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Dynasty Rankings

Post-Draft Dynasty Ranks - TE

by Mike Clay
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Our final installment of post-draft dynasty rankings will cover the tight end position.

Back in 2008, 18.9 percent of league-wide targets were directed at a player listed as a tight end. This past season, the mark was up to 20.3 percent. That may not seem like a huge boost, but had that increase not occurred, a total of 530 targets would’ve been lost by tight ends during the 2013 season. Note that tight end targets were actually down in 2013 from 21.3 percent in 2012.

In fantasy circles, the increase in usage of tight ends as pass catchers over the years has added depth to the position, but there are still a handful of superstars who stand above the rest. Today we’ll take an in-depth look at those top options.

Note: Non-PPR scoring is assumed. Each player age listed is as of September 1, 2014, which falls just prior to Week 1 of the upcoming season. The draft year and round is also shown for each player.

Click it here for quarterback, running back, and wide receiver rankings.

Tier 1

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

1

Jimmy Graham

NO

27.7

2010-3

2

Rob Gronkowski

NE

25.3

2010-2

Last season, Jimmy Graham saw 22 more targets, caught four more balls, had 368 more receiving yards, and scored three more touchdowns than the second place tight end in each category. Yeah, he’s the top tight end in dynasty. Powered by 16 touchdowns, Graham scored 54.5 more fantasy points than No. 2-ranked Vernon Davis. He has finished in the Top 2 at the position three years in a row. Graham is only 27 and, although he’s on a one-year deal in New Orleans, it’s hard to see them letting their top receiver get away. Currently in his prime and working out of one of the league’s top-scoring offenses with an elite quarterback, Graham should be one of the first overall players off the board on draft day.

Rob Gronkowski is nearly two and a half years younger than Graham and probably more of a dominant fantasy force when active. But constant injury woes make him in inferior dynasty asset. Gronkowski was No. 2 in fantasy points per game last season, but was active for only seven games. Over the last three seasons (including the playoffs), he has an absurd 36 touchdowns in 38 games. Gronkowski is so good that he’s worth picking in the early rounds even if you think he’ll miss a few games each season. Of course, he’ll need to do better than the nine games per season he’s averaging over the last two years. Gronkowski is only 25 and one of the most dominant players in the game. Savvy owners should be looking to buy low before the window closes early next season.

Tier 2

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

3

Julius Thomas

DEN

26.1

2011-4

4

Jordan Cameron

CLV

26.0

2011-4

5

Tyler Eifert

CIN

23.9

2013-1

6

Eric Ebron

DET

21.3

2014-1

7

Zach Ertz

PHI

23.8

2013-2

Our next tier is slightly deeper than our first. None of these five tight ends are over the age of 25 as of today’s date. This is a testament to the depth of young, emerging receiving talent at the position. After Graham and Gronkowski, it makes sense to wait a while at the position. There’s plenty of value to be had.

Julius Thomas was a breakout sensation in 2013, vaulting his way from “intriguing athlete” to dynasty superstar. Powered by Peyton Manning and Denver’s record-setting offense, Thomas caught 12 touchdowns in 14 games en route to a No. 4 finish in fantasy points at the position. The ex-basketball player (but of course) is only 25 and has at least another year or two with Manning tossing him the ball.

Like Thomas, Jordan Cameron is an ex-basketball player who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft and broke out in a big way last season. Cameron is two months younger than Thomas, but is slightly inferior a dynasty prospect only because he doesn’t have Manning on his side. In 2013, Cameron was No. 5 in fantasy scoring among tight ends, racking up 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. He was nothing short of elite in terms of converting targets into receptions. With Josh Gordon facing off-the-field issues, Cameron could easily lead Cleveland in targets this upcoming season.

Unless injury strikes, Tyler Eifert’s dynasty value is currently the lowest it will be for a very long time. A first-round pick one year ago, it’s no surprise that Eifert’s career is off to a slow start with Jermaine Gresham still on the roster. Gresham will be back in 2014, but Eifert figures to move past him at some point this year. Eifert is only 23 and has massive upside as a pass-catcher. Don’t overlook him.

