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Regular Season, Updated: 9/7/2020

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Legend:   Upside = Upside   Risk = Risk   ADP = Average Draft Position
FF Today Standard Scoring: Review Scoring
 Travis Kelce, KC (Bye: 10)
1
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 260   DOB: 1989-10-05   Age: 31
College: Cincinnati   Draft: 2013 Round 3 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017KC1583 1,038 8 152.5 10.2
2018KC16103 1,336 10 193.6 12.1
2019KC1697 1,229 5 159.3 10.0
2020 (Projected)KC 92 1,155 7 157.5  

Outlook: We've seen some incredible season-long performances from players like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski but there's a real case to be made that no player has been a more consistent elite producer than Kansas City's Travis Kelce. Since he became the Chiefs' starter in 2014, Kelce has produced at least 67 catches for 862 yards in every season. Better yet, he's now exceeded 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. To put that into perspective, Gonzalez and Gronkowski have only reached 1,000 yards four times in their careers while Gates and Graham have reached that number just twice in their careers.

Needless to say, Kelce is the picture of consistent, high-level production at a position that is extraordinarily difficult to find top-level production from. Kelce isn't just out-pacing the competition, he's lapping them entirely in many cases, essentially doubling some other top-12 fantasy TEs in year-long production. Jason Witten, the fantasy TE12 in 2019, scored just 76.9 fantasy points on the season while Kelce more than doubled that at 159.3 fantasy points. Even players like Lamar Jackson, Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey don't provide that type of gap between themselves and other top options at their positions.

The tight end position is obviously one to be concerned about from a health standpoint as the physicality makes it one of the most-injured positions in sports. Kelce has been a picture of health, however, as he's started every game (except Week 17 of the 2017 season when the Chiefs rested their starters) since becoming the team's starting TE in 2014. There's always a potential for injury and Kelce will be 31 years old when the NFL season kicks off, but he's provided incredible durability - and high-end production - at a position that can be extremely difficult to find production at.

Many fantasy experts will caution against taking any tight end at Kelce's ADP, but he does provide an edge over practically every other tight end, perhaps with the exception of George Kittle, and he could be a league-winner. It might sound counter-intuitive given that fewer tight ends are drafted in smaller leagues, but 10 and eight-team leagues are often a good place to target players like Kelce as he will help optimize your starting lineup while you can address depth at RB and WR in later rounds.


 George Kittle, SF (Bye: 11)
2
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1993-10-09   Age: 27
College: Iowa   Draft: 2017 Round 5 (2) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017SF1543 515 2 63.5 4.2
2018SF1688 1,377 5 168.7 10.5
2019SF1485 1,053 5 137.5 9.8
2020 (Projected)SF 85 1,120 6 148.0  

Outlook: While the 49ers lack a true alpha WR1, they make up for it with one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the game. Yes, George Kittle - at age 26 - has already solidified himself as one of the all-time greats at the position. He's an elite run blocker, but fantasy owners have to be in love with a player who has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his past two seasons. To put that into perspective, both Tony Gonzalez and Rob Gronkowski only had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons once during their careers, while Antonio Gates had just two 1,000-yard seasons his entire career. With another high-volume season, Kittle could become the second tight end in history (Travis Kelce) to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season.

Kittle produced his 1,053 receiving yards in 2019 in just 14 starts, so his 16-game pace would've put him over 1,200 receiving yards. While his reception and yardage numbers are off the charts, Kittle has actually been unlucky in the touchdown department over the past two seasons, having scored just five times in each of the past two seasons. The 49ers were extraordinarily successful running the ball in the red zone as they finished with a league-leading 23 rushing touchdowns, but that type of success is extremely difficult to replicate. If the team sees a bit of a regression back toward the 15 to 20 rushing touchdown range, that would open things up quite a bit for Kittle to potentially get into the end zone more often. If he can bump that touchdown total up a bit, Kittle is suddenly producing WR1 numbers from the tight end position. That's potentially a league-winning player.

Of course, the fact that Kittle plays tight end is something that we have to keep in mind. While it does give him premium value given that most other tight ends aren't nearly as productive, the tight end position itself is also the most-injured position in all of fantasy football. Kittle himself missed a pair of games during the middle of the 2019 season and it's always possible that he suffers some sort of injury that prevents him from being his usual explosive self. The added risk of injury makes taking a tight end in the early rounds a risky proposition any year but Kittle is the type of player who could legitimately finish as the TE1 and give his fantasy owners a gigantic edge at the position.


