Updating our ranking of the top 20 fantasy football tight ends with the 2021 NFL regular season rapidly approaching.
In early August, ESNY brought you its top 20 fantasy football tight ends for the 2021 NFL season.
That list went as follows…
- 1. Travis Kelce (KC)
- 2. Darren Waller (LV)
- 3. George Kittle (SF)
- 4. Logan Thomas (WAS)
- 5. T.J. Hockenson (DET)
- 6. Mark Andrews (BAL)
- 7. Kyle Pitts (ATL)
- 8. Robert Tonyan Jr. (GB)
- 9. Mike Gesicki (MIA)
- 10. Evan Engram (NYG)
- 11. Dalton Schultz (DAL)
- 12. Austin Hooper (CLE)
- 13. Noah Fant (DEN)
- 14. Jared Cook (LAC)
- 15. Hunter Henry (NE)
- 16. Tyler Higbee (LAR)
- 17. Hayden Hurst (ATL)
- 18. Eric Ebron (PIT)
- 19. Rob Gronkowski (TB)
- 20. Jonnu Smith (NE)
But we made that list before the league commenced and subsequently concluded its newly formed three-game preseason slate. And in that time, injuries and roster moves have occurred.
What does the aforementioned list look like now?
20. Rob Gronkowski (TB)
19. Gerald Everett (SEA)
18. Hayden Hurst (ATL)
17. Jonnu Smith (NE)
16. Eric Ebron (PIT)
15. Evan Engram (NYG)
14. Tyler Higbee (LAR)
13. Noah Fant (DEN)
12. Jared Cook (LAC)
11. Dalton Schultz (DAL)
10. Austin Hooper (CLE)
Evan Engram departs the top 10 following a recent calf injury and Cleveland’s Austin Hooper replaces him.
I like the situation Hooper is in — I think his quarterback, Baker Mayfield, will continue to improve in 2021 and I believe opposing secondaries will focus much of their attention on Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, which could lead to Hooper finding holes in the defensive backfields.
9. Mike Gesicki (MIA)
Mike Gesicki remains at No. 9.
Tua Tagovailoa looked improved during the preseason but I still won’t be high on him until he consistently succeeds in the regular season.
Regardless, Gesicki is capable of producing (703 yards and six touchdowns last year) and a top-10 spot seems appropriate for him.
8. Robert Tonyan Jr. (GB)
Robert Tonyan would be a great value pick in the later rounds due to his significant knack for the end zone.
The Green Bay tight end scored 11 touchdowns last year — reaching that same level of production would be great for fantasy owners.
7. Kyle Pitts (ATL)
Kyle Pitts caught just one ball in the preseason, but on the play, portrayed his speed and elusiveness to gain crucial yards after the reception.
Expect the Falcons to take advantage of these on-field qualities during the 17-game slate, and expect Pitts to make the most of his opportunities. Atlanta should certainly make the No. 4 overall draft pick a notable aspect of the weekly game plans.
6. T.J. Hockenson (DET)
I moved T.J. Hockenson down to No. 6 and coincidingly moved Mark Andrews to No. 5 because I feel better about the latter’s quarterback situation.
The Ravens were the worst passing team in the league last year but aren’t expected to repeat that poor performance and it’s clear Lamar Jackson is a more talented signal-caller than Jared Goff.
5. Mark Andrews (BAL)
No need to repeat everything I just said — Andrews is in a better offensive situation than Hockenson.
4. Logan Thomas (WAS)
Logan Thomas is super talented and a great story; there’s no doubting his on-field capabilities.
The only thing I worry about, however, is his quarterback situation. I’m not confident in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ability to be consistent and Taylor Heinicke isn’t a proven starting quarterback in this league.
This could affect Thomas’ potential production level on a weekly basis and is something fantasy drafters should monitor.
3. George Kittle (SF)
George Kittle is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, but when healthy, is still a top-three tight end in this league.
His quarterback — Jimmy Garoppolo — will be back and (hopefully) healthy as well. It’s yet to be seen if rookie Trey Lance will be the real deal, but he’s also someone who could get Kittle the rock.
2. Darren Waller (LV)
Darren Waller underwent an incredible 2020 campaign and should give opposing defenses headaches again in 2021.
Catching 107 balls for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns as a tight end?
The numbers should intrigue potential fantasy owners across the world, but he still won’t be the No. 1 tight end taken in your draft(s)…
1. Travis Kelce (KC)
Nothing changes with this ranking — Travis Kelce is still undoubtedly the top tight end this league has to offer and is surely an early-round fantasy draft pick.
With a phenomenal quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and the highly intelligent Andy Reid as his head coach, Kelce should continue putting up incredible numbers for the Chiefs in 2021.