38 9 Tyler Eifert 307 15
39 9 Cameron Brate 308 15
40 9 Jeremy Sprinkle 311 15
41 10 Jacob Hollister 313 16
42 10 Vance McDonald 324 16
43 10 Cole Kmet 327 16
44 10 Jaeden Graham 331 16
45 10 Albert Okwuegbunam 335 16
46 10 Jason Witten 345 16
47 10 Josh Oliver 352 17
48 10 Nick Boyle 358 17
49 10 Harrison Bryant 360 17
50 10 Colby Parkinson 361 17
51 10 Foster Moreau 365 17
52 10 Kaden Smith 366 17
53 10 C.J. Uzomah 378 17
54 10 Demetrius Harris 385 18
55 10 Thaddeus Moss 387 18
56 10 Trey Burton 390 18
57 10 Drew Sample 392 18
58 10 Jordan Akins 398 18
59 10 Delanie Walker 400 18
60 10 Hunter Bryant 402 18
61 10 Mo Alie-Cox 407 18
62 10 Ricky Seals-Jones 442 18
63 10 Brycen Hopkins 445 18

Tier 1

Travis Kelce, George Kittle

Travis Kelce catches passes from the best quarterback in the most prolific offense in the NFL. He’s put up 115+ targets, 80+ receptions and 1000+ yards in four consecutive seasons. We’ll also likely see some positive regression on the five touchdowns from 2019. George Kittle is a great tight end as well, but Kelce’s status as one of the top options for Patrick Mahomes makes him the clear TE1.

 

Tier 2

Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, Darren Waller

Mark Andrews established himself as one of the best tight ends in the NFL with an impressive breakout season in 2019. The Baltimore Ravens led the NFL with a 43.6% target share for tight ends. They just traded Hayden Hurst (39 targets in 2019) to the Atlanta Falcons, so Nick Boyle (43 targets) is the only tight end on the roster who will take away some targets from Andrews. This makes it likely that Andrews (98 targets) will see an increase in volume. Andrews looks like the best bet of the Tier 2 tight ends to make the jump to Tier 1.

Zach Ertz (21 less targets in 2019) is on a downward trajectory at age 30, while Darren Waller could see a decrease in target share in an upgraded Raiders’ pass-catching group.

 

Tier 3

Tyler Higbee, Hunter Henry, Evan Engram

Evan Engram (89th-percentile in SPARQ score) is one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL, but he’s had trouble staying on the field, with only 34 of 48 career games played. However, he was in the middle of a breakout season before it was cut short due to injury, with 44 receptions, 467 yards, and three touchdowns in eight games. Unlike Tyler Higbee and Hunter Henry, Engram is the top option in his team’s passing game. The Giants don’t have a clear-cut WR1 like the Rams and Chargers do. While Engram is certainly an injury-risk, he has the most upside in this group.

Higbee had a dominant late-season stretch, but his previous career-high in yards was 295. Henry is in a run-heavy offense with Tyrod Taylor at the helm. Roll the dice and target Engram. 

 

Tier 4

Rob Gronkowski, Jared Cook, Austin Hooper

This is an easy tier to avoid, with Gronk and Cook as declining veterans and Hooper adapting to a new team. On the surface, Gronk’s comeback looks promising: re-joining Tom Brady in a stacked Bucs’ offense. But this is a player with significant injury concerns - it’s likely that the team will opt to give him a reduced role to save him for the playoffs, especially with capable tight ends like O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate still on the roster. Jared Cook still has downfield ability (10.85 yards per target in 2019), but he’s headed for negative regression in those nine touchdowns.

Entering his age-33 season, Cook is on a downward trajectory. Hooper joins a Browns team that will likely convert to a more balanced offense with an emphasis on the running game under new head coach Kevin Stefanski. Hooper (10.5 yards per reception in 2019) needs high volume to be successful - he’ll likely see regression on his 97 targets from 2019. 

 

Tier 5

Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, T.J. Hockenson, Jack Doyle, Jonnu Smith, Eric Ebron

If you prefer to wait on your tight end, this is the tier to attack, as it’s filled with athletic tight ends with upside. Noah Fant (94th-percentile SPARQ) had an impressive rookie season, including two 100-yard games.

Mike Gesicki (97th-percentile SPARQ) finished the season strong, putting up 20 receptions for 244 yards and four touchdowns in his final five games. He should also see a bump in targets as the number two option for the Dolphins, behind DeVante Parker.

Dallas Goedert nearly doubled his rookie production as a sophomore - he would jump to Tier 3 if Zach Ertz would miss time due to injury.

T.J. Hockenson had an underwhelming debut season, but he’s a former top ten pick who can dominate in the red-zone (10.5% of his targets were inside the 10-yard line).

Jonnu Smith (93rd-percentile SPARQ) no longer has to compete with Delanie Walker for targets, so we can expect an increase in volume. Each of these five tight ends are terrific upside picks.

Jack Doyle is more of a floor play with low upside, while Eric Ebron is a clear avoid as he adjusts to a new team in Pittsburgh. 

 

Tier 6-10

Hayden Hurst (Tier 6) looks poised to breakout in Atlanta as he takes over Austin Hooper’s high-volume role as the main tight end.

Blake Jarwin (Tier 6) showed downfield ability (8.90 yards per target) and plays in a Cowboys’ offense that projects to be one of the best in football.

Irv Smith Jr. (Tier 6) enters his sophomore season on a Vikings team that just traded Stefon Diggs (94 targets). Smith should establish himself as the top tight end in Minnesota over a declining Kyle Rudolph.

Chris Herndon (Tier 7) had a great rookie season, but last year was wiped out due to injury and suspension. He appears headed for a big role on a Jets’ offense with no real WR1, so the opportunity is there for a breakout season.

Gerald Everett (Tier 8) and David Njoku (Tier 8) are dart-throws who can see a huge bump in value with an injury to Tyler Higbee or Austin Hooper, as their offenses figure to be more tight end-centric this season.

Cole Kmet (Tier 10) has potential as a first-round rookie and is worth taking at such a late stage in your draft.

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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.