TIGHT END RANKINGS

 

It's that time of year again! Fantasy Football live drafts are about to be in full swing. Check out NFL Fantasy Football Expert Draft Scout, Lance Goodman and special guests, as they break down the 2019 Tight End Rankings.

Lance Goodman

August 2019

#GoNFLEx

2019 PRESEASON RANKINGS 

1. Travis Kelce, KC
2. George Kittle, SF
3. Zach Ertz, PHI
4. Eric Ebron, IND
5. O.J. Howard, TB
6. Jared Cook, NO
7. David Njoku, CLE
8. Evan Engram, NYG
9. Hunter Henry, LAC
10. Trey Burton, CHI
11. Kyle Rudolph, MIN
12. Austin Hooper, ATL
13. Mark Andrews, BAL
14. Greg Olsen, CAR
15. Delanie Walker, TEN
16. Chris Herndon, NYJ
17. Jimmy Graham, GB
18. Vance McDonald, PIT
19. T.J. Hockensen, DET
20. Darren Waller, OAK

2019 OUTLOOK

Top 10

 

This years Tight End class has some excellent depth, which is great for fantasy football! Like the Quarterback position, there are a few elite players on the board but after that, fantasy owners will have some nice options to choose from. Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs has earned his spot atop the charts after racking up 1,000+ receiving yards in three consecutive seasons. He earned his stripes by dethroning former heavyweight Rob Gronkowski and now wears the crown but the throne is danger. Zach Ertz of the Eagles has turned into one hell of a player and is just a notch below Kelce at #2. He started his career with a lot of injuries but once he got past those, he's been improving his numbers every year, including an NFL Record 111 stabs last season, setting a new league mark. A new kid on the block also has the top spot in his sights and I'm talking about George Kittle of the 49ers. You can go and check the record (that's why I archive all my work), Kittle was very high on my breakout players list last year, especially at the Tight End position. But I had no idea, that he would break the NFL record for receiving yards in a season by a Tight End. Need I say more? High risk, high reward. Boom or bust. One hit wonder. All these words could apply to Indianapolis Tight End Eric Ebron, who struggled for years in Detroit as an underachiever. Last season, he flourished with 13 TD catches in his first year with the Colts and he'll either do it again or revert back to one of the above titles. I feel very confident in the next statement. If O.J. Howard can make it through an entire season with Jameis Winston at Quarterback, he'll be a top 5 fantasy Tight End and that's why I have him pegged here at #5. Tremendous physical specimen who still has a ton of upside at the start of his third year. I really like Jared Cook signing with the Saints. Last year he had close to 900 receiving yards with Derek Carr at Quarterback. With Drew Brees pulling the string this year, he can't go wrong. Brees loves Tight Ends, especially in the red zone, where Cook could be a match up nightmare. Another guy who was high on my breakout list year is David Njoku in Cleveland. I was very pleased with the improvement I seen in him from year 1 to year 2 and if he continues that trajectory, with the perimeter weapons Cleveland has, he could be in store for a very strong year. Another third year Tight End that has big time upside is Evan Engram of the Giants. He's also struggled with injuries but has been pretty effective when in the lineup, finishing up strong at the end of last season. With Odell Beckham Jr. gone, he'll garner more targets and could end up being a target junkie for old Quarterback Eli Manning. Another player who was high on my breakout player list last season, is Hunter Henry of the Chargers. It wasn't until right now, this very moment that I'm realizing how many Tight Ends I had as breakout candidates last season. At any rate, Hunter suffered an ACL injury in training camp and that was all she wrote. With a full recovery and Wide Receiver Tyrell Williams off to Oakland, Henry should be able to establish himself as a key cog in the offense. In Chicago Trey Burton is another solid option who could be an excellent value pick, especially if the Bears plan on actually making him apart of the game plan. Head Coach Matt Nagy seems like a real crafty play caller and if Burton is used to his potential, I like his upside a lot.

 

#11-20

 

Next up is Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings and he definitely has room for improvement. After a career year in 2017, he took a major step back last season, which was a bit surprising considering how Tight End friendly Quarterback Kirk Cousins is. For that same exact reason, I think Rudolph is capable of another strong year. He may not be able to match his catch or yardage total but it'll be a shame if he's not used more in the red zone. Chris Herndon is entering his second year and I like the prospects for him as well. He's got a young Quarterback that he's growing with and with an improved running game, there should be more room to roam on the second level. The Jets also don't have an elite set of Wide Receivers that demand consistent targets. I'm not a huge fan of Atlanta Tight Austin Hooper but I respect guys who put in the work and with 71 catches last season from that position, there's no room for complaining. Those 71 catches also mean that veteran Quarterback Matt Ryan trusts his young Tight End and he will continue to target him enough to be on your roster. Tight End Hayden Hurst drew all the buzz and rave reviews after last years NFL Draft but by seasons end, Mark Andrews looked like the better fit for an offense led by Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. Andrews enters this season as a confident starter and appears to be in line for a lot of work. A few years ago, I thought Vance McDonald was on the verge of being a top 10 fantasy Tight End for the 49ers but that idea fizzled out pretty quickly. Fast forward to 2019 and he has a chance to be fantasy relevant depending on how Pittsburgh plans to use him. The Steelers only have one established Wide Receiver with Antonio Brown gone and McDonalds tall frame is a perfect safety net for Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to use especially in the red zone. Greg Olsen of the Panthers has been an elite performer for years but has been plagued by injuries as of late and seems to be on the downside of his career, although there's still some left in the tank. Mike Gesecki has some nice upside in his second year out of Penn State. The Dolphins will have a new Quarterback under center this year and they don't have a dominant Wide Receiver, so he could see a good amount of targets on a weekly basis. Ben Watson will start the season suspended for PED usage but when he returns, he could be a solid option off the waiver wire, especially if the Patriots decide to include him in the weekly game plan.  Tennessee Tight End Delanie Walker looks fully recovered from the injury that took him out last Preseason. He's older and his best days are likely behind but he can still be productive on an offense that lacks an elite play maker on the outside. Darren Waller is an under the radar player who many people outside of Oakland aren't familiar with. He'll be replacing Jared Cook, who stacked top 10 fantasy numbers at the position last year.  Rookie T.J. Hockensen is looking to make his mark for the Lions this year. He's big, fast and athletic in the mold of Tight Ends who are highly productive in today’s NFL. It also helps that Quarterback Matt Stafford likes to use his Tight Ends, especially in the red zone. Jimmy Graham should be motivated after a sub-par debut season in Green Bay last year. His catch and yardage totals weren't bad but there's more than enough room for him to improve on a head shaking 2 TD grabs. There was always hope for Tyler Eifert in Cincinnati, as he was one of the premier fantasy Tight Ends coming into the 2015555 season, however he's been injured every year since and it really hurts his draft stock, because there's still upside but he simply can't be trusted. Jordan Reed is another Tight End, who seemed destined for fantasy stardom but he's taken a nose dive over the last few years, causing fantasy owners to steer clear of his services, unless it's a last resort. Jason Witten decided to come out of retirement and give it another go. At this point in his career, I'm not sure how productive he can still be in the passing game and you'd have to think that his biggest asset will be in the red zone and a security blanket on 3rd downs.

-2018 Final Preseason Ranks

-2018 Final TE Rankings Recap