NFL Fantasy: Top 15 TEs + Sleepers
By RahimAli Merchant
The final step in making the perfect fantasy football team is getting the right tight end. I have already shared with you the top quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers available in the draft, so let me conclude by helping you figure out which tight end you need for PPR format.
Your tight end shouldn’t be drafted until maybe round four, but you know there’s always going to be somebody who jumps on the tight ends early. I tend to do that as well, but if you can get two of the top 10 tight ends, it’s always good for trade bait.
So which ones should we get?
- Zach Ertz, Eagles
- Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
- Travis Kelce, Chiefs
- Greg Olsen, Panthers
- Jimmy Graham, Packers
- Evan Engram, Giants
- Delanie Walker, Titans
- Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
- Trey Burton, Bears
- Jordan Reed, Redskins
- George Kittle, 49ers
- Jack Doyle, Colts
- David Njoku, Browns
- Cameron Brate, Buccaneers
- Tyler Eifert, Bengals
Ertz, Gronkowski, and Kelce are the clear favorites for me. Ertz has continuously improved each season. Last year was the biggest yet, and the type of offense the Eagles run is favorable for Ertz’ owners. Look to see him improve more this season by getting 1000+ yards and double-digit touchdowns, especially with a healthy Carson Wentz coming back.
Gronkowski will always be a top TE in fantasy and he is always going to be Tom Brady’s go-to guy. The duo can have a connection no one has figured out yet. If Gronk stays healthy and doesn’t get limited by injuries, expect him to use his athleticism and size to be a dominant force for the Patriots offense once again.
Kelce has finished No. 1 in PPR scoring TEs in each of the last two years. With new quarterback Patrick Mahomes looking to take over the reigns, Kelce will be available to bail him out if needed. Kelce, like Gronk, has the athleticism and size to make great players for the Chiefs. Let’s put him in the Pro-Bowl already.
Olsen’s 2017 was shortened by a foot injury, which sucked for me because I had him and Delanie Walker (coming later) in one league together. Only imagine what he could’ve done for the Panthers all season if he stayed healthy. With him reportedly healthy, we could see him have another 1000+ yard season.
Graham has been one of the best TEs since he first set foot on the football field. He has also had the luxury to play with three future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and now Aaron Rodgers. Graham hasn’t played a game with Rodgers yet, but with the offense that’s in place in Green Bay, we should expect to see a lot of connections between Graham and Rodgers, maybe even getting himself double-digit touchdowns.
Engram had a good rookie season and shined bright in the Giants rotation, but that was without Odell Beckham Jr and Saquon Barkley in play. With a new head coach, Pat Shurmur, who loves to use tight ends as a pivotal role for his team, Engram will still see his numbers grow. Plus, there will be less pressure on him to make the big plays now that Beckham will be back, so he can comfortably get 800 yards and at least five scores. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see more from him.
Walker led his team in receptions (74) and yards (807) last season, and he could do it again this year. Walker has given Titans fans everything to cheer for as he helped lead them into a wild-card spot. We expect Walker to do much of the same this year. He’s also very active in PPR because he gets so many receptions. He’ll make it easier on the younger players trying to figure out the other teams’ defense as well.
Rudolph is one of the more steady veteran TEs who’s numbers have been similar over the past two seasons. This season things should be different in a good way for him. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has a resume for throwing to his tight ends, so we could see more passes coming his way. As if he needed more though.
Burton was part of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles last year, and he did his job impressing future teams working alongside Ertz. Burton has now moved on to the Chicago Bears where he expects to play the Travis Kelce role. That is good for both him and the young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. If you haven’t followed or watched Burton in Philly, you should look at Chicago because he’ll be making a good amount of noise in the Windy City. Don’t pass up on talent.
