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Best Dynasty Assets: Tight Ends

Best Dynasty Assets: Tight Ends
Despite being over 30, Greg Olsen's consistency and reliability make him a great option for dynasty leaguers

Despite being over 30, Greg Olsen’s consistency and reliability make him a great option for dynasty leaguers

The tight end position is unique in that there are so many tiers in just the top 10. While the other three positions would have just a few tiers, it seems almost every tight end is worthy of his own tier.

As such, the difference between the top player and 10th player is far wider than any other position. Keep that in mind as we share one man’s opinion on the top dynasty tight ends.

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Rob Gronkowski (NE)
Who else? There’s yearly first round buzz around Gronk, while even suggesting any other tight end in that spot would get you laughed out of the draft room. Fantasy owners disagree on many things, but this isn’t one of them. Barring injury, Gronk will be the top tight end in fantasy for years to come.

Jordan Reed (WAS)
Here’s another guy who is only limited by his injuries. Reed caught 87 passes in 2015 (second among tight ends) on 114 targets (sixth among tight ends). He also scored 11 touchdowns, putting him on level with Gronk.

It should also be noted that he accomplished this in 14 games. Yes, it’s worrisome that he’s missed 14 games in his first three seasons, but every tight end has at least one red flag. Reed’s upside is worth the risk.

Travis Kelce (KC)
Kelce is young and has been consistent, which is good enough to make him the third best tight end. In 2014, he caught 67 passes for 862 yards and five touchdowns. In 2015, he caught 72 passes for 875 yards and five touchdowns.

That’s about as good as you can expect from any of the remaining guys under 30 years old. Kelce isn’t part of the most dynamic pass offense, but that’s mitigated by the fact that his quarterback is checkdown connoisseur Alex Smith. Also, for what it’s worth, he did see his targets increase from 87 to 100 in 2015.

Greg Olsen (CAR)
We’ve now reached the point where I’d rather have a sure thing for a few years over one of the younger guys. Olsen is one of two guys over 30 on this list, but he’s also the most reliable. He hasn’t missed a game since 2007, and he’s coming off four straight years with at least 800 receiving yards and two straight years with over 1,000.

He won’t be on your team 10 years from now, but he should be one of the best tight ends in the league for two or three more years. I’d rather take that and look for an eventual replacement in the rookie draft than roll the dice on tight end X finally breaking out.

Delanie Walker (TEN)
Almost everything written about Olsen applies here as well. Walker had 108 targets in 2014 and 133 targets in 2015. He also saw increases in receptions (63 to 94) and receiving yards (890 to 1,088).

Those increases are likely due to Marcus Mariota, who should continue to improve in 2016. Again, I’d rather have two or three years of a sure thing and deal with the future in the rookie draft.

Tyler Eifert (CIN)
Many would have Eifert much higher on this list, and I understand that. He played in 13 games in 2015 and caught 13 touchdown passes. But touchdowns are a more random part of fantasy football, and Eifert has regression written all over him.

In the 29 games he’s played in three seasons, he’s averaging three receptions and 38 yards per game. He’ll be 26 when the season starts and has a first round pedigree, so the upside is there. I would just be leery of taking a touchdown-dependent player over the first five guys on this list until he shows me something more sustainable.

Zach Ertz (PHI)
Ertz is tough to rank, what with his propensity for being mediocre most of the season and kicking into All-Pro mode at the end of the season. His inconsistency, plus a new coaching staff and Carson Wentz waiting in the wings, make him a big question mark.

But he’s talented and has shown he can take over a game, so he’s intriguing. If his usage is similar to Kelce in Kansas City, he could prove to be a steal.

Ladarius Green (PIT)
This is the point of the list where it’s time to think upside. No one else is an every-week starter, so it’s time to throw darts and see what happens.

Green has no business being on this list based on production, but after Heath Miller’s retirement, he’s now the top tight end on what would be one of the best offenses in the league if everyone could stay healthy. Green’s emergence wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world.

Eric Ebron (DET)
The former 10th pick in the draft hasn’t done much in his first two seasons, but the pedigree is there. Like Green, it wouldn’t be crazy to see him finally break out in 2016. Unlike Green, his situation hasn’t changed, so it also wouldn’t be surprising to see more of the same.

Hunter Henry (SD)
Henry has a chance to take over for Antonio Gates next season, so he has that going for him. He’s also the consensus top rookie tight end, so he’s worth a stash at the end of your roster. For a team looking to win now, I’d probably put Gary Barnidge or Julius Thomas in this spot.

Those looking to stash a tight end for the future could grab Jimmy Graham to see if he returns to form, or roll the dice on other athletic young guys like Clive Walford, Maxx Williams, Austin Hooper, Tyler Higbