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Regular Season, Updated: 9/6/2021

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Legend:   Upside = Upside   Risk = Risk   ADP = Average Draft Position
FF Today Standard Scoring: Review Scoring
 Travis Kelce, KC (Bye: 12)
1
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 260   DOB: 1989-10-05   Age: 31
College: Cincinnati   Draft: 2013 Round 3 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018KC16103 1,336 10 193.6 12.1
2019KC1697 1,229 5 159.3 10.0
2020KC15105 1,416 11 207.6 13.8
2021 (Projected)KC 95 1,220 8 170.0  

Outlook: What can be said for Travis Kelce that hasn't already been said?

Kelce is coming off of a season in which he retook the NFL tight end receiving yardage record that he once held. His 1,416 yards were incredible and he also reached 105 receptions - fifth-most for a single season among tight ends in league history. His dominance is unquestioned at this point and his season-ending stat lines are rivaled only by a healthy Rob Gronkowski. Meanwhile, health hasn't been a concern for Kelce who has now played every game for the Chiefs in seven straight seasons, with the only exceptions being Week 17 games when the Chiefs have sat their offensive starters.

Kelce's remarkable 2020 campaign saw him outscore the No.2 TE, Darren Waller, by 34 standard points and the No.3 TE, Robert Tonyan, by 83 points. To put that into perspective, he would've been the WR3 if you eliminated the tight end position and just called him a wide receiver. The fact that he plays a position as shallow and frustrating to predict as tight end makes him a borderline cheat code for fantasy purposes.

Kelce has been the TE1 for three straight seasons and has been in the top two for five straight seasons. He's exceeded 850 receiving yards in seven straight seasons, which appears even more impressive when you consider that only Kelce himself and Darren Waller were the only tight ends to reach even 725 receiving yards in 2020.

The question at this point isn't whether or not Kelce is the TE1, but rather how far he is ahead of the rest of the pack. Darren Waller looks like a strong bet again this year and George Kittle will be back this season, but beyond that there really isn't anyone who has a realistic shot of dethroning Kelce unless he suffers an injury.

The advantage that Kelce provides at tight end is unlike anything else at any other position in fantasy football and that's why he's going to go in the first round in many, if not most fantasy drafts this season. His incredible consistency, durability and combination of high floor / high upside make him one of the most valuable players in all of fantasy football.


 Darren Waller, LV (Bye: 8)
2
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 238   DOB: 1992-09-13   Age: 29
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
2020LV16107 1,196 9 173.6 10.9
2021 (Projected)LV 103 1,217 7 163.7  

Outlook: Raiders tight end Darren Waller proved that his 2019 breakout wasn't a fluke by putting together one of the truly great fantasy tight end seasons of all-time in 2020. His 1,196 yards receiving was 13th-most in the history of the position and his 280.6 standard scoring fantasy point total in 2020 made him the second-highest scorer at the position on the year, behind only Travis Kelce's record-breaking performance.

Waller's 2020 season might actually be going underappreciated in fantasy, because it's easy to compare him to Kelce, but he outscored the next-highest-scoring tight end, Robert Tonyan, by a ridiculous 104 fantasy points. In fact, Waller's 2020 season would've been the highest-scoring fantasy tight end season in 2019, the second-highest-scoring in 2018, and the highest scoring in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014. You'd have to go back all the way to 2011 before there was a season where more than two tight ends outscored Waller's 2020 totals, and even then Waller would've been third-best by only 16 fantasy points on the year, and he would've outscored the next-best player at the position by over 70 points.

With the Raiders losing their top wide receiver, Nelson Agholor, in free agency, there are now more questions than perhaps ever before at the position. This only furthers the likelihood that Derek Carr will look to make Waller the focal point of their passing game.

Waller is one of only two tight ends (alongside George Kittle) who has a realistic chance to supplant Travis Kelce as the top-scoring tight end this season. His price might sound steep as an early-to-mid-third round pick in fantasy drafts, but when you consider that you're getting truly difference-making production at a position that lacks depth as a whole, Waller could again be a big value in fantasy drafts if he's able to replicate - or even come close to replicating his 2020 season here in 2021.


 George Kittle, SF (Bye: 6)
3
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1993-10-09   Age: 27
College: Iowa   Draft: 2017 Round 5 (2) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018SF1688 1,377 5 168.7 10.5
2019SF1485 1,053 5 137.5 9.8
2020SF848 634 2 77.1 9.6
2021 (Projected)SF 89 1,099 6 145.9  

Outlook: It was a frustrating 2020 season for superstar tight end George Kittle who suffered multiple injuries that ended up keeping him out for a total of eight games, but what we saw from him should give fantasy owners plenty of confidence in targeting him as an elite tight end once again in 2021.

