2016 Player Rankings: Tight Ends Generated: September 24, 2017

Rank Player Team Bye FF Pts Catches Receiving
Yards
Receiving
TDs
1 Rob Gronkowski NEP 9 171 81 1050 11
Gronk comes off his second best year with 72-1176-11 and has been a lock for 1000 yards and double-digit TDs in any healthy year. He is joined by Martellus Bennett that should rekindle the Aaron Hernandez role. Never a reason to worry about Gronk other than he may be without Brady for four games.
2 Jordan Reed WAS 9 163 86 970 11
Reed signed a five-year. $50M extension in the offseason after a stellar 2015 breakout season. He ended with 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 TDs playing in just 14 games. His one playoff game versus the Packers saw him with nine catches for 120 yards and a score. Reed was second only to Rob Gronkowski last year as a fantasy stud and is more likely to improve than decline with an easier passing schedule.
3 Greg Olsen CAR 7 141 79 990 7
Olsen turned in a career year with Kelvin Benjamin out and posted 77-1104-7. But all is not lost just because Benjamin missed 2015. The previous year, Olsen still managed 84-1008-6 and posted three 100 yard games (he had four in 2015). Olsen is one of the elite TEs because the offense is geared to using him all over the field and on any down. He's a safe bet for a good year no matter if Benjamin does as well.
4 Travis Kelce KCC 5 126 72 900 6
Kelce became the second-highest paid TE when he signed a five-year, $46 million contract extension. The deal comes with $20 million guaranteed. He comes off a career best 72- 875-5 season though that was only incrementally better than 2014. He's consistently turning in 50+ yard weeks and most of his games feature at least five receptions. He may not have much more upside but he is consistently offering solid weekly points.
5 Delanie Walker TEN 13 116 72 800 6
Walker had a breakout season at the age of 31 when he set career marks with 94 catches for 1088 yards and six touchdowns. He led all NFL TEs with 94 catches. Actually he was almost as good in 2014 when he posted 63-890-4. Walker became Marcus Mariota's favorite weapon which is as much a statement about the WR as it is about Walker's talent. But seven seasons in SF had him as little more than a blocker and that is a skill that is going to come into play more this year with the running game getting two hefty additions. Walker will maintain his value as a fantasy TE but specter of improvement by the WR and more emphasis on rushing means Walker should be certain to see decreased usage.
6 Julius ThomasUpside MIA 8 116 58 620 9
This is a great chance for Thomas to get back into the Top 10 for TEs. After dealing with a hand injury last year, Thomas went on a four game streak of TD games and while he only ended with 455 yards and five TDs - the Jags are optimistic. Thomas may never reach the 788 yards he had with Peyton Manning in Denver but getting back to double-digit TDs is possible in this offense that loves to throw. Thomas will likely be a decent to good value in drafts since most will discount his value after last year.
7 Dwayne Allen NEP 9 112 65 700 7
Allen has never matched the 521 yards that he posted as a rookie in 2012 but he did turn in eight TDs in 2014. Coby Fleener is now gone and instead of mostly two-TE sets, the Colts are looking to use more three-wide sets now that they have a trio of capable WR. That means Allen should be in for a nice year since he will be the only receiving TE on the field. His biggest problem is remaining healthy which he has not done for the last three years. He has a lot of upside but that is tinged with the prospect that he usually misses a few games.
8 Gary Barnidge FA* 111 64 690 7
Nothing like breaking out in your seventh NFL season at the age of 30. Barnidge went from a blocker that never had more than 13 catches in any season to turning in 79-1043-9 as the CLE #1 receiver. This is why we play fantasy football - you just never really know. Barnidge's role should not change with HC Hue Jackson coming in with the same offense that spawned Tyler Eifert. Bardidge had sports hernia surgery in early June but is expected to be fine for training camp and the season.
9 Zach MillerUpside CHI 9 110 60 680 7
Miller signed a two-year deal worth $6 million and should end up as the #1 TE on a team that has produced Top 10 stats for TEs for the last two years. But that was thanks to Martellus Bennett and Miller's best so far was last year with 34-439-5 thanks to filling in for Bennett during the second half of the season. One caveat - Miller has yet to make it all 16 games during his prior four seasons. But he had four games with 5+ catches last year and won't have a better opportunity again.
