Our 2019 dynasty league positional rankings end with tight ends, and tomorrow we’ll have an overall big board for all four positions. Here are quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers in case you missed them. Keep in mind these are not redraft rankings, which you will be able to get with Fantasy Consigliere later this summer. Ages for the September 5 NFL season opener are listed in parenthesis.
1. George Kittle, SF (25)
Coming off an NFL single-season record 1,377 yards for a tight end, 49ers All-Pro George Kittle is just 25 years old as he enters his third year in the league. Kittle now gets his starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back, and he has the talent and opportunity to put up 1,000 yards every season in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
2. Travis Kelce, KC (29)
Travis Kelce also set the NFL record for tight end yardage in a single season, but the record lasted just a short time before Kittle broke it later in the day during Week 17 of last season. Kelce, who turns 30 this fall, would probably be the top dynasty tight end if he wasn’t a few years older than Kittle.
3. Zach Ertz, PHI (28)
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has always been a reliable option for his team, but he took a huge step forward statistically in 2018, catching a tight-end record 116 passes for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns. Ertz is an athletic player, but his playing style should allow him to remain highly productive into his 30s.
4. O.J. Howard, TB (24)
O.J. Howard is simply an athletic freak, and he’s certainly worth betting on as the fourth tight end off the board in dynasty startups. His long-term upside is sky-high, but he’s not just an athlete playing football, as he possesses football skills that should help him be at least a low-end TE1 every season even if he doesn’t become an elite option.
5. Hunter Henry, LAC (24)
Playing in a loaded offense taking attention away from him, Hunter Henry should be one of the safest fantasy TE1 options for the next several years. After Hunter tore his ACL last spring and admirably worked his way back to play in the postseason, the knee injury shouldn’t scare you away for 2019.
6. Noah Fant, DEN (21)
Tight end is a pretty shallow position in fantasy football, so it’s not a bad idea to take a chance on rookies early in startup drafts. Noah Fant is a very talented player, and he’s in a good situation with a tight-end friendly quarterback in Joe Flacco starting for the Broncos.
7. T.J. Hockenson, DET (22)
At eighth overall, T.J. Hockenson is the highest tight end selected in the NFL draft since Vernon Davis was selected sixth overall in 2006. Clearly, the Lions expect big things from the Iowa Hawkeye, and that includes an impact as a receiver.
8. David Njoku, CLE (23)
In the case of David Njoku, the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. probably limits his ceiling, as his usage and targets were already frustrating for parts of last season. If Njoku gets more targets than expected or is ultra-efficient, he could be up in the O.J. Howard-Hunter Henry range.
9. Mike Gesicki, MIA (23)
You shouldn’t stay away from Mike Gesicki in dynasty leagues just because of his lack of production last year. Rookie tight ends typically don’t have a ton of success as rookies, and the uber-athletic Gesicki could be the player Miami builds their passing offense around moving forward.
10. Evan Engram, NYG (25)
Evan Engram surprisingly struggled to get playing time during part of last season, but he got going at the end of the year and appears to have the trust of Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. It’ll be great for Engram’s long-term value if he can form a strong connection with sixth overall pick Daniel Jones.
11. Dallas Goedert, PHI (24)
2018 second-round pick Dallas Goedert showed majors flashes last season, and the Eagles will likely utilize multiple-tight-end sets frequently with Goedert and Zach Ertz. Goedert could be a low-end TE1 option as early as this season, but his long-term upside is immense.
12. Chris Herndon, NYJ (23)
Chris Herndon is locked into the top tight end spot for the Jets after a promising rookie season last year; and the arrival of head coach Adam Gase could be a boon for his fantasy value, as Gase called Herndon a “unicorn-type player” that can play all three downs.
13. Eric Ebron, IND (26)
Former tenth overall pick Eric Ebron scored a whopping 14 touchdowns in 2018, but that might make him a perfect sell-high candidate in dynasty leagues. Teammate Jack Doyle will hopefully stay healthy, and there are plenty of other weapons in Indy’s offense that will likely draw less attention in the red zone after Ebron’s play there last season. Ebron is still just 26, though, and he’s shown he can be a great fantasy TE1.
