When I play fantasy football I usually never take a top tight end. They are not worth picks in the first three rounds because they usually don't score as many points as the running backs and receivers you can take in those rounds. It amazes me how every year I see a mock draft on ESPN where someone takes a tight end in the first round and tries to justify a reason for doing it. There is no reason to take a tight end in the first round and you should wait until at least the second or third round to even consider taking one. Here is my list of the top 10 fantasy football tight ends.
10. Jared Cook
Jared Cook was second out of all tight ends in touchdowns last year with 9. Cook was extremely consistent from week 5 to the end of the season last year. He only scored under 10 points once. Jared Cook is one of the beneficiaries of playing with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history in Drew Brees. Cook is constantly looked for in the red zone when Michael Thomas isn't open. As consistent as Cook was in that span, he got 4 or less targets 6 times. Cook only played 10 games from week 5-17 due to an injury. Cook still managed to score over 10 points in 9 of these games. Cook is getting up there in age and will probably regress. I would not feel confident with him as my starter but he would be a great backup.
9. Mike Gesicki
A lot of people don't realize how consistent the targets Mike Gesicki was getting at the end of the season last year. From weeks 9-17, Gesicki had 5 or more targets in every game. Gesicki averaged 11.7 fantasy points per game over that span which would've made him the TE7 on the year if he was able to keep that pace. The Dolphins didn't draft or sign a receiver this offseason which speaks to the confidence they have in their receiving core. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa will likely get a decent amount of playing time this year. Rookie quarterbacks rely a lot more on their tight ends for short check down routes that can be turned into big gains. If you wanted to wait on a tight end until you have good running backs and receivers Gesicki would be a good one to target.
8. Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews were taken in the same draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Many people thought Hurst would emerge as the starter, but the tight end out of Oklahoma surpassed Hurst on the depth chart. Andrews ended up being one of the top tight ends last year while Hurst was forgotten. Hurst was traded to the Falcons this offseason to replace pro-bowl tight end Austin Hooper. Hurst will be the benefit of Hooper's targets and red zone work. Hurst is still a good tight end. He was taken in the first round for a reason. Hurst is a huge sleeper this year and you can get him as a second tight end. Consider Hurst a TE2 on your roster with high upside.
7. Evan Engram
Evan Engram is really good when he plays. He only played in 8 games last year but had 5 or more targets in every game. Engram has yet to finish a season in his three year NFL career. Most people draft Engram to be their starting tight end and end up having to pick one up because he gets injured. If Engram can play the whole season, he will be great. Engram is on a team that has good, not great receivers. Golden Tate is getting older, Sterling Shepard seems to get 8 concussions every season, and there is up and comer Darius Slayton. When Engram plays, he should get a big bulk of the targets for the Giants offense. He still has to prove he can finish a whole season to be considered a top tight end for fantasy.
6. Tyler Higbee
Tyler Higbee was a monster at the end of the season last year. In the last five games of the season, Higbee had over 8 targets every game. He averaged an absurd 21.4 fantasy points per game over that span. Higbee will not average that many points this season, but he will get more targets with Brandin Cooks gone. Tyler Higbee won a lot of people championships in fantasy football last year. There is a little bit of risk involved with Higbee if he doesn't play like he did at the end of the season. If Higbee plays anywhere near like what he did at the season he will certainly be one of the top 5 tight ends. You can get Higbee pretty late in drafts so you don't have to waste an early pick on a tight end.
5. Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews was one of the top tight ends last year in fantasy. He scored 10 touchdowns, which led all tight ends in the NFL. He had 852 yards to go along with that. There was one problem with Mark Andrews. He was either really good, or really bad. Andrews scored 13.1 or more points in 9 games. In the other 6 games, Andrews scored 9.5 or less points. Andrews scored over 20 points in 4 games but under 6 points in 4 games. Andrews was very inconsistent last season. There is hope for Andrews as the Ravens' top 3 receivers are Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and Willie Snead. Andrews should still get the most targets on the Ravens and because of that he is a top 5 tight end.
4. Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz was a solid tight end last year. He was the TE4 in PPR scoring. He scored over 10 points in 10 out of the 15 games he played. Ertz is one of the big names at tight end. He scored over 200 points the last three years and is going around the 3rd-4th round in fantasy this year. A worry I have about Ertz is Dallas Goedert. The Eagles seem to really like Goedert and will probably use him more this year. The Eagles also drafted Jalen Reagor in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Goedert and Reagor are going to take targets away from Ertz. Ertz is still a very good tight end but, be wary of Reagor and Goedert stealing targets away from him.
3. Darren Waller
Darren Waller was the TE3 last year even though he only scored three touchdowns. I remember watching Raiders games on TV and it seemed every time Waller was about to score, something would go wrong. Whether it would be Waller getting tackled at the 1, Derek Carr over or under throwing him, or Waller dropping the pass, he just couldn't seem to score. The Raiders drafted three receivers in the 2020 draft. All three of these receivers will take targets away from Waller. The reason Waller is ranked this high is he will still get looks in the red zone, he can turn short passes into big gains, and there is no way he only scores 3 touchdowns. Waller is a very talented tight end who should not be slept on this year.
2. George Kittle
From week 5 to the end of the season last year, George Kittle was very consistent. He scored above 14.5 fantasy points in all but two games. Kittle is the perfect tight end for this era of up-tempo football. He is fast, has great hands, and he is a great blocker. 641 of Kittle's 1053 receiving yards came after the catch. His average yards per catch was 12.4, better than Michael Thomas' 11.6. Kittle also had a catch rate of 79.4%. Like Mark Andrews, Kittle will also benefit from being a top target getter on his team. Kittle had 7 or more targets in 10 games last season. Kittle should definitely be a top 2 tight end in any rankings for this upcoming season.
1. Travis Kelce
Kelce has been one of the top tight ends in fantasy football for a long time and I don't see that stopping this season. Kelce plays with the best quarterback in the NFL. Kelce finished as the TE1 last season in a pass first offense where the tight end gets a lot of looks. Kelce had 5 or more targets in every game he played last season, including the games with Matt Moore. Kelce has scored over 220 fantasy points the last 4 seasons and I don't see that stopping this season. One minor issue with Kelce is his drops. Kelce dropped 7 passes last year. That clearly didn't stop him from being the TE1 last season and it won't stop him from being a top tight end this season. As long as the Chiefs' offense remains the way it is, Kelce will continue to dominate in fantasy football.
Tight end is another position in fantasy where you shouldn't draft early. You should wait until you are confident in your running backs and receivers to draft one. The following tight ends just missed the cut: Hunter Henry, Rob Gronkowski, Dallas Goedert, Austin Hooper, TJ Hockenson. Feel free to argue about any of these in the comments.