2016 Fantasy Football TE Rankings

(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

2016 Fantasy Football TE Rankings: Part 3 of a 4 part series

This is the third in a four part pre-season fantasy football rankings series. Obviously, things could change at any time with injuries, late free agent signings, and a slew of other factors. As of this moment in time however, I wouldn’t change a thing. The third group I’m covering is tight ends. Unless you can grab one of the top 2 on my list in the first 3 rounds of your draft, without heavily compromising on a needed receiver, my strategy is to wait it out for tight ends. There are several found here that will give you solid production at a fraction of the cost of the top guys and allow you to fill more important needs on your roster. Even saying that, there’s only one guy I’d take above the fourth round. Expected season average is for PPR leagues. ( ) denotes expected season average

 

  1. Rob Gronkowski – Gronk catch, Gronk run, Gronk score, Gronk smash! This is the most dominant tight end in the game, and it’s not particularly close. A threat to score every time he touches the ball, Gronk has done a much better job in recent years of avoiding the injury list, and has a chance to break the receiving touchdown record each and every year. (18.9 ppg)
  2. Jordan Reed – Similar to Gronk, Reed has had a checkered past with injuries, but he was able to stay on the field for the majority of 2015. The results were incredible, as he averaged a touchdown per game, and ended the season on an absolute tear. He has built a rapport with Kirk Cousins that can’t be questioned, and is the unquestionable red zone target of choice. (16.8 ppg)
  3. Greg Olsen – Olsen won’t be asked to do as much as he did last season, but that is no reason to believe he’ll drop off in production. He’ll just have a few less targets per game. He’s still Cam’s favorite option however, and will reap the rewards of that hierarchy. (15.7 ppg)
  4. Delanie Walker – He doesn’t always see a ton of targets, but he makes the most of them. In the second year of Marcus Mariota’s tenure with the Titans, he’ll be given more control of the offense, and without a true top receiver on the roster, Walker will be the security blanket. (12.4 ppg)
  5. Travis Kelce – Everyone, myself included, expected a monstrous 2015 from the player affectionately known as Zeus. Alex Smith refuses to take chances though, so expectations should have been tempered. He’s in line right behind Maclin and Jamal Charles in the passing game, so Kelce will have his opportunities, but his upside will forever be limited while Smith is in town. (12 ppg)
  6. Tyler Eifert – I had Eifert number 3 prior to learning of his recent surgery. The leader in touchdowns from the tight end position during 2015, Eifert had several multi-score games, and he is now set-up as the de facto number two option behind AJ Green. Another double-digit touchdown season is on the horizon. (11.9 ppg)
  7. Gary Barnidge – Anyone that tells you they knew Barnidge would end up as the best value at tight end last season is a liar. He came out of nowhere and tore up the league, and I’m willing to go out on a limb and say he was matchup proof in 2015. That won’t be the same case this coming season, but he will still be a great option to have as your starter. (11.6 ppg)
  8. Coby Fleener – A change of scenery could be exactly what Fleener needed to become a fantasy asset. New Orleans doesn’t offer the same high-powered passing attack as a few years ago, but Brees can still sling it with the best of them, and Fleener will be a welcome new target. (10.5 ppg)
  9. Ladarius Green – It looks like we’ll all finally get the opportunity to see exactly what kind of weekly production Green is capable of. No longer in the shadow of Antonio Gates, and without Martavis Bryant in Pitt, Green should see a healthy dose of targets and will be a weekly scoring threat. (10.4 ppg)
  10. Zach Ertz – The last few years, Ertz was thought to be a breakout candidate. He hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations, but he has flashed potential. His biggest question marks will be staying on the field and shaky quarterback play. (10.2 ppg)
  11. Julius Thomas – I’ve been a huge fan of Julius since his huge season in Denver a few years ago, and while he won’t live up to his contract, he’s a valuable fantasy commodity. There are just too many mouths to feed in Jacksonville now, and his upside will be capped by it. (10.1 ppg)
  12. Antonio Gates – He just keeps producing at high levels, but I don’t think Gates has a ton left in the tank. He’ll have a few big games, which will skew his seasonal average, but will have stretches where he will disappear as well. (9.7 ppg)
  13. Zach Miller – Stepping into the full-time starter role in Chicago will be a welcome change for Miller enthusiasts. The talent is there, and hopefully the opportunity will be also. (9.5 ppg)
  14. Martellus Bennett – Lining up with Gronk has it’s benefits, as Bennett will never see more than single coverage, but it also has it’s downside. He’ll never be the top option in the redzone, but Brady always tries to spread the love to pass-catchers he feels have earned a scoring opportunity. (9.2 ppg)

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins

    Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

  15. Austin Seferian-Jenkins – If he can maintain any kind of regular health, I think ASJ could really be a big factor for the Bucs. Unfortunately, that is a highly unlikely scenario. You shouldn’t count on him as an every week starter. (8.7 ppg)
  16. Jimmy Graham – How the mighty have fallen. The only guy capable of challenging Gronk for top TE honors fell off a cliff in his first season with the Seahawks. Their style of physical play is just not conducive to a tight end that doesn’t block. He’ll have his chances, but expect more of the same this year. (8.4 ppg)
  17. Eric Ebron – Ebron is a decent option in Detroit, and someone has to be thrown the ball, but Matt Stafford is just so inconsistent. I can’t put faith in anyone reliant on his decision-making. (8.2 ppg)
  18. Jason Witten – Mr. Reliable returns for another year with the Cowboys. Witten won’t ever put up week-winning numbers, but he has a very safe floor, and should be a matchup-based play on several occasions. (7.8 ppg)
  19. Jordan Cameron – Cameron will likely end up much higher on the list, but based purely on what I saw from him last season, he barely makes the top 20 to start off the year. (7.7 ppg)
  20. Charles Clay – The early weeks of 2015 were very good to Clay, as he put up starting lineup numbers seemingly with ease. Once Buffalo settled into their offense under Tyrod Taylor, he came back to earth, and that’s the Clay we’ll see in 2016. (7.5 ppg)

Up Next: Quarterbacks

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