 Zach Ertz, PHI (Bye: 9)
3
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 252   DOB: 1990-12-10   Age: 29
College: Stanford   Draft: 2013 Round 2 (3) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017PHI1474 824 8 130.4 9.3
2018PHI16116 1,163 8 164.3 10.3
2019PHI1588 916 6 127.6 8.5
2020 (Projected)PHI 81 855 7 127.5  

Outlook: After setting an NFL record for catches in a season to tight ends in 2018, Ertz was somewhat of a disappointment for owners last season based on where he was drafted. Ertz posted single-digit fantasy performances in seven of his first eight games, as teams opted to bracket cover him with the team dealing with injuries to wide receivers. Despite his fall off from the previous season, Ertz did end the season with the second-most catches in his career and six receiving touchdowns.

If DeSean Jackson can stay healthy and other Eagles wide receivers step up for the injured Alshon Jeffery, Ertz could once again see primarily linebacker and nickel back coverage, giving him the opportunity to thrive. You could also argue that Ertz and Dallas Goedert are the only two targets Wentz trusts at this time outside of Jackson, which could lead to a ton of targets and volume.

Another thing to consider is the quality of targets that Ertz received last season. His 19 red zone targets were tied with George Kittle and Mark Andrews for second at the tight end position, despite Ertz missing time with injuries. With Jeffery (the top red zone threat at the WR position for the team) out to start the year, Ertz could be in line for an uptick in touchdown production.


 Mark Andrews, BAL (Bye: 7)
4
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 256   DOB: 1995-09-06   Age: 25
College: Oklahoma   Draft: 2018 Round 3 (22) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018BAL1634 552 3 73.2 4.6
2019BAL1564 852 10 145.2 9.7
2020 (Projected)BAL 60 787 7 120.7  

Outlook: I clearly did not give the Baltimore coaching staff enough credit when evaluating this offense last year. While people were laughing at Jackson's struggles throwing the ball, and the team spending draft picks on the entire Oklahoma Sooner offense, the front office was quietly building a juggernaut. They identified the scheme they wanted to run, and went out and found players that fit it perfectly. Andrews was one of those guys. Strictly a "move" tight end for the Sooners, Andrews was the Raven's 3rd round pick in a 2018 draft that saw them pick another tight end, Hayden Hurst, in the 1st round.

While Andews had a solid rookie year, the presence of Hurst made it unlikely 2019's monster season could be possible. But it happened anyway! Andrews's 98 targets easily led the team, as did his 65 receptions, 852 yards, and 10 touchdowns. His skillset proved to be perfect for the offense. A big body who glides in and out of his routes, Andrews took advantage of the attention paid to Jackson's misdirection plays to gallop wide open down the field on many occasions. He was incredibly consistent on a low-volume pass offense, and his 10 touchdowns doubled almost all other players at the position in the top-5.

Unfortunately the Titans found the blueprint for stopping this offense, and that just happened to be stopping Andrews. It's logical to think that the health of Brown, and need to develop the young receivers will eat into Andrews' target share. But despite a slight regression in his numbers, Hurst was traded away in the offseason and Andrews is still the top option in this passing game, and an easy top-5 fantasy tight end.


 Darren Waller, LV (Bye: 6)
5
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 238   DOB: 1992-09-13   Age: 28
College: Georgia Tech   Draft: 2015 Round 6 (28) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018LV46 75 0 9.6 2.4
2019LV1690 1,145 3 133.0 8.3
2020 (Projected)LV 75 879 5 117.9  

Outlook: A lack of deep pass attempts certainly did benefit the Raiders wide receivers in 2019, but there's no question that it helped tight end Darren Waller. Waller broke out in a huge way, becoming one of fantasy football's most valued assets as he caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards. He was unlucky in that he scored just three touchdowns despite all those catches and yards, but he still finished as the No. 4 fantasy football tight end. He was one of the few true difference makers at the position and helped propel fantasy owners to championships by producing three 100-yard performances in his final five regular season games.

A relatively unknown player heading into 2019, Waller now finds himself being drafted among the top five players at the tight end position and many view him as sort of the break-off point from the "elite" tight ends to the players we have questions about. Certainly Waller himself is not without concern as he essentially broke out completely out of nowhere after three NFL seasons where he essentially did nothing and a less-than-spectacular collegiate resume. However, Waller is a rare athlete at the position at 6'6", 255 lbs with sub-4.5 forty speed. That type of player just does not come along very often and with his off-field issues appearing to be a thing of the past, there's a real chance that we might be looking at one of the best tight ends in the NFL today and a player who could help win fantasy championships again this season.

