The 7 Best Tight Ends In Your 2015 Fantasy Football Draft
Don’t look now, but fantasy football season is right around the corner. Over the next week, we’ll be previewing the four major positions in fantasy football. Top it off with a list of sleepers at every position on Friday and you’ll be ready to go for your draft. We use standard non-PPR scoring for all our rankings. And if you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @MrT_BroBible.
Depending on the year, the tight end position is considered either strong or weak. This year looks like a draft Rob Gronkowski or wait year. Last year the difference between Gronk and the #2 tight end was 2.1 points per game. When you consider #2 (Jimmy Graham) and #4 (Julius Thoomas) are in a worse scenario and #3 (Antonio Gates) was on performance enhancers, you realize the bottom really falls out after Gronk. Maybe you can find a sleeper, but remember the high picks spent after the big three last year (Gronk, Graham, and Thomas) went to waste on Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, and Jordan Cameron. It’s definitely a difficult position to figure out.
1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
At the tight end position there’s Gronk and there’s everyone else. The biggest party animal in the league dominates everyone else in the fantasy football world at the same spot. Just look at the how Gronk compared to Jimmy Graham last year when Graham was in a better fantasy situation. (More on that soon.) Now consider that Gronk put up more points last year than all but nine receivers. When you consider how deep the receiver conversation is, you’ll realize it’s worth spending an early pick on Gronk and saving receivers for later. It presents that much of an advantage. Don’t worry about the injury history because they’ve all been freak situations. He showed plenty of health last year with a diary full of “Gronk Smahes.”
2. Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
Jimmy is an incredibly talented player, who produced great numbers under a Hall of Fame quarterback. He put up 99 catches, 1310 yards, and 11 touchdowns in his second year in the league, flashing potential that made fantasy owners hard for the future. He’s come down to earth a little since, partly due to injury and partly due to increased awareness by defensive coordinators. He won’t be the offensive focal point in Seattle like he was in New Orleans. Seattle also doesn’t pass as much or have a terrible defense to get into high-scoring affairs. They also have a guy named Marshawn Lynch who’s pretty good at scoring touchdowns in the red zone, which was one of Graham’s greatest biggest roles in New Orleans. He’ll be really good, but worse than Gronk and could be overvalued based on name in your draft.
3. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
If there’s anyone who has the potential to put up a massive year other than Gronk and Graham, it’s Kelce. His team wouldn’t let him shine last year, whether it be for seniority sake to Anthony Fasano or because Kelce was coming off microfracture surgery. In the time he was able to showcase his ability, Kelce put up games like 15 points in Week 4 and 12 in Week 9. With Fasano gone and Kelce another year removed from surgery and college, there’s no reason for Kansas City not to make him a primary weapon. Don’t forget Jeremy Maclin and Jamaal Charles will draw attention away from Kelce also.
4. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton used Greg Olsen as his safety blanket last year. Olsen posted 11 games of five catches or more and eight games in double digits. That’s incredibly solid production at the tight end position. The addition of Devin Funchess and the continued improvement of Kelvin Benjamin might take some targets away from Olsen, but he’ll still be Cam Newton’s safety blanket. You can definitely do worse than Olsen.
5. Jordan Cameron – Miami Dolphins
Maybe I’m a sucker, but there are few tight ends with more talent than Jordan Cameron. His workout metrics put him in the 83rd or higher percentile at tight end in many categories including agility score, where he’s in the highest percentile, and catch radius, where he’s only a little further back in the 99th percentile. The catch here is that he has four diagnosed concussions and possibly more that went untraced. The situation bodes well for him in Miami if he can stay healthy because Ryan Tannehill is improving and found Charles Clay a bunch over the last couple years. I’m throwing last year out the window and looking at the 80 catches, 917 yards, and 7 touchdowns Cameron put up two years ago. Cameron’s worth taking here because of his upside. Worst case you pick up a retread tight end you could’ve drafted anyway.
6. Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears
The loss of Brandon Marshall is counterbalanced by a new coaching staff in terms of Bennett’s expected performance in 2015. Marshall’s departure should mean more balls for Bennett, but Mike Fox certainly isn’t as pass happy as some of Bennett’s previous coaches. The unicorn is certainly a talented individual, but he’s certainly not a week-winner. He was able to produce six double-digit games last year, but also had eight of five points or less. He’s better than the rest, but just don’t reach for him.
7. Julius Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars
Life without Peyton Manning will definitely be different for Thomas. He may have less competition for catches, but Blake Bortles isn’t quite near that adequate NFL starter level, let alone a Hall of Fame level. Thomas is also an injury liability as he missed four games last year and played injured in numerous other opportunities. Just remembered he scored 16 touchdowns last year and still finished seventh in total TE points. Just imagine how many fewer touchdowns he’ll score with Bortles. Someone else can grab him on name and I’ll hang back.