10 Zach ErtzUpside PHI 4 110 72 800 5
The change in coaching staff should not hurt Ertz and it may actually be a benefit. Both HC Doug Pederson (Travis Kelce) and OC Frank Reich (Antonio Gates) come from schemes that use the TE position extensively. Ertz already comes off a career best season with 75-853-2 and that level of production should continue. A change in QB may not help but rookie QBs often rely more heavily on their TEs. And Ertz came on strongly last year with his final four games all posting over 78 yards including 100+ in the final two weeks. Ertz has the catches and yards to be a Top 10 TE but has lagged on TDs. Reich has relied on the position to score so expect the total TDs to finally rise at least incrementally.
11 Jimmy Graham SEA 5 109 61 730 6
As feared, the transition to the Seahawks did not provide Graham with enough work to merit his draft spot last year and he ended his first year after Week 12 when he tore his patellar tendon. He never scored after Week 3 and was only average for a receiving tight end. Oddly enough, the Seahawks became a passing machine right after he was gone. That could bode well for this year and HC Pete Carroll said that Graham "could" be ready for Week 1. As it stands, he's a risky pick and yet will be drafted mostly on his name. Until more clarity, he's better left alone. Graham opened training camp on the active/PUP list but is still possible for Week 1.
12 Martellus BennettUpside GBP 4 108 62 720 6
Bennett hits his fourth team in the last six years but this time it looks very promising. Bennett topped out at 90-916-6 in CHI in 2014 but now joins NE. That "Aaron Hernandez" role has gone unfilled but once provided Hernandez with 79-910-7 and that during Rob Gronkowski's career best season. Bennett can be just as good as Hernandez and that two-TE set of the Pats was nearly impossible to defend. With a lack of any big- time WRs, Bennett can fill a need.
13 Coby FleenerUpside NOS 5 108 68 720 6
The Saints hired Fleener with a five-year, $36 million contract so expect the Saints to resume the use of the TE in the passing scheme. As recently as 2014, the Saints ranked #1 with 119 receptions and 17 TDs to the position thanks to Jimmy Graham. Fleener was as good as 51-774-8 in the most recent healthy year of Andrew Luck. Fleener may not be another Graham, but even Benjamin Watson was able to produce 74- 825-6 last season. Fleener should contend for a Top 10 finish. It is bothersome that reports question how much chemistry that Fleener has displayed with Drew Brees but the opportunity is there if he will take advantage of it.
14 Tyler EifertRisk CIN 9 108 50 600 8
Eifert enjoyed a breakout season in 2015 when he ended with 52-615-13 that included four games with multiple TDs. The outlook for him this year would be equally bright but he underwent ankle surgery to repair a loose ligament in May and is likely to miss the start of the season. How many weeks he may miss depends on his recovery. Tyler Kroft would take his place but the injury casts a shadow of risk on Eifert. By the same token, he could be a steal if he fell too far even if he misses more than a week or two. The opening week already had the Bengals not expecting Eifert until early in the regular season.
15 Antonio Gates LAC 11 107 49 590 8
The 36-year-old Gates signed a two-year extension in March for $12 million with $6 million guaranteed so there's no doubt he gets the starter workload. The Chargers drafted Hunter Henry as the top rookie TE and heir apparent to the starting role in 2017. Gates ended with 56-630-5 last season and missed four games suspended by the league. Worrisome is that he only scored in three games and faded a bit late in the year. He also turned in a 11.3 YPC for one of his career lowest. Gates is hanging on and will be a factor this year but new OC Ken Whisenhunt inherits a more aged version of Gates than in 2013 when he had 77-872-4. Gates is not a difference maker any more but he should provide at least average starting stats for a TE. He is also eight TDs from setting the all-time TE TD record.
16 Jared CookUpside OAK 10 107 60 650 7
Cook trades the anemic passing attack of the Rams for Aaron Rodgers and has at least the chance for a career year. That would have to be something better than 49-759-3 that he recorded back in 2011 with the Titans. Cook is not a good blocker and will be on the field as a receiver. The Packers have not relied on the TE position since Jermichael Finley was healthy back in 2011 when he had 55-767-8 as his career best. The challenge for Cook is that he only signed a one- year deal for $2.75 million and missed most of the OTAs because of a foot surgery. The longer that takes to heal is the less time he gets to form any chemistry with Rodgers. But Cook has upside in this offense that hasn't had a decent receiving TE in several years.
17 Vance McDonaldUpside PIT 8 107 61 710 6
This is another situation that could prove advantageous or just frustrating. HC Chip Kelly brings in his offense that ranked #2 in the NFL with 105 receptions by TEs in 2015. The Eagles were always Top 10 in TE categories if not Top 5 with Kelly calling plays. And here it translates to McDonald as the #1 TE who ended with 30-326-3 last year. Vernon Davis is gone and McDonald came on late last year with three scores over the final six games. Blaine Gabbert would be better as a starter for McDonald but the needle is pointing up to be sure regardless who is under center. The SF receiving corps is a no-name squad that ranked Bottom 5 in all categories for 2015 and was not upgraded. That means the opportunity for McDonald is there. He may not be another Zach Ertz... but then again...
18 Eric Ebron DET 10 105 60 690 6
Ebron is a popular sleeper this summer and he comes off a 47- 537-5 season that showed promise. But one reality is that he averaged about four catches for 49 yards and scored in every other game though Week 8. Once OC Jim Bob Cooter took over, Ebron only averaged three catches for 30 yards and scored just twice over eight weeks. The loss of Calvin Johnson means the passing offense is going to change, but the Lions have not ranked better than 28th in TE receptions for the last few years. He has some minor upside from the offense looking to establish the passing post-Megatron, but so far nothing under Cooter has suggested any major leap in production is likely.
19 Jason Witten DAL 7 94 65 700 4
At 34 years-old, Witten is on the downside of his career and the clubhouse may already be in sight. He ended with 77- 713- 3 last year despite the passing game woes that would seem to sharply increase his stats. Instead he ended with a career low 9.3 YPC. The return of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo won't hurt Witten but it may not help. By now he has declined to a 700 yard TE with less targets in the end-zone than ever. No upside here but should still post moderate stats. The loss of Romo for six to ten weeks could mean a bit more work for Witten if Prescott checks down as so many rookie QBs do.
20 Clive WalfordUpside OAK 10 93 56 570 6
Walford was the second TE drafted in the 2015 NFL draft and the 6-4, 251 lb. U. of Miami product is poised for a second year leap as is common among TEs. After minimal play for the first half of the year, Walford would end with 15 catches over the final five games. He gashed his knee in the offseason riding an ATV but is expected to be good for training camp. He's a great back-up TE to see what happens.
21 Charles Clay BUF 10 86 55 620 4
Clay's first season in BUF wasn't much different than his four in MIA - actually a bit worse. He ended with 51-528-3 while missing three games with a back injury. After two big game in the first four weeks, he never again produced notable fantasy value. At best he is a fantasy back-up.
22 Larry Donnell FA x 79 59 550 4
Donnell signed his exclusive rights offer for $1.67 million but he is coming off a 2015 season limited to just eight games because of a broken bone in his neck. His second season was promising when he ended 2014 with 63-623-6 but even the eight games he did play in 2015 were disappointing and never exceeded 38 yards in any game. Now Donnell will have to compete with Will Tye who turned in over 40 yards in four of his final seven games and scored his three TDs over the final four games. No reason to draft Donnell unless he clearly wins back the starter job and even then - he needs to find the level of production from two years ago. Not likely.
23 Jesse JamesUpside PIT 8 74 50 500 4
James has some upside this year as Ladarius Green has been injured and suffered headaches that are rumored to be significant since they stem from his concussions of 2015. In a large league, James is worth a speculative pick.
24 Kyle Rudolph MIN 6 70 45 460 4
Rudolph enters his sixth season and already has two years with OC Norv Turner. But he remains stuck around 50 catches per year and comes off his career best 495 yards. But he only scored five times and only twice over the final ten games. Rudolph is a complete TE - receiving and blocking. But he's likely already seen his ceiling and the hope is that the rookie WR Laquon Treadwell will be a red zone threat - that would impact Rudolph.
25 Virgil Green DEN 11 69 42 450 4
Green was projected to be the #2 TE and that's losing the starting spot to Jeff Heuerman who has yet to actually play in the NFL thanks to an ACL tear as a rookie. But Heuerman still cannot stay healthy and Green now appears likely to open the year as the #1 TE.
26 Jordan CameronUpside FA x 64 45 400 4
Cameron's first season in MIA was no success. He went from being as good as 80-917-7 in Cleveland to only 35-386-3 in a much better offense. But to his benefit, he is in a contract year and the Fins have all new coaching staff including Adam Gase who had experience with Julius Thomas and Martellus Bennett. OC Clyde Christensen comes from IND where they usually ranked near the top in TE usage. There is a new offense to learn and plenty of mouths to feed in MIA, but Cameron has an excellent chance to get his career back on track this season.
27 Crockett Gillmore FA x 62 45 380 4
Gillmore takes over as the #1 TE thanks to the season- ending injury to Ben Watson. Gillmore was the third round pick back in 2014 and he ended with four TDs last year on his 33 catches for 412 yards. He should remain ahead of Maxx Williams and Dennis Pita.
28 Jacob Tamme FA x 58 40 460 2
Tamme helped the Falcons rise from one of the worst units of TEs in 2014 to almost being average in 2015. Like many other TEs, Tamme did all his damage in the first half of the year with three games over 75 yards and his lone TD. After that it was no scores and rarely more than 30 yards per game. No reason to expect anything new from a 31-year-old journeyman TE in his second year of the same system. Tamme has to hold off the rookie Austin Hooper which he should do for at least this year.
29 Lance Kendricks GBP 4 56 38 380 3
Since Jared Cook left, Kendricks will move into his spot but the Rams threw little to their TE's last year and only scored twice through the position. Kendricks could match Cook's stats and still not matter in fantasy. A rookie QB might lean on his TE a bit more, but not enough to merit taking Kendricks as anything more than a deep TE2.
30 Austin Seferian-JenkinsRisk NYJ 11 54 32 300 4
Two seasons in and the former second-round pick has failed to meet expectations and there is a question if he will even hold onto the starting TE spot. A strained shoulder made him miss nine games last year and even when he returned he never had more than three catches in any game and wasn't worthy of a fantasy start. The offense should produce a fantasy relevant TE and this season it probably will - it just may not be ASJ. He is not developing as hoped and has even been kicked out of practice in the offseason. Let someone else take the gamble.
31 Cameron Brate TBB 6 48 28 240 4
Brate enters his third season and could be poised to take the starting spot away from Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. The Bucs threw eight scores to the position in 2015 but Brate would have to clearly take over the starter spot to merit any fantasy consideration. He's worth a spec pick only in the deepest of leagues and more likely is someone to watch if Sefarian-Jenkins continues to disappoint.
32 Tyler Higbee LAR 8 43 25 310 2
Higbee fell in the draft because of character concerns but he's exceeded expectations so far in training camp and the preseason. The Rams won't throw much and even less to their TE's but Higbee is worth watching for future years.
33 Garrett Celek SFO 8 40 34 280 2
Celek should show up in box scores on occasion since HC Chip Kelly's offense is TE-friendly. But as the #2 to Vance McDonald, Celek is not expected to merit fantasy attention.
34 Richard Rodgers GBP 4 39 25 210 3
Rodgers caught a surprising 58 passes last year but only averaged 8.8 YPC. He became a red zone target with eight scores but the Packers picked up Jared Cook who will be used as the receiving TE. Rodgers falls back to being mostly just a blocker.
35 Will Tye NYJ 11 39 30 270 2
Tye stepped in to replace Larry Donnell when he was injured in Week 8 and likely has already won the starting job for 2016. Tye topped 40 yards in five of his seven starts and scored once in three of his final four games. He's not likely to do much more and the promise of Sterling Shephard could end up making the TE's less necessary. Worth casually watching to see if Tye resumes his pace of last year but even then he's just a fantasy back-up.