The tenth overall pick in May’s draft, Eric Ebron has the size and receiving skills to produce at a TE1 level over the next decade. Landing in Detroit only helps his prospects. Brandon Pettigrew will surely lower Ebron’s short-term ceiling, but the team is wide receiver deficient, which will allow the rookie to step right into a prominent role in passing downs. Ebron isn’t a finished product, but he’s only 21 and doesn’t have to be rushed into an every-down role. Expect a breakout season in 2015.

Not unlike Eifert, Zach Ertz spent his rookie season in a situational role behind a veteran. Ertz did a bit more from a fantasy perspective, however, racking up four touchdowns on 36 receptions. Although his short-term ceiling is limited a bit by the Eagles spread-it-around attack and in-line usage of Brent Celek, Ertz sees enough work in a high-scoring offense to put him on the TE1 radar in 2014.

Tier 3

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

8

Jordan Reed

WAS

24.1

2013-3

9

Ladarius Green

SD

24.2

2012-4

10

Jace Amaro

NYJ

22.1

2014-2

11

Kyle Rudolph

MIN

24.8

2011-2

12

Vernon Davis

SF

30.5

2006-1

A third-round pick last season, Jordan Reed was immediately inserted as a regular contributor in the Redskins’ passing game. He racked up 45 receptions and three scores as a rookie, but did all that in only nine games due to injury. Expected to be fully recovered from the concussion that cost him the second half of the season, 23-year-old Reed will enter 2014 as a featured pass-catcher in Washington.

Ladarius Green is primed for a breakout third season following some impressive flashes in 2013. A fourth-round pick in 2012, Green had a pair of 80-yard receiving games and scored four touchdowns in 18 games last season. Primed to play a much bigger role at the expense of 34-year-old Antonio Gates, 6’6”/240 Green is the top candidate to be this year’s version of Thomas and Cameron.

The tight end-needy Jets selected Jace Amaro in the second round of May’s draft. Amaro stands at 6’5/265 and will do most of his damage as a pass-catcher. He’ll need to work on his blocking in order to hold down an every-down job, but, like Ebron, he’ll quickly become one of his team’s top receivers. The Jets will continue to lean on the run and won’t score many touchdowns, which limits Amaro’s short-term outlook. He’s only 21, however, and is a player the club will look to build its offense around.

The Minnesota offense is going the right direction, which makes Kyle Rudolph an intriguing redraft and dynasty tight end. The talented Cordarrelle Patterson/Greg Jennings duo will open up the seam for Rudolph, the selection of Teddy Bridgewater in May’s draft will improve offensive effectiveness, and the hiring of Norv Turner will guarantee plenty of involvement in the passing game. Rudolph is only 24, but already has three NFL seasons under his belt. That includes a nine-touchdown effort in 2012. He’s a decent dynasty TE1 option.

Vernon Davis was No. 2 in fantasy scoring at tight end last season. Of course, he accomplished the feat despite catching only 52 passes, which ranked 15th at the position. Davis was carried by a whopping 13 touchdowns. Although he’s heavily-used near the goal line, that touchdown rate is certain to regress in 2014 and beyond. It’s also worth noting that his targets dropped quite a bit once Michael Crabtree returned to action. Now 30, and with more competition for targets than he’s had in a long time, Davis is fading to a borderline TE1 option in dynasty.

Tier 4

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

13

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

TB

21.9

2014-2

14

Dennis Pitta

BLT

29.1

2010-4

15

Jason Witten

DAL

32.3

2003-3

16

Coby Fleener

IND

25.9

2012-2

17

Martellus Bennett

CHI

27.4

2008-2

18

Greg Olsen

CAR

29.4

2007-1

A second-round selection in May’s draft, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has only Brandon Myers and Tim Wright standing between him and an every-down role in Tampa Bay. “ASJ” is a competent blocker and receiver, but has work to do before he reaches his ceiling. He’s big and athletic enough to produce at a TE1 level over the long term.