Reed is a great tight end and one of the top 5 IF he can stay healthy. There is a high risk drafting Reed because he is so injury prone, but when healthy and not in the concussion protocol, he could be the best player on your team. I still remember one Monday night where I was down 25 points and he was all I had left. I ended up winning by three points. The following week, he gave me five points and left the game with a concussion. I would still keep him as my tight end, especially if I could manage to get another Top 10 TE.
Doyle has been waiting for the day where QB Andrew Luck returned. Though his numbers have been substantial, Doyle will need to continue to have significant numbers and work with his new teammate Eric Ebron to get the Colts back on the winning side of things. Expect good things from the Colts TEs this season.
Kittle and Njoku had breakout rookie seasons, and they will look to continue right where they left off. Kittle is in a good position with the 49ers. He has the size to be the next Gronk for Jimmy, and this could be the next Brady-Gronkowski of the NFL. Kittle’s size helps Garoppolo because of all the undersized receivers on the team. These two have great potential ahead of them.
Njoku is in an even greater position to increase his stats. He will be playing alongside some other explosive players like Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. Njoku will use his athleticism and feed off those two receivers. Regardless of who the quarterback is in Cleveland, Njoku will be a bigger surprise than he was last year.
Brate has been one of the better pieces to the Buccaneers offense, as he scored 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston throwing him the ball, Brate will shine. He earned the big bucks over the past seasons, and with the suspension to Winston, he will be a big piece for Fitzpatrick. Maybe we’ll see him score several touchdowns and help other players like O.J. Howard and Ronald Jones Jr. develop more to what they are expected to be.
Eifert is a TD Machine, at least when he’s healthy. Eifert has had some good seasons, but injuries caused him to have a tough time getting it going. It wasn’t just Eifert who struggled last season though. We expect to see Eifert rebound with his team and hopefully add a lot more touchdowns.
Although it would be great to have one of the top TE’s, it may not always be possible, but there are always going to be some sleepers available.
Who do we want to keep an eye on?
- Charles Clay, Bills
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars
- Austin Hooper, Falcons
- Hayden Hurst, Ravens
- Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
Clay will also be a safe pick, especially with the question of who the quarterback is in Buffalo. Clay had his fair share of games last season where he played exceptionally well, but injuries and inconsistency had him unsettled in the Bills offense. Clay, along with LeSean McCoy, will help whichever QB gets the Bills offense up to their full potential.
Seferian-Jenkins is a proven veteran TE who was a real piece for the Jets last season. As a member of the Jaguars, he will get the attention of Bortles and could be one of his favorite targets. After losing both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, Seferian-Jenkins will be the missing piece to the Jaguars offense that will get them back to the playoffs.
Hooper’s time is now! I mean like right now, now! After the Falcons lost Tony Gonzalez to retirement, they have been looking for that one TE to replace him. Hooper has shown that he has what it takes to be that the guy for the Falcons, but the very inconsistent play has a big question mark by his name. If you believe in the third year of Hooper, than let’s ride with him and hope he can help QB Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons offense. His six total career touchdowns will likely be doubled this year!
Hurst is a bit of an unknown for those of us who haven’t been fans of South Carolina. However, he is an excellent fit for the Ravens and QB Joe Flacco. This is the first time since the Ravens Super Bowl win that they have a TE of this caliber. Although Hurst doesn’t have much stats to show in college, we are expected to see great things, so keep your eyes peeled for this one!
Gesicki is another rookie TE we should see a lot from. He showed the athleticism the Dolphins needed to fill the void of Landry after the trade. He is more of an offensive threat than Hurst. He could also become one of the better TEs in the league in a few years. Let’s hope Ryan Tannehill can find a way to get him the ball.
This concludes the four-part article of top position players! It would’ve been good if I had helped you figure out the top kickers and defenses, but I will leave that judgment up to you, especially since I like to wait until really late, if not last to get one or both of those spots.
Thank you all for reading all the articles and good luck to everyone on their quest to be the 2018 NFL Fantasy Champion! If you haven’t read the other positions top list, please see the links below.