36 Austin HooperUpside ATL 11 39 28 330 1
The Falcons plummeted to 32nd ranked in TE yardage in 2014 after Tony Gonzalez left. Last year they brought in Jacob Tamme and the results were only marginally better. Enters the third-round rookie out of Stanford who was the second TE taken in the overall draft. Hooper is a receiving TE at 6- 4/254 lbs. and OC Kyle Shanahan has already praised his route-running and ball skills. Rookie TEs are notoriously bad regardless of how well they later play. Hooper is a great pick in a dynasty league and could show up later in this season.
37 Darren Fells DET 10 38 22 260 2
Fells was the starter last year and led the Cards with only 21-311-3. He signed a one-year deal to remain but his fantasy value remains well below relevance in all but the biggest of leagues. There are far too many other targets in the passing game.
38 Ryan Griffin HOU 9 37 20 250 2
Griffin enters his fourth NFL season but his fantasy outlook remains dim. He ended last year with a career best 20-251-2 while playing in an offense that ranked 31st the last two years in TE catches and yards. No reason to consider.
39 Maxx Williams BAL 8 37 30 250 2
Williams was the second-round pick last year but a big second year leap is unlikely here since BAL uses a committee approach to the position and just added Ben Watson and Dennis Pita may be back. Throw in Crockett Gilmore and no BAL TE carries any reliability.
40 Hunter HenryUpside LAC 11 33 21 210 2
Hunter is a great pick in a dynasty league as the consensus best rookie TE last April when the Chargers picked him with their 2.04 selection. He had a respectable 51-739-3 in his final year at Arkansas and is the future for SD's TEs. But all rookie TE's struggle to make an impact and he'll be safely tucked behind Antonio Gates in the pecking order for 2016. At 6-5, 250 lbs., he's an inch taller than Gates and was not drafted for his blocking skills.
41 Jermaine Gresham ARI 9 28 15 160 2
Gresham's first season in Arizona was a big success but only as a blocker. He ended with a career worst 18-223-1 and even that mark will be tougher to meet in 2016.
42 Tyler Kroft CIN 9 27 20 210 1
The third-round pick last year only brought down 11 catches for 129 yards and a score last year but could open the season as the starter depending on Tyler Eifert's recovery from ankle surgery. Kroft is only an option in a best ball format when you also own Eifert.
43 Kellen Davis FA x 24 23 180 1
No analysis available
44 Jeff HeuermanUpsideRisk DEN 11 23 20 170 1
Heuerman is expected to take the starting TE spot since both Vernon Davis and Owen Daniels left with 66 of the 78 TE catches last year. The third-round pick of 2015 missed the season because of an ACL injury and he already missed time in the offseason because of a hamstring injury. He's worth watching in training camp and should prove to be the #1 TE if only from a lack of other talent there. But so far he has practiced little and cannot stay healthy. Virgil Green appears more likely to start just because he is healthy.
45 Brent Celek PHI 4 21 18 150 1
Celek remains in the mix for receptions but at 31 years-old, he's not likely to improve on recent seasons that saw him remain between 300 and 400 yards in each. Celek signed a three-year extension in the offseason but is also valued for his blocking skills.
46 Mychal Rivera JAC 5 21 18 150 1
Rivera moves back with Clive Walford taking over the receiving TE role this year. He'll mostly just block.
47 Marcedes Lewis JAC 5 17 20 170 0
Lewis takes a secondary role as a receiver with Julius Thomas there and he is a valued blocker. Lewis won't have much fantasy value unless Thomas is injured and so far Thomas has yet to play in more than 13 games in any season.
48 Vernon DavisRisk WAS 9 8 10 80 0
Davis signed for one-year but there is no guarantee he locks up the #2 TE role with Niles Paul also there. Davis is 32 years old and has been in sharp decline the last two seasons. He's not even worthy of a deep flyer safely tucked behind Jordan Reed.
49 Dennis PittaRisk FA x 7 12 70 0
Pitta hasn't played since Week 3 of 2014 and has twice fractured his hip. He is healthy again and may be in the mix again but the TE position in BAL is a committee mess that added Ben Watson and drafted Maxx Williams highly last year. Pitta has a name from the past but the risk is far too high to merit any fantasy consideration.

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