Fanelli’s Way Too Early Redraft Rankings: Tight Ends 1-12by Mike Fanelli January 31, 2021 0 comments
The 2020 fantasy football season is in the rearview mirror, but some are already preparing for the 2021 fantasy season. To help those get ready for the upcoming season, I have put together a six-part series breaking down my early rankings for the 2021 season. Last up in the series will be my top-12 tight end. So without further ado, here is the final part of my way too early 2021 redraft rankings.
All stats and the rankings are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.
Be sure to check out all six parts of this series, as well as all my fantasy rankings here.
1) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
2020 Finish: TE1 | 20.9 Fantasy Points Per Game
Just when you thought Kelce couldn’t be a more valuable fantasy asset, he had a career-year in 2020. He averaged 15.5 or more fantasy points and finished as the TE1 in three straight seasons from 2017 to 2019. Then this season, he had a career-high 105 catches for 1,416 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. His 1,416 receiving yards finished second-most in the league and 220 more than the next closest tight end. Furthermore, Kelce scored 14.5 or more fantasy points in 13 of 15 games this season. For comparison, an average of 14.5 fantasy points per game would have made Kelce the TE3 for the season. Even in non tight end premium leagues, Kelce should be a first-round pick next year.
2) Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
2020 Finish: TE2 | 17.4 Fantasy Points Per Game
After his breakout season in 2019, the only concern with Waller was his limited touchdown production. Waller scored three touchdowns in 2019 on 90 catches. This season he scored nine on 107 catches. Waller had over 1,100 receiving yards for the season straight season and joined Kelce as the only tight end with over 750 receiving yards this season. Even after the Raiders added several wide receivers in free agency and the draft, Waller finished with 300 more receiving yards than anyone else on the team. Furthermore, his 107 catches were almost twice as much as the Raiders’ second-highest pass catcher (Hunter Renfrow, 56). The Raiders’ passing game flows through Waller, and that will remain the same in 2021, making Waller worth a mid-second-round pick.
3) George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
2020 Finish: TE19 | 15.6 Fantasy Points Per Game
Injuries caused Kittle to miss half the 2020 season. However, in the games he played, he was a fantasy star. He averaged 15.5 fantasy points per game for the third straight season and was on pace for over 85 catches for the third year in a row as well. Over the last two seasons, the 49ers have spent prime draft capital on wide receivers, selecting Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. However, Kittle remains the focal point of the 49ers’ passing attack. The downside with Kittle is his blocking and the 49ers’ run-first mindset. Because he is asked to block more than Kelce or Waller, his upside is slightly limited. However, even with that in mind, Kittle is worth an early third-round pick next year’s drafts.
4) Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
2020 Finish: TE6 | 12.2 Fantasy Points Per Game
Like all of the Ravens’ passing offense, Andrews regressed this season. However, the regression was minimal as Andrews had only six fewer catches in one less game in 2020. Andrews remains Lamar Jackson‘s favorite target, leading the team with 4.1 catches, 50.1 receiving yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game this season. Furthermore, he had six or more targets in nine of 14 games and scored 13 or more fantasy points in half of his outings. While the Ravens’ run-first offense keeps Andrew out of the top tight end tier with Kelce, Waller, and Kittle, he still should be drafted in the top 60 picks.
5) T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
2020 Finish: TE5 | 11 Fantasy Points Per Game
Much like Kittle, another former Iowa tight end, Hockenson had a breakout season in year two. After finishing his rookie year with 32 catches, 367 yards, and two touchdowns, Hockenson more than doubled his production in 2020. With Kenny Golladay missing 11 games, Hockenson stepped up, finishing second on the team in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. The future of the Lions is shaky as Matthew Stafford was recently traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Furthermore, both Marvin Jones and Golladay will be free agents this offseason. With Dan Campbell taking over as the new head coach, expect next season’s passing offense to center around Hockenson.
6) Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
2020 Finish: TE4 | 11 Fantasy Points Per Game
Before this season, Tonyan had a total of 14 catches and two touchdowns in his career. However, with Jimmy Graham now in Chicago, Tonyan earned Aaron Rodgers‘ trust and took over as the starting tight end this season. He finished tied with Kelce for the most touchdowns by a tight end with 11. Furthermore, starting in Week 2, Tonyan scored 10.5 or more fantasy points in 60 percent of his games. While Davante Adams, far and away, led the team with 115 catches, Tonyan finished second on the team in catches and touchdowns. He also had a catch rate of 88.1 percent, the highest on the team. Rodgers repeatedly praised Tonyan this season. Therefore, he should be considered a mid TE1 for next season.
7) Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
2020 Finish: TE20 | 10.6 Fantasy Points Per Game
The entire Eagles offense was a mess in 2020, as injuries and poor quarterback play combined with awful coaching led to their struggles. However, Goedert took over as the top tight end in Philadelphia this season, playing 79 percent or more of the snaps in nine of 11 games. Goedert had six or more targets in 75 percent of the games he played, despite leaving a few early because of injury. Furthermore, the Eagles are expected to either trade or release Zach Ertz in the offseason, opening the door for Goedert to take over as the unquestioned starter. With a new coaching staff taking over in 2020 combined with Goedert playing in a contract year, expect him to finish the year as a mid TE1 or better.
8) Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
2020 Finish: TE8 | 10 Fantasy Points Per Game
Despite quarterback issues this season, Fant improved from his rookie season. His catches increased by 22, targets by 27, yards by 111, and fantasy points per game by 3.1 despite playing in one fewer game. With Courtland Sutton missing most of the season due to injury, Fant turned into a go-to target for the Broncos. His 93 targets were second on the team, while his 62 catches ranked first. Despite only scoring three times, Fant had 8.5 or more fantasy points in 67 percent of his games this season. Whether Drew Lock takes a step forward next season or the Broncos trade for a quarterback, look for Fant to have a breakout season in 2021.
9) Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
2020 Finish: TE7 | 10.6 Fantasy Points Per Game
After a productive sophomore season, Gesicki had a similar year in 2020. While he averaged just over two more fantasy points per game, Gesicki had about the same number of catches and targets as he did in 2019. The good news is, Gesicki became a critical part of the Dolphins’ passing attack. His six touchdowns led the team while he finished second in catches and yards. More importantly, Gesicki provided a safe weekly floor while also offering upside. He scored seven or more fantasy points in 67 percent of his games this season. Furthermore, Gesicki scored 23.5 or more fantasy points in 20 percent of his games. While the Dolphins could add a wide receiver early in the draft, expect Gesicki to have a critical role next season.
10) Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
2020 Finish: TE12 | 10.4 Fantasy Points Per Game
In the offseason, the Chargers and Henry couldn’t come to a long term deal, forcing Henry to play on the franchise tag. While he saw a career-high 93 targets, catching 60 of them, Henry matched his career-low with four touchdowns. The drop in touchdowns caused Henry’s fantasy points per game to drop by 2.1 per game. As an unrestricted free agent, Henry’s landing spot will have a massive impact on his fantasy value for next season. Assuming he is back with the Chargers next season, expect Henry to have another low-end TE1 finish, as he is one of Justin Herbert‘s favorite targets.
11) Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team
2020 Finish: TE3 | 11 Fantasy Points Per Game
Entering the season, Thomas had 35 career catches. Then, in his first season in Washington, Thomas more than doubled his career total with 72 catches, finishing third on the team. Meanwhile, his six touchdowns led the team and tripled his previous career total. However, while Thomas finished the season as the TE3, he was only 1.4 fantasy points away from finishing as the TE5. Did Thomas break out this season? Not really. He was one of only three tight ends with 110 or more targets, yet he finished outside the top five in receiving yards and touchdowns among the position. Thomas had success thanks to his high target share, but when Washington adds playmakers this offseason, expect Thomas to see fewer targets next year and regress.
12) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
2020 Finish: TE31 | 7 Fantasy Points Per Game
After six straight seasons averaging 11.4 or more fantasy points, Ertz had the worst fantasy season of his career since his rookie year. He had career lows across the board with 36 catches, 335 yards, and only one touchdown. However, the entire Eagles’ offense struggled in 2020, and Ertz dealt with injuries. It’s unknown if Ertz will be back with the Eagles next season or not. If he is back, he has taken a backseat to Goedert and is no longer a top 12 fantasy tight end. However, if he is traded to a team like Buffalo or Indianapolis, where he would take over as the team’s TE1, Ertz could return to his top-five tight end status. With a change of scenery, expect Ertz to bounce back after his awful 2020 season.