My fantasy ranking roll on with Tight Ends today. Here is the remaining schedule for this week:
Wednesday 10:30am - WRs
Thursday 10:30am - RBs
Friday 10:30am - QBs
Without further ado, here are my top fantasy Tight Ends for the 2020 season:
Sleeper: Eric Ebron – The Steelers offense is expected to be back in a big way this year and Ebron’s only competition for the job is Vance McDonald who is the same age and not as good of a receiver. Ebron is just a year removed from a 66 catch 750 yard 13 TD season with the Colts and is a former 1st round pick. While I’m not sure he’ll have as many spikes as 2018, I would be surprised if his yards weren’t greater than that in Pittsburgh. I’m looking for a line of around 60 catches, 800 yards & 8 TDs which is great value for a TE that’s currently being drafted at TE14 right now.
Bonus Sleeper: O.J. Howard - Not trying to be a homer, but hearing a ton of good things out of Tampa about man Tom Brady refers to as "Juice". The Bucs use 12 personnel (two TEs) as their base offense, so he could get a lot of looks, but I’m still going Ebron over him as a sleeper. This is more of a footnote.
10) Noah Fant – The Broncos went shopping for weapons for QB Drew Lock last season and have a team of Receivers that are going to demand attention with Pro Bowler Courtland Sutton and rookie Jerry Jeudy in addition to speedster K.J. Hamler. Fant is a fast guy himself at the TE position and coming off a solid rookie season where he drew 66 targets. He’ll get a full season with Lock and has a ton of breakout potential in what should be a potent offense.
9) Rob Gronkowski – Gronk is a bit of an unknown having taken a year off, but he’s a guy that has probably the highest upside of anyone in this range. It wouldn’t surprise too many people if he finished TE1 at the end of the year just due to his red zone presence. His injury history is definitely worrisome and I’m not expecting a career-year, but he will play a lot in a high powered offense with Tom Brady at QB.
8) Austin Hooper – Hooper broke the bank (at the time) for TEs with his contract in Free Agency with the Browns. New Browns HC Kevin Stefanski’s personnel groupings match up with what QB Baker Mayfield does well, which is a ton of two TE sets. You saw that reflected in their signing of Hooper, drafting of Harrison Bryant, and them selling David Njoku on staying because he’ll still get a ton of snaps. Hooper is the most talented of the bunch and is in line for a big season.
7) Hayden Hurst – I’m not a fan of Hurst’s game necessarily. He was a very old, 24 year old rookie that was a standout baseball player in college but got the yips. That doesn’t to me speak to someone who would handle pressure well, but the Ravens picked him in the 1st round before Lamar Jackson. Hurst was a disappointment, but some of that can be attributed to Mark Andrews’ emergence. But in fantasy, a lot of it is about situation and Hurst walks into a Falcons team that needs to replace Austin Hooper’s 97 targets and 6 touchdowns. The Falcons traded a 2nd rounder for him, so they'll be making use of their new TE often.
6) Tyler Higbee – Rams HC & playcaller Sean McVay LOVES 11 personnel (three WRs). But towards the end of last season, injuries and performance dictated they play more 12 personnel (two TEs) and they did more than they usually do and Higbee broke out. Over the final five games: 43 catches, 522 yards, two TDs. Will that carry over now that the Rams have their receivers healthy? Yeah, Brandin Cooks is gone, but they drafted Van Jefferson and he’ll form a tremendous route running trio with Robert Woods & Cooper Kupp. If they lean incredibly heavy on 11 personnel again, Higbee likely won’t be a top 10 TE, but Goff was better in 12 personnel and McVay is a smart guy, so I’m thinking he’ll play to his signal caller’s strength.
5) Darren Waller – Yes, he only had three touchdowns in 2019, but he also had 117 targets which turned into 90 catches for 1,145 yards. We saw it last year on Hard Knocks, it wasn’t a question of Waller’s talent, but if he could keep his mind right and fully focus on football. The results were incredible and earned him his first Pro Bowl berth. The Raiders invested heavily at Receiver in the draft, but even if his targets go down a bit to the 90-100 range, that’d be maybe 70 catches about 925 yards. But even then, you’ve got to think he’ll score more than three touchdowns, right? That is a pretty nice floor for a TE.
4) Zach Ertz – Ertz has been a top five fantasy TE in each of the last three seasons and in 2018 he set the record for receptions at the position with 116. He had a whopping 19 red zone chances in 2019 and while he only hauled in six for touchdowns, he’s scored 20 times over the past three seasons. The Eagles only got more field stretchers to help spread the Safeties out so Ertz should have some more room to work with this season.
3) Mark Andrews – Lamar Jackson loves throwing to Tight Ends. In fact, no team targeted their TEs at a higher rate than Baltimore last year (41%) and now his competition at the position, Hayden Hurst was traded to Atlanta. Andrew caught 64 balls for 852 yards and 10 TDs last year and while the TD number may dip a bit, the catches and yards should go up. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up being TE2.
2) George Kittle – Had his second straight year over 1,000 yards and tied his career high with five touchdowns. He was banged up all year and is the best player in this group, but unfortunately blocking isn’t part of fantasy football. In fact, it’s a negative. Because if you can block, that means you’re not going out for a pass. And this is why Kittle is #2 on the list. Despite his incredible all-around play on the field, he’s limited in fantasy due to his strength as a blocker (along with the 49ers unwavering commitment to running the football). If he’s fully healthy, a 100 catch 1,400 yard 8 TD season is attainable, but that’s a big if.
1) Travis Kelce - Patrick Mahomes missed some time last year and ended up throwing 48% fewer touchdowns in 2019 than he did in 2018. His top target, Travis Kelce’s TD production reflected just that as he saw his tudders dip from 10 to 5 last year. But he only had six fewer catches and 107 fewer yards. Assuming Mahomes is healthy, a 100 catch 1,300 yard 10 TD season is almost a lock which makes him the no doubt fantasy football TE1 going into the year.
All that being said, if you draft a TE in the first two rounds of your draft, you're a dummy! Stay away! You'll immediately regret it after the draft. I’ll have more fantasy rankings each morning this week to help get you ready for your draft! Stay tuned…