Kittle was targeted 63 times in his eight games, which equates to an average of nearly eight targets per game. Only Kansas City's Travis Kelce and Las Vegas' Darren Waller saw more targets per game than Kittle. Perhaps more importantly, Kittle contributed 634 yards, which put him ninth at the position despite the fact that he played only half the season. If we extrapolate his numbers out to a 16-game season, Kittle would've finished with 1,268 receiving yards. That would've been good enough to be seventh-most in a single season for a tight end in NFL history. Keep in mind that he did this despite spraining his knee in Week 2 and then fracturing his foot in Week 8.

It would've been completely reasonable for him to never get back on the field given the foot injury and the overall team situation, but Kittle proved his commitment when he re-joined the then five-win 49ers in Week 16, helping lead them to a road win over the division rival Cardinals. Kittle would produce 11 catches for 160 total yards in his final two games of the season. There's absolutely no denying his grit and will to play, which is something that cannot be overlooked despite the fact that he is coming off of a season in which he suffered multiple lower-body injuries.

Kittle himself set the all-time record for single season receiving yards back in 2018 when he went off for 1,377 yards, but his record was actually broken this past season by Kelce. It'll be tough for him to compete for that record now that San Francisco has two other proven viable pass catching weapons in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but Kittle is still absolutely an elite tight end. He's one of only three TEs who has the realistic potential to finish as the top performer at the position this season. He's going off draft boards nearly a round and a half later than Kelce who is admittedly a safer option, but the cost difference is also substantial despite both players being premium options at the position.

If there's one thing that is a bit concerning for Kittle, it could be that the 49ers might eventually turn to rookie Trey Lance at quarterback, which would almost certainly mean an even more run-heavy offense than the one they already utilize. Then again, while the, "young quarterbacks throw to their tight ends" narrative has been largely disproven over time, Kittle is also an extreme exception to just about every rule for tight ends, so there's a pretty good chance that he's still going to perform as an elite pass catcher no matter who's behind center in San Francisco.


 Mark Andrews, BAL (Bye: 8)
4
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 256   DOB: 1995-09-06   Age: 26
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
2020BAL1458 701 7 112.1 8.0
2021 (Projected)BAL 66 816 7 123.6  

Outlook: The Ravens have rightly realized that a passing game of Mark Andrews and a pile of dust are no way to win in the playoffs, hence the overhaul of the receivers this spring. It's not a surprise as this pass offense took a BIG step back last year. It was always going to be near impossible for Andrews to match his dominant 2019 season, but it's fair to say last season was a letdown. Defenses were able to single up the outside receivers and box Andrews in with double teams. Touchdowns were sporadic, and there were way too many 3 receptions for 22 yards type lines last season. The fact he finished as the TE4 last year in standard leagues says everything about how gloomy the position was. I know it sounds like I'm down on the 4th year pro, but it's the exact opposite. I see a huge rebound in the yardage department, and he still will be the first option in the passing game. With other receivers worth paying attention to, Andrews should have much more room to roam the seams on play-action passes. With 20 touchdowns already in his career, Andrews is a good bet to push for double digit touchdowns once again. With improved consistency, ink in Andrews for another top-4 finish.


 Kyle Pitts, ATL (Bye: 6)
5
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 240   DOB: 2000-10-06   Age: 20
College: Florida   Draft: 2021 Round 1 (4) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2021 (Projected)ATL 65 807 6 116.7  

Outlook: A rare combination of size, speed, athleticism, and crazy ball skills, Pitts is already drawing comparisons to Calvin Johnson, and that makes sense. At 6'6", 245, he looks more like a big receiver than a tight end, and he will create matchup nightmares at every level of the defense. His athleticism will allow him to work from all parts of the field, and he will be a lethal threat in the red zone with the size to shield defenders and the hands to snatch the ball away from his body. When he, Ridley, and Gage are on the field together, it's going to create major problems for defensive coordinators. You'll draft him as a TE, but he's going to produce like a WR1.


 Tyler Higbee, LAR (Bye: 11)
6
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 249   DOB: 1993-01-01   Age: 28
College: Western Kentucky   Draft: 2016 Round 4 (12) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018LAR1624 292 2 41.2 2.6
2019LAR1569 734 3 91.4 6.1
2020LAR1544 521 5 82.2 5.5
2021 (Projected)LAR 65 757 6 111.7  

Outlook: Tyler Higbee was one of the hot fantasy football tight ends heading into drafts in 2020, but a lot of that came from extrapolation of the stats he compiled near the end of 2019. That alone is a dangerous game to play, but the skepticism should've been compounded when it was considered that Higbee provided those numbers when the Rams were without his tight end counterpart Gerald Everett. Everett and Higbee have long been looked at as one of the league's best duos at the position, but neither player was a consistent fantasy asset because the Rams have relied so heavily on three-WR personnel, which has meant that only one of their tight ends could be on the field. Therefore, they cannibalized one another's opportunities despite the two of them combining for what would otherwise be usable fantasy performances.

Not surprisingly, Higbee was a huge bust in 2020 for those who invested in him as their TE1 for fantasy. He finished with just 44 receptions for 521 yards and despite a career high of five touchdowns, fantasy owners were left with the TE17 on the year.

Looking ahead to 2021, Higbee is now being drafted far outside the TE1 range, but the situation has completely changed. The Rams actually moved on from Gerald Everett and did not bring in any sort of additional competition at tight end. This should signify that Higbee is now the team's locked in TE1, giving him the lion's share of the snaps at the position. Certainly it should be noted that the Rams did sign WR DeSean Jackson and drafted WR Tutu Atwell, so there might be more target competition as a whole, but when it comes to specific competition at the tight end position, there really isn't anything stopping Higbee.

For conversation sake, if we were to add Higbee and Everett's stats together from the 2020 season, we would've seen that super-player contribute 85 catches for 938 yards and six touchdowns. To put that into perspective, only two tight ends (Darren Waller and Travis Kelce) caught more than 72 passes in 2020. Only those same two tight ends went over 723 yards, and only eight tight ends caught more than six touchdown passes.

Certainly we can't just add Higbee and Everett's numbers together and say that this is what we'll get in 2021, but Higbee looks like a player who's being vastly undervalued right now and a lot of that is stemming from the disappointing 2020 season he provided for those who didn't pay attention to the Everett situation. He's going so late in fantasy drafts that he costs practically nothing to acquire, but Higbee looks like a potential top six option at the position if he can stay healthy.


 T.J. Hockenson, DET (Bye: 9)
7
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 251   DOB: 1997-07-03   Age: 24
College: Iowa   Draft: 2019 Round 1 (8) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2019DET1232 367 2 48.7 4.1
2020DET1667 723 6 108.3 6.8
2021 (Projected)DET 72 787 5 108.7  

Outlook: Hockenson made a huge leap in his 2nd season, finishing 2nd on the Lions in targets (101), receptions (67) and yardage (723), and figures to improve upon those numbers in 2021 with the loss of Detroit's top two receivers. While Williams and Perriman are better suited as situational deep threats, Hockenson figures to soak up the short and intermediate targets, an area of greater strength for Jared Goff. On an offense that figures to be run-heavy, and mediocre at the same time, the cap on Hock's scoring potential is the only thing keeping him from joining the truly elite fantasy tight ends. He should certainly thrive in PPR leagues as he's my bet to lead the team in targets and receptions. Outside Kelce, Kittle, and Waller, the tight end position is as fickle as the weather, so Hockenson has as good of a chance as any to find a home in the top-8.


 Robert Tonyan, GB (Bye: 13)
8
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 237   DOB: 1994-04-30   Age: 27
College: Indiana State   Draft:
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018GB164 77 1 13.7 0.9
2019GB1110 100 1 16.0 1.5
2020GB1652 586 11 124.6 7.8
2021 (Projected)GB 63 675 6 103.5  

Outlook: A free agent gem on most fantasy leagues last year, Tonyan came out of nowhere to not only become the Packer's No.2 receiver, but piled up career highs in targets (59), receptions (52), yards (586) and touchdowns (11). The undrafted free agent from Indiana State, Tonyan enters his 4th season in the NFL with sky high expectations. Tonyan had a clear connection with Rodgers, as he was the only tight end in the NFL in top 10 in catch percentage, snagging a silly 88% of the balls thrown his way. He may have entered 2020 nameless and well off the radar, but should be an easy pick in the top-10 at his position this year.