While he may regress slightly in total targets given the added weapons in the Raiders' offense, look for Waller to again lead the Raiders in targets, receptions and receiving yards again this season. A slight dip in targets and even yards could be offset, however, by added production in the touchdown column. He could double or even nearly triple his 2019 touchdown total here this season.


 Hayden Hurst, ATL (Bye: 10)
6
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 250   DOB: 1993-08-24   Age: 27
College: South Carolina   Draft: 2018 Round 1 (25) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018BAL1213 163 1 22.3 1.9
2019BAL1630 349 2 46.9 2.9
2020 (Projected)ATL 64 692 6 105.2  

Outlook: Hayden Hurst is another player who has seen an interesting start to his career. His interesting journey began even before he was drafted by the Ravens, as he tried his hand at a baseball career before football. When that did not work out, he played at South Carolina as an older player and succeeded. However, he was older than the players around him, so it is difficult to tell if his dominance in college will ever translate to the NFL level. He is also already almost 27 years old, entering his third season as a pro.

Although he was drafted in the first round by the Ravens, two rounds before Mark Andrews, it was Andrews who dominated the tight end targets. In 2019 Andrews saw 98 targets and was one of the top fantasy tight ends, while Hurst only saw 39. However, Hurst did produce nicely on those targets (30 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns).

The Ravens traded Hurst to the Falcons this offseason since Andrews is clearly their top tight end, and the Falcons are hoping Hurst can replace Austin Hooper in this offense. This seems like it should not be too difficult, since Hooper is not a special athlete or talent overall. He benefited from the scheme and from the skill players around him, often leading to him getting wide open. Hurst flashed enough in his time with the Ravens to suggest he can fill this same role effectively.

The main question mark has to do with how quickly he can learn the offense, and how quickly he can establish a rapport with Matt Ryan. The fact that he is older should actually help him as he adjusts and learns the playbook, but the lack of an offseason program might prevent him from getting off to a fast start. He is a risky pick where he is being taken right now (early 7th round, as the 8th tight end off the board). However, since Hooper was on pace for 120 targets, 92 receptions, and 968 yards last season, it might be a risk worth taking.


 Evan Engram, NYG (Bye: 11)
7
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 234   DOB: 1994-09-02   Age: 26
College: Mississippi   Draft: 2017 Round 1 (23) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017NYG1564 722 6 109.6 7.3
2018NYG1145 577 3 79.3 7.2
2019NYG844 467 3 65.4 8.2
2020 (Projected)NYG 57 641 5 94.1  

Outlook: Evan Engram officially has taken over the role left by Jordan Reed as the talented tight end everybody loves, but who cannot stay healthy.

The former first-round pick from Ole Miss managed to play in just half of the team's games in 2019, the third season in a row in which he has failed to play a full slate since entering the league in 2017.

The talent is there, but he cannot stay on the field. If you take him, you need to have other options in mind as an injury replacement.

On a positive note, Engram did lead the team in red zone targets despite playing in only eight games, which is a huge indication of the value he has near the end zone for quarterback Daniel Jones.


 Jared Cook, NO (Bye: 6)
8
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 248   DOB: 1987-04-07   Age: 33
College: South Carolina   Draft: 2009 Round 3 (25) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017LV1654 687 2 80.7 5.0
2018LV1668 896 6 125.6 7.9
2019NO1443 705 9 124.5 8.9
2020 (Projected)NO 50 628 5 92.8  

Outlook: Cook is another 33-year-old with a long and successful career under his belt. He entered the league as a physical freak, with incredible speed, power, and quickness. That profile has been accurate, as he has been difficult to stop wherever he's been. Many thought his career was over a few years ago; in 2016 with the Packers, he only had 30 receptions and struggled to stay healthy. But he saw a resurgence with the Raiders, notching 101 receptions in 2018.

2019 was his first year with the Saints, and they struggled to involve him in the passing game. Much of that has to do with the fact that the Saints have several better options. But despite only 65 targets, Cook produced nicely - finishing with 43 receptions for 705 yards and 9 touchdowns. That equated to a 16.4 yards-per-reception mark, a ludicrous number for a tight end. When he did catch the ball, he often was catching a long touchdown or was wide open and could show off his still-intact speed.

Cook figures to get even fewer targets this season with Sanders in town, and it is likely his touchdown percentage will regress. This makes Cook a very risky fantasy option in 2020 leagues. The upside is clearly there, but because he has to score often to reach that upside, it is best to avoid Cook unless he falls into the later rounds.


