2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: TE strategy and Tiers 1.0

Positional Tiers 1.0: QB Tiers | RB Tiers | WR Tiers | TE Tiers

What's the best strategy when it comes to tight ends? Simple: Take a stud early.

Too bad there's only three of them — and more than half of your league will chase this monster trio starting — and ending — in Round 2.

PPR TE Tiers 1.0

ELITE

VERY GOOD

START-WORTHY

THE REST

ROUND 2

ROUNDS 4-7

ROUNDS 8-10

ROUND 11+

Travis Kelce

Evan Engram

Hunter Henry

Jordan Reed

George Kittle

Eric Ebron

T.J. Hockenson

Chris Herndon

Zach Ertz

O.J. Howard

Noah Fant

David Njoku


Jared Cook

Austin Hooper

Trey Burton



Vance McDonald

Jack Doyle




Jace Sternberger




Kyle Rudolph




Delanie Walker




Mark Andrews

You know the names: Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz. In 2018, they combined to average 10.5 Fantasy points per game in non-PPR and 16.9 points per game in PPR. That was the statistical equivalent of having Stefon Diggs or Julian Edelman in your tight end spot every week. It gives Fantasy managers a massive advantage over opponents stuck with streaming or touchdown-or-bust tight ends. Plus you'll never sit the stud, so looking for late-round tight end help isn't necessary.

That's why they're so popular. Duh.

The reality is because they're so popular, you might not even get the chance to take one depending on your draft position. Are you prepared to take Kelce in early Round 2 if you're picking in the 10th, 11th or 12th slot? Are you prepared to make a sad panda face if you're building a team from the first or second overall draft positions and potentially see all three go before you make a choice in Round 2?

It's not really about missing out on a star at another position — it's about missing out on Kelce, Kittle or Ertz.

Non-PPR TE Tiers 1.0

ELITE

VERY GOOD

START-WORTHY

THE REST

ROUND 2

ROUNDS 5-7

ROUNDS 9-10

ROUND 11+

Travis Kelce

Evan Engram

Hunter Henry

Chris Herndon

George Kittle

Eric Ebron

T.J. Hockenson

David Njoku

Zach Ertz

O.J. Howard

Noah Fant

Jordan Reed


Jared Cook

Vance McDonald

Austin Hooper



 

Jace Sternberger




Trey Burton




Delanie Walker




Mark Andrews




Kyle Rudolph

If you find yourself without one of the elite studs, don't fret … yet. The next tier offers fair production, just not on the same level. The one guy who might border on elite, Evan Engram, figures to be gone by the end of Round 4, making him a pricey consolation prize. Eric Ebron and the remaining members of the tier have some nice potential, but also have zero 900-yard seasons combined, while only Ebron has one year of over six touchdowns. If you have to choose from this brood, promise yourself not to reach.

Now if you whiff on those guys, you'll probably cry on the inside. Resign yourself to streaming the position and hope to luck out on someone you latch on to. I know, not exactly the most reassuring plan, but what else can you do with so many guys who carry so much uncertainty? One idea: go young! T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant figure to see a bunch of playing time right away and at the very least have favorable early-season matchups. Why not take a risk on their fresh legs versus the unexciting outlooks guys who are either has-beens (Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham) or potential never-will-bes (Chris Herndon, David Njoku)?

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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