 Logan Thomas, WAS (Bye: 9)
9
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 248   DOB: 1991-07-01   Age: 30
College: Virginia Tech   Draft: 2014 Round 4 (20) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018BUF1212 77 0 7.7 0.6
2019DET1616 173 1 23.3 1.5
2020WAS1672 670 6 103.5 6.5
2021 (Projected)WAS 70 695 5 99.5  

Outlook: It may surprise some fantasy owners to learn that Thomas posted the third-most targets for tight ends in 2020, trailing only Darren Waller and Travis Kelce. The converted quarterback caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six scores after building an excellent rapport with Alex Smith, a QB well known to target tight ends and running backs in the passing game.

Thomas enters 2021 as the starter at TE, but his tight-end friendly quarterback retired and has been replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, a QB who has a history of preferring wide receivers over tight ends.

Although we do think he will take a bit of a step back this season, Thomas is squarely in the mix for late-round tight ends to target for those owners who pass on the top 5 at the position.


 Mike Gesicki, MIA (Bye: 14)
10
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1995-10-03   Age: 25
College: Penn State   Draft: 2018 Round 2 (10) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018MIA1622 202 0 20.2 1.3
2019MIA1651 570 5 87.0 5.4
2020MIA1553 703 6 106.3 7.1
2021 (Projected)MIA 51 617 5 91.7  

Outlook: Gesicki posted career-highs across the board in 2020, including receptions, yards, and touchdowns, in route to a top-8 finish in fantasy points per game.

While finishing eighth at any position sounds impressive, most people who owned Gesicki last year would likely say they were not very happy with his production. Ten of Gesicki's performances resulted in fewer than ten fantasy points, and the former Penn State star went eight -straight games without a touchdown.

As we head into 2021, Gesicki has more competition for targets in the passing offense with the addition of veteran WR Will Fuller and the first-round selection of WR Jaylen Waddle.

We still have Gesicki ranked as a top-10 tight end, and he will likely finish as a TE1 again in 2021. However, he could see a reduction in targets, and he will continue to be inconsistent as the No. 3 or No.4 receiving option for Tua.


 Rob Gronkowski, TB (Bye: 9)
11
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 265   DOB: 1989-05-14   Age: 32
College: Arizona   Draft: 2010 Round 2 (10) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018NE1347 682 3 86.2 6.6
2020TB1645 623 7 104.3 6.5
2021 (Projected)TB 44 573 5 87.3  

Outlook: At 32 years old, Gronk isn't getting any younger, and he looked it at times in 2020 despite finishing 7th in our TE rankings with 6.5 fantasy points per game. That came mostly on the strength of his presence as a red zone threat (7 TD in regular season). The season was also significant in that Gronkowski played every game for the first time since 2011. Gronk is still Tom Brady's guy, and games like the Super Bowl (6 catches on 7 targets for 67 yards and 2 TD's) are always within the realm of possibility, especially as Brady takes more and more control of the offensive play-calling, making Gronkowski a legitimate borderline consideration as a TE1.


 Noah Fant, DEN (Bye: 11)
12
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 249   DOB: 1996-00-00   Age: 25
College: Iowa   Draft: 2019 Round 1 (20) 
SeasonTeamGameRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2019DEN1640 562 3 73.0 4.6
2020DEN1562 673 3 85.3 5.7
2021 (Projected)DEN 59 655 4 89.5  

Outlook: 2020 was a fairly disappointing and ultimately mediocre fantasy season for third-year tight end Noah Fant, who finished the season as the 15th-highest scoring tight end in standard scoring formats. Fant had plenty of hype from those who opted to wait on tight ends in their fantasy drafts, but he failed to live up to expectations and ended up with just three touchdowns on the year.

On a positive note, Fant did fly a bit under the radar as he finished seventh among tight ends in total receptions and he was also one of the league leaders at the position in yards after the catch. This information contributes some factual information to the idea that Fant might just not be getting utilized well enough in the Denver offense.

While he hasn't yet put it together for a full season, we have seen moments of greatness. He's a lightning bolt at the position and he can be a nightmare matchup for the less athletic defenses throughout the league.

Unfortunately, in an offense as loaded with pass catchers as Denver's is, there's also a pretty good chance that Fant doesn't see enough targets to really break out. He's typically being drafted in the second half of starting tight ends during drafts, which is probably closer to his ceiling than those who've drafted him would like to admit. There are quite a few other tight ends going near him in drafts that provide a higher floor plus ceiling combination than Fant does in 2020, so it's probably best to look elsewhere unless he slips outside the top 10 tight ends in your draft.