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Here is my PPR Top 26 for PPR. Also published on my free blog fantasyisntfun.com. Share yours!

 

1. Travis Kelce, KC
2017 Projection: 86 receptions / 1152 yards / 7 touchdowns (243 points)
Outlook: Kelce hasn't missed a game since his rookie year and is Alex Smith's #1 target. Far and away the best player on this offense, Kelce will be targetted all over the field, early and often. A lock for Top 3 production at a pretty volatile position, Kelce is firmly in his prime and the centerpiece of the offense. Draft with confidence at #1.

 

2. Rob Gronkowski, NE
2017 Projection: 72 receptions / 1008 yards / 10 touchdowns (232 points)
Outlook: The guard is changing at tight end as Gronkowski is another year older and even less durable. He hasn't played a full season's worth of games since 2011. With many mouths to feed in the New England offense, it's still clear that Gronkowski will get his. I just think he will miss at least one game, and with a just-as-talented and more durable option in Travis Kelce available, I think it's risky to take Kelce behind Gronk. Still one of the best tight ends in league history, but he will be banged up and disappear some weeks.

 

3. Jimmy Graham, SEA
2017 Projection: 71 receptions / 979 yards / 6 touchdowns (204 points)
Outlook: Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson seem to finally have it all together. Last year represented Graham's best season in a Seattle uniform, and the offense has shifted a little bit to feature him more at the expense of a running game that has all but disappeared since the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. Graham returns to Seattle another year removed from his devastating patella tendon tear, and in an offense built for him. He has a lot of opportunity to terrorize his divisional opponents, and I believe he continues his dominance at the position this year in a Seattle offense that will need him badly.

 

4. Greg Olsen, CAR
2017 Projection: 75 receptions / 975 yards / 5 touchdowns (202 points)
Outlook: Greg Olsen has been one of the best tight ends in the game for almost a decade now, and it's because he does it all: blocking, receiving, and making plays. Cam's favorite target, Olsen is aiming for a fourth-straight 1,000 yard season and a new contract on top of that. While I don't think he quite makes it there with the influx of youth on the Carolina offense, a Top 5 finish at the position is guaranteed for Olsen barring any serious injury.

 

5. Kyle Rudolph, MIN
2017 Projection: 78 receptions / 780 yards / 6 touchdowns (192 points)
Outlook: 2016 was the year for Kyle Rudolph: the young tight end seemingly put it all together and flashed the promise that the Vikings were hoping to see when they selected him in the first round a few years back. A perfect fit for the conservative Sam Bradford, Rudolph was a big time red zone threat last year en route to a year that may go down as his best as far as statistics go. Never a big threat for YAC, Rudolph makes his money on short conversions and in the red zone. He will be trusted again in this role and I believe the rapport with Bradford is real. A great option that you can find later in the draft.

 

6. Jordan Reed, WSH
2017 Projection: 66 receptions / 726 yards / 8 touchdowns (188 points)
Outlook: There isn't a more athletic tight end in the NFL than Jordan Reed. If health was guaranteed in this game, he would be the #1 overall tight end each year without question. Unfortunately, he never plays a full season, and those injury concerns are built into this projection. If he plays every game, he will threaten for Top 3 production at the position. It's just that he won't. Still a good option, but be sure to back him up with someone reliable if you end up with Reed.

 

7. Jack Doyle, IND
2017 Projection: 70 receptions / 714 yards / 7 touchdowns (183 points)
Outlook: Jack Doyle came out of nowhere in 2016 to become a pretty reliable target for Andrew Luck. It seems as if the trust was built more and more each week, and their season culminated in the release of longtime tight end Dwayne Allen. Doyle returns as the #1 option at tight end on an offense that loves throwing the football. Luck has always loved his starting tight end, so the targets will be there for Doyle. The unquestioned #1 and no longer in a time share, Doyle will produce and could be the bargain tight end of the year. His ADP is currently pretty low, and he is a somewhat proven player. I expect him to be a great piece on many fantasy teams this year.

 

8. Eric Ebron, DET
2017 Projection: 68 receptions / 816 yards / 5 touchdowns (179 points)
Outlook: We've been waiting for Eric Ebron to break out for years now. I think this is the year. Anquan Boldin's departure frees up a lot of red zone targets, and Ebron is entering his fourth year in the league. It's so hard to make the transition from college to the pros at the tight end position, but the light usually comes on in this year. Still only 23, I project Ebron to finally cement himself as a top tight end in the game and begin to dominate in the red zone. This touchdown projection could be a little too low.

