Most people seem to agree now that tiers are more valuable than rankings when evaluating Fantasy Football players. I'd say that's even more true in Dynasty, because of the contrast between rebuilding and competing teams. But what is even more valuable than telling you the tier a player is currently in is correctly speculating where they'll tier in the future. That's the goal for the July update of Dynasty Tiers.
You can scroll to the bottom to see the current tiers, but first here are two tight ends whose value could be volatile in the coming months.
Irv Smith's value has already done a little dance this offseason. The Fantasy community was very excited when Kyle Rudolph was released, but we had to cool our jets a bit when Vikings coach Mike Zimmer indicated he didn't see much of a change in Smith's role.
If it's true that Tyler Conklin is just going to absorb Kyle Rudolph's role and Smith will be stuck below four targets per game, then Tier 4 is way too high for Smith. No matter how young a tight end is, we don't have much use for a tight end committee in an offense as run-heavy as this one generally is.
On the other hand, Smith is a former second-round pick who won't turn 23 years old until August and Rudolph's absence isn't the only path to more targets. Adam Thielen is getting up there in age and he has had his share of injuries in the past. And it's quite possible the Vikings throw more if their defense isn't improved.
Ultimately, Smith is in Tier 4 because of perceived upside and what he's flashed with limited opportunities. But a third year of mediocre numbers at the end of the season could send him cratering down the rankings and tiers. The upside could be as high as Tier 2 by season's end, but he could also fall all the way to Tier 7.
Cole Kmet probably doesn't have quite as much downside as Smith, simply because this is only his second year in the league. But the Bears' maddening decision to keep Jimmy Graham on their roster makes it difficult to see a major breakout coming as well.
Kmet backers will tell you that Graham is a non-issue, and that Kmet already overtook him at the end of last year. And it's true in the last six games the Bears played including the playoffs, Kmet out-targeted Graham 34 to 17. The bad news is that in that same stretch, Graham scored 52.7 PPR Fantasy points and Kmet scored 43.2.
I would certainly bet on Kmet over Graham in 2021, but it needs to be decisive for this season to be a productive one for the second-year tight end. If that happens, he's most likely to move up one tier, which is a similar fall we'd expect if he produces mediocre results. The disaster would be if Graham out produces him again. Then we'd really have to evaluate how much Kmet's pedigree even matters, though he still wouldn't likely fall as far as Smith could.
Here are my updated Dynasty Tiers at tight end: