Week 3 Rankings (2018): Top 20 Tight Ends

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that tight end can be among the most frustrating position, with players rising out of nowhere for a week or two at a time only to quickly disappear.  So who of the early season surges can we actually trust?  Who should we be ignoring?  Let’s try to answer that and all the other questions with our Week 3 rankings:

  1. Zack Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Indianapolis
  2. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – at Detroit
  3. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Francisco
  4. Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – vs. Green Bay
  5. Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Buffalo
  6. Evan Engram – New York Giants – at Houston
  7. George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – at Kansas City
  8. Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers – at Washington
  9. Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – at Miami
  10. O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Pittsburgh
  11. Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – at Arizona
  12. Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts – at Philadelphia
  13. Jesse James – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Tampa Bay
  14. Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Benhals – at Carolina
  15. David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
  16. Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – at Philadelphia
  17. Benjamin Watson – New Orleans Saints – at Atlanta
  18. Will Dissly – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Dallas
  19. Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Tennessee
  20. Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills – at Minnesota

Thoughts:

  • The Jaguars figured out how to bottle up Rob Gronkowski in Week 2 (2 catches for 15 yards), but does anyone expect the Lions to have similar success?  Gronkowski is rarely held down in back-to-back games and we’d expect him to explode in Week 3.
  • All we need to know about Zack Ertz are his targets over the first two weeks of the season (10 and 13).  Even with Carson Wentz returning, do we not think Ertz will remain among the top targets?  With Alshon Jeffery sidelined it’s easy to dub Ertz the team’s best weapon and he should act as a safety valve.  He’s always going to be among the best options in the league, but with the usage likely to continue and it being just a matter of time before he finds the end zone it’s hard not to slot him atop things this week.
  • O.J. Howard was a highly hyped rookie a year ago and he showed why in Week 2, turning 4 targets into 3 receptions, 96 yards and 1 TD.  He’s shown big play ability in each of the first two weeks (he’s averaging 30 yards per catch) and after watching Travis Kelce torch the Steelers it’s easy to get excited.  At the same time Howard doesn’t get the number of targets that other tight ends do, and that’s going to limit his upside.  He’s a borderline TE1 this week, but until he starts seeing 6-8 targets per week his value is going to be capped.
  • While George Kittle may not have the highest upside overall, we all know the 49ers are going to have to throw early and often to try and keep up with the Chiefs.  Opposing tight ends have been favored over the first two weeks, racking up 201 yards (including Jesse James, who turned 5 catches into 138 yards and 1 TD), and Kittle could easily keep that trend going.  He’s not necessarily a high-end option, but he’s a viable TE1 in all formats.
  • Speaking of James, he appears to be the favored tight end option in Pittsburgh and draws a favorable matchup against the Buccaneers (who have allowed 210 receiving yards to opposing tight ends over the first two weeks).  There’s some risk, given the presence of Vance McDonald, but enough upside to consider him a viable TE1.
  • Both Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron could have value, but they are also going to split the opportunities.  That’s going to hurt both of their upsides and makes them out to be more TE2 with TE1 upside as opposed to must start options.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 3 Rankings (2018): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 3 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs

15 comments

  1. David says:

    Prof,

    16 team PPR League – Last week I lost Mike Wallace to injury so I need to pickup one player. Below are the available players to choose from. We can start TE’s as WR’s. Who would you go with.

    Running backs:
    Neheim Hines, Malcolm Brown, Corey Grant, Jalen Richards, Wendell Smallwood, Ito Smith, Doug Martin and Samaje Perine.

    Tight Ends/Wide Receivers
    Will Dissly, Eric Ebron, Travon Austin, Antonio Callaway, Donte Pettis, Jordan Reed, Jared Cook.

    I’m thinking Antonio Callaway now that Gordan is gone to New England.

    What’s your thoughts?

    Thanks

  2. Krysta says:

    14 team, PPR.

    1. I currently have Jack Doyle but just got an update he didn’t practice today w/hip issues. Jesse James is available…which I mention b/c I currently have Big Ben (see #2). Austin Hooper, Ricky Seals-Jones (available on waivers Sat), Cameron Brate and Jonnu Smith also available. Thoughts?

    2. As it may affect your advice for #1, Big Ben or Ryan Fitzpatrick?

    3. As it may affect your advice for #1&2, Assuming AJ Green and Michael Thomas as WR1&2, flex Juju or Jarvis Landry?

  3. trevor says:

    standard flex in order from first to last option-marquise goodwin, josh gordon, rex burkhead, alfred morris or bilal powell

    standard-Ted Ginn, Josh Gordon or Marquise Goodwin

  4. trevor says:

    standard -phillip rivers or blake bortles

  5. trevor says:

    standard flex-adrian peterson or corey clement

    standard-ryan fitzpatrick or aaron rodgers

    standard flex-corey clement or matt breida

  6. St says:

    TE jesse james or will dissly, thanks full ppr

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