FANTASY PLAYS: Strong depth at tight end, kicker spots
I approach the tight end position in much the same way I approach drafting a quarterback.
I like to spend my early picks on running backs and wide receivers. This is not to say I haven’t seen what my team might look like should I draft a TE early.
Mock drafts can be a valuable tool in determining your draft strategy. We know by ADP (average draft position) that Kelce is generally going in the top 8-15 picks of a draft. Kittle and Ertz about a round and a half to two rounds later.
If you were to take part in several mock drafts, you can get an idea of how happy you would be with your team if you draft one of these tight ends early.
The next tier of TEs is where I’m much more interested in investing in. I’ll take an O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, or Hunter Henry in rounds 5-7 in every draft. At that point, you should already have at least one starting running back and wide receiver, the building blocks have already been set. Tight end is deep, maybe not as deep as QB, but you will run out of RBs and WRs much quicker than you will a TE.
If you wait until double-digit rounds in your draft to select a tight end, I’m good with this strategy as well, you’re likely looking at Vance McDonald, David Njoku, Jared Cook, and Delanie Walker. Sure, each one has some question marks, but there is also upside associated with each one. McDonald could be third on the target list behind Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner, the upside is there. Will there be enough passes to go around to make David Njoku a top TE this season? Will Jared Cook be able to develop chemistry with Drew Brees?
Walker is up there in age and coming off a season-ending injury, can he still be the top target for Tennessee? How good will Eric Ebron be now that Jack Doyle is healthy and should play a full season? Not to mention, it’s unlikely he’ll have the same TD to reception rate that he had last season.
As for my rankings, here we go at TE.
— Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
— George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
— Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
— O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— Evan Engram, New York Giants
— Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
— Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers
— David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
— Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
— Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
— Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
— Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
— Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
— Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
— Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
— Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
— Trey Burton, Chicago Bears
— Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers
— Chris Herndon, New York Jets
— Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
- AFC West
- Cleveland Browns
- David Njoku
- Drew Brees
- Eric Ebron
- Evan Engram
- George Kittle
- Indianapolis Colts
- James Conner
- Jared Cook
- JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Kansas City Chiefs
- New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants
- NFC East
- NFC West
- O.J. Howard
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- San Francisco 49ers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Travis Kelce
- Zach Ertz