As the fantasy football, regular season winds down, for some of us it’s time to pack it in and start thinking about next year. It’s never too soon to start collecting your data points to build your roadmap to fantasy glory next season. We’ve explored the preliminary top twelve quarterbacks, tight ends and running backs for next season. So that leaves only one thing left: the tight ends! The tight ends were a mess this year, and streaming the position was something I advocated
So that leaves only one thing left: the tight ends! The tight ends were a mess this year, and streaming the position was something I advocated from the very beginning. However, you need to know who to take, and when. Here are 2017’s top twelve tight ends, at least for now.
- Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati
Eifert was hurt coming into the season, and there were questions about whether or not he could continue his torrid touchdown pace. Instead, the Bengals appear to run the offense through him and A.J. Green, and they get Eifert plenty of end zone and red zone love. While Walker will have the bigger chunk of his team’s offense, Eifert will get the TDs, and potentially outscore Walker next year.
- Delanie Walker, Tennessee
Don’t look now, but going into week thirteen, Walker was the top tight end scorer on the year. He is the top dog in Tennessee, he has good hands, he runs good routes and he doesn’t get hurt. At this point, Walker, who toiled behind Vernon Davis for years, might just be the best all-around fantasy football tight end.
- Jordan Reed, Washington
Jordan Reed is amazing, and is the focal point of the Washington passing game. On a per-game basis he will likely be the #1 tight end in 2017. The problem with Reed is injuries. He has six concussions since college and is currently nursing an AC joint sprain. He’s constantly banged up, but given how many usable tight ends are on the waiver wire, I’m not going to hold that against him.
- Rob Gronkowski, New England
By pure, raw talent, Gronkowski is number one with a bullet. However, he just underwent back surgery and the last time he had surgery that ended his season he was slow to recover and missed games. As of right now, he gets dropped a handful of slots due to the question mark around his injury and recovery.
- Greg Olsen, Carolina
Before this year, Olsen was one of the most reliable fantasy football options out there when he was with Cam. However, Cam’s cratering has taken Greg Olsen with him. He has fewer than 55 yards in five straight games, and has scored just one touchdown in that span. He’s been borderline unusable, but I trust Cam to bounceback a bit next season and revive Olsen’s value. Olsen’s getting up there, turning 32 before next season, but there is a laundry list of great tight ends who didn’t let that slow them down.
- Jimmy Graham, Seattle
Graham has bounced back spectacularly from his patellar tendon injury and has shown that he deserves to be among the fantasy football tight ends that you start nearly weekly. The Seahawks struggled this season due to Russell Wilson’s injury, but they should get it back on track next season. Graham is the top of the “sometimes good, sometimes bad” tier of TEs that run from TE6 to TE9 or TE10.
- Hunter Henry, San Diego
Right now, the only knock on Henry is that he doesn’t get reliable targets due to the presence of Antonio Gates. This ranking assumes that Gates moves on and Henry gets sole possession of the tight end position. Even with all his fits and starts this season, Henry is #9 in fantasy points per game at tight end. I think he’s in for a big year next year.
- Eric Ebron, Detroit
Ebron was the apple of my eye last draft season, but an injury found him off most of my draft boards. He’s been missing in action the last two games, and an injury cost him three games in the middle of the season, but other than those issues, he has been extremely consistent, which gets him the nod over Kelce.
- Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Kelce drops precipitously due to the offense he’s in and the emergence of Spencer Ware and Tyreek Hill around him. He is an amazing talent, but the Chiefs are built around getting the ball to the running back, and slowing the game down. He’ll be saddled with this offense, which will limit his fantasy upside. He’s currently TE7, but his inconsistencies make him a maddening week-to-week proposition, especially given the offense.
- Vance McDonald, San Francisco
Old McDonald has come on with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, posting top tight end numbers with the run-first quarterback under center. If Kaepernick returns, he should be able to continue to be a TE1 as long as his bad hands don’t return. He’s dropped his drop rate considerably, which is allowing him to be the playmaker the 49ers drafted.
- Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay
Brate and Fleener are in the same boat, streamable backend TE1s. Brate took over for ASJ when ASJ was cut for DUI, and has done reasonably well in the Tampa Bay offense this year. Jameis loves him some tight ends, and that should give Brate weekly value. He’s in the backend TE1 discussion, but he’ll be too inconsistent to plug-and-play.
- Coby Fleener, New Orleans
Fleener is nothing more than a streamable tight end in a good offense. Some purported he would be more than this going into the season, but he just isn’t that good. The tight end is a strong part of the New Orleans offense, but with Michael Thomas coming on to join Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks, there may not be enough left to go to Fleener