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Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 15 tight ends in your draft

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 15 tight ends in your draft

The fantasy football tight end landscape is usually pretty straightforward.

If you feel like spending a second- or third-round pick, players like Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz can give you elite wide receiver-like production. After that, you're rolling the dice in the middle rounds on boom-or-bust plays.

But the tight end scene could be a bit more intriguing in 2020.

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Young tight ends Mark Andrews and Darren Waller both were top-five fantasy tight ends last season, while relative unknown Tyler Higbee came on strong late as a legitimate TE1. And with Hayden Hurst and Austin Hooper both changing teams this offseason (for better and worse), we could see a significant shakeup in the 2020 tight end hierarchy.

So, which tight ends should you target, and when? Below are our rankings of the top 15 tight ends based on a half-point PPR scoring system.

Tier 1

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)

Love him or hate him, this guy delivers. Kelce has topped 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons and gives you elite WR production at the tight end position. He turned 30 last October, so maybe a regression is coming soon. But he's the best tight end in fantasy until further notice.

2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (Week 11)

The guy who could serve that notice? Kittle, who nearly matched Kelce in production last season (85 receptions, 1,053 yards, five touchdowns) despite playing through a broken leg that caused him to miss two games. The 26-year-old is Jimmy Garoppolo's clear No. 1 target and easily could be the top tight end in fantasy this season if he plays all 16 games.

3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)

Andrews' strong 2019 campaign was inflated somewhat by his 10 touchdown receptions, so you can expect a regression there. But Hurst's departure (more on him later) should mean an uptick in targets for Andrews in a Ravens offense that targeted its tight ends 180 times in 2019, second only to the Eagles. The 23-year-old has top-3 tight end potential.

4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (Week 9)

If Philly loves its tight ends so much, why is Ertz behind Andrews? Well, he turns 30 in November, and the Eagles are rapidly increasing the role of 25-year-old Dallas Goedert, who finished second on the team in targets last season with 87. Philly also drafted a wide receiver in the first round (Jalen Reagor) to complement DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. Ertz is still a top-5 tight end, but he could regress in 2020.

Tier 2

5. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (Week 6)

Waller filled the "black hole" in the Raiders' passing game last season by putting up WR1 numbers: 90 catches for 1,145 yards and three TDs. Las Vegas tried to fill that hole this offseason by adding Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones while drafting Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow, so expect Waller's target share to drop. His rapport with Derek Carr should help him remain an elite tight end, though.

6. Evan Engram, New York Giants (Week 11)

All signs point to Engram having a big season in 2020: He plays for a talented young quarterback (Daniel Jones) with few wide receiver weapons (Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate?) and averaged a career-high 58.4 receiving yards per game in 2019. The issue? He's missed 18 games in the last two seasons. Engram is a top-5 fantasy tight end when healthy, but he comes with significant risk.

7. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (Week 10)

Another guy who's a stud when healthy, Henry averaged double-digit fantasy points in the 12 games he played last season. Going from Philip Rivers to some unknown combination of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert is a downgrade, but Henry is the Chargers' top option in the passing game outside Keenan Allen.

Tier 3

8. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)

Ride the wave, folks. Higbee was a virtual unknown before topping 100 receiving yards in four consecutive games late in the 2019 season. He'll compete with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and fellow tight end Gerald Everett for targets, but quarterback Jared Goff clearly views Higbee as legitimate option in the passing game.

9. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (Week 6)

Score one for the old guard: The veteran tight end caught a career-high nine TD passes at age 32 last season in the Saints' high-octane offense. That number should come down, but as long as Drew Brees is under center, expect Cook to put up consistent numbers in an offense that scored the third-most points per game in 2019.

10. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (Week 9)

Some players might benefit from a change of scenery. Hooper won't be one of them. After seeing 97 targets in Atlanta last season, the 25-year-old should take a back seat to target hogs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and also will have to compete with fellow tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant. Hooper might be worth drafting in the later rounds, but don't reach based on his 2019 numbers.

11. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (Week 11)

Gesicki amassed 89 targets last season, second in Miami only to DeVante Parker. He's an athletic 24-year-old with a ton of upside who could be a solid No. 2 option for Ryan Fitzpatrick or an enticing weapon for rookie Tua Tagovailoa if he takes over. We wouldn't be surprised if Gesicki enters into the top-10 tight end conversation after a strong sophomore campaign.

Tier 4

12. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 13)

We understand Gronkowski arguably is the greatest tight end of all time. But this is 2020. Gronk just turned 31, has done a lot things besides play football in the last 16 months and still hasn't played a full season since 2011. He might be Tom Brady's favorite target, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Tampa Bay. Even if Gronkowski plays north of 10 games this year (we'll take the under) he's simply not a top-10 tight end anymore.

13. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (Week 10)

So, who's getting Hooper's 97 vacated targets? The opportunity is Hurst's for the taking as Atlanta's new starting tight end. The 26-year-old caught 30 passes for 349 yards on just 39 targets last season, but there's a real possibility he sees 80-plus targets in 2020 and flirts with a top-10 finish at the position.

14. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (Week 8)

One of several talented young tight ends, Fant led all rookie tight ends in 2019 with 40 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns. Denver's rookie wide receiver duo of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler could cut into his target share, but if you're in a two-tight-end league, Fant is an intriguing upside play. 

15. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (Week 7)

Doyle put up decent numbers last season despite splitting time with Eric Ebron. But Ebron is in Pittsburgh now, and Doyle has a new QB (Philip Rivers) who has plenty of experience throwing to tight ends (see: Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry). He's a fringe TE1 at best, but his stock is certainly on the rise.

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Defense wins championships.

That's the case in real football, and it also can be the case in fantasy football if you carefully select your D/ST unit during your fantasy draft. Sure, you could play the waivers game all season long and try to ride whatever defense is hot for those few weeks, but wouldn't you rather a D/ST you can rely on all year and not have to think twice about it?

Of course you would. That's why we're here to help by listing the defenses you should have your eyes on in your 2020 fantasy football draft. Here's a look at the top 10.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: Week 8)

Minkah Fitzpatrick completely revitalized the Steelers defense when he arrived in Pittsburgh last season. The Steelers D/ST unit finished with the second-most fantasy points at the position last year and with Fitzpatrick in the fold for a full year, it should have a solid chance at claiming the top spot in 2020.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Week 11)

The 49ers lost DeForest Buckner on the defensive line, but that loss shouldn't hurt too much as they gained Javon Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in this year's draft. Throw in Nick Bosa, who had nine sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble his rookie year, and San Francisco again should be a top D/ST unit in 2020 after finishing with the third-most points last year.

3. Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)

The fourth-best D/ST unit last year should thrive again this time around, especially with rookie linebacker Patrick Queen added to the mix. Most of Baltimore's starters will return in 2020, which makes the Ravens a reliable option in fantasy once again.

4.  Buffalo Bills (Week 11)

Buffalo's D/ST unit is bound to improve in 2020 after a mediocre 12th-place finish in fantasy points last season. Adding Mario Addison via free agency and drafting Iowa's A.J. Epenesa should give the Bills a boost, and the secondary once again looks promising with veteran Josh Norman joining Tre'Davious White. Don't forget about Ed Oliver, who looked great in his rookie year.

5. New England Patriots (Week 6)

The Patriots had the best D/ST in fantasy last year and it wasn't all that close. This time around, they'll have to get the job done without key contributors like Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. The offense is bound to take a giant step back without Tom Brady as well, which means production as a whole may dip. Expect the Patriots to be one of the better defenses in fantasy football again, but definitely be wary of regression.

6. New Orleans Saints (Week 6)

New Orleans' defense often gets slept on, but it really shouldn't. The Saints D/ST finished with the ninth-most fantasy points at the position last year thanks to guys like Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis. Former Eagles star Malcolm Jenkins will be in the fold this season now too. Expect this to be a top fantasy D/ST once again.

7. Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)

The Rams D/ST is a solid pick for your fantasy team, as you'll have two of the best defensive players in the game in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey helping you out each week. L.A. finished with the fifth-most defensive fantasy points last year and is positioned for success again in 2020.

8. Chicago Bears (Week 11)

Simply put, Chicago's defense was a major disappointment last season. It finished 20th among fantasy defenses in points and just wasn't the dominant Bears D/ST we've been accustomed to seeing. I don't expect a repeat of that this year. There are too many talented players -- Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and now Robert Quinn to name a few -- for this unit to be a letdown again in 2020.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 10)

When you think of the Chiefs, you probably think of Patrick Mahomes and that high-powered offense, not what they do on defense. But don't overlook Kansas City's D, either. The Chiefs D/ST finished eighth in fantasy scoring at the position last year and should be even better this season. This is a solid under-the-radar pick in fantasy drafts this year if you can't get one of the top defenses on the board.

10. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 10)

Well, we originally had the Jets on here as the No. 10 defense, then they traded Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley opted out of the season. So the Chargers slot in as the new No. 10 D/ST with several intriguing contributors on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2020. They drafted Oklahoma standout linebacker Kenneth Murray in the first round and added veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to an already-solid secondary. Having safety Derwin James and defensive end Joey Bosa in the mix doesn't hurt either. L.A. might not be the one of the first few D/ST options off your fantasy board, but that just means more chances for you to steal them in one of the last couple of rounds.

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

What makes fantasy football so great? It's actually fun to do your homework.

If you're reading this, you're looking to get a jump-start on preparing for your 2020 fantasy draft ahead of the NFL season. That means poring over the latest player rankings at each position, identifying potential sleepers and busts and developing the perfect draft strategy to lift you to fantasy glory.

Good news: You've come to the right place. Our 2020 fantasy football draft kit comes complete with all of the draft essentials -- the top 100 overall players, player rankings by position, etc. -- as well as other valuable insights about which players to target and avoid.

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So, what are you waiting for? Below is all of our 2020 draft content; dig in!

PLAYER RANKINGS BY POSITION

SLEEPERS, BUSTS AND PLAYER ANALYSIS

PRINTABLE CHEAT SHEETS

 

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