 

9. Delanie Walker, TEN
2017 Projection: 68 receptions / 782 yards / 5 touchdowns (176 points)
Outlook: One of the most reliable tight ends of this generation, Walker returns to an offense he seemed to own for the last two years. Unfortunately, Tennessee has brought in a ton of offensive talent this offseason, and Walker stands to suffer the most from Eric Decker's arrival in Nashville. Still the surest pair of hands that Marcus Mariota has, I don't expect Walker to fall off completely, but I don't expect him to have as great of a year as he had last year. He's still a low-end TE1.

 

10. Tyler Eifert, CIN
2017 Projection: 56 receptions / 728 yards / 8 touchdowns (176 points)
Outlook: Coming off of a career best year in 2015, Eifert struggled with injury and inconsistency in 2016 and tumbled down the tight end ranks as a result. The offense introduces many young playmakers in 2016, and Eifert stands to lose some targets as a result. A beast in the red zone, Eifert will still get his, but will struggle for consistency. A great targetted play against teams weak against the tight end for sure, but he will bite you some weeks as well.

 

11. Zach Ertz, PHI
2017 Projection: 72 receptions / 777 yards / 4 touchdowns (173 points)
Outlook: Much like Eric Ebron, it seems like we have been waiting forever for the Ertz breakout. I don't think it's as likely as Ebron, but I do expect Ertz to be a significant weapon. A player who usually comes on at the end of the year, Ertz has demonstrated clear rapport with Carson Wentz. However, in an offense full of weapons, I don't expect the consistency to quite be there. He's a great player in a loaded offense, which is hard to bank on when the quarterback situation isn't elite. Right now in Philadelphia, it isn't.

 

12. Martellus Bennett, GB
2017 Projection: 61 receptions / 732 yards / 6 touchdowns (170 points)
Outlook: The tight end position always seems like it should be awesome in Green Bay. However, it rarely is. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers add their best weapon at the position since Jermichael Finley (remember him?) in Martellus Bennett. A capable blocker and receiving threat, the Packers upgraded to Bennett from Jared Cook in the offseason. I don't really expect the tight end role to be too huge this year in Green Bay, but much like Jared Cook last year, Bennett will get his. I think his name will cause him to be a bit overdrafted, but Bennett will be a solid TE2 if you find that he fell to you at a comfortable round.

 

13. Hunter Henry, LAC
2017 Projection: 56 receptions / 705 yards / 7 touchdowns (168 points)
Outlook: Hunter Henry really looked good at tight end last year for Los Angeles. The problem, if you want to call it that, is the presence of Antonio Gates. Henry still made some noise with his opportunities though, and flashed playmaking ability similar to the Antonio Gates of years past. He will still be in a time share at the position, however I feel as if Henry will seize the larger piece of the share and take the next step in his development this year. Gates will break the record for tight end receiving touchdowns this year, but after that, I can see Henry taking over the majority of the passing down snaps. He is a great weapon for this team.

 

14. Jason Witten, DAL
2017 Projection: 65 receptions / 617 yards / 4 touchdowns (150 points)
Outlook: Jason Witten went from being Tony Romo's famous security blanket, to becoming the exact same thing for rookie Dak Prescott in 2016. Firmly in the twilight of his career, Witten is no longer a downfield threat at tight end, but still offers reliable hands on short-yardage downs. He will grab a few scores, but the upside on Witten is clearly limited. Let someone else draft him on name value.

 

15. Zach Miller, CHI
2017 Projection: 51 receptions / 550 yards / 7 touchdowns (148 points)
Outlook: A weapon inside the red zone and nowhere else, Miller is attempting to come back from a season-ending foot injury. As injury prone as any player in the league, he must now compete for his job with second-round raw rookie Adam Shaheen. I think Miller wins and becomes a red zone threat for the yougn quarterbacks on Chicago's roster, however I don't think he is consistent or trustworthy in any sense this year.

 

16. Coby Fleener, NO
2017 Projection: 52 receptions / 676 yards / 4 touchdowns (143 points)
Outlook: Coby Fleener is not a smart football player. He is inconsistent, has bad hands, and just isn't a very good player. However, he is in one of the best offenses for tight ends in New Orleans, which means automatic production some weeks. I would not rely on him in any sense. Josh Hill is a better player and will factor in to the tight end position in New Orleans. I'd avoid this situation for fantasy purposes. Fleener has tantalizing size and upside, but I just don't think he can put it all together.

 

17. Julius Thomas, MIA
2017 Projection: 43 receptions / 516 yards / 8 touchdowns (142 points)
Outlook: Julius Thomas isn't a player with much heart. It doesn't seem as if he likes the game much. However, he is back with old friend Adam Gase, who figures to use him a lot in the red zone. Outside of that area, I don't feel like Thomas will have much value outside of the red zone. I'd avoid for fantasy purposes.

