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Updated Tight End PPR Draft Rankings and Analysis

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, there are more than five tight ends to get excited about heading into a fantasy football season!

Breakout seasons from Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, and more propelled the position to new heights in 2019. Fantasy players will no longer be overcome with a sense of dread if they don't land a tight end before Zach Ertz gets selected. In years past, players would be talking themselves into Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen as passable starters. Those guys still start in the NFL, but we have them ranked in the mid-20s rather than the early teens this year. We've got a new group of promising tight ends to talk ourselves into.

There's a lot to like from the tight end position this year. We'll be breaking down each tier of tight ends from our RotoBaller Rankings. You can find the full list here.

 

Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Travis Kelce 18 3
2 1 George Kittle 21 3
3 2 Mark Andrews 38 4
4 2 Zach Ertz 43 4
5 2 Darren Waller 53 5
6 3 Tyler Higbee 71 5
7 3 Hunter Henry 72 5
8 4 Evan Engram 84 6
9 4 Rob Gronkowski 86 6
10 4 Austin Hooper 94 7
11 4 Jared Cook 95 7
12 4 Hayden Hurst 98 7
13 5 Noah Fant 116 8
14 5 Mike Gesicki 118 8
15 5 Jack Doyle 124 8
16 5 T.J. Hockenson 131 8
17 5 Dallas Goedert 138 9
18 5 Jonnu Smith 140 9
19 5 Blake Jarwin 144 9
20 5 Eric Ebron 148 9
21 6 Irv Smith Jr. 168 10
22 6 Chris Herndon IV 171 11
23 6 Ian Thomas 179 11
24 7 Jace Sternberger 209 12
25 7 Dawson Knox 218 13
26 7 Jimmy Graham 224 13
27 7 Greg Olsen 226 13
28 7 Kyle Rudolph 229 13
29 7 O.J. Howard 239 13
30 7 Will Dissly 240 13
31 7 Jordan Thomas 250 14
32 7 Gerald Everett 253 14
33 7 Virgil Green 254 14
34 7 Darren Fells 256 14
35 8 Tyler Eifert 274 15
36 8 Devin Asiasi 278 15
37 8 Durham Smythe 279 15
38 8 David Njoku 284 15
39 8 Levine Toilolo 286 15
40 8 Vance McDonald 291 15
41 8 Marcedes Lewis 298 15
42 8 James O'Shaughnessy 304 15
43 8 Dan Arnold 305 15
44 8 Chris Manhertz 308 15
45 8 C.J. Uzomah 309 15
46 9 Jeremy Sprinkle 313 16
47 9 Robert Tonyan 316 16
48 9 Cameron Brate 318 16
49 9 Blake Bell 320 16
50 9 Daniel Brown 321 16
51 9 Nick Boyle 322 16
52 9 Trevon Wesco 324 16
53 9 MyCole Pruitt 336 16
54 9 Ryan Griffin 338 16
55 10 Cole Kmet 349 17
56 10 Anthony Firkser 350 17
57 10 Harrison Bryant 363 17
58 10 Trey Burton 364 17
59 10 Foster Moreau 368 17
60 10 Tyler Conklin 369 17
61 10 Kaden Smith 370 17
62 10 Jason Witten 371 17
63 10 Charlie Woerner 378 17
64 10 Delanie Walker 380 17
65 10 Seth DeValve 381 17
66 10 Jordan Akins 382 17
67 10 Josh Oliver 386 18
68 10 Adam Trautman 388 18
69 10 Jacob Hollister 398 18
70 10 Albert Okwuegbunam 404 18
71 11 Maxx Williams 411 18
72 11 Jesse James 416 18
73 11 Jaeden Graham 424 18
74 11 Johnny Mundt 429 18
75 11 Demetrius Harris 430 18
76 11 Drew Sample 431 18
77 11 Colby Parkinson 434 18
78 11 Dalton Keene 435 18
79 11 Deon Yelder 438 18
80 11 Derek Carrier 440 18
81 11 Kahale Warring 442 18
82 11 Joshua Perkins 446 19
83 11 Thaddeus Moss 448 19
84 11 Cethan Carter 452 19
85 11 Brycen Hopkins 454 19
86 11 Richard Rodgers 457 19
87 11 Mo Alie-Cox 458 19
88 11 Dalton Schultz 462 19
89 11 Josh Hill 468 19
90 11 Hunter Bryant 479 19
91 11 Nick Vannett 484 20
92 11 Jordan Reed 489 20
93 11 Matt LaCosse 493 20
94 11 Ricky Seals-Jones 494 20
95 11 Tyler Kroft 495 20
96 11 Ross Dwelley 497 20
97 11 Logan Thomas 509 20

Tier 1

Travis Kelce, George Kittle

Fresh off two massive paydays, Kittle and Kelce find themselves once again a tier above the rest of the pack. RotoBaller has Kelce ranked as the 18th overall player, with Kittle following behind at number 21.

Both guys seem like safe bets to finish as top-five tight ends. Kelce notched 97 receptions for 1,229 yards and six total touchdowns, somehow regressing in each of those numbers from the previous season. He's a top option in a passing game led by a quarterback who's on pace to be one of the all-time greats. He should be the first tight end off the board in 2020, but Kittle is a fine consolation prize for owners looking to grab an elite tight end.