 Tyler Higbee, LAR (Bye: 9)
9
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 249   DOB: 1993-01-01   Age: 27
College: Western Kentucky   Draft: 2016 Round 4 (12) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017LAR1425 295 1 35.5 2.5
2018LAR1624 292 2 41.2 2.6
2019LAR1569 734 3 91.4 6.1
2020 (Projected)LAR 60 635 5 93.5  

Outlook: If you're looking for a player who came out of nowhere and became a league winner down the stretch at the tight end position in 2019, look no further than the Rams' Tyler Higbee. Typically considered the second-best fantasy TE on his own team over the previous few seasons, Higbee absolutely exploded once teammate Gerald Everett went down with an injury. Higbee hadn't gone over 50 yards in a single game since Week 11 in 2018, but ended up rattling off four straight 100-yard games capped off by an 84-yard game over the Rams' final five contests.

Needless to say, fantasy owners of Higbee's late season heroics and he's now being drafted inside the top 10 at the tight end position for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Everett is still going undrafted in almost all formats, as he's outside the top 25 fantasy TEs on most ADP data.

There's certainly a possibility that Higbee again ascends into fantasy dominance if the right set of circumstances arrive, but it's worth considering that Everett out-produced Higbee in 2018 and 2019 prior to getting injured. Perhaps the Rams just didn't know what they had in Higbee, but it seems more likely that his production is a small sample size trap that will lead to disappointed fantasy owners here in 2020.


 Rob Gronkowski, TB (Bye: 13)
10
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 265   DOB: 1989-05-14   Age: 31
College: Arizona   Draft: 2010 Round 2 (10) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017NE1369 1,083 8 156.3 12.0
2018NE1347 682 3 86.2 6.6
2020 (Projected)TB 44 587 6 94.7  

Outlook: Rob Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season, after the worst season of his career statistically. He played in 13 games and only received 72 targets, putting up 47 receptions for 682 yards and 3 touchdowns. Is that who Rob Gronkowski is now, or was that an aberration?

During his heyday from 2011 through 2015, he scored 55 touchdowns in five seasons, and put up over 1,000 yards in three of those seasons. In the other two, he only played in 7 and 11 games. As recently as 2017, the season before his last, he received 105 targets and had 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns. And that was in just 14 games. If he can return even to that level, he will be a top-five tight end for fantasy this season.

Whether he can do that remains to be seen. We just don't know if he has lost a step, and we just don't know to what degree his decline was related to his unhappiness in New England. If he is again having fun and motivated to succeed, it is entirely possible he has a return to statistical dominance.

So much of projecting Gronkowski is tied to his injury history. He has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but injuries are still difficult to predict with any certainty. An argument can be made that he is worth the risk as a 7th-round pick, which is where he currently sits in ADP (average draft position). However, with so many upside players available at tight end, some may decide he carries too much risk even at that draft slot. I prefer to take a pass on Gronk's ADP and look for better value options later in the draft.


 Chris Herndon, NYJ (Bye: 10)
11
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 245   DOB: 1996-02-23   Age: 24
College: Miami   Draft: 2018 Round 4 (7) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018NYJ1639 502 4 74.2 4.6
2019NYJ11 7 0 0.7 0.7
2020 (Projected)NYJ 55 649 5 94.9  

Outlook: Injuries and a suspension for off-field issues limited Herndon to just one game in 2019. After an impressive rookie campaign in 2018, Herndon was a favorite sleeper candidate in the fantasy community, only to end up a complete disappointment on and off the field.

Could Herndon be a post-hype sleeper in 2020? It is certainly possible, with the Jets losing two starting wide receivers and replacing them with a rookie in Denzel Mims and a journeyman bust in Breshad Perriman. There are targets to be had in this offense, and Herndon is a big-bodied receiver who looked to be a budding star back in 2018.

Due to the fact that we don't know a ton about how well he stayed in shape during his suspension and the inability for him to work out with Darnold this offseason due to COVID-19, Herndon may be a stretch to rely on as your starting tight end in the draft. But he should garner No.2 tight end consideration in deep leagues where owners typically take two tight ends.


 Noah Fant, DEN (Bye: 5)
12
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 249   DOB: 1996-00-00   Age: 24
College: Iowa   Draft: 2019 Round 1 (20) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2019DEN1640 562 3 73.0 4.6
2020 (Projected)DEN 50 636 5 93.6