 

18. C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU
2017 Projection: 57 receptions / 604 yards / 4 touchdowns (141 points)
Outlook: Fiedorowicz was useful at a lot of times last year, as Brock Osweiler made plenty of use out of him in the early to middle parts of the season. The offense turns to Tom Savage this year, which I think destroys his value. I think Deshaun Watson will make some use out of him, as he actually is a good tight end, however I don't expect much from the Houston passing attack until Savage hits the bench.

 

19. Cameron Brate, TB
2017 Projection: 52 receptions / 546 yards / 4 touchdowns (130 points)
Outlook: I actually love Cameron Brate as a player. The Bucs, apparently, aren't as high on him as I am. They drafted OJ Howard in the first round this year, the top tight end in the class. Brate and Jameis Winston have obvious rapport, especially in the red zone, and I think there is a chance that both Brate and Howard figure into the offense as the year goes on. I just don't think Brate will be as trusty as he was last year. He's a better blocker than Howard, but that isn't saying much. I expect his production to fall from 2016.

 

20. Antonio Gates, LAC
2017 Projection: 45 receptions / 441 yards / 6 touchdowns (125 points)
Outlook: Antonio Gates, one of the three best tight ends to ever do it, is near the end. This year, he will break the record for receiving touchdowns by a tight end, tack on a few more, and that will be it. I expect Hunter Henry to be the tight end to own in Los Angeles, but after that, I expect Gates to chip in a few receptions per game. He doesn't exist outside of the red zone and for that reason, he is impossible to rely on. Thank you, Antonio.

 

21. Jesse James, PIT
2017 Projection: 45 receptions / 450 yards / 5 touchdowns (120 points)
Outlook: The Steelers admitted their mistake by releasing Ladarius Green earlier this offseason, leaving Jesse James as the de facto #1 tight end on the Pittsburgh depth chart. However, Xavier Grimble poses a threat as he had a few flashes last season. In an offense that loves to throw, I expect James to be a reliable piece of it, and chip in with his fair share of chain-moving receptions and red zone scores. I just don't think there is enough production there to warrant consistent fantasy consideration.

 

22. Jared Cook, OAK
2017 Projection: 42 receptions / 504 yards / 5 touchdowns (122 points)
Outlook: The Oakland offense has never really made much use out of the tight end. They have had athletes at the position before, but the consistency is rarely there. A distant 4th in line for opportunities in this offense, Cook has never been the picture of consistency. He will have a big game or two this season, and everything else, as always, will leave much to be desired. Avoid Jared Cook's name and game on draft day.

 

23. Charles Clay, BUF
2017 Projection: 50 receptions / 500 yards / 3 touchdowns (118 points)
Outlook: There isn't a more overpaid player in the league than Charles Clay. He makes too much and simply is not an effective player. Combine that with a quarterback who doesn't like throwing to tight ends, and you get a horrible fantasy situation. Avoid Charles Clay. I'm talking to you, Bills fans.

 

24. Austin Hooper, ATL
2017 Projection: 35 receptions / 490 yards / 5 touchdowns (114 points)
Outlook: An ascending player who isn't quite there yet, Hooper is a great dynasty hold and a dart-throw daily fantasy proposition. As far as season-long goes, he's going to struggle for consistency in an Atlanta offense full of weapons. He will be good soon, just not this soon.

 

25. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ
2017 Projection: 34 receptions / 510 yards / 4 touchdowns (109 points)
Outlook: ASJ is a good player. He's cleaned up his act and has all of the opportunity in the world. Unfortunately, he's the starting tight end for the Jets. With bad quarterbacks aplenty filling out the Jets roster, ASJ will struggle hard. However, he will have his own share of bright spots as well. A good building block for a Jets team low on playmakers.

 

26. O.J. Howard, TB
2017 Projection: 28 receptions / 476 yards / 3 touchdowns (93 points)
Outlook: The first-drafted tight end in this year's NFL draft, Howard lands in a situation where he has all of the opportunity in the world. Unfortunately, he enters an offense where there are a ton of weapons and plays at a position where the transition to the NFL is the toughest. With incumbent Cameron Brate still in the fold, I expect Howard to be brought along slowly. Too slowly for fantasy purposes.

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As 2014 taught us, historically deep draft classes can produce some surprising results.  No new TE is going to impact anyone's year like OBJ, but the precedent that the WRs set in 2014 suggests we keep our eyes and ears more open to TE surprises this season.

