The tight end field is pretty top heavy in the NFL but there are many younger guys with the ability to become premier contributors. Take a look at my TE group rankings, listed below. Rankings are determined by number 1 and 2 TE with a specific focus on how each team uses them.
1. Philadelphia 99 rating
Zack Ertz has been a top 5 tight end as long as I can remember, but he is not the reason the Eagles are so far above the rest of the league. Dallas Goedert was a slightly questionable high draft pick that has turned into one of the better overall tight ends in the league. He has great receiving ability with better blocking than Ertz. When Ertz has given up the starting spot, the Eagles will still have a top 5 TE.
2. San Francisco 97 rating
George Kittle is the best tight end, maybe even player in the NFL. Him along would give the Niners a top 5 group. However, San Francisco just picked up Jordan Reed, one of the most physically gifted tight ends we’ve seen since Vernon Davis (also a Redskins and Niner). Reed has struggled largely with injuries but with a reduced role in a well designed offence, he should be able to produce as the number two option.
3. Tampa Bay 95 rating
Other than Brady, the most popular move from the Bucs was bringing Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. Now I don’t want to overhype them, but some people aren’t giving them enough credit: Gronk is still Gronk. He will still be a force to be reckoned with while he’s healthy. Howard, who has been slightly disappointing as of late, should be an excellent number 2 option.
4. Cleveland 94 rating
David Njoku has not quite lived up to the Browns’ expectations thus far, so they brought in one of the quietly best tight ends in the league last year: Austin Hooper. Along with Hooper, Njoku is a major threat through the air. The main reason the Browns are not higher is lack of blocking ability between the two. Either way, this group will produce.
5. Kansas City 93 rating
Very close with Baltimore, the Chiefs edge them our because Travis Kelce is so good. He’s the only guy who can challenge Kittle, which says a lot. They lack depth, but as they’ve shown in the last few years, KC doesn’t need two tight ends to have a productive group.
6. Baltimore 93 rating
Baltimore was close to a top 5 spot, with a top 5 no. 1 guy in Mark Andrews and top 10 no. 2 guy Nick Boyle. I vastly underrated Andrews in last years rankings but I won’t mess around this year: he is the 4th maybe even 3rd best tight end in the NFL.
7. Las Vegas 91 rating
Darren Waller broke out last season and had one of the best years of anyone. However, I am not completely sold on him being top 5 (he was the only good receiver on the team last year). However, Las Vegas earns this high spot because they brought in future hall of gamer Jason Witten. Now Witten is by no means elite, but he’s going to catch a lot of short passes and hopefully provide in the blocking game.
8. New Orleans 91 rating
The Saints have a very solid duo in Jared Cook and Josh Hill. Every season, Hill surprises me with his production and Cook is arguably the 5th best tight end in the NFL. This is a very veteran, but excellent group that can pair with their receiving core to make the Saints the best offense in the league.
9. LA Chargers 89 rating
With Hunter Henry’s injury issues, I couldn’t put the Chargers any higher than 9th. They have solid depth behind him, keeping them in the top 10
10. Minnesota 89 rating
Irv Smith Jr. has had a lot of hype in the fantasy game, but his blocking is better than many give him credit for. Kyle Rudolph headlines this offense, however and I wouldn’t expect anything less than productive out of the consistent veteran.
11. Pittsburgh 88 rating*
Another potential top 5 TE, Eric Ebron is one of the toughest players to analyze. In the right situation, he has proven to be an elite caliber tight end. Despite his inconsistencies, I’ll give Ebron credit for his talent. Behind him, Vance McDonald has been consistent since he joined the team.
12. LA Rams 88 rating
Tyler Higbee in my eyes is one of the more underrated TEs in the league. I believe he’s easily top 10. Behind him and full of talent, is Gerald Everett. Everett has shown flashes of his potential, but I believe he hasn’t reached his maximum yet. If the Rams Oline holds up, expect both TEs to dominate.
13. Indianapolis 88 rating
The Colts have had a highly rated TE group for some time now. Whether it is Dallas Clark, Dwayne Allen, Eric Ebron or now Jack Doyle, they have always had someone to get the targets. This is a team that is friendly to the position, so I expect a big year for Doyle and free agent pickup Trey Burton. Two good blockers with the ability to catch the ball should benefit this potential top 3 offense.
14. Seattle 84 rating
Here comes a big drop off in the TE rankings. Greg Olsen comes to Seattle but, similar to Jason Witten, I don’t think he can be the number 1 guy here. That job belongs to Will Dissly, who still needs to prove he can play well for multiple weeks at a time. This group has the talent, it’s the production that worries me.
15. Detroit 83 rating
I’m a huge fan of Detroit’s TE group. Though I think Hockenson is not as good as Fant just yet, he still has time to prove himself. Behind him, often overlooked Jesse James provides solid depth to this offense, aspiring to be the next super power.
16. Denver 83 rating
Noah Fant is one of the best receiving TEs in the entire league, which has its moments, especially in the up and coming Broncos offense. However, he is also statistically one of the worst blockers, landing him and his group right in the middle of the pack. They do have a few young guys behind Fant, but no one who has even close to proven themselves.
17. NY Giants 83 rating
When healthy, Evan Engram can be a top
10 TE. Unfortunately for New York, Engram hasn’t been healthy much. They aren’t too deep behind him apart from pure blocker Toilolo and it’s shown the past few seasons. Expect a signing such as Delanie Walker while hoping Evan Engram stays healthy and dominates.
18. Miami 82 rating
Gesicki is one of the up and coming elite TEs in the league. He was very good last season despite little targets. He can catch, block and make plays as well as most young TEs. Similar to the rest of the teams on this list, Miami doesn’t have incredible depth.
19. NY Jets 81 rating
Chris Herndon has enough talent to dominate the league, but injuries have kept him off the field. When healthy, he’s shown he can be an great player with room for improvement. If he can stay healthy, expect him to lead the Jets in catches, yards and TDs.
20. Buffalo 81 rating
Dawson Knox was a fan favourite for Buffalo last season with his dynamic plays and fun personality. However, unlike Herndon, Gesicki and Fant, he has not shown enough to warrant a move up on this list. His future is bright for Buffalo and he could be top 10 by the end of the season. Tyler Kroft was expected to be a big part of the offense last year, don’t expect much in 2020.
21. Atlanta 80 rating
Another unproven but potentially top tier TE is Hayden Hurst. Hurst was behind Andrews last season but has shown flashes of his number 1 pick status. He will thrive in this offense but don’t expect him to be a huge contributor in the blocking game. Atlanta’s average in depth.
22. Chicago 79 rating
Sometimes I think I’m a little hard on rookies, but when it comes to TEs especially, they don’t make an immediate impact. This paired with the fact I’m not completely sold on Cole Kmet ensures Chicago can’t be a top 20 TE team. Jimmy Graham will likely be starting and despite the big name, he is not going to be any better than the young guys above him on these ratings.
23. Houston 78 rating
I’m a huge fan of Darren Fells, who didn’t even play football in college (basketball player). He broke out with 34 catches 341 yards and 7 TD last season for Houston. I think he can be a top tier receiving tight end despite his old age while backup Jordan Thomas can thrive in the blocking game. Overall, this is an underrated duo who can make some impact.
24. Tennessee 78 rating
Jonnu Smith was a fun player to watch at times last season. I do believe he benefitted from a overperforming offense as he also really didn’t have any insane stats. Though talented, Smith has a long way to go before he is dubbed Tennessee’s next Delanie Walker.
25. Jacksonville 77 rating
The big name in Jacksonville this season is Tyler Eifert. The Eifert Tower has had elite seasons, but I believe those seasons are well behind him. He was healthy for the first time in years in 2019, but his performance was not the same with the Bengals. Jacksonville doesn’t have much behind him so they are hoping he can return to his former self, though unlikely.
26. Cincinnati 77 rating
CJ Uzomah was very good as a backup to Eifert in the past, but the years Eifert didn’t play, he struggled as the number 1 tight end. They will likely rely on some of their younger guys to make big plays while hoping Uzomah can up his consistency as a starter.
27. Carolina 76 rating
The remainder of this list consists of TEs who are not proven, or washed up. For Carolina, Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz will be the top 2, but neither excel in passing or blocking. Expect to see a few tight ends rotated through for the Panthers.
28. Washington 76 rating
I was a huge fan of Jeremy Sprinkle in college, as I really hope he can make his way to the starting spot on the leagues worst offense. Behind him they don’t have much. Richard Rogers, who is a famous name thanks to the Miracle in Motown, will likely not even make the roster.
29. Dallas 75 rating
Blake Jarwin was signed to a respectable contract this season to start in Dallas. He’s shown he can be a decent receiver but he struggles with hands and blocking. He has a long way to go before replacing Jason Witten. The potential is there.
30. Arizona 75 rating
Another former Ravens tight end in another team: Maxx Williams is poised to start for the Cardinals in 2020. Without much behind him, he’ll be expected to receive and block, the latter of which shouldn’t be a problem. His receiving ability is questionable, especially as a starting tight end in a pass first offense.
31. Green Bay 75 rating
The starting tight end in Green Bay is 30-million year old Mercedes Lewis, who happens to be the only first rounder to ever catch a pass from Aaron Rodgers. However, he is way old and will not be very productive. Behind him, they have no one I’ve even heard of, they really should have drafted someone higher huh?
32. New England 73 rating
Speaking of no one I’ve heard, the only player I cared to research for New England was presumed starter Matt LaCosse. I discovered he hasn’t done anything as a low draft pick, and I put the Pats dead last. Now that LaCosse opted out, the Patriots have absolutely no one to fill Gronk’s absence. Don’t expect too much out of this offense this year.