Week 1 of fantasy football means it’s time to grade the most versatile of weapons. It’s time for tight end rankings!
On one play a tight end is asked to be an offensive lineman, on the next play they’re asked to be inside receiver, and then, on the next, they can be a field-stretching deep threat. This versatility of duties carries over to a versatility in deployment in the NFL. For we fantasy nerds, that dynamic means we could be starting an extra wide receiver, a weekly WR1 in Travis Kelce, or we could end up starting a sixth offensive lineman. Offensive lineman don’t score a lot of points, as you may already be aware.
Later in the year we’ll have better matchup based information, but for now, these ranks are largely based on expected point totals and what we saw last year. So, here goes!
Make sure to check back here throughout the week as I will be making sure to update them as quickly as possible with any new information. As always, if you have specific rankings or starts & sits questions, drop them in the comments or reach out on twitter: @NFLClark.
Week 1 Standouts
Mark Andrews (TE2) – The Baltimore Ravens continue to be ravaged by injuries, and so an offense that was already going to rely on Andrews may have to force-feed targets to their star tight end. The Las Vegas Raiders were middle of the pack in terms of points allowed to opposing TEs in 2020, and I haven’t read many articles about how the team has improved their football team in the off-season. Expect Andrews to get off to a hot start on Monday Night Football.
Gerald Everett (TE4) – I’ve been hyping up Everett all off-season, and we should get an idea of how newly minted offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is going to deploy the versatile TE in a tough matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. The big question is not “Will Russell Wilson take advantage of the most athletic TE he’s played with since Jimmy Graham?”. Rather, I am asking if Everett will remain a top-3 tight end for the entire season.
Rob Gronkowski (TE8) – Oddly enough, Gronk has been a bit of a forgotten man in the run up to the 2021 season. I won’t waste any ink arguing that Gronk may return to sit on the TE1 throne, but even in limited work on this stellar Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense, Gronk is an odds on favorite to hand in 50 yards and a touchdown every week.
Tyler Higbee (TE13) – The Chicago Bears gave up the second-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020. Matthew Stafford has not traditionally targeted his TE heavily, but in a new offense, a new offense that let Gerald Everett walk in free agency, which has traditionally taken advantage of athletic tight ends, Higbee could eat in Week 1.
Dan Arnold (TE20) – Arnold is heading into his fourth season in the NFL, and he comes to the Carolina Panthers by way of the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers did not target the TE very often in the first year under offensive coordinator Joe Brady, but they did give Arnold a tidy $6-million over 2 years deal in the off-season. No team gave up more fantasy points to tight ends in 2020 than the New York Jets, and so taking a shot on the absolutely un-rostered Arnold may pay off as we gather more information about the best streaming matchups as the season wears on.
Week 1 Tight End Rankings
(% Rostered via Sleeper)
|1||Travis Kelce||KC||vs CLE||90%+|
|2||Mark Andrews||BAL||@ LV||90%+|
|3||Darren Waller||LV||vs BAL||90%+|
|4||Gerald Everett||SEA||@ IND||40-49%|
|5||George Kittle||SF||@ DET||90%+|
|6||Mike Gesicki||MIA||@ NE||80-89%|
|7||T.J. Hockenson||DET||vs SF||90%+|
|8||Rob Gronkowski||TB||vs DAL||90%+|
|9||Robert Tonyan||GB||@ NO||90%+|
|10||Blake Jarwin||DAL||@ TB||<30%|
|11||Logan Thomas||WAS||vs LAC||80-89%|
|12||Kyle Pitts||ATL||vs PHI||90%+|
|13||Tyler Higbee||LAR||vs CHI||80-89%|
|14||Dallas Goedert||PHI||@ ATL||90%+|
|15||Eric Ebron||PIT||@ BUF||<30%|
|16||Noah Fant||DEN||@ NYG||90%+|
|17||Zach Ertz||PHI||@ ATL||40-49%|
|18||Austin Hooper||CLE||@ KC||40-49%|
|19||Kyle Rudolph||NYG||vs DEN||<30%|
|20||Dan Arnold||CAR||vs NYJ||<30%|
|21||Jimmy Graham||CHI||@ LAR||<30%|
|22||Jared Cook||LAC||@ WAS||40-49%|
|23||Jonnu Smith||NE||vs MIA||60-69%|
|24||Jordan Akins||HOU||vs JAC||<30%|
|25||Hunter Henry||NE||vs MIA||70-79%|
|26||Anthony Firkser||TEN||vs ARI||<30%|
|27||Cole Kmet||CHI||@ LAR||<30%|
|28||Chris Herndon IV||MIN||@ CIN||<30%|
|29||Dawson Knox||BUF||vs PIT||<30%|
|30||O.J. Howard||TB||vs DAL||<30%|
|31||Jack Doyle||IND||vs SEA||<30%|
|32||Adam Trautman||NO||vs GB||<30%|
|33||Hayden Hurst||ATL||vs PHI||<30%|
|34||Tyler Conklin||MIN||@ CIN||<30%|
|35||Evan Engram||NYG||vs DEN||40-49%|