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Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Tiers

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Today will be the conclusion of the 4 days of Fantasy Football preview articles for positional rankings. We’ve gone through QBs, RBs, and WRs, so now it’s time to get to the Tight Ends. The TE position has been evolving for years, becoming more of a WR role. Last year there were about 5-6 guys that were at the top of their position, then a big fall off, this year seems to be the same way. With that in mind, these are my Tight End Rankings and tiers for the 2016 NFL season.

Remember, these rankings are in the order of my personal preference, so if they are within the same tier, I think all of them will be around the same range from a fantasy point projections perspective, so feel free to choose who you prefer.

Greg Olsen will be the most dependable TE this year besides Rob Gronkowski
Greg Olsen will be the most dependable TE this year besides Rob Gronkowski

Tier 1 – Elite

Rob Gronkowski
Greg Olsen
Jordan Reed
Tyler Eifert

Honestly, Gronkowski is on a level on his own, but since I did that last year, I wanted to give him some company. Most people have Jordan Reed 2nd, because of his high ceiling, but Olsen is more consistent and Reed is too much of an injury risk. Eifert was a beast for the 1st 12 weeks of the season, but then an injury knocked him off track. Another injury will slow him for the start of this year, but he’s a lock for almost a TD every game. All of these guys will be 3rd or 4th round picks, except Gronk, who will be going in round 1.

Tier 2 – #1 Type Production

Travis Kelce
Delanie Walker
Jimmy Graham
Coby Fleener

Kelce can get on that elite level, but just needs to be more consistent. The Chiefs seems to get most of their TDs on the ground. Walker was a quiet top 5 WR and that can continue with a Titan offense that seems to be getting better with 2nd year QB Marcus Mariota. Most people don’t have Graham as a top 10 TE, but I think he’s too talented and will eventually get on the same page as QB Russell Wilson. Coby Fleener will be in an offense, in New Orleans, that loves to use the TE, especially in the red zone. Kelce and Walker probably going around round 5-7, while Graham and Fleener may be great value later.

Antonio Gates is slowing down, but still a starting option in all leagues.
Antonio Gates is slowing down, but still a starting option in all leagues.

Tier 3 – #2 Starters

Zack Ertz
Antonio Gates
Julius Thomas
Dwayne Allen

Ertz is a young emerging TE that is on the cusp of being a big time producer. He should be highlighted in the Eagle’s offense this year. Gates is slowing down, but still is productive and 1 of the best TEs in the game and a future Hall of Famer. Thomas finally gets to have a full, injury free offseason with Blake Bortles, the numbers should show it. Allen will be I an explosive offense and since most of the other weapons on Indy are of a smaller stature in size, Allen should be their best red zone target. All of these guys are great value picks after round 8.

Tier 4 – Starting Options

Eric Ebron
Clive Walford
Gary Barnidge
Ben Watson

Ebron has all the talent in the world, but has yet to put everything together. With Calvin Johnson retiring, he has the chance to be the #1 red zone target. Walford is a sleeper in an emerging offense in Oakland. He someone you take later in the draft and hope for him to fulfill his potential. Barnidge was a top 5 TE last year out of nowhere. With now more attention going to him, I think his numbers take a little bit of a hit. Ravens like to use the TE a lot that should benefit Watson, but not enough to be an everyday starter.

Martellus Bennett is getting a lot of preseason hype. It is warranted?
Martellus Bennett is getting a lot of preseason hype. It is warranted?

Tier 5 – Bye Week Options

Kyle Rudolph
Martellus Bennett
Jason Witten
Jared Cook

I personally think Rudolph can be a top 10 type of TE, purely off ability, most would disagree. I think injuries and the offense he’s in limits him. Bennett is being overdrafted in my opinion. He’ll be on the field a lot, but I don’t see him doing as well as Aaron Hernandez when he was the #2 TE for the Patriots. Witten has had a long productive career, but now he’s the 4th option for Tony Romo. Cook has Aaron Rodgers as his QB, that along makes you draftable, but I would hold off on ever starting him since Richard Rodgers is still there.

Tier 6 – 2 TE Leagues

Charles Clay
Will Tye
Jordan Cameron
Ladarius Green

Clay can be productive if he’s used correctly. He’s a hit or miss option, but in 2 TE leagues, he’s worth drafting. Tye will have competition from Larry Donnell, but injuries to Donnell may give him that opening. Cameron was a hot FA pickup for Miami last year that disappointed. He hopes to have a bounce back year. Green is a top 10-15 talent, but due to an ankle injury and head injuries, he has been considering retirement. It has made his ADP impossible to call, so draft accordingly.

During the year I will be giving weekly waiver pickups, as well as weekly start and sit articles. Hopefully this will help you dominate your leagues. Fantasy Football has become so popular around the world. Over 30 million people play it a year and around one billion is spent. It’s growing more and more due to apps like FanDuel and DraftKings. If you already play it, you know what I mean, if you haven’t, maybe it’s time for you to give it a try, and hopefully I’ll be here to help you. If you have any questions, I can be reached on twitter with the handle @Pacman453323, good luck to everyone.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com