 

Tier 2

Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, Darren Waller

Fantasy players who chose to wait on a tight end in 2019 were rewarded if they grabbed Mark Andrews late in their draft. Andrews broke out in a big way last season, leading all TEs in touchdowns with 10. Even if Andrews doesn't reach double-digit touchdowns again, he's a top pass catcher in an elite offense and belongs in this tier. Don't be surprised if he crosses the 1,000-yard mark this season.

Waller broke out in an even bigger way than Andrews last season, finishing as the TE3. His 90 receptions and 1,145 yards were second only to Travis Kelce among tight ends. Many have pegged Waller as a regression candidate, noting the numerous pass-catchers the Raiders added this offseason in addition to his low touchdown total last season. But Waller clearly still has a place in the passing game. He has valuable experience playing with Derek Carr and the Raiders made a big financial commitment to him. Even if he doesn't finish as a top-three tight end again, it would be a shock if he doesn't finish as a TE1 this year.

Zach Ertz has finished as a top-four tight end for the past three years and has been a top-10 tight end for the past five years. There's no reason to expect any serious regression here. He's one of the safest fantasy choices you can make in 2020.

 

Tier 3

Tyler Higbee, Hunter Henry

For the final five games of last season, Tyler Higbee was the best tight end in the NFL. He averaged 21.4 PPR PPG, nearly five points more than the next highest tight end. The problem is that he was 35th among tight ends for the 12 weeks that preceded that. He has an incredibly high ceiling and a dangerously low floor in 2020. He's easily the riskiest option of the tight ends so far, but as we saw last year, his ceiling may be the TE1. 

Will Gerald Everett's return impact Higbee's targets? Will the departure of Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley II impact Higbee's targets? Were the last five games of the season a fluke, or did we witness Higbee's true form? These are all questions fantasy players will have to consider when selecting Higbee.

 

Tier 4

Evan Engram, Rob Gronkowski, Austin Hooper, Jared Cook, Hayden Hurst

Evan Engram might be the top pass catcher on the Giants if he plays all 16 games this year. The problem is that he has missed 13 games over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, Engram may be shaping up to be this generation's Jordan Reed. But he managed to rank seventh among tight ends in PPR PPG last season, and will always be a "set it and forget it" type of player when he's active. The injury risk is going to be baked into his ADP.

The more casual the league you play in, the higher Rob Gronkowski's ADP is going to be. Just don't forget that Gronk had the worst year of his career before retiring in 2018 and that he's playing for a coach who's more likely to get his punter consistently involved in the passing game before he gets his tight ends involved. Having Tom Brady and Gronk might force his hand to use his tight end more, but there's a lot of risk with Gronk this season.

Austin Hooper finished third among tight ends in PPR PPG last season with 14.7. He left Atlanta for Cleveland in the offseason and his replacement, Hayden Hurst, falls just two spots below him in our rankings. Choosing between the two is simple: did Hooper blow up last season because he's talented, or did he blow up because of the situation he was in?

Hooper joins a talented, and crowded, group of pass-catchers in Cleveland. The Browns gave Hooper a nice payday when they signed him, but it doesn't even sniff what they have invested in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the team's top two receivers. Hurst will also have to compete for targets with a talented group of receivers, but 2019 proved that Atlanta has no problem getting the tight end involved. Both guys have big question marks. But the upside is much more promising than some of the tight ends you'd be drafting in this range in previous years.

 

Tier 5

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

Tier five is filled with young, talented tight ends who will all be seen as blow-up candidates

College teammates Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson were both drafted in the first round of last year's draft. Neither guy has a chance to be the team's top pass-catcher in 2020, and it's unlikely that either one is even the second option in the passing game. Fant specifically has to compete for targets with Courtland Sutton, two rookie receivers who the team spent high draft capital on, and an incoming Melvin Gordon III out of the backfield. But both guys showed promise in 2019 and tight ends have historically taken to the NFL slower than other skill positions.

Both Fant and Hockenson have a ton of promise. Still, that's all it is, promise. There's a reason they're available this late, but don't be surprised if one of these guys finishes as a TE1 this season. If I had to bet on one of them, I'd bet on Hockenson, simply because he has less competition for targets and a better quarterback.

If you're looking to find this year's Mark Andrews or Darren Waller, Miami tight end Mike Gesicki fits the mold better than anyone. The Dolphins have one proven wide receiver after a few players opted out due to COVID-19. Gesicki finished second among Miami pass-catchers last season in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns, and he somehow has even less competition for targets in 2020. Gesicki is a former second-round pick who has been quietly coming into his own as a solid NFL tight end. Quarterback play is going to be a question mark in Miami this season, but somebody has to catch passes from these guys. If you plan on waiting on tight end, Gesicki might need to be a priority. His ranking as TE14 feels a bit low to me.

Like Gesicki, Tennessee tight end Jonnu Smith finds himself out of Delanie Walker's shadow and in position to be the No. 2 pass-catcher on the Titans, but his ceiling doesn't feel quite as high. The Titans are going to feed Derrick Henry as much as possible and their receiver room is a bit deeper than Miami's. Still, Smith certainly has appeal at his ADP for those waiting on tight end in deeper leagues.

Pittsburgh acquisition Eric Ebron rounds out the top 20. Ebron has some appeal due to his name value and his memorable 13 touchdown season just two years ago, but I'm not buying into any hype here. Maybe there's a chance that Ebron picks up where Vance McDonald left off in 2018. Does reading that sentence really get you excited about anything? I see much more value in Chris Herndon (TE22) and Ian Thomas (TE23) than I do Ebron in 2020.



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