2016 Preseason Rankings: Updated Top 20 Tight Ends

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Is there a reason to reach for Rob Gronkowski?  Who belongs in the tier just below him?  Does it make more sense to sit and wait for some high upside options (like a Zach Ertz or Coby Fleener)?  Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look with Week 1 growing closer and closer:

  1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
  2. Jordan Reed – Washington Nationals
  3. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
  4. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans
  6. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
  8. Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns
  9. Julius Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars
  10. Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts
  11. Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers
  12. Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
  13. Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
  14. Martellus Bennett – New England Patriots
  15. Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys
  16. Zach Miller – Chicago Bears
  17. Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
  18. Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills
  19. Ladarius Green – Pittsburgh Steelers
  20. Vance McDonald – San Francisco 49ers

Thoughts:

  • With the injury to Tony Romo, could Jason Witten become an increasingly important cog to the Cowboys passing game?  Or will Dallas go the other way, asking the veteran to run fewer routes and instead stay in to add extra protection for their rookie quarterback?  That unknown is a bit of a problem and keeps him out of being a TE1, especially given the depth at the position.
  • There’s a lot of love for Tyler Eifert, and there certainly is potential, but he’s going to miss the first few weeks of the season (due to an ankle injury) and who knows how long it’s going to take him to become fully incorporated in the offense once he is deemed ready.  While he’s well worth stashing, there are too many alternatives available to select him as a Top 10 option.
  • Eric Ebron was consistently solid last season (47 receptions, 537 yards, 5 TD) and should see his role expand thanks to the retirement of Calvin Johnson.  The former first round draft pick could finally realize his full potential, as he’s followed the typical slow development of tight ends in the NFL.
  • If Ladarius Green were healthy he’d find himself much higher on this list.  However he appears primed to miss the start of the season and that has got to drag down his ranking.
  • We talked about Vance McDonald as a potential breakout performer, which you can read by clicking here.

Make sure to check out all of our updated preseason rankings:

2016 Preseason Rankings: Top 15 Defenses
2016 Preseason Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers

4 comments

  1. L says:

    Where’s a mention on J.Cook? Even if you don’t have him in your top 20 you should at least mention the upside potential he has with A.Rodgers throwing him the ball this year.

    I’d also throw V.Green, C.Walford, K.Rudolph, Jesse James, and Cameron Brate into that honorable mentions group.

    • There’s a lot of talent at TE this season and plenty of depth. There could be a breakout coming from anywhere, honestly, and all of the guys you named could have productive seasons and are at least potential streaming options.

  2. Mikein Macon says:

    I have only one TE, picking up Fleener in the 8th round…I can drop a WR (Chris Hogan) to pick up either TE Kyle Rudolph or Zack Miller…as for WR I already have Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, Mike Evans as starters and Travis Benjamin on the bench. Would you and who would you pick up?

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