Drafting a tight end is always a dilemma to me. If you draft one early then that means you are passing on a top QB or a solid RB2/WR2. Is that worth it? For Gronk you have an argument, for anyone else the answer is a little more gray. Let’s break down the position and then revisit that question. Standard rankings. [name – team, bye week]
- Rob Gronkowski – NE, 11: Even with his injury concerns, Gronk is by far the best tight end in the game fantasy-wise.
- Travis Kelce – KC, 12: Another weapon on what could shape out to be a potent offense.
- Zach Ertz – PHI, 9: Great chemistry with Wentz and a very tough matchup for any defense. He does have some competition for redzone targets as Alshon Jeffery is a big able-bodied receiver himself (when healthy; currently in the discussion to start the season on PUP – which means he would miss the first 6 games).
- Greg Olsen – CAR, 4: Cam Newton’s favorite target should pick up where he left off before his season-ending injury last year. Norv Turner has also come to town as the new OC which could spell big things as he has utilized the TE position well in previous years.
- Jimmy Graham – GB, 7: It would not be a surprise to see Jimmy get 10 TDs this year. He is going to be a huge redzone target for Rodgers who is now without Jordy. Jimmy should step in and have an immediate impact for Green Bay’s offense.
- Evan Engram – NYG, 9: This may be too high of a ranking for Engram this year as you can attribute a lot of last year’s production to the decimation of the receiving core in New York. With everyone healthy, Engram will see less targets for sure, but Shurmur’s offense has been generous to Tight Ends in the past which benefits Engram.
- Delanie Walker – TEN, 8: Titans just never seem to have an exciting offense. Delanie Walker looks to be the best pass-catcher on this team at the moment though.
- Kyle Rudolph – MIN, 10: Not expecting the same level of production as last year with Shurmur gone to the Big Apple.
- Jordan Reed – WAS, 4: This could be a boom or bust pick. He is very talented and if he can stay healthy we could see him back in the top 5 TE talk.
- Trey Burton – CHI, 5: Bears went out and paid for some offense. Trubisky is no Wentz yet, but take a flier on Trey if you pass on drafting this position until the later rounds.
- Jack Doyle – IND, 9: The Eric Ebron signing has me lower on Doyle this year. Ebron is the better athlete and easily could surpass Doyle in targets this year.
- O.J. Howard – TB, 5: Another dual TE situation as he battles with Brate. His targets should increase in year 2 and if his go up, Brate’s go down.
- Cameron Brate – TB, 5: Speaking of Mr. Brate… As mentioned above, O.J. is going to be stealing some more targets this year. Both could end up being viable and having similar production.
- George Kittle – SF, 11: Not a huge fan of Kittle but he did start to show some chemistry with Jimmy G at the end of last season.
- David Njoku – CLE, 11: Sneaky upside but he still plays for the Browns and Hue Jackson..
- Tyler Eifert – CIN, 9: He was a stud for one year but has been dealing with injuries since. High risk, possibly top 5 reward.
- Eric Ebron – IND, 9: Could take over the TE1 spot in Indy eventually. Preseason should give us an idea about how the Colts plan to use their TE combo.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins – JAC, 9: Always has potential but never quite lives up to it. Maybe Bortles can bring the best out of him this season.
- Hayden Hurst – BAL, 10: Could be worth a shot if you’re desperate or streaming this position. Looks like a capable pass-catcher and we know the Ravens aren’t shy about dropping Flacco back to pass 40 times a game if they need to.
- Charles Clay – BUF, 11: Setting the bar very low for the Bills’ offense this year. Clay could be one of the few bright spots.
- Jared Cook – OAK, 7: The game plan is to run the ball. He is capable of making plays, but we’ll see how many opportunities he gets to make them.
- Ricky Seals-Jones – ARI, 9: After Gresham returns from injury, there looks to be a TE battle. Ricky is more offensive-minded and should hold on to the starting spot. Sleeper pick with Arizona not having many receiving options outside of Larry Fitzgerald.
- Vance McDonald – PIT, 7: One of the last options on a very skilled offense..
- Benjamin Watson – NO, 6: Always has a couple big games each year. Trick is knowing which ones and picking him up for those weeks.
Alright, I am not going to continue talking about Tight Ends (insert butt joke here). If you take one of the top 8 then you probably are going to be starting them every week unless someone shoots up the waiver wire. Back to the question..
Is it worth it to pass on a top QB or WR2/RB2 for a Tight End?
If you get a top RB with your first pick then the answer is maybe.. depends who you are passing on to get them. After the top RBs (about 1-12) and the elite WRs (about 1-10) are off the board, then Gronk could be a viable option for you. Ideally you would want to have your RB core drafted before taking a TE. Kelce and Ertz are the only other two I would consider drafting before the 5th round.. everyone else after that starts to drop off talent-wise
Good talk and good luck.