14. Vance McDonald, PIT (29)
Now the clear top tight end in Pittsburgh and with Antonio Brown gone, Vance McDonald’s best football could be ahead of him. Talent-wise, McDonald has 1,000-yard ability.
15. Jared Cook, NO (32)
Jared Cook is the only tight end in the top 20 that’s age-30 or older, but he’s coming off the best season of his career and lands in one of the best spots imaginable with Drew Brees and the Saints.
16. Ian Thomas, CAR (24)
Ian Thomas played well as a rookie last season while filling in for an injured Greg Olsen, but the presence of Olsen could make fantasy success difficult for another year or two for Thomas.
17. Irv Smith Jr., MIN (21)
Minnesota is likely to use two-tight-end sets often after selecting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round and extending Kyle Rudolph’s contract. The 21-year-old Smith is the preferred long-term fantasy option.
18. Mark Andrews, BAL (23)
Hayden Hurst was selected in the first-round by Baltimore last year, but Mark Andrews was healthier and more productive as a rookie. The tight ends look like they’ll be a critical part of the passing game for Lamar Jackson.
19. Austin Hooper, ATL (24)
The wide receivers will do most of the damage for Atlanta in the passing game, but Austin Hooper has become a steady target for Matt Ryan, and he’s just 24 years old.
20. Jordan Reed, WAS (29)
Injuries are more of a concern for Jordan Reed than any of these other tight ends, and it’s difficult to have year-to-year confidence in him as your top dynasty-league tight end. He might be good to roster if you have a player like Austin Hooper to pair with him.
21. Jack Doyle, IND (29)
Jack Doyle has an 80-catch season (in 2017), and he’s going to remain a factor for the Colts despite the emergence of Eric Ebron. Doyle could still remain in the 60-80-reception range for the next few seasons.
22. Trey Burton, CHI (27)
Trey Burton wasn’t used as much as many people would have liked last season, and he’s probably a better real-life contributor for the Bears than he is a high-upside TE1.
23. Will Dissly, SEA (23)
Will Dissly quickly gained the complete trust of Russell Wilson last season, but a bad season-ending knee injury suffered in September could impact his 2019 season. Dissly would’ve likely been several spots higher if not for his injury.
24. Gerald Everett, LAR (25)
In an offense with Todd Gurley and a trio of potential 1,000-yard wide receivers, Gerald Everett simply doesn’t have the target share to be much higher among dynasty tight ends. However, he’s a talented player that’s made big plays, and maybe Sean McVay will tweak his offense to get Everrett more involved.
25. Jimmy Graham, GB (32)
Jimmy Graham will tell you he wasn’t happy with the way he played last season, and a return to form in 2019 won’t be surprising. But Graham is 32, and there’s a chance he doesn’t deliver anymore TE1 years.
26. Hayden Hurst, BAL (26)
A foot injury led to Hayden Hurst not having the rookie season he would have liked, but he was taken in the first round of the NFL draft as a former professional baseball player because the Ravens expected an immediate impact. Hurst could become the top option ahead Mark Andrews in 2019.
27. Greg Olsen, CAR (34)
The broadcast booth could draw Greg Olsen from the game very soon, and the Pro Bowl tight end is not a must-own in dynasty leagues. He could deliver TE1 value for as long as he continues playing, though.
28. Cameron Brate, TB (28)
Right now, it’s difficult to see Cameron Brate having much fantasy value behind O.J. Howard in Bruce Arians’ offense. But a potential trade to a team like the Patriots is worth keeping in mind.
29. Delanie Walker, TEN (35)
Delanie Walker is the oldest tight end among the top 30, but he had 800 yards in each of the past four years before his season-ending injury suffered in Week 1 last season. Walker is a better option in redraft leagues than dynasty leagues.
30. Kyle Rudolph, MIN (29)
Irv Smith Jr. is a more exciting dynasty league tight end than Kyle Rudolph, but Rudolph has 41 career touchdowns and should be the preferred option this season.
Goedert is better than Henry.
I missed these the last few days. Just caught up. I’ve been roped into a dynasty league this year.. prefer just one normal draft because it’s simple. We’ll see how this goes.
Tight ends are tough. Completely agree about Gesicki rank. He’s a beast.
He barely played last season. I don’t see it.