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Regular Season, Updated: 9/4/17

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 Rob Gronkowski, NE (Bye: 9)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 265   DOB: 1989-05-14   Age: 29
College: Arizona   Draft: 2010 Round 2 (10) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014NE1582 1,124 12 184.4 12.3
2015NE1572 1,176 11 183.6 12.2
2016NE825 540 3 72.0 9.0
2017 (Projected)NE 74 1,078 9 161.8  

Outlook: Despite playing in only eight regular season games in 2016 (six full games), Rob Gronkowski finished the season with 540 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He posted double digit fantasy points in all but one of those six games, including seven catches for 162 yards and a touchdown Week 6 against the Bengals.

When healthy, Gronk is the biggest difference maker in fantasy football, and his ability to outperform everyone at his position makes him one of the most valuable players in the game. The problem is that he has only played in one 16-game season since joining the league in 2010, and it is almost a certainty that he will miss at least a few games this year.

The other issue with taking Gronk in the second round is the opportunity cost of passing on No.1 running back and wide receiving options for a player as volatile as Gronkowski. But if he plays at least ten games in 2017, he is all but guaranteed double digit touchdowns and 1000 yards.

 Travis Kelce, KC (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 260   DOB: 1989-10-05   Age: 28
College: Cincinnati   Draft: 2013 Round 3 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014KC1667 862 5 116.2 7.3
2015KC1672 875 5 117.5 7.3
2016KC1685 1,125 4 136.0 8.5
2017 (Projected)KC 84 1,075 6 143.5  

Outlook: After disappointing many fantasy owners with a lackluster 2015 season, Kelce finally fulfilled his potential in 2016 with an absolutely monster season which saw him finish as the league's top-scoring fantasy tight end - and by a fairly wide margin. While he only scored four touchdowns, Kelce's week-to-week reception and yardage totals were borderline WR1 numbers. He finished the regular season on an absurd pace, catching five or more passes in every game from Week 8 through Week 16, including a whopping six 100-plus-yard performances in those nine contests. While it's hard to imagine that he stays on a yardage tear, he was a bit unlucky in the red zone. An increase in touchdowns should be expected if he's targeted anywhere near as often as he was in 2016. While he is currently going as the No.2 tight end off the board in most fantasy drafts, a case could be made that Kelce should be ahead of even the great Rob Gronkowski, given Gronk's ever-so-frustrating injury history. Still, Kelce represents great value in drafts and could really be a difference maker on fantasy rosters again this season if the position remains as sparse as it has been as of late.

 Greg Olsen, CAR (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 255   DOB: 1985-03-11   Age: 33
College: -   Draft: 2007 Round 1 (31) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014CAR1684 1,008 6 136.8 8.6
2015CAR1677 1,104 7 152.4 9.5
2016CAR1680 1,073 3 125.3 7.8
2017 (Projected)CAR 81 1,045 5 134.5  

Outlook: Consistency is invaluable in fantasy football and the Panthers' Greg Olsen has been the gold standard at the tight end position. Based on default FFT scoring, Greg Olsen has been the fourth best fantasy tight end for three consecutive seasons and a top ten option since 2012. A player with Olsen's numbers should be one of the easiest projections and safest picks for fantasy managers but 2017 offers a few variables to consider. The 32 year-old veteran wants to be paid like the game's elite and is threatening a hold out if Carolina doesn't cave to his demands. This could be a non issue well before you draft or it could linger into the regular season where other veteran players have sat out several weeks before returning to their team and having a mediocre fantasy year (Vincent Jackson comes to mind). Assuming a contract dispute doesn't jeopardize Olsen's fantasy season, he is easily one of the safest choices at the position. He's only missed two games in ten seasons so injury risk isn't of great concern. More importantly, he gets more chances than almost everyone else your opponent will start against you in a given week. The last time the NFL produced five tight ends with at least 120 targets apiece was 2009-a number Olsen has topped in each of the past three years. A decline will happen and there may be a dip in production if the team hands over one last big payday, but he's a "set it and forget it" fantasy starter with a fifth round ADP. What's not to like?

 Jimmy Graham, SEA (Bye: 6)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 260   DOB: 1986-11-24   Age: 31
College: -   Draft: 2010 Round 3 (31) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014NO1585 889 10 148.9 9.9
2015SEA1148 605 2 72.5 6.6
2016SEA1665 923 6 128.3 8.0
2017 (Projected)SEA 67 875 7 129.5  

Outlook: Following an abysmal first season in Seattle, tight end Jimmy Graham reminded all of us how good he really is when he exploded back into the top of the fantasy ranks with a 900-plus yard season with six scores, allowing him to finish as the No. 2 fantasy tight end in 2016. While those numbers are still a far cry from the numbers he was putting up in New Orleans, Graham remains one of the top fantasy tight ends heading into this season, even if he is on an offense that is substantially more run-heavy than the ones he was a part of with the Saints.

What's even more impressive about Graham's return to fantasy greatness is that he did so less than a full year after suffering a horrific patellar tendon rupture in late November of 2015. Now fully recovered, Graham should be in line to remain one of Seattle's primary weapons in the passing game.

