The tight end position is one of the most difficult to draft in fantasy football leagues each year. There’s usually a top tier of 3-5 players and then a fairly significant dropoff. Many of them don’t see the standard number of targets each game that you can expect from an elite wide receiver.
Martellus Bennett is a perfect example of a tight end that frustrated owners in 2016. In week 11, Rob Gronkowski was unable to play for the New England Patriots in a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Bennett seemed like a prime play in this situation especially in DFS where he had a lower price because of Gronk’s injury not being determined until later in the week. He put up a whopping one reception for 14 yards despite Tom Brady putting up 280 yards and four touchdowns. In some other games Bennett was very solid, but trying to predict which game scripts would favor him was nearly impossible. That’s part of the difficulty of owning fantasy players in New England not named Tom Brady. Bennett is now a free agent and it’s unclear if New England will bring him back as a security blanket for the often injured Gronkowski.
The other challenge with tight ends is predicting usage with new teams. We just saw Julius Thomas get traded to the Miami Dolphins a few weeks ago. It’s hard to know what Thomas’ target share will be given his injury history and whether or not the Dolphins decide to also keep now free agents Dion Sims and Cameron Jordan.
There are many free agent tight ends which could end up as TE1 on new teams and a few rookies who could end up being fantasy studs. Scouts have been high on Alabama’s O.J. Howard as a solid and complete prospect and Miami (FL) tight end David Njoku has been described as more of a raw but talented player. Both players have been projected by some as the top two tight ends to go in the draft, but we have to wait and see which teams they fall to before predicting what kind of fantasy potential they will have in 2017. So for now, let’s rank the tight ends which are currently under contract.