The tight end position is one of the most confusing positions in terms of consistency in fantasy football. In years past we would see Gronk fly off the board immediately, he would even go in the first round in some leagues. Now the Patriots tight end is no longer in play and that probably leads you to have a multitude of worry when it comes to the tight end. I’ll be here to ease your decision, advising you on when you should draft a tight end and just how late you should possibly wait.
Looking at the production totals from last year there are three tight ends that should be very high on your radar. Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz all eclipsed the 200 points scored for their fantasy season. If these guys are available early, it is a safe bet that you can draft them and they will give you steady production throughout the season. However, outside of those three guys, this is where things tend to become a little murky. In order for you to grab one of those guys who are available you are looking at spending one of your first three picks in order to acquire them. That may be too big of a risk for some fantasy owners. If you do not feel comfortable taking a high draft pick with one of these guys, you are more than likely looking at picking a tight end on a week-by-week basis depending on your waiver wire.
If you don’t secure one of three players mentioned above, you can be sure to grab one of the middle tier tight ends that will give you some production, but will probably be lacking the fantasy consistency of the top tier tight ends. Look for mid level tight ends to come off of the board around the 5th round, usually when guys have already stocked up on running backs and wide receivers. Fantasy managers will start looking at grabbing the best tight end on the board at that point. Most owners won’t want to spend early on one of the studs, so you’ll be looking at guys like David Njoku, OJ Howard, Evan Engram, Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, etc. This means you will more than likely get a solid, weekly starter and your team should be set as far as wide receivers and running backs are concerned.
The tight end position is a one where there can be little to no consistency in the NFL. Personally, I do not feel safe trying to streamline the position week to week. There are no promises that a tight end will give you big numbers every Sunday. On the opposite side of the spectrum there is no promise that they will have a bad performance either. If you are unsure about the tight ends you should draft and want to bolster your roster without looking much further, I would look at players such as Vance MacDonald or Kyle Rudolph. Quarterbacks are constantly looking for a safety valve and both of these players utilize that role in their respective offenses. Both players caught at least one pass in every contest they played last season, but only scored over 10 fantasy points in 7 out of 32 contests. They won’t be tight ends that will win you a fantasy game yet they won’t lose you any either. This is probably the safest strategy for those who are unsure about your tight end.
Overall, when asking if the tight end position is still relevant in terms of fantasy football, I would say no. Unless you spend big early and grab one of the “studs”, the middle of the pack won’t do much for you. Yes, expect to see some breakout games, but looking back on past seasons tight ends are not exactly the position that will give you the biggest fantasy stats/points. I would find solace in the fact that there are many options that you can find while strengthening out the rest of your roster. If you are unsure about your TE1, do not fret. As the season progresses, we will also see how the rookie tight ends will begin to emerge that you can add to your roster.