 

As an example, here's one in the making:

 

http://draftwire.usatoday.com/2017/06/14/49ers-rookie-te-george-kittle-making-instant-impact-at-minicamp/

 

Lots of teams have a potent "move" TE now.  There are more glorified big body WRs masquerading as TEs as ever before.  In the right scheme against the right (vulnerable) D, these mismatch threats can make their presence felt instantly.

 

Count me among those who believe that TEs are notoriously slow to develop, but before 2014, lots of folks believed something similar regarding WRs, only to be proven wrong.  TE isn't a position that will win or lose your fantasy season, but I believe that the position will be a very interesting one to manage this season.  Whether in shallow leagues where lots of unproven TEs will be populating the WW, or in deeper leagues where you can roster a few, playing weekly match ups with move TEs from teams that know how to use them may be an elegant solution to the perennial TE problem we all face when we don't invest in the position early. 

 

Edited by Rolling Thunder
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I love Doyle this year. With Dwayne Allen out of the picture I think he has a legitimate shot at double digit TDs. Moncrief is the only other real RZ weapon on this team and we know Luck is capable of throwing 35+ TDs 

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I see absolutely no reason to spend an early draft pick on a TE this year.  There seem to be some guys that have the potential to put up a top 3 year later in the draft.  I like the value of Graham, Rudolph, Ebron and Doyle right now.

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14 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

I see absolutely no reason to spend an early draft pick on a TE this year.  There seem to be some guys that have the potential to put up a top 3 year later in the draft.  I like the value of Graham, Rudolph, Ebron and Doyle right now.

 

Emerging talents like Henry and Hooper, and forgotten talents like Fleener and ASJ, could bolster the streaming ranks as well.  If you push the "wait" envelope too much on draft day, all is not lost.  

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2 minutes ago, dabeesta17 said:

Brate will have more targets, receptions and TDs than Howard. Rookie TEs rarely break out early, while Brate and Winston have great chemistry. He'll be a very serviceable TE1 for the price of a TE2.

 

This was a rare TE draft class . . .

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9 minutes ago, Rolling Thunder said:

 

This was a rare TE draft class . . .

 

So was 2002 when Shockey, Daniel Graham and Jerramy Stevens were all selected in Round 1. Shockey put up decent numbers (74/894/2), while the other two combined for 39/402/4. Even Tony Gonzalez put up modest numbers his rookie year (33/368/2). Gronkowski is the only TE in at least the last 25 years (and maybe ever...25 years is as far back as my spreadsheets go) to go for double-digit TDs in his rookie year. In sum, I'd be very comfortable with Brate as my TE1 in 2017.

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4 minutes ago, SilentSentinel said:

Brate isn't a better blocker than Howard. Brate is actually pretty bad at blocking which is why they wanted Howard, since he's able to do everything. That being said I think they'll run a lot of two TE sets this year and Brate will end up with better stats.

 

I think they picked Howard because they were forced to. I don't think they ever believed he would fall that far. It wasn't necessarily a need; just one of those too-good-to-pass-up situations. But yes, I agree with the rest of what you said.

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2 hours ago, Hawkeye21 said:

I see absolutely no reason to spend an early draft pick on a TE this year.  There seem to be some guys that have the potential to put up a top 3 year later in the draft.  I like the value of Graham, Rudolph, Ebron and Doyle right now.

 

I like Gronk's value, I've seen him go in the third in some drafts which is crazy to me.  That said, there are some nice value guys, especially late with Doyle and Fleener in high volume offenses. 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, SilentSentinel said:

Brate isn't a better blocker than Howard. Brate is actually pretty bad at blocking which is why they wanted Howard, since he's able to do everything. That being said I think they'll run a lot of two TE sets this year and Brate will end up with better stats.

I thought the book on Howard was that he wasn't the best blocker in college? Purely a move TE guy?

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He can block well enough to play all the time, at least according to scouts.

 

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Height: 6-5. Weight: 249. Arm: 33.88. Hand: 10.
40 Time: 4.51.
Projected Round (2017): Top-25 Pick.

4/25/17: Howard could be a top-10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft as he is seen as one of the top prospects. He is a rare mismatch weapon and a dynamic tight end. Many in the league feel that Howard is the best tight end prospect since Vernon Davis in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Howard put his special skill set on display at the combine with a fast 40 and an impressive workout. In 2016, he made 45 catches for 595 yards and three touchdowns. Howard improved as a blocker and route-runner during his time at Alabama while continuing to be under-utilized in the passing game. After the 2016 season, Howard had a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl, where he impressed on the field with his receiving skills and blocking. Sources also said that Howard interviewed well with teams.

