Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fantasy Football Half-PPR TE Rankings

Here are our fantasy football tight end rankings (half-PPR) heading into 2020:

1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs

Kelce has finished as either the TE1 (2016, 2018 and 2019) or TE2 (2017) in each of the past four seasons. During that span, Kelce has averaged a line of 92/1,182/7. The only drawback on using a second-round pick on Kelce (or George Kittle) is the potential impact to overall roster construction and there are several appealing tight end targets in the mid-to-late rounds.

2. George Kittle, 49ers

Kittle missed a couple of games and his 2019 numbers (85/1,053/5) took a small dip compared to 2018 (88/1,377/5), but it's a two-player tier at the top of the TE position with Kittle and Travis Kelce.

3. Mark Andrews, Ravens

In the year that the Ravens drafted Andrews, they used a first-round pick on a tight end except it wasn't Andrews. While that first-rounder (Hayden Hurst) was traded this offseason to Atlanta (and the move provides a boost for his outlook), Andrews is coming off a breakout season where he posted career highs in receptions (64), yards (852) and touchdowns (10).

4. Zach Ertz, Eagles

A model of consistency, Ertz has a minimum of 74 catches and 816 yards in five consecutive seasons. While he was even better over the past two seasons (204/2,079/14 combined line), the team loaded up on speedy pass-catchers this offseason and Carson Wentz may not need to rely on Ertz as heavily in 2020.

5. Darren Waller, Raiders

In his breakout season, Waller finished second amongst tight ends in receptions (90), third in targets (117) and second in yards (1,145). With the team's additions via free agency and the draft, Waller will have much more competition for targets in 2020, but he's still a top-five option at the position.

6. Evan Engram, Giants

Durability has been an issue for Engram, who has missed at least five games in each of the past two seasons and had Lisfranc surgery in December. When he was on the field in 2019, however, he averaged 5.5 catches and 58.4 yards per game, both of which were career highs.

7. Hayden Hurst, Falcons

Hurst doubled his production in 2019 to 30/349/2, but that paled in comparison to (now former) teammate Mark Andrews. Hurst's trade to Atlanta does wonders for his fantasy outlook as Austin Hooper signed a free-agent deal with Cleveland. Before Hooper's mid-season injury, he was fantasy's top-scoring tight end and finished second behind Julio Jones in team targets.

8. Hunter Henry, Chargers

One of the league's most talented tight ends, Henry has played just 26 games over the past three seasons combined. That said, he set career highs in his age-25 season in targets (76), receptions (55) and yards (652) in just 12 games.

9. Tyler Higbee, Rams

Dominant as it gets in December, Higbee had a 43/522/2 (12.14 Y/R) receiving line on 56 targets over the final five games of the season. Higbee's late-season breakout was aided by an injury to Gerald Everett, who played just four offensive snaps in that stretch, but he's easily a top-10 option heading into 2020.

MORE: Robert Woods 2020 Fantasy Football Profile

10. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins

Gesicki is athletic freak -- 4.54 forty and 41.5" vertical -- at tight end and he had a breakout second season, aided by additional opportunities with the season-ending injury to UDFA receiver Preston Williams. Gesicki had five-plus targets in all eight games without Williams but only five-plus in just three of eight with him. More big slot than tight end, Gesicki finished his sophomore campaign as fantasy's TE11. Especially considering the team's WR3/WR4 are sitting 2020 out, Gesicki has the potential to take another significant step forward in year three.

11. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers

Outside of his 2010 rookie season, Gronkowski's 52.5 YPG average in his final season (2018) in New England was the lowest of his career by a wide margin. After taking a year off and shedding 15 pounds, Gronk should be a factor up the seam and in the red zone for the Bucs with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin commanding so much attention.

12. Jared Cook, Saints

In his first season in New Orleans, Cook averaged a career-best 16.4 yards per reception and scored a career-high nine touchdowns on just 43 receptions. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders in free agency bumps Cook down a notch on the targets pecking order and it's unlikely that he maintains his unreal efficiency levels from 2019, but he's a viable TE1 heading into 2020.

13. Austin Hooper, Browns

Despite missing three games, Hooper posted career highs across the board with 75 catches, 787 yards and six touchdowns. Before missing any time, Hooper was fantasy's top-scoring tight end through Week 8. As he transitions to a new team and offense, however, Hooper is a back-end TE1, at best, in what should be a run-heavy offense.

14. T.J. Hockenson, Lions

Hockenson began his NFL career with a bang (6/131/1 against Arizona), but the rest of his rookie season was lackluster -- 26/236/1 over his final 11 games. Rookie tight ends typically struggle, but how much of a second-year jump will we see from Hockenson? One concern for last year's No. 8 pick is his less-than-100% ankle this offseason.

15. Blake Jarwin, Cowboys

Jarwin should see a significant jump in playing time and targets with Jason Witten (and his 83 targets) now in Vegas. Over his past two seasons combined, Jarwin has turned his 77 targets into 58 catches for 672 yards (11.6 Y/R) and six touchdowns.

16. Chris Herndon, Jets

Due to injury and suspension, 2019 was a lost season for Herndon. As a rookie in 2018, however, he emerged to become a factor -- sixth-most fantasy points from Weeks 6 to 16. He's an intriguing upside play for those that punt or stream the position.

17. Noah Fant, Broncos

Fant showed promise as a rookie and showed his big-play ability with a pair of 100-yard games. That said, he had as many games with single-digit receiving yards (four) as he had with 50-plus (four). While more consistency should be expected in 2020, the mass addition of offensive weapons potentially limits his ceiling for a true second-year breakout.

