Today I bring you my way to early 2021 tight end rankings. Note again for my early rankings it is more important to me to view the tiers then the rankings. My early 2021 tight end rankings will consistently be changed during the offseason. With free agency and the draft looming things are going to be constantly changing. For my early 2021 tight end rankings be sure to check out future videos breaking down some of these players. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be doing some individual videos for these players. Let me know what you think about my early 2021 tight end rankings! (Note these are PPR Rankings)
Tier 1: Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce has 5 straight tight end 1 seasons. Until there is reason to believe he can not finish at number 1 he is staying number 1. It is that simple.
Tier 2: Elite Upside, Mid TE 1 Floor
2. Darren Waller
Waller has shown he can be a consistent elite option at the tight end position. Last season through 16 weeks he averaged a terrific 16.8 ppg. Waller was the number 1 target not only in Vegas but also in the NFL. More impressively he was first in yards after the catch and was super efficient. Even if his volume slightly dips I expect him to be efficient enough to be a safe top 3 tight end.
3. George Kittle
Kittle had his share of up and downs last season which included multiple injuries. Jimmy G was banged up last season but all signs have him returning to the team. If we go back to 2019 we know Kittle can be a monster on the field. He led the league for tight ends then with 569 yards after catch. Kittle has the elite upside but the biggest question is can he stay healthy with his physical style of play. According to sports injury predictor he is a high risk to get hurt in 2021. Now of course this is only a predictive measure an he can certainly play all 16 games. Yet there is a ton of risk in 2021 so my shares may be limited.
4. TJ Hockenson
I honestly go back and forth with Hockenson and where he ends up in this tier. Feel like he is a bit below Kittle but above the rest of the tight ends. Although he finished 3rd through 16 games he only averaged 11.6 points per game. That kind of sums up the year it was overall for tight ends in fantasy football. He did have 7 tight end 1 games during the season and only truly busted when Stafford was hurt. Two years ago we saw Goff rely heavily on his tight ends at times. Both Everett and Higbee had multiple double digit targets as they combined for a 23.6% target share. Hockenson should take the next step forward and could be a favorite target of Goff.
Tier 3: Mid TE 1 Upside, Low TE 1 Floor
5. Noah Fant
Fant has all the talent in the world but is in a tough situation. Drew Lock has been wildly inconsistent at times. Inconsistent quarterback play and one Kendall Hinton had an impact on Fants game. Although he was 6th in targets with 93 he was 25th in target accuracy. Going into 2021 Fants floor should be what we saw last season. Getting Cortland Sutton back to me has limited impact as although targets might slightly dip efficiency should go up. All Fant needs is slighty better quarterback play and I fully believe he can breakout.
6. Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews may not have lived up to expectations in 2021 but it was not a terrible year. Although he was plagued with inconsistency he finished up 4th in ppg at 12.2. He also was much stronger down the stretch as he averaged 15.5 ppg from weeks 10 on. The main issue I had with Andrews season was even though Hurst was traded his target per game barely moved. In fact it essentially stayed the same. The big issue for Andrews was a regression in yards and touchdowns. Going into 2021 the Ravens could bring in more weapons limiting Andrews ceiling. I expect another mid tight end 1 finish for him.
7. Dallas Goedert
Is it finally time to see a Dallas Goedert break out in 2021? Well Zach Ertz is most likely gone and so is Carson Wentz. The key question for a Goedert breakout has to be surrounding the scheme for the Eagles moving forward. With Jalen Hurts possibly the quarterback we could see the team lean on the run game and play action. I fully believe Goedert has the talent and can build on some decent efficiency numbers. He averaged 11.4 yards per reception and 8.1 yards per target. Can he get the volume though? If he can we could be staring at a 2019 Mark Andrews like season.
8. Hunter Henry
The more I go on this list the more unpredictable these players become. If I was to include rookies Pitts would probably be in this spot. Yet I currently am waiting on is destination for 2021 which could be the Chargers. Henry is set to be a free agent and based on landing spot it could help or kill his value. Yet over the course of his career Henry has proven to be a top 5-10 talent when healthy. He is someone I think is safe in this 8-10 range for the time being.
9. Evan Engram
Engram is a player who I want to put lower but due to volume I just cannot right now. He had 9 games of single digit fantasy points during the fantasy regular season. Yet he recorded the 4th most targets with 109. Of course having 10 drops (some bad ones) did not help his fantasy football cause. Yet we cannot deny he was 23rd in target accuracy when targeted. Daniel Jones at times was just not accurate. So while I am not necessarily excited to own Engram shares in 2021 I think he can finish here due to volume.
Tier 4: Tight End 1 Upside, Risky Floor
10. Irv Smith Jr.
This really begins the list of guys who can finish anywhere from 8 to 20. It really is a long and close tier. You can make the argument for any of these guys and I would not hate it. Personally I really am high on Irv Smith again next year. He still is super young at 22 and I truthfully don’t feel we have seen his full potential. Kyle Rudolph could be gone and that can open up a boatload of opportunity. One analytic I love to see is a 134.4 qb rating when targeted. Now while that isn’t the fanciest stat it shows a high efficiency when Cousins targeted him. To me he is a late round player I want to buy.
11. Mike Gesicki
I was a huge fan of Mike Gesicki last offseason. He was one of my most owned tight ends and the one thing I learned was he was inconsistent. In fact the whole Miami offense was inconstant and you never knew what to expect from him. He finished 8th In fantasy points per game with 10.6 but not the good kind of 8th. One thing I loved about his usage though was he was second in slot snaps at 298. In fact almost half of his snaps came in the slot. If the offense can use him at some point and increase it’s efficiency he can have a true breakout. Until then he’s a low end tight end 1 for me but with heavy risk.
12. Robert Tonyan
Tonyan was a break out star for tight ends in 2020. He came out of nowhere and finished 4th in ppr leagues. It was an absolutely terrific year but there is reason to be concerned in 2021. Although Tonyan finished 4th in ppr leagues he finished 24th in targets with 59! His touchdown percentage was over 20% which is simply unheard of. There is bound to be regression next season. I also do not believe his target share will increase enough to make the difference. For now 12 seems like a safe spot but I may be avoiding him next season depending on ADP.