As a receiver, Howard is a real weapon. He is naturally an extremely athletic and fast tight end who can get downfield quickly. Howard often burned man coverage and is very adept at finding the soft spot in zone coverage. He also has a big frame to box out safeties and the leaping ability with body control to make catches over defenders. Linebackers have little chance of covering Howard in man coverage; only elite NFL linebackers with great speed could cover Howard. He should be a tremendous middle-seam tight end who produces big plays for his offense.

Here's how one Southeast area scout broke down Howard: "He's as close to a complete tight end over the last few that have come out. He's a better blocker online than Eric Ebron and Tyler Eifert were coming out. Not as good of a route runner as either of them coming out, but I attribute most of that to how he was used. [Howard] looked pretty good at Senior Bowl since his game was able to expand a bit more in that system last week. Howard is probably faster than Eifert, and they have comparable hands. The Greg Olsen comparisons hold merit, but Howard is a much better blocker than Olsen coming out of Miami."

Howard could be a mismatch weapon in the NFL in the passing game while also being a quality blocker to be a three-down starter. Howard has upside and could be a dynamic NFL tight end. Howard has top-20 potential in the 2017 NFL Draft.
 

 

Full Scouting report at: http://walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2017ojhoward.php

 

 

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1 minute ago, boltup15 said:

 

Complete opposite. You're thinking of Engram. 

Thanks for the amendment. That will influence my projections for sure, but if anything that makes it more difficult to be confident in a TB TE this year IMO.

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2 minutes ago, Br0kenB said:

Thanks for the amendment. That will influence my projections for sure, but if anything that makes it more difficult to be confident in a TB TE this year IMO.

 

I wouldn't bet on any rookie TE who also has to compete with Evans, Godwin, and Desean. 

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"Dirk Koetter is already diving deep into his think tank, dreaming up formations that will help Jameis Winston thrive in his third pro season.

The plan won’t be unveiled until the Sept. 10 season opener at Miami, but I’m ready to suggest a nickname for what should be a dynamic attack.

Double Trouble.

Tampa Bay opponents will face a challenging dilemma when Cameron Brate and rookie O.J. Howard line up in a double tight end set commonly known as “12 personnel.”

With Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson split out wide and two tight ends creating mismatches in the middle of the field, Winston’s efficiency should improve markedly. His sack numbers should drop because he now has a group of targets that can quickly create separation.

The stunning addition of Howard has Koetter’s mind working overtime. In 2015, Koetter’s first season as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator, the Bucs set a franchise record for total yards — despite meager production at tight end.

“I’m the first to admit that I like tight ends,” says Koetter, who had the privilege of designing plays for Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta.

Gonzalez made the Pro Bowl twice with Koetter’s help and, in 2010, Jacksonville tight end Marcedes Lewis made the Pro Bowl after posting 10 touchdown catches in Koetter’s offense.

Over the years, we’ve seen what Tom Brady can do with talented tight ends. And while Winston isn’t Brady and Brate isn’t Rob Gronkowski, you get the picture.

A savvy coordinator like Koetter can drive defenses nuts when he has talent and depth at the position.

“It’s a matchup nightmare,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano says of the double tight end alignment. “It is across the league. You can see it more and more every year. You can choose to put a defensive back on them, and they will be undersized, they will get outmuscled and they will get ‘big-boyed’ for the ball.

“Then you can put a safety or a linebacker on them and they can’t run with them. It is a matchup nightmare for any defense.”

Howard hasn’t caught a single pass as a pro, but his versatile skills jumped out on tape at Alabama. Koetter made no bones about telling Jason Licht that Howard was one of his favorite players in the draft." - IRA KAUFMAN TB Beat Writer

 

I can agree that Rookie TE's def have a learning curve and its dang hard to get steady production from one.  I've touched on this TB TE formation a bit before a i think they deploy it with decent success again in 17'.  TB has invested in Howard for a reason and while Howard will take his lumps, i bet we see some big time flash in the pan plays that could help establish him as a go to weapon for Winston.  Brate was brough back on a 1 year deal, so the sky could be the limit for Howard sooner then later, IMO.  Just gotta play it low and slow.  If Brate gets hurt(suffered back problems last season), watch out

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32 minutes ago, howlin' 2 said:

George Kittle for the win @ rookie production. Probably still not good enough for a top twenty finish but on the cusp :blink: ... crazy, I know !

 

As a Hawkeye fan I'd love to see that.  He was one of my favorite players.  The man has a lot of talent and really does have a shot at a good NFL career.

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On ‎6‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 3:14 PM, Br0kenB said:

Here is my PPR Top 26 for PPR. Also published on my free blog fantasyisntfun.com. Share yours!

 

1. Travis Kelce, KC
2017 Projection: 86 receptions / 1152 yards / 7 touchdowns (243 points)
Outlook: Kelce hasn't missed a game since his rookie year and is Alex Smith's #1 target. Far and away the best player on this offense, Kelce will be targetted all over the field, early and often. A lock for Top 3 production at a pretty volatile position, Kelce is firmly in his prime and the centerpiece of the offense. Draft with confidence at #1.

 

2. Rob Gronkowski, NE
2017 Projection: 72 receptions / 1008 yards / 10 touchdowns (232 points)
Outlook: The guard is changing at tight end as Gronkowski is another year older and even less durable. He hasn't played a full season's worth of games since 2011. With many mouths to feed in the New England offense, it's still clear that Gronkowski will get his. I just think he will miss at least one game, and with a just-as-talented and more durable option in Travis Kelce available, I think it's risky to take Kelce behind Gronk. Still one of the best tight ends in league history, but he will be banged up and disappear some weeks.

 

3. Jimmy Graham, SEA
2017 Projection: 71 receptions / 979 yards / 6 touchdowns (204 points)
Outlook: Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson seem to finally have it all together. Last year represented Graham's best season in a Seattle uniform, and the offense has shifted a little bit to feature him more at the expense of a running game that has all but disappeared since the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. Graham returns to Seattle another year removed from his devastating patella tendon tear, and in an offense built for him. He has a lot of opportunity to terrorize his divisional opponents, and I believe he continues his dominance at the position this year in a Seattle offense that will need him badly.

 

4. Greg Olsen, CAR
2017 Projection: 75 receptions / 975 yards / 5 touchdowns (202 points)
Outlook: Greg Olsen has been one of the best tight ends in the game for almost a decade now, and it's because he does it all: blocking, receiving, and making plays. Cam's favorite target, Olsen is aiming for a fourth-straight 1,000 yard season and a new contract on top of that. While I don't think he quite makes it there with the influx of youth on the Carolina offense, a Top 5 finish at the position is guaranteed for Olsen barring any serious injury.

 

5. Kyle Rudolph, MIN
2017 Projection: 78 receptions / 780 yards / 6 touchdowns (192 points)
Outlook: 2016 was the year for Kyle Rudolph: the young tight end seemingly put it all together and flashed the promise that the Vikings were hoping to see when they selected him in the first round a few years back. A perfect fit for the conservative Sam Bradford, Rudolph was a big time red zone threat last year en route to a year that may go down as his best as far as statistics go. Never a big threat for YAC, Rudolph makes his money on short conversions and in the red zone. He will be trusted again in this role and I believe the rapport with Bradford is real. A great option that you can find later in the draft.

 

6. Jordan Reed, WSH
2017 Projection: 66 receptions / 726 yards / 8 touchdowns (188 points)
Outlook: There isn't a more athletic tight end in the NFL than Jordan Reed. If health was guaranteed in this game, he would be the #1 overall tight end each year without question. Unfortunately, he never plays a full season, and those injury concerns are built into this projection. If he plays every game, he will threaten for Top 3 production at the position. It's just that he won't. Still a good option, but be sure to back him up with someone reliable if you end up with Reed.

 

7. Jack Doyle, IND
2017 Projection: 70 receptions / 714 yards / 7 touchdowns (183 points)
Outlook: Jack Doyle came out of nowhere in 2016 to become a pretty reliable target for Andrew Luck. It seems as if the trust was built more and more each week, and their season culminated in the release of longtime tight end Dwayne Allen. Doyle returns as the #1 option at tight end on an offense that loves throwing the football. Luck has always loved his starting tight end, so the targets will be there for Doyle. The unquestioned #1 and no longer in a time share, Doyle will produce and could be the bargain tight end of the year. His ADP is currently pretty low, and he is a somewhat proven player. I expect him to be a great piece on many fantasy teams this year.

 

8. Eric Ebron, DET
2017 Projection: 68 receptions / 816 yards / 5 touchdowns (179 points)
Outlook: We've been waiting for Eric Ebron to break out for years now. I think this is the year. Anquan Boldin's departure frees up a lot of red zone targets, and Ebron is entering his fourth year in the league. It's so hard to make the transition from college to the pros at the tight end position, but the light usually comes on in this year. Still only 23, I project Ebron to finally cement himself as a top tight end in the game and begin to dominate in the red zone. This touchdown projection could be a little too low.