18. Jonnu Smith, Titans

The season-ending injury to Delanie Walker in Week 7 opened the door for Smith to post career numbers -- 35 receptions and 517 scrimmage yards (439 receiving and 78 rushing). Atop the depth chart, Smith has top-12 upside (or better) at a relatively weak position.

19. Jack Doyle, Colts

Few teams target tight ends the way the Colts do, so it would be reasonable to expect year-over-year improvement from Doyle's 43/448/4 campaign in 2019 with Eric Ebron now in Pittsburgh.

20. Ian Thomas, Panthers

In the nine games that Greg Olsen has missed over the past two seasons, Thomas has shown the ability to be productive when given an expanded role. In those nine games, Thomas has averaged 3.89/38.67/0.33 on 6.0 targets per game, equivalent to a 16-game pace of 62.2/618.7/5.3. If he had produced those numbers (124.98 fantasy points) last year, that would have been good for a top-10 fantasy season.

21. Eric Ebron, Steelers

The 10th-overall pick in 2014, Ebron is still just 27 years old and only one season removed from his career-best 66/750/13 campaign with Indianapolis (Andrew Luck) in 2018. Touchdown regression was expected in 2019, but Ebron also averaged a mere 34.1 yards per game (the lowest since his rookie season) in an injury-shortened 11-game campaign. He should be more involved as a receiver than Vance McDonald, but Ebron is better-viewed as a mid-TE2 type as he transitions to a new team and offense.

22. Dallas Goedert, Eagles

Goedert nearly doubled his production in year two as he finished with 58 catches for 607 yards and five touchdowns on 87 targets. Counting the playoff loss to Seattle, Goedert closed the season with 55-plus yards in five of his final six games. A hairline fracture in one of his thumbs won't jeopardize his availability for Week 1.

23. Dawson Knox, Bills

Under-utilized at Mississippi, Knox, who ran a 4.51 forty at his Pro Day, had 28 catches for 388 yards (13.9 Y/R) and two touchdowns as a rookie. While he should build upon his solid rookie campaign, the addition of Stefon Diggs to the receiving corps and the team's run-first approach could limit how big of a second-year jump Knox makes.

24. Tyler Eifert, Jaguars

After playing just 14 games in the previous three seasons combined, Eifert played a full 16-game slate in 2019 and finished with 43 catches for 436 yards and three touchdowns. If he is able to put together another healthy season (granted, a big if), Eifert has the potential to flirt with top-12 numbers in Jay Gruden's TE-friendly offense.

25. Irv Smith, Vikings

Despite getting 181 more offensive snaps, Kyle Rudolph (48) was targeted only one time more than Irv Smith Jr. (47) last season. Going into his second season, Smith will become (perhaps significantly) more of a receiving factor as a follow-up to his 36/311/2 rookie campaign and should overtake Rudolph as the top pass-catching tight end on the team.

26. Jimmy Graham, Bears

The Bears used their first pick on Cole Kmet, who was the first tight end selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Given the difficult transition for rookie tight ends and the size of the contract given to Graham, the 33-year-old tight end should lead the position group in fantasy production in 2020. Temper expectations, however, as Graham's 2019 numbers (38/447/3) were the worst of his career excluding his 2010 rookie season.

27. O.J. Howard, Buccaneers

Despite his intriguing skill set, draft pedigree and high-powered offense, we shouldn't continue holding our breathe waiting for Howard's breakout, especially with Brady recruiting Gronk out of retirement.

28. Will Dissly, Seahawks

Devastating injuries prematurely ended back-to-back seasons to begin his career, but Dissly has averaged 13.5 Y/R and scored six touchdowns on only 31 receptions. The signing of Greg Olsen in free agency allows the Seahawks to be patient early with Dissly (Achilles) even though he has passed his physical.

29. Jace Sternberger, Packers

Not targeted in the regular season, Sternberger had three catches for 15 yards and a touchdown in two playoff appearances. With Jimmy Graham now in Chicago, last year's 75th-overall pick will have an opportunity to make a much larger impact atop the team's depth chart at tight end in 2020.

30. Greg Olsen, Seahawks

Since his 1,000-yard three-peat (2014-'16), Olsen has missed multiple games in three consecutive seasons, but he finished with a receiving line of 52/597/2 in a mostly-healthy 14-game campaign last year. If he can stay healthy (and Dissly can't), Olsen could be stream-worthy with upside fringe TE1 upside in his age-35 season.

31. Gerald Everett, Rams

With Everett essentially sidelined for December, Higbee broke out and enters 2020 as a top-10 option. Before December, however, Everett had three 10-target games and a 7/136 outburst in Week 5. Sean McVay has talked about doing a "better job of utilizing Everett's skill set. Trading Brandin Cooks to Houston allow McVay to employ more two-TE sets with Higbee and Everett on the field together.

32. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings

Like many tight ends, Rudolph has become a touchdown-or-bust option and fantasy owners should expect his volume to decrease even further from his five-year lows of 48 targets (10.3% share).

33. Darren Fells, Texans

By setting a career high in touchdowns (seven), Fells nearly finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2019. The classic touchdown-or-bust tight end, Fells had more games with two yards or less (four) than he had with 30 yards or more (three).

34. C.J. Uzomah, Bengals

There are 63 tight end targets (56.25%) vacated from last season with Tyler Eifert now in Jacksonville. While Uzomah will see a higher share of tight end targets in 2020, producing fantasy-relevant numbers will be difficult if the team's top-four wideouts stay healthy.

35. Devin Asiasi, Patriots

With Matt LaCosse deciding to opt out of the 2020 season, the Patriots have expressed some interest in Delanie Walker, who is still an unsigned free agent. While rookie tight ends often struggle to make a significant impact in their first season, Asiasi has been getting some rave reviews at camp.

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