Fantasy Football Tight End Dynasty Rankings: Martellus Bennett moves to Green Bay and moves up in the rankings

Tight end rankings are the final piece before I can put together my Top 100 Overall Dynasty Rankings and I wish I could say it was the easiest. Sure, put Gronk at the top. Good luck after that.

In all seriousness this task was only made slightly more difficult by trying to finalize it in the middle of the free-agent flurry. The thing that really makes it difficult is injuries.

Outside of Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen , most of historically good tight ends have suffered at least one major injury. It comes with the position, and that makes it difficult to weight both age and injury history. It also likely means that you shouldn’t invest too much in the position. 

On second thought, going cheap at tight end would preclude you from owning maybe the most dominant force in Fantasy when you factor in positional scarcity.

GRONK
1
Rob Gronkowski New England TE
When he’s healthy, there is no one in his class.

Rob Gronkowski has a 16-game pace of 81-1233-13 since 2011. That’s ridiculous. Gronkowksi is the only tight end ever to top those numbers over a full season. So basically his 16-game pace over the past six seasons is better than any tight end ever. 

Sure, you can argue that a 16-game pace doesn’t matter because he hasn’t played 16 games in five seasons. That’s fair, but his average line over that time frame is 60-925-10. In other words he’s been an elite tight end while playing 12 games a year that turns into a Fantasy cheat code whenever he’s healthy. 

Present and the future
2
Travis Kelce Kansas City TE
Kelce is elite in the middle of the field but his lack of touchdowns keep him from Gronk’s tier.
3
Hunter Henry L.A. Chargers TE
Henry looked really special last year and is four years younger than most of this tier.
4
Tyler Eifert Cincinnati TE
Eifert needs to stay healthy and show consistency but the future is bright.
5
Jordan Reed Washington TE
Nearly everyone in this tier has injury concerns, but Reed’s are the most worrisome.

While i saw no room for debate on the No. 1 tight end, I’m far more flexible here. I could even see an argument for Zach Ertz , who I left out of the poll. To be clear, my Twitter followers saw little room for debating who should be at the top of this tier.

Placing Hunter Henry was really hard for me. He sure looked like an elite talent last year, and you would think that Antonio Gates would be stepping out of the spotlight soon. We thought that for several years with Ladarius Green as well. My bigger concern is does Philip Rivers stay any longer than Antonio Gates, or is Henry dealing with a new quarterback in a couple of years? Regardless, his youth got him into my top three.

Tweeners
6
Zach Ertz Philadelphia TE
He’s a poor man’s Travis Kelce. Plenty of yards but lacking in touchdowns.
7
Kyle Rudolph Minnesota TE
Not as old as you think he is. He won’t turn 28 until the middle of the 2017 season.

As long as Zach Ertz continues to follow that Travis Kelce path, he’ll make a jump into the next tier soon enough. The problem with that may be that the Philadelphia Eagles just went out and added an elite red-zone option in Alshon Jeffery . If Ertz continues to hover around 800 yards and 2-4 touchdowns he’ll be perpetually stuck in the low-end No. 1 TE tier. 

Now or Never
8
Jimmy Graham Seattle TE
Graham’s remarkable recovery from injury puts him back among the elite tight ends for at least one more year.
9
Greg Olsen Carolina TE
If I have one year to win a title, I’m perfectly fine with Olsen as my starting tight end.
10
Delanie Walker Tennessee TE
Walker’s value could fall if the Titans go get a No. 1 WR.
11
Martellus Bennett Green Bay TE
Bennett has the stability of a new contract and an elite QB, but he still has mid-range TE1 upside.

This is a disturbing tier to write about because most of this group is just a Gronk injury away from being in the running as the No. 1 TE in 2017. They’re also all on the wrong side of 30, which isn’t as bad as it used to be but still isn’t great. 

Bennett jumps into the bottom of this tier with the trade to Green Bay and even that comes with controversy. We’re talking about a 30 year old who has one season with more than 760 receiving yards and one season with more than six touchdowns. He’s a historically fast starter who fades in the second half of the season.