Dennis Pitta re-upped with the Ravens this offseason. Already a strong short-term TE1, the team’s hiring of Gary Kubiak only increases his value. Pitta missed 12 games last season due to a hip injury, but he racked up 20 catches in the four games he played. The No. 7-scoring fantasy tight end of 2012, Pitta is probably a little older than you realize at 28, but he’ll be one of Joe Flacco’s primary targets over the next few seasons.

The iron man that is Jason Witten has now failed to miss a single game each of the last 10 seasons. The veteran has four 1,000-yard seasons and 51 touchdowns during that span. Of course, Witten put up his lowest catch (73) and yardage (851) totals since 2006 this past season. From a fantasy perspective, he covered that up a bit with eight touchdowns, but the 32 year old is past his prime. He’s no longer a strong dynasty option.

Coby Fleener was forced into a larger role than anticipated last season after Dwayne Allen went down for the year with a hip injury. Fleener played well and ended up No. 14 in fantasy points at the position. He will remain heavily-involved in the Colts’ offensive gameplan, but he’s going to have a lot of competition for targets with Allen – a quality blocker and capable receiver – and Reggie Wayne back from injury, and Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief now in the mix. Fleener is only 25 and a quality dynasty hold, but his short-term ceiling is that of a mid-pack TE2.

One of the league’s top blocking tight ends, Martellus Bennett has now put together back-to-back Top 15 fantasy seasons. A year after shining in New York - his first campaign as a full-time starter – Bennett finished No. 10 in fantasy points among tight ends as a member of the Bears. Bennett hauled in 65 balls for 759 yards. He scored five touchdowns, but was heavily utilized near the goal line. Still only 27, Bennett has several TE1 seasons left in the tank.

Greg Olsen went through a bizarre stretch of under-use last season, but bounced back to finish as fantasy’s No. 8 tight end. Following a five-week stretch of no more than five targets, he averaged 8.1 per game the rest of the way and was never below six in a single game. With Carolina transitioning at wide receiver, it’s fair to expect, at least, another 100-plus target season out of Olsen. He’s 29, but remains a decent short-term starting option.

Tier 5

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

19

Dwayne Allen

IND

24.5

2012-3

20

Travis Kelce

KC

24.9

2013-3

21

Jared Cook

SL

27.4

2009-3

22

Charles Clay

MIA

25.5

2011-6

23

Troy Niklas

ARZ

21.9

2014-2

24

Vance McDonald

SF

24.2

2013-2

25

Ryan Griffin

HST

24.6

2013-6

26

Gavin Escobar

DAL

23.5

2013-2

27

Colt Lyerla

GB

21.8

2014-U

28

Jermichael Finley

FA

27.4

2008-3

A third-round pick in 2012, aforementioned Allen caught 45 balls as a rookie before a hip injury cost him all but one game in 2013. There’s massive upside here, but the presence of Fleener will cost him targets in the short-term…A knee injury ended Travis Kelce’s rookie season before it started, but the 2013 third-round pick is Kansas City’s long-term answer at the tight end position. It’s probable that the 24 year old will be the team’s starter by Week 1, but veteran Anthony Fasano won’t make life easy.

Jared Cook has never quite exploded into the superstar fantasy tight end we all expected, but he was No. 11 in points at the position last year – his first with St. Louis. Cook has all the tools, is in his prime at 27, and the Rams’ offensive is improving around him…Charles Clay took major advantage of Dustin Keller’s season-ending injury last season. Expected to carve out an NFL role as a situational H-Back, Clay busted onto the fantasy scene with 69 receptions, 759 yards and six touchdowns. He was No. 7 in fantasy points at tight end. Only 25, he’ll eventually face competition from Dion Sims, but Clay has earned himself a full-time role in Miami.

Troy Niklas was a second-round selection by Arizona in May’s draft. Niklas will be a long-term NFL starter, but his profile is similar to that of an in-line blocker like Anthony Fasano. Niklas doesn’t have as high a ceiling as the three rookie tight ends mentioned earlier, but he figures to settle in as a solid TE2 option…Jermichael Finley remains a free agent and still recovering from last season’s neck injury. Expected to be cleared in time for Week 1, 27-year-old Finley has the skills to push for TE1 consideration if he lands a prominent offensive role.

