Tight ends are often a forgotten about part of the fantasy football formula. Outside of Gronk and Travis Kelce, fantasy owners tend to assume that the rest of the guys are all pretty much the same. While it’s true they won’t garner nearly as many points as WRs or RBs, a consistent TE, who can get you 6-8 points every week, is a huge boost towards winning your league. The top names for this year remain the same as expected, but be sure to take a look outside of those top two guys for some players to keep in mind later in the draft.
1) Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
After some offseason drama over whether he would retire or not, Gronk is back in Foxborough for another year of snatching footballs and bowling over defenders. With a depleted wide receiver corps, Gronk could see even more targets within the offense this year, making for some high-total potential. Based on the projections, he grades out basically as a top-15 WR option and, of course, the top tight end.
CBSSports.com Projections- 144 Fantasy Points (9 FPPG) 77 receptions, 1,080 yards 7 TDs
2) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce isn’t quite Gronk, but he’s close. He will also likely benefit this season from being the security blanket for Patrick Mahomes, as the first-time starter gets more comfortable at the NFL level. Quite the security blanket to have, as Kelce has put up back-to-back 80+-reception, 1,000+-yard seasons.
CBSSports.com Projections- 136 Fantasy Points (8.5 FPPG) 88 receptions, 1,020 yards 7 TDs
3) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
While Ertz won’t see as many targets as the pair of guys above him, he’s become a favorite of QB Carson Wentz and backup Nick Foles. In the past three years, he’s been remarkably consistent, catching between 74-78 passes for 800-850 yards. The biggest spike last year was in the touchdown total, as he posted eight, which is a career high. That number can be considered an outlier however, as prior to last year, he had never posted more than four.
CBSSports.com Projections- 109 Fantasy Points (6.8 FPPG) 76 receptions, 812 yards 6 TDs
4) Evan Engram, New York Giants
Engram put up strong numbers as a rookie after nearly the entirety of the receiving corps got injured. He was targeted 111 times, with 64 catches, over 700 yards and six touchdowns. You’d like to see that catch rate come up, particularly given the likelihood of fewer targets with OBJ back and Saquon Barkley added to the backfield. Still, the projections have him as a strong option in his sophomore campaign.
CBSSports.com Projections- 97 Fantasy Points (6 FPPG) 68 receptions, 739 yards 5 TDs
5) Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers
After a couple of seasons in a bit of a misfit role in Seattle, Graham now moves to Green Bay to team up with Aaron Rodgers. He is by far the best tight end that Rodgers has had at his disposal in his career. Graham should get some looks from Rodgers and be able to improve upon his numbers in Seattle.
CBSSports.com Projections- 96 Fantasy Points (6 FPPG) 67 catches, 604 yards 8 TDs
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6) Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
A favorite of QB Marcus Mariota, Walker is entering his 13th year, so time will begin to catch up to him at some point. But the projections for this year see him having another solid season, and the chemistry that he’s developed with the young franchise QB suggests that is likely.
CBSSports.com Projections- 93 Fantasy Points (5.8 FPPG) 68 receptions, 785 yards 4 TDs
7) Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph doesn’t get as much acclaim as the wide receiver duo of Thielen and Diggs, but when given the targets, he’s produced. His best season came in 2016, when he was targeted 132 times, caught 83 of those passes, for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, the targets dropped dramatically to just 81, but still Rudolph caught eight touchdowns. An effective, big, red-zone target, Rudolph should be new QB Kirk Cousins’ best friend this season.
CBSSports.com Projections- 92 Fantasy Points (5.7 FPPG) 64 receptions, 605 yards 7 TDs
8) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen has been the most reliable pass-catcher that Cam Newton has had available to him in his career. Unfortunately, Olsen missed more than half the season last year with injuries, breaking a streak of nine straight seasons of playing in every game. This year, the 33-year-old is likely to see fewer touches simply because the Panthers now have more weapons for Cam to use. But he’ll still get looks due to his chemistry with Cam.
CBSSports.com Projections- 89 Fantasy Points (5.6 FPPG) 61 receptions, 731 yards 4 TDs
9) Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
Reed’s athleticism is on par with the top tight ends in this league, but there’s one major red flag: injury history. He has yet to play a full 16-game season in his career. The past two seasons, he’s played just 18 total games, but in those games, he’s brought in 93 catches for 897 yards and eight touchdowns. That would be a top-three type of season if he stayed healthy and did it in one year. Projections for him are slightly lower, but again, buyer beware with the injury history.
CBSSports.com Projections- 82 Fantasy Points (5.1 FPPG) 64 receptions, 640 yards 4 TDs
10) Trey Burton, Chicago Bears
Burton became famous in February for his role in the “Philly Special,” winning the hearts of Philly fans forever. The Eagles didn’t have the money to re-sign him, and the Bears pounced, bringing him in on a four-year $32 million contract. Burton will be the starter for the first time in his career, and he’s paired with a young QB in Mitch Trubisky. New head coach Matt Nagy was the offensive coordinator in K.C. where Travis Kelce was heavily used, and Burton could see himself in that role.
CBSSports.com Projections- 76 Fantasy Points (4.8 FPPG) 57 receptions, 595 yards 4 TDs