Running back, wide receiver, and tight end rankings are more difficult to come up with than QB rankings, because they can vary drastically just on the simple question of “is your league PPR or non-PPR?”. I do my best to generalize these rankings mostly taking into consideration standard rules but then using PPR in the back of my mind as a tiebreaker. The only way to truly know the value of a player in your league is to use our Custom Fantasy Football Rankings tool which will tailor the scoring to your league’s settings (note: this is a premium feature only available to subscribed users, for more information about subscribing please check out the subscription page http://www.fantasysportsfacts.com/subscribe). Tight end rankings are always changing, albeit less than running back and wide receiver, but I will still continue to update this list and edit my player notes whenever things change.
Tier 1 – the tightest of ends
- NO Jimmy Graham 0-0 85-1125-14
Graham puts up tier 2 wide receiver numbers as a tight end with nobody else really that close to him unless Gronk could stay healthy for a full season. As a result of this separation from all the other tight ends, you may see Graham going in the first round of some drafts, and he certainly should never make it out of the second round, even in smaller leagues.
Tier 2 – the not Jimmy Grahams
- NE Rob Gronkowski 0-0 62-925-11
I have Thomas projected for a better season than Gronk, but I’m also projecting Gronk on a 12 game estimate which means those 12 games will be on par with Graham. Unfortunately, Gronk can’t seem to shake the injury bug, but if he’s healthy during the fantasy playoffs then you’ll have yourself a stud when it counts.
- DEN Julius Thomas 0-0 80-950-11
The departure of Eric Decker should help Thomas some, but the Broncos offense will also have an incredibly hard time reproducing last year’s offensive magic. They’re still the best offense so I project a slight increase for Thomas this year.
- CLE Jordan Cameron 0-0 84-950-7
With Josh Gordon gone, Jordan Cameron has to pick up the slack for the Browns offense. He should be incredibly highly targeted, but will also struggle through double teams. Due to the volume of looks that Cameron should see, I see no reason to be worried despite his trail off in production after his hot start to last season.
Tier 3 – grab viable starters before they’re gone
- WAS Jordan Reed 0-0 77-875-6
Reed is poised for a breakout after showcasing his talents last year, but he’s also a concussion waiting to happen. Washington also has added DeSean Jackson to the mix which could mean great things for the offense as a whole but less looks to go around for everyone. If I don’t grab a guy in the top 2 tiers, I might play it safer and grab Pitta or Olsen for a bigger bargain than some of the more expensive tight ends.
- DAL Jason Witten 0-0 80-900-5
Gavin Escobar should see an expanded role, but the Cowboys defense looks historically bad which should mean plenty of opportunities for Witten as the Cowboys will be playing a lot of catch up. I still don’t understand why Jason Garrett has managed to keep his job, but Garrett remains the reason I remain cautious on all Dallas fantasy stars this year.
- SF Vernon Davis 0-0 55-775-9
I’m not as high on Vernon Davis as some are. He is incredibly Jekyll and Hyde from game to game which makes it hard to count on him on a weekly basis. If you’re in a rotisserie points style league then by all means grab him and let the 30+ point games come when they come and accept the 5 pointers as well, but in a head to head league I am not a huge Davis fan.
- CAR Greg Olsen 0-0 70-835-5
I have no problem with Mr. Consistent. Olsen certainly won’t blow you away, but he also won’t let you down. If you’re looking for a steady reliable tight end then be my guest.
- BAL Dennis Pitta 0-0 68-750-6
I was incredibly high on Pitta having a breakout season last year after a really strong finish to his 2012 campaign, but a hip injury derailed that. Pitta will be used heavily in the Ravens offense that sports new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, but the addition of Owen Daniels will also limit Pitta’s upside. I think Pitta is a safe low/mid range TE1 that I would take right around the same time as Olsen.
- MIN Kyle Rudolph 0-0 65-675-7
I love me some Norv Turner tight end action… awkward pause… Seriously though, Turner turned Jordan Cameron into a star last year and while Rudolph has never topped 500 yards in his career, he might just be in a system now that will help him get it done. I have no problem taking Rudolph as a low range TE1 with some mid range TE1 upside.
- MIA Charles Clay 15-0 70-750-5
Charles Clay was Ryan Tannehill’s security blanket last year, and there’s nothing better than a security blanket tight end in PPR leagues. Clay is a low range TE1, but a very safe option in a PPR format.
- HOU Garrett Graham 0-0 64-700-6
The other Graham has some major upside with Owen Daniels out of the picture. 34-404-2 in the 8 games last year after Owen Daniels got hurt and before Graham injured his hamstring and missed the final 3 games. He had 2 big games in that 8 game span and 6 blah games, but the opportunities to succeed will definitely be there.
Tier 4 – gimme some upside
- PHI Zach Ertz 0-0 50-650-6
I love the upside here, Ertz could be a stud in the Philadelphia system, but I don’t love the presence of Brent Celek still in the fold. I think Ertz completely surpasses Celek on the totem pole this year, but Celek won’t completely go away. If Ertz can establish himself as superior to Celek, the ceiling could be very high.
- SD Ladarius Green 0-0 45-650-5
Green certainly has some upside, but Antonio Gates is still a factor in San Diego. If Gates gets hurt, Green could be a beast, but the most likely scenario is the presence of both guys will limit both of their ceilings. I expect Green to be an animal in 2015, but temper expectations for 2014.
Tier 5 – the muddled pack of TE2/bench guys
- STL Jared Cook 0-0 50-650-5
Cook sure exploded onto the scene last year in week 1 and was completely lackluster from that point on. I expect more lackluster than explosion from Cook, so don’t expect him to surpass his 2013 numbers.
- PIT Heath Miller 0-0 63-700-3
Roethlisberger still relies on Heath, but rely on him in the red zone that much anymore. Over the last 4 seasons, Miller has 15 total TDs, but 7 of them game in 2010, 2011 and 2013 while 8 of them came in 2012. Based on the success Roethlisberger has had finding his receivers in the red zone, I expect more of the same. I don’t see much upside here.
- SD Antonio Gates 0-0 58-650-4
Ladarius Green will cut into Gates’ production which will probably result in neither of them being all that fantasy relevant in 2014 except in deeper leagues. I don’t see any upside with Gates this year.
- CHI Martellus Bennett 0-0 58-700-3
Bennett’s red zone production waned a bit after the ascension of Alshon Jeffery. Bennett should still rack up similar yardage, but I think a slight regression is in order here.
- TEN Delanie Walker 0-0 55-575-5
Walker is certainly a guy in this tier who has some upside, but he also has been around for a while and has a questionable QB situation. I would definitely take a flier on him as a TE2 or backup and hope he hits the 80 catch number he says he’s targeting.
- TB Austin Seferian-Jenkins 0-0 30-325-5
Seferian-Jenkins is a size mismatch that Tampa Bay will most definitely take advantage of in the red zone. The Buccaneers have a theme going here… they already had 6’5″ Vincent Jackson and then drafted 6’5″ receiver Mike Evans in the first round and 6’5″ tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round. It looks to me like they’re building a jump ball paradise and Seferian-Jenkins will definitely be hauling in his fair share of touchdowns. How many yards he can rack up might determine how fantasy relevant he is in 2014 and he’ll probably have a hard time racking them up with Brandon Myers and Tim Wright in the mix.
- DET Eric Ebron 0-0 35-475-3
Detroit drafted Ebron 10th overall in the first round of the NFL draft this year and will look to get him into the mix right away. I think Ebron will be a star next year, but the transition to the NFL game is always a difficult one to make, especially for receivers and tight ends. Additionally, Brandon Pettigrew is still on the roster and, while he’ll end up blocking more, he’ll still factor into the receiving game which will limit Ebron’s upside.
