The FOX Sports fantasy football experts have been updating their top 200 rankings constantly as the season approaches. Here's a look at the 12 tight ends who cracked the top 100, with comments included.
No. 7 – Rob Gronkowski
If you strip out his 2013 season missed due to injury, here are Gronk’s averages: 68 receptions, 102 targets, 993 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns per season. With little question, the rapport between he and Tom Brady will be muted in September due to the quarterback’s four-game Deflategate suspension. We just don’t know how Jimmy G. and Gronk will mesh come regular season game speed. Owners should also be aware of Martellus Bennett’s two-tight-end red zone presence in 2016. Heck, Scott Chandler vultured three scores from him in 2015.
No. 41 – Jordan Reed
When on the field, he’s a top three fantasy tight end. The key is keeping him on the field and not on the trainer’s table. He’s suffered multiple concussions during college in the NFL. He became one of only 10 tight ends in NFL history to finish a season with 950+ receiving yards and 11+ touchdowns last year.
Getty ImagesMatt Hazlett
No. 43 – Greg Olsen
He leads all tight ends in receiving yards over the past four seasons. Olsen averaged five receptions, seven targets, 59 receiving yards per game during the four-year stretch. The only thing keeping him from uber-fantasy status are the touchdown totals as he’s never scored more than seven as a member of the Panthers. Newton’s ability to call his own number around the end zone somewhat mutes Olsen’s potential. Despite this, you are drafting Olsen for his consistency and reliability.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY SportsJeremy Brevard
No. 64 - Tyler Eifert
Eifert’s status as a red-zone monster is threatened by an ankle injury that will cause him to miss a few games early in the season. Until his situation is clearer, it’s really hard to consider him as a seventh-round pick. We have no idea how effective he'll be upon returning.
No. 75 - Gary Barnidge
Barnidge was probably the most unexpected fantasy breakout performer of 2015, catching 79 passes for 1,043 yards and nine TDs. He might not repeat those numbers, but (insert Browns QB here) won’t have many good alternatives in the passing game, other than first-round WR Corey Coleman. Barnidge should have a solid season.
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No. 76 - Delanie Walker
Walker’s 10th NFL season was his best by far, as he caught 94 passes for 1,088 yards and six TDs to finish as fantasy’s TE4. He’s ranked lower than that due to the projected emergence of WR Dorial Green-Beckham, and a run-heavy offense that will feature DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
No. 78 - Travis Kelce
Kelce finished 2015 as fantasy’s TE7, and that’s where we have him ranked now. It’ll be nice if he gets more than 10 red-zone targets this season.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
No. 84 - Zach Ertz
Ertz finished sixth among tight ends with 75 receptions and seventh with 853 yards, but he scored only two touchdowns. That’s probably fluky low, and Ertz’s likely improvement in that department makes his Round 10 ADP a nice value.
No. 86 - Coby Fleener
Fleener put up mostly pedestrian stats in four years with the Colts despite catching passes from college teammate Andrew Luck. So why do we like him now? Opportunity. The Saints like throwing to their tight ends, and not just the ones named Jimmy Graham. Last season, Ben Watson saw 109 targets and finished as fantasy’s No. 8 tight end.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
No. 94 - Julius Thomas
Thomas missed four games at the start of last season, but finished with a 46-455-5 line, which would have put him inside the top 12 tight ends on a per-game basis. Yawn.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY SportsLogan Bowles
No. 99 - Jimmy Graham
The Seahawks listed Graham as the top tight end on their Week 1 depth chart, but they still aren't sure if he'll be ready to play. Also, you should check Victor Cruz’ history to see how recoveries from patellar tendon injuries can go awry. Graham is going in Round 10 right now, and that might still be too aggressive.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
No. 100 - Eric Ebron
When Ebron left the Lions’ practice field on August 6, some observers feared that he had torn his Achilles. Instead, he’s reportedly on track to play in Week 1. The third-year tight end has had issues with drops, but in a pass-happy offense that no longer includes target hog Calvin Johnson, his 47-537-5 line from 2015 seems likely to improve. Ebron is best suited as a fantasy matchup starter.