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The Tight End position has become a viable commodity in fantasy football leagues, especially PPR leagues. Some of the top Tight Ends put up better numbers than teams number one receivers! The question comes down to whether or not you draft a TE in the early rounds or wait until the later rounds and settle for someone that will get you a consistent few points a week. The experts at Sports Al Dente assess the top Tight Ends and why you want these big targets on your team.

 Ryan DyrudTim SchwanRiley CarterLevi LeflerBilly Boynton
1.Rob Gronkowski
TE New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski
TE New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski
TE New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski
TE New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski
TE New England Patriots
When healthy Gronk is a stat machine, putting up receiver like numbers in the Tight End friendly Belichick system. Don't be frightened by the addition of Martellus Bennett to the TE core. Back before Aaron Hernandez landed himself in prison, he had a breakout season with the Patriots in 2011 where he finished with almost 1,000 yards receiving and 7 TDs. That same season, Gronk finished with 1,327 yards receiving and 17 TDs, both career highs. If anything, the addition of Bennett will only free Gronk up more and make him more lethal. As long as he is healthy and playing in the NFL, he is the number one TE in the game.Two things will never change while Gronk continues to play in the NFL. One, he will never stop partying. Secondly, as long as he remains healthy he will be the best Tight End in the league. As long as he stays healthy, there is absolutely no way that he doesn't finish this season as the top TE. His value will not even diminish in the 4 weeks without Brady, as he will likely become Garoppolo's favorite target. Gronk has been a TE1every year he's been healthy. This trend shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
2.Delanie Walker
TE Tennessee Titans
Greg Olsen
TE Carolina Panthers
Greg Olsen
TE Carolina Panthers
Jordan Reed
TE Washington Redskins
Greg Olsen
TE Carolina Panthers
Finished the 2015 season with 133 targets, and 94 receptions, the most for any Tight End in both categories. Marcus Mariota is entering his second season meaning the chemistry should be better, and the Titans do not have a true lethal number one receiver, making Walker the clear top option. Expect his TD production to go up from the six that he reeled in last year. Olsen is one of the few Tight Ends to play the entire 2015 season without injury. He finished 2nd most in receiving yards with 1,100. The only downside to Olsen is that he plays with a QB that will take many red zone touchdowns for himself (Cam Newton). Olsen once again put up a very promising year statistically, 1,104 yards receiving and 7 TDs, as well as being one of the leaders on the team. Expect him to continue to excel in Carolina this upcoming season. Reed solidified himself as a reliable option last year as he put up 87/952/11. When healthy, he has proven he can be a top Tight End.Olsen has played in every game since '07 which is the only reason I have him ranked above the injury prone Jordan Reed.
3.Greg Olsen
TE Carolina Panthers
Tyler Eifert
TE Cincinnati Bengals
Jordan Reed
TE Washington Redskins
Greg Olsen
TE Carolina Panthers
Jordan Reed
TE Washington Redskins
Olsen drops to number three on my list strictly due to the fact that Kelvin Benjamin is returning to the receiving core and will take some targets away from Olsen, especially in the red zone as he is a big target. Finished 2nd in the league last year in receiving yards for a TE and will continue to be a matchup nightmare for opposing linebackers and safety's. Eifert led all Tight Ends last year with 13 touchdowns, and this is while missing 3 games due to injury. Had only 74 targets last year, proving nose and tenacity for the end zone. Dalton's go-to in the red zone. Reed proved a lot this past season. He showed that Captain Kirk and himself have the ability to have great chemistry. He also showed that despite dealing with an injury for a portion of the season, he can still put up elite TE numbers.Even with Kelvin Benjamin coming back from injury, Olsen is still the number two option in the passing game. Since signing with Carolina, Olsen has seen his stats improve every year. If he continues that trend, you will benefit from a 1,000-yard, 7 TD season or better. Reed finished last season as the number one Tight End in points per game.
4.Jordan Reed
TE Washington Redskins
Travis Kelce
TE Kansas City Chiefs
Tyler Eifert
TE Cincinnati Bengals
Julius Thomas
TE Jacksonville Jaguars
Coby Fleener
TE New Orleans Saints
Super talented with tremendous upside. Finished tied for 2nd last year in receiving touchdowns with 11, and that was only in 14 games. A great route runner that will eclipse the 1,000 yard receiving mark for the first time in his career this season.Kelce has one of the highest yards after catch ratios, 7.4, which is second only to Gronk. He is durable and consistent, which are coveted traits for a Tight End. After being limited on the playing field due to a late season injury, Eifert still was able to haul in 13 TDs which is the most among TEs last season. If healthy, expect Eifert to continue to produce, Last year was disappointing for Thomas as he dealt with injuries, limiting his time to really click with Blake Bortles in his first year in Jacksonville. He has been having a great camp and he will look to improve in year two with the Jags.Benjamin Watson finished the 2015 season as the TE8. The Saints offense is the most heavily Tight End featured offense outside of the Patriots.
5.Jimmy Graham
TE Seattle Seahawks
Gary Barnidge
TE Cleveland Browns
Delanie Walker
TE Tennessee Titans
Travis Kelce
TE Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce
TE Kansas City Chiefs
I struggled with this pick after last season, but with the career that he has had I have a feeling that he is going to bounce back in a big way. Graham has gone over the 1,000 yard mark twice, and has had double digit TDs three times. Coming off an injury from last season, Graham will be motivated to prove the doubters wrong that he was just a product of the New Orleans system. His chemistry with Russell Wilson should improve immensely as well. Barnidge was healthy in all 16 games that he played in the 2015 season. He finished with the 4th most yards and the 4th most TDs in a Cleveland system last year that was broken. He was 2nd most in targets demonstrating his ability to use his size and get open. If RGIII can be even be half the QB he was his rookie season, Barnidge could put up great numbers in 2016. At the age of 32, Walker shockingly had by far the best season of his career. I am still not 100% on the Walker band wagon, but due to lack of targets in Tennessee for Marcus Mariota, it would be understandable to believe Walker may have another similar season. His first two seasons consist of 67/862/5 and 72/875/5. He was also a consistent performer from week to week as he had just one bad game (Week 17) and one really good game (Week 1). Expect the same consistency this year from Kelce in year three. Entering only his third season and is approaching Gronk physically. Been extremely consistent the first two seasons of his career.
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Ryan Dyrud

Author Ryan Dyrud

Founder and CEO of SportsAlDente.com. Grew up in Denver with a passion for all sports and an emphasis on the NFL. Moved to Los Angeles where I graduated from Long Beach State with a degree in Leisure Services (Yes the Van Wilder degree). My opinions are my own, but they should be yours too.

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