- BUF Scott Chandler 0-0 50-600-3
You should know by now what you’re getting with Chandler. He’s a TE2 or backup with no upside.
- CIN Tyler Eifert 0-0 48-550-4
Eifert was fine last year, about what was expected, but I just don’t see how he takes the next step to fantasy relevance with Jermain Gresham in the picture. The only way I would invest in Eifert is if Gresham got hurt.
- GB Andrew Quarless 0-0 48-550-4
Quarless takes over the primary tight end job in Green Bay with Jermichael Finley now a free agent. Quarless has a lot of upside but also a lot of question marks having only been a role player over the past few seasons.
- CIN Jermaine Gresham 0-0 48-500-4
My take on Gresham is the same as my take on Eifert. Both players will be moderately productive, but would need the other to be out of the picture to have success worthy of being fantasy relevant.
- IND Dwayne Allen 0-0 45-525-3
Allen missed virtually all of last year after injuring his hip in the first game. Coby Fleener took over and did a mediocre job which allows Allen the opportunity to get his chances again this year. That being said, I just don’t feel comfortable with a TE who is going to likely end up splitting targets with another TE. We have the same situation here as we do in Cincinnati, so I’ll be passing on both situations.
- IND Coby Fleener 0-0 45-525-3
Fleener put up some ok numbers last year, but really made a lot of mistakes and is a poor blocker. Dwayne Allen was hurt which afforded him the opportunity to succeed and he really didn’t do much with the opportunity. I don’t like either guy because there won’t be enough looks to go around to make either good enough to feel confident in on a weekly basis.
- JAC Marcedes Lewis 0-0 35-420-4
I’m no fan of Marcedes Lewis, but he’s the only tight end who will see a lot of looks. His 10 TD season of 2010 is a distant memory, and after totalling only 8 TDs in his following 3 seasons we can safely assume there’s no chance of a resurgence here.
Tier 6 – if your league is this deep…
- NYG Adrien Robinson 0-0 30-400-2
I’m going to keep my comments to a minimum here because there’s not much upside to any of these guys. You’re probably looking at a tight end committee in New York, but Robinson is the leader of the pack and the only one with any upside.
- ARI John Carlson 0-0 45-475-2
Carlson should be the starter in Arizona, but I wouldn’t really be excited about any of the Arizona tight ends.
- SEA Zach Miller 0-0 38-400-4
Miller hasn’t been fantasy relevant since leaving Oakland, so there’s no upside here.
- TB Brandon Myers 0-0 38-400-3
Brandon Myers and Tm Wright will steal yards away from Austin Seferian-Jenkins causing all 3 guys to most likely not have a lot of fantasy value in 2014.
- DAL Gavin Escobar 0-0 30-420-3
Escobar should see more looks this year, but he won’t be overtaking Witten unless Witten gets hurt.
- NYJ Jace Amaro 0-0 34-425-2
Amaro will be splitting looks with Jeff Cumberland, so I don’t love the upside.
- STL Lance Kendricks 0-0 34-300-4
Kendricks is second fiddle to Jared Cook, so there’s really no upside here.
- DET Brandon Pettigrew 0-0 38-380-2
Pettigrew already had 0 YAC ability, and the addition of Eric Ebron makes Pettigrew pretty useless.
- PHI Brent Celek 0-0 28-350-3
Celek should be behind Zach Ertz on the depth chart and would need an injury to Ertz to be relevant.
- BAL Owen Daniels 0-0 30-325-3
Daniels is an injury waiting to happen and is second fiddle to Dennis Pitta. I’ll pass.
- HOU Ryan Griffin 0-0 30-375-2
Griffin has a shot at being relevant if Garrett Graham gets hurt. Graham succeeded last year when Daniels got hurt before getting hurt himself, so Griffin could be looking at a similar situation.
- ATL Levine Toilolo 0-0 28-250-4
Atlanta pretty much has no tight ends, it’s ridiculous. Toilolo is a size mismatch in the red zone so will probably see some action inside the 20s, but that’s about it.