Tight End often produces opportunities for mid and late-round values, and I think that this year that will certainly be true. I went back and took stock of my fantasy drafts in the last decade and one area where I had some failures was taking tight ends early, while I had numerous successes in waiting and taking my first tight end after the first 8 were off the board. I would advise that strategy his year, unless the Tier 1 guys somehow drop to value.
Gronkowski and Kelce have been the class at tight end in recent years and that should continue. The only question is just how early you should pull the trigger if you really want one of them.
I’m putting Zach Ertz as a 1b guy, because I think he’s closer to the top two than many want to think. I’d feel more comfortable waiting a few rounds and grabbing Ertz.
This tier is for some veteran guys who are likely going to come with a relatively expensive price. I rank Rudolph first because of age and likely continued role as a red zone target. Walker is getting up there in years but hasn’t slowed down yet in Tennessee, while Graham gets to play with Aaron Rodgers (but that will be baked into his price).
I’ve got Greg Olsen down in this tier. I know he’s going off the board earlier according to some ADP data, but you have a 33-year-old TE coming off a down year and a foot injury. I’d rather invest elsewhere. Similarly, I’m not saying I wouldn’t take Jordan Reed at the right price, but he’s only played in 14 games once in his career, is getting older, and his production wasn’t even great a year ago when he was able to play. Evan Engram had a top 5 finish a year ago, but Odell Beckham is back and the team added Saquon Barkley. His target share should go down, which is why I have him down a bit.
Meanwhile, I profiled my breakout candidates and David Njoku, OJ Howard, and George Kittle all look like strong candidates, and Trey Burton as well moving to a starting role. Taking a chance on upside with at least one of these guys is a decent strategy if you want to go Tight End committee.