 

9. Delanie Walker, TEN
2017 Projection: 68 receptions / 782 yards / 5 touchdowns (176 points)
Outlook: One of the most reliable tight ends of this generation, Walker returns to an offense he seemed to own for the last two years. Unfortunately, Tennessee has brought in a ton of offensive talent this offseason, and Walker stands to suffer the most from Eric Decker's arrival in Nashville. Still the surest pair of hands that Marcus Mariota has, I don't expect Walker to fall off completely, but I don't expect him to have as great of a year as he had last year. He's still a low-end TE1.

 

10. Tyler Eifert, CIN
2017 Projection: 56 receptions / 728 yards / 8 touchdowns (176 points)
Outlook: Coming off of a career best year in 2015, Eifert struggled with injury and inconsistency in 2016 and tumbled down the tight end ranks as a result. The offense introduces many young playmakers in 2016, and Eifert stands to lose some targets as a result. A beast in the red zone, Eifert will still get his, but will struggle for consistency. A great targetted play against teams weak against the tight end for sure, but he will bite you some weeks as well.

 

11. Zach Ertz, PHI
2017 Projection: 72 receptions / 777 yards / 4 touchdowns (173 points)
Outlook: Much like Eric Ebron, it seems like we have been waiting forever for the Ertz breakout. I don't think it's as likely as Ebron, but I do expect Ertz to be a significant weapon. A player who usually comes on at the end of the year, Ertz has demonstrated clear rapport with Carson Wentz. However, in an offense full of weapons, I don't expect the consistency to quite be there. He's a great player in a loaded offense, which is hard to bank on when the quarterback situation isn't elite. Right now in Philadelphia, it isn't.

 

12. Martellus Bennett, GB
2017 Projection: 61 receptions / 732 yards / 6 touchdowns (170 points)
Outlook: The tight end position always seems like it should be awesome in Green Bay. However, it rarely is. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers add their best weapon at the position since Jermichael Finley (remember him?) in Martellus Bennett. A capable blocker and receiving threat, the Packers upgraded to Bennett from Jared Cook in the offseason. I don't really expect the tight end role to be too huge this year in Green Bay, but much like Jared Cook last year, Bennett will get his. I think his name will cause him to be a bit overdrafted, but Bennett will be a solid TE2 if you find that he fell to you at a comfortable round.

 

13. Hunter Henry, LAC
2017 Projection: 56 receptions / 705 yards / 7 touchdowns (168 points)
Outlook: Hunter Henry really looked good at tight end last year for Los Angeles. The problem, if you want to call it that, is the presence of Antonio Gates. Henry still made some noise with his opportunities though, and flashed playmaking ability similar to the Antonio Gates of years past. He will still be in a time share at the position, however I feel as if Henry will seize the larger piece of the share and take the next step in his development this year. Gates will break the record for tight end receiving touchdowns this year, but after that, I can see Henry taking over the majority of the passing down snaps. He is a great weapon for this team.

 

14. Jason Witten, DAL
2017 Projection: 65 receptions / 617 yards / 4 touchdowns (150 points)
Outlook: Jason Witten went from being Tony Romo's famous security blanket, to becoming the exact same thing for rookie Dak Prescott in 2016. Firmly in the twilight of his career, Witten is no longer a downfield threat at tight end, but still offers reliable hands on short-yardage downs. He will grab a few scores, but the upside on Witten is clearly limited. Let someone else draft him on name value.

 

15. Zach Miller, CHI
2017 Projection: 51 receptions / 550 yards / 7 touchdowns (148 points)
Outlook: A weapon inside the red zone and nowhere else, Miller is attempting to come back from a season-ending foot injury. As injury prone as any player in the league, he must now compete for his job with second-round raw rookie Adam Shaheen. I think Miller wins and becomes a red zone threat for the yougn quarterbacks on Chicago's roster, however I don't think he is consistent or trustworthy in any sense this year.

 

16. Coby Fleener, NO
2017 Projection: 52 receptions / 676 yards / 4 touchdowns (143 points)
Outlook: Coby Fleener is not a smart football player. He is inconsistent, has bad hands, and just isn't a very good player. However, he is in one of the best offenses for tight ends in New Orleans, which means automatic production some weeks. I would not rely on him in any sense. Josh Hill is a better player and will factor in to the tight end position in New Orleans. I'd avoid this situation for fantasy purposes. Fleener has tantalizing size and upside, but I just don't think he can put it all together.

 

17. Julius Thomas, MIA
2017 Projection: 43 receptions / 516 yards / 8 touchdowns (142 points)
Outlook: Julius Thomas isn't a player with much heart. It doesn't seem as if he likes the game much. However, he is back with old friend Adam Gase, who figures to use him a lot in the red zone. Outside of that area, I don't feel like Thomas will have much value outside of the red zone. I'd avoid for fantasy purposes.

 

18. C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU
2017 Projection: 57 receptions / 604 yards / 4 touchdowns (141 points)
Outlook: Fiedorowicz was useful at a lot of times last year, as Brock Osweiler made plenty of use out of him in the early to middle parts of the season. The offense turns to Tom Savage this year, which I think destroys his value. I think Deshaun Watson will make some use out of him, as he actually is a good tight end, however I don't expect much from the Houston passing attack until Savage hits the bench.

 

19. Cameron Brate, TB
2017 Projection: 52 receptions / 546 yards / 4 touchdowns (130 points)
Outlook: I actually love Cameron Brate as a player. The Bucs, apparently, aren't as high on him as I am. They drafted OJ Howard in the first round this year, the top tight end in the class. Brate and Jameis Winston have obvious rapport, especially in the red zone, and I think there is a chance that both Brate and Howard figure into the offense as the year goes on. I just don't think Brate will be as trusty as he was last year. He's a better blocker than Howard, but that isn't saying much. I expect his production to fall from 2016.

 

20. Antonio Gates, LAC
2017 Projection: 45 receptions / 441 yards / 6 touchdowns (125 points)
Outlook: Antonio Gates, one of the three best tight ends to ever do it, is near the end. This year, he will break the record for receiving touchdowns by a tight end, tack on a few more, and that will be it. I expect Hunter Henry to be the tight end to own in Los Angeles, but after that, I expect Gates to chip in a few receptions per game. He doesn't exist outside of the red zone and for that reason, he is impossible to rely on. Thank you, Antonio.

 

21. Jesse James, PIT
2017 Projection: 45 receptions / 450 yards / 5 touchdowns (120 points)
Outlook: The Steelers admitted their mistake by releasing Ladarius Green earlier this offseason, leaving Jesse James as the de facto #1 tight end on the Pittsburgh depth chart. However, Xavier Grimble poses a threat as he had a few flashes last season. In an offense that loves to throw, I expect James to be a reliable piece of it, and chip in with his fair share of chain-moving receptions and red zone scores. I just don't think there is enough production there to warrant consistent fantasy consideration.

 

22. Jared Cook, OAK
2017 Projection: 42 receptions / 504 yards / 5 touchdowns (122 points)
Outlook: The Oakland offense has never really made much use out of the tight end. They have had athletes at the position before, but the consistency is rarely there. A distant 4th in line for opportunities in this offense, Cook has never been the picture of consistency. He will have a big game or two this season, and everything else, as always, will leave much to be desired. Avoid Jared Cook's name and game on draft day.

 

23. Charles Clay, BUF
2017 Projection: 50 receptions / 500 yards / 3 touchdowns (118 points)
Outlook: There isn't a more overpaid player in the league than Charles Clay. He makes too much and simply is not an effective player. Combine that with a quarterback who doesn't like throwing to tight ends, and you get a horrible fantasy situation. Avoid Charles Clay. I'm talking to you, Bills fans.

 

24. Austin Hooper, ATL
2017 Projection: 35 receptions / 490 yards / 5 touchdowns (114 points)
Outlook: An ascending player who isn't quite there yet, Hooper is a great dynasty hold and a dart-throw daily fantasy proposition. As far as season-long goes, he's going to struggle for consistency in an Atlanta offense full of weapons. He will be good soon, just not this soon.

 

25. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ
2017 Projection: 34 receptions / 510 yards / 4 touchdowns (109 points)
Outlook: ASJ is a good player. He's cleaned up his act and has all of the opportunity in the world. Unfortunately, he's the starting tight end for the Jets. With bad quarterbacks aplenty filling out the Jets roster, ASJ will struggle hard. However, he will have his own share of bright spots as well. A good building block for a Jets team low on playmakers.

 

26. O.J. Howard, TB
2017 Projection: 28 receptions / 476 yards / 3 touchdowns (93 points)
Outlook: The first-drafted tight end in this year's NFL draft, Howard lands in a situation where he has all of the opportunity in the world. Unfortunately, he enters an offense where there are a ton of weapons and plays at a position where the transition to the NFL is the toughest. With incumbent Cameron Brate still in the fold, I expect Howard to be brought along slowly. Too slowly for fantasy purposes.

 

I enjoy your predictions because you do have a different take than most people, and I can respect that you put work and thought into making your rankings. Having said that, if you think Gronk and Kelce are on the same skill level, you are sorely mistaken. Gronk, when he is healthy, may be the best TE in the history of football. Kelce is good, but he is not near that level.

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