The tight end position as a whole is a mess heading into this season, but Graham represents what should be considered about the end of the "safe" options at the position. He's going behind the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and even Greg Olsen in most leagues, but he's certainly safer than the players like Tyler Eifert, Martellus Bennett and Hunter Henry who are going behind him.

 Jordan Reed, WAS (Bye: 5)
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 243   DOB: 1990-07-03   Age: 27
College: Florida   Draft: 2013 Round 3 (23) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014WAS1150 465 0 46.5 4.2
2015WAS1487 952 11 161.2 11.5
2016WAS1266 686 6 104.6 8.7
2017 (Projected)WAS 79 835 7 125.5  

Outlook: Over the past two seasons, only Rob Gronkowski has averaged more fantasy points at the tight end position than Jordan Reed. Unfortunately, just like Gronk, Reed has been limited by numerous injuries, making him a risk to play a full 16-game schedule.

In four seasons with Washington, Reed has yet to play more than 14 games in a season, including last year in which he managed only 12 games for fantasy owners. But in those 12 games, Reed was Cousin's primary target, with 66 catches for 686 yards and six touchdowns on 89 targets. In two of those games, Reed left early due to injury, making his per-game points even more attractive for fantasy owners.

The risk/reward of Reed might be too high for owners, especially considering Reed's fairly high ADP as the third TE off the board. Those owners comfortable for the home run/bust potential in Reed, be sure to take a viable second tight end in the draft, as history has shown that Reed will not play a full season.

 Tyler Eifert, CIN (Bye: 6)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 251   DOB: 1990-09-08   Age: 27
College: Notre Dame   Draft: 2013 Round 1 (21) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014CIN13 37 0 3.7 3.7
2015CIN1352 615 13 139.5 10.7
2016CIN829 394 5 69.4 8.7
2017 (Projected)CIN 56 705 7 112.5  

Outlook: Decimated by ankle and back injuries the past several seasons, Eifert is one of the biggest risk/reward picks in all of fantasy. Eifert has the role and ability to be a top-3 scoring tight end, something he did when he scored 13 touchdowns in 13 games in 2015. He proved his touchdown scoring was no fluke, as he piled up 5 scores in 8 games last season. He was so good during the half season he played, that his 8.7 standard fantasy points per game was tied with Jordan Reed for 2nd best at the position.

Eifert is a huge injury risk, but the reward is just too good to pass up. If he can play a full season he's a near lock for double digit touchdowns. I'm not going to reach for him in drafts, but I don't think you'll be able to wait too long either. Just make sure you grab some insurance later on!

 Martellus Bennett, GB (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 265   DOB: 1987-03-10   Age: 31
College: Texas A&M   Draft: 2008 Round 2 (30) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014CHI1690 916 6 127.6 8.0
2015CHI1153 439 3 61.9 5.6
2016NE1655 701 7 113.1 7.1
2017 (Projected)GB 58 685 7 110.5  

Outlook: Despite a highlight reel play that will forever be the bane of Cowboys fans, the Jared Cook experiment in Green Bay came to a quick end. In comes Martellus Bennett, coming of a Super Bowl victory, to provide the Packers with a steady veteran presence who's two-way game will fit perfectly with what his team wants to do. Some guys just have all the luck, as Bennett goes from one Hall of Fame quarterback to another. Bennett gives Aaron Rodgers something he hasn't had since Jermichael Finley was forced to retire. Bennett is athletic enough to beat linebackers, big enough to challenge DBs and savvy enough to get open in the red zone. He had a fantastic first half of the year in 2016, before dual ankle injuries sapped him of his play making ability. He still managed 700 yards and 7 touchdowns, which constituted an average season. I really think those 2016 numbers are the floor for Bennett in this offense. The tight end position is a mess again, and Bennett possesses one of the safer floors at the position. He won't catch 90 passes like Travis Kelce, or score 14 touchdowns like Gronk might, but he's going to work very well with Rodgers, and give fantasy owners a solid TE1 option.

 Delanie Walker, TEN (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 242   DOB: 1984-08-12   Age: 33
College: -   Draft: 2006 Round 6 (6) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014TEN1563 890 4 113.0 7.5
2015TEN1594 1,088 6 148.4 9.9
2016TEN1565 800 7 123.1 8.2
2017 (Projected)TEN 63 755 5 105.5  

Outlook: Since joining the Titans in 2013, Delanie Walker has been a stalwart performer in real life and in fantasy. He has scored at least six touchdowns in all but one of his four years with the team and he has built great chemistry with QB Marcus Mariota and should once again be a key contributor on third downs. Walker saw at least six targets in all but four games last year but failed to post at least 8 fantasy points in nine of his 15 games played. The twelve year vet will be 33 this year and the new reinforcements will likely eat into his targets, especially near the goaline. There is some fuel left in the tank, but just how much is left, but it may not be enough to be viable starting option for much longer. The team selected Jonnu Smith out of Florida International in this year's draft. Although he isn't going to be a factor this year, he holds plenty of appeal in keeper and dynasty formats where he could see the field as quickly as 2018.

