Fantasy Football Dynasty Tight End Tiers: End of elite production near for Travis Kelce?

I've written more in 2020 about the potential depth of the tight end position than anyone rightly should. But it's telling I found 35 tight ends (yes, the final 13 are more for deep leagues) I wouldn't mind rostering in a Dynasty league. It's even more telling that Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker didn't make that list. 

Their recent descent should serve as a word of caution for Fantasy managers with Travis Kelce on their Dynasty rosters. And that's why he's not No. 1 in my tight end Dynasty rankings. Of course, he's still in the top tier. Let's start right there. 

Everything is pretty great for Kelce, who has Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback and a huge target share for a tight end. But he'll also be 30 years old next season and historically tight ends don't age well. Jimmy Graham averaged nearly 900 yards per season through his age 30 season and hasn't topped 650 since. Antonio Gates was over 900 yards every year but one from 24 through 29 and then never reached that mark again. If I was a contender I wouldn't dream of moving Kelce, but anyone else should listen to offers. 

25 and Still Getting Better

All three of these tight ends could pass Kelce in 2020, and I'd expect at least one of them to do just that. That doesn't mean they come without concern. As of Feb. 5 we don't know who Hunter Henry or Austin Hooper will be playing with,  and that could negatively impact their long-term value. For Andrews, it's more about whether the volume will increase. It's really not fair to expect him to be as efficient as he's been. Fortunately for him, the expectation is that Lamar Jackson will throw more as he develops.

Maybe a Tier Too Low

Zach Ertz is a year younger than Kelce, but frankly he hasn't been as good. His season was saved by the fact that all of the Eagles receivers got hurt, but his share of the tight end targets went down. Dallas Goedert is likely to continue to move toward 50% of the tight end targets in 2020. Evan Engram and Darren Waller went in opposite directions last year, but I've got a similar level of confidence in both of them to be top-10 options for the next three seasons. 

Future of the Position

You should not be discouraged by the lack of production from Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson. Rookie tight ends rarely pan out in redraft. Remembering that can help you properly value them after their first year ends in relative disappointment. I feel more confident in Fant's 2020 upside, but both still possess the long-term potential to be the No. 1 tight end in football. 

Still Upside, No Floor

I suppose the last five games of Tyler Higbee's 2019 will have him ranked higher than this for most. Problem is that it's a five-game sample in a four-year career. And it was mostly dependent on an enormous tight end target share that has not existed in past iterations of Sean McVay's offense. If Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett are all 100% to start the season, I would not expect a role near as big for Higbee. But he has shown us what he can do if I'm wrong.

Only if He's in New Orleans with Drew Brees

Jared Cook is a mountain of a man who deserves a tier of his own. He's too old to have a long future, but he's a Fantasy starter in 2020 if Drew Brees returns to the Saints.

Living on a Prayer

Oh how David Njoku has fallen. He was No. 10 in my preseason Dynasty rankings. Just above Mark Andrews and Dallas Goedert. The only sliver of hope remaining is that whatever happened in 2019 was a reflection on Freddie Kitchens. Njoku (24) is still younger than most of the tight ends above him and still has the upside we fell in love with. 

What a group. I suppose we should talk about Eric Ebron, because a new home in the right situation could absolutely jump him a few tiers. I just wonder who is interested after his mediocre 2019. Ebron's 2018 is the clear outlier in his career and it would take an absolutely perfect landing spot for me to consider him a top-20 option in 2020. 

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

Fantasy Football Today Podcast

Our Latest Stories