Gavin Escobar, Vance McDonald, and Ryan Griffin were all selected in the 2013 draft. Escobar will play more as a sophomore and is being groomed as a potential in-house replacement for Witten. McDonald is backing up 30-year-old Davis in what has become a crowded San Francisco offense. Griffin showed flashes of TE1 ability as a rookie and is competing with Garrett Graham to start in Houston. All three tight ends have size and/or pass-catching ability working in their favor. Colt Lyerla is arguably the best receiving tight end in the 2014 rookie class, but off-the-field issues led to him going undrafted in May. Lyerla could not have picked a better landing spot, however, signing with tight end-needy and high-scoring Green Bay. A player who could eventually make a major fantasy impact in a role similar to the one Aaron Hernandez played in New England, Lyerla is well worth a flier.

Tier 6

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

29

Tim Wright

TB

24.4

2013-U

30

Luke Willson

SEA

24.6

2013-5

31

Delanie Walker

TEN

30.0

2006-6

32

Heath Miller

PIT

31.8

2005-1

33

Adrien Robinson

NYG

25.9

2012-4

34

Richard Rodgers

GB

22.6

2014-3

35

Crockett Gillmore

BLT

22.7

2014-3

36

C.J. Fiedorowicz

HST

22.8

2014-3

37

Levine Toilolo

ATL

23.0

2013-4

38

Mychal Rivera

OAK

23.9

2013-6

39

Garrett Graham

HST

28.0

2010-4

40

Antonio Gates

SD

34.2

2003-U

41

Jermaine Gresham

CIN

26.2

2010-1

42

Marcedes Lewis

JAX

30.2

2006-1

43

Scott Chandler

BUF

29.1

2007-4

44

Joseph Fauria

DET

24.6

2013-U

Tim Wright, Luke Willson, Levine Toilolo, Mychal Rivera, and Joseph Fauria are all products of the 2013 class of tight ends. Wright put up a Top 20 fantasy campaign as an undrafted rookie. He’s a skilled pass catcher, but will have trouble breaking out with Myers and Seferian-Jenkins in the mix. Willson is a potential long-term replacement for Zach Miller in Seattle. Toilolo replaces Tony Gonzalez atop the Falcons’ depth chart, but he won’t see near the target volume. Rivera has earned the Raiders’ starting gig and makes for a nice deep sleeper. A monster near the goal line at 6’7”/255, Fauria scored on seven of his 18 receptions last season. With Ebron and Pettigrew in the mix, however, his short-term ceiling is very low.

Veterans Delanie Walker, Heath Miller, Garrett Graham, Antonio Gates, Scott Chandler, and Marcedes Lewis are already or are approaching age 30, but remain atop their respective team’s depth chart. Walker will flirt with TE1 production in 2014, but he’s unlikely to have many big games in Tennessee’s underwhelming offense. Miller just extended his deal with the Steelers through 2016. Now fully-recovered from a torn ACL late during the 2012 season, Miller will look to return to TE1 territory. He’ll turn 32 during the 2014 season, however, which significantly hampers his upside. Graham re-upped with ’12 formation’-friendly Houston and will put up TE2 numbers in the short term if he can hold off impressive rookie Griffin.

Gates is one of the game’s top tight ends of the last decade, but his days as a TE1 are over. He turns 34 this summer and Green is about to take his job. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a repeat of his 77-catch 2013 campaign…Chandler returns as the starter in Buffalo, but has a low ceiling with the club focusing on its running backs and wide receivers. The Jaguars are short on offensive weapons, but they won’t score enough to put Lewis on the TE1 radar.