 Hunter Henry, LAC (Bye: 9)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 250   DOB: 1994-12-07   Age: 23
College: Arkansas   Draft: 2016 Round 2 (4) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2016SD1336 482 8 96.2 7.4
2017 (Projected)LAC 54 685 7 110.5  

Outlook: Hunter Henry finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end as a rookie despite competing for playing time with a future Hall of Famer. Of course, much of Henry's production came when Antonio Gates was out of the lineup or hindered by injury early in the season, but he did catch five touchdowns in the second half of the season as well. Henry's upside is limited by Gates being on the roster as both are big touchdown threats, and there are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense, particularly in the red zone.

An injury to Gates would immediately catapult Henry into the high-end TE1 conversation. He performed at that level when Gates was out and with the lack of true high-end talent at the position, Henry is likely to finish in the top 12 even if he and Gates are competing for playing time. Henry did deal with a minor knee injury and a concussion a year ago so he is not necessarily an iron man himself, but he's a young, talented player who can get on the field in both running and passing situations which is going to be a big asset on a team coached by Anthony Lynn.

 Kyle Rudolph, MIN (Bye: 9)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 259   DOB: 1989-11-09   Age: 28
College: Notre Dame   Draft: 2011 Round 2 (11) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014MIN724 231 2 35.1 5.0
2015MIN1649 495 5 79.5 5.0
2016MIN1683 840 7 126.0 7.9
2017 (Projected)MIN 75 766 5 106.6  

Outlook: I pegged Rudolph as a likely TE1 last year at this time, but never imagined he'd lead all tight ends in targets and finish as the No.3 overall. Rudolph can thank his strong season to several factors that worked in his favor. First, the Vikings dreadful offensive line and non-existent running game meant Rudolph was the ultimate dump off target for Sam "checkdown" Bradford. Rudolph also stayed healthy for the entire year, something he's struggled with at times in his career. Although he's an athletic, sure-handed athlete, Rudolph is a miserable blocker, and ran routes a majority of the time he was on the field. He was the de facto slot-receiver for much of the year, and a clear favorite of Sam Bradford.

While the stars aligned for Rudolph's success in 2016, I foresee it being quite difficult to do so in 2017. First off, the Vikings offense should be more balanced and operational than it was last year, and Rudolph shouldn't have to be the security blanket for Bradford as much as he was last year. While he still presents mismatches at times, he doesn't possess elite physical tools to dominate a defense. He reminds me a lot of former Steelers tight end Heath Miller; solid pass receiver, but not someone who's going to jump off the page. Rudolph should remain active in the redzone, but more talent in the backfield, and healthier passing game options, I think Rudolph falls back into the pack and sets up more as an uninspiring low-end TE1 option.

 Zach Ertz, PHI (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 252   DOB: 1990-12-10   Age: 27
College: Stanford   Draft: 2013 Round 2 (3) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014PHI1658 702 3 88.2 5.5
2015PHI1575 853 2 97.3 6.5
2016PHI1478 816 4 105.6 7.5
2017 (Projected)PHI 73 785 5 108.5  

Outlook: Ertz finished as the No. 10 fantasy tight end last season after posting a respectable 78/816/4 line, despite playing in just 14 games in 2016. Depending on which narrative you believe, the addition of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith could be a positive or a negative for Ertz. On one end, having viable receiving threats on the outside could open up the middle for Ertz and Matthews to exploit. While on the other side of the argument, the crowded reviving corps will take away targets and catches from Ertz, a player that has never caught more than four TDs in a season, relying heavily on volume and yardage to score fantasy points.

It remains to be seen which narrative will play out for the former Stanford Cardinal. One thing is for certain, if you do draft Ertz, be sure to play him in the final two weeks of the season, as he has been one of the most heavily targeted players in weeks 16 and 17 since joining the league in 2014.

 Jack Doyle, IND (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 253   DOB: 1990-05-05   Age: 28
College: Western Kentucky   Draft:
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014IND1018 118 2 23.8 2.4
2015IND712 72 1 13.2 1.9
2016IND1659 584 5 88.4 5.5
2017 (Projected)IND 58 613 5 91.3  

Outlook: For a team that uses its tight ends with as much success as the Colts, they haven't been able to produce a worthy top ten fantasy option for years. Last season, Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle combined to catch 94 passes, rack up 990 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. A year ago, it was Jack Doyle who emerged as the secondary tight end to squash any hope of Allen climbing the ranks following the departure of Coby Fleener. Although fantasy owners were left to deal with another tight end by committee in 2016, Doyle's emergence sparked two key off-season decisions that will have a large impact on the upcoming fantasy campaign. On March 7th, Indianapolis re-signed Doyle and the very next day traded Allen to the New England Patriots. The clear path to more targets point to Doyle becoming a worthy fantasy starter in most formats this season but don't forget the history of this offense. Sitting behind Doyle is a very athletic six-foot five-inch Erik Swoope. The Colts' backup tight end is of the "basketball player turned NFL tight end" mold and although he might not replace the overall production of Allen in 2016 he will likely eat into Doyle's red zone targets throughout the year.