The Green Bay Packers are a team full of weapons that almost never makes big splashes in free agency. Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers combined for a 60-648-3 line that was basically the equivalent of Jason Witten . Bennett is better than both, but his upside is still pretty close to what he did in 2016. 

Still Hopeful
12
Cameron Brate Tampa Bay TE
Last year was a great step, but how does he perform as the third option?
13
Eric Ebron Detroit TE
Ebron has all of the tools, but I’m beginning to doubt if he can put them together.
14
Austin Hooper Atlanta TE
Hooper has youth, a great QB and a good situation. Here’s hoping he takes a step in 2017.
15
Ladarius Green Pittsburgh TE
There’s still enough positive buzz coming out of Pittsburgh that I can’t totally give up on Green.
16
Vance McDonald San Francisco TE
McDonald got a new contract and seems to be a big part of Kyle Shanahan’s plans.

There’s plenty of reason for hope for this entire tier, but only one them finished as a top-10 TE in 2016. That’s 25-year-old  Cameron Brate . So why doesn’t Brate get more love?

Well, for one thing, he was undrafted out of Harvard and had 305 receiving yards coming into 2016. He also ranked 12th in both receptions and yards at the position, meaning his production was awfully touchdown-dependent.

I could see an argument that the addition of DeSean Jackson will help the offense and that will mean Brate’s touchdown rate is more sustainable. I could also see Jackson scoring more long touchdowns and the Bucs having fewer red-zone opportunities. It feels safer to just assume Jackson means Brate won’t be more involved in the offense so the touchdown number will likely regress. 

Someone else will take them first
17
Coby Fleener New Orleans TE
That was a dreadful first year in New Orleans, but the departure of Cooks will cause some to have hope again.
18
Maybe I can buy in if the Texans actually land Tony Romo .
19
Dwayne Allen New England TE
Is he the new Martellus Bennett ?
20
Jack Doyle Indianapolis TE
Doyle gets treated like he has a lot more upside than Allen. He’s three months younger.
21
Tyler Higbee L.A. Rams TE
Well, he’s young.
22
Thomas has one season in his career over 500 receiving yards.

I’m not sure I like anyone in this tier as much everyone else does, but the dichotomy between Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle is really interesting to me.

Allen is a 27-year-old former third-round pick with 1,451 career receiving yards and 19 career touchdowns. He has twice finished as a top 20 tight end. He’ll be playing this season with Tom Brady as the No. 2 TE on a team that just saw its No. 2 TE finish ninth at the position.

Doyle is nearly three months younger than Allen and was undrafted. In four seasons he has 793 receiving yards and eight career touchdowns. He will presumably be the No. 1 tight end in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Colts have produced one top-10 tight end since Andrew Luck entered the league.

I’m quite certain that Doyle will get more hype in both redraft and dynasty, but I’m not sure there’s really much difference. They’re both mediocre No. 2 TEs who will need a big touchdown year to sniff the top 10. 

Bottom of the Barrel
23
Clive Walford Oakland TE
There’s plenty of opportunity in Oakland, but Walford disappointed in 2016.
24
Jared Cook Green Bay TE
Cook should have done everything he could to work out a deal in Green Bay.
25
Gary Barnidge Cleveland TE
There’s not much exciting, but there are a lot of targets available in Cleveland.
26
Charles Clay Buffalo TE
Tyrod staying definitely helps.
27
The Arizona Cardinals gave him a new deal, so at least there is stability.
28
Antonio Gates L.A. Chargers TE
Would it surprise anyone if he caught another seven touchdowns this year?
29
Dennis Pitta Baltimore TE
Pitta took a pay cut to stay in Baltimore. He could be streamable in PPR.
30
Zach Miller Chicago TE
Miller has opportunity in Chicago, but I’m not sure why the Chicago Bears would feed the ball to a 33 year old coming off foot surgery.

If you own a tight end in this group, I’m sorry, it’s time to use a draft pick on a tight end. There’s not really anyone I feel great about even streaming here unless it’s in a really deep league or a two-TE league.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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