Surprisingly, the Giants didn’t address the tight end position this past offseason, which puts Adrien Robinson in position for a breakout season. Famously called the “Jason Pierre-Paul of tight ends” due to his freakish abilities, Robinson has a shot to be this year’s Jordan Cameron if he can just stay healthy. He’s a guy well worth a bench spot on your dynasty squad…Gresham’s days in Cincinnati are numbered with Eifert in the picture. He’s only 26 but hasn’t lived up to his first-round draft selection and figures to be headed elsewhere in 2015.

Richard Rodgers, Crockett Gillmore, and C.J. Fiedorowicz were selected in the third round of May’s draft. Rodgers adds depth in Green Bay, but profiles as a situational possession receiver. Gillmore is a good blocker, but has work to do as a receiver. Fiedorowicz is also a good blocker and capable underneath receiver, but is buried in Houston.

Tier 7

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

45

Lance Kendricks

SL

26.5

2011-2

46

Dion Sims

MIA

23.5

2013-4

47

Andrew Quarless

GB

25.9

2010-5

48

John Carlson

ARZ

30.3

2008-2

49

Zach Miller

SEA

28.7

2007-2

50

Brandon Pettigrew

DET

29.5

2009-1

51

Rob Housler

ARZ

26.4

2011-3

52

Owen Daniels

BLT

31.8

2006-4

53

Brent Celek

PHI

29.6

2007-5

54

Gator Hoskins

MIA

22.7

2014-U

55

Brandon Myers

TB

28.9

2009-6

Dion Sims is stuck behind Clay in Miami, but is a potential every-down player down the road…Lance Kendricks plays quite a bit, but doesn’t see many targets and is buried behind Cook in St. Louis for the near future…Andrew Quarless is atop the depth chart in Green Bay, but has never turned regular snaps into fantasy relevance…The Cardinals’ addition of John Carlson means Rob Housler is off scholarship in Arizona. He’s destined for a situational, receiving role, but is only 26. Carlson, meanwhile, is keeping the seat warm for Niklas…Gator Hoskins is an undrafted free agent who landed in Miami. A good receiver and dominant near the goal line, he has the upside to warrant a flier in deep leagues.

Owen Daniels will see a decent workload behind Pitta in Baltimore, but, at age 31 and with serious durability concerns, there’s little upside…Pettigrew shockingly landed a four-year, $16 million extension with Detroit, but has little fantasy upside with Ebron in the mix and Fauria so good near the goal line…Brandon Myers signed with the Bucs, but he’s not a good blocker and will need to fend of Seferian-Jenkins and Wright…Brent Celek and Zach Miller remain atop their respective team’s depth chart, but both are approaching age 30 and used sparingly. Their days as fantasy assets are all but over.

Tier 8

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

56

Chris Gragg

BUF

24.1

2013-7

57

Arthur Lynch

MIA

24.2

2014-5

58

Dustin Keller

FA

29.9

2008-1

59

Brandon Bostick

GB

25.3

2012-U

60

Taylor Thompson

TEN

24.8

2012-5

61

Jeff Cumberland

NYJ

27.3

2010-U

62

David Ausberry

OAK

26.9

2011-7

63

Sean McGrath

KC

26.7

2012-U

64

Virgil Green

DEN

26.0

2011-7

65

Zach Sudfeld

NYJ

25.3

2013-U

66

Jake Ballard

ARZ

26.7

2010-U

67

A.C. Leonard

MIN

0.0

2014-U

68

Rob Blanchflower

PIT

24.2

2014-7

69

Jacob Tamme

DEN

29.4

2008-4

70

Ed Dickson

CAR

27.1

2010-3

71

Anthony McCoy

SEA

26.6

2010-6

72

Clay Harbor

JAX

27.1

2010-4

73

Ted Bolser

WAS

23.8

2014-7

74

Michael Egnew

MIA

24.8

2012-3

75

Luke Stocker

TB

26.1

2011-4

76

Nick Kasa

OAK

23.8

2013-6

77

Anthony Fasano

KC

30.3

2006-2

78

James Casey

PHI

29.9

2009-5

Mike Clay
Mike Clay is a football writer for Rotoworld.com and the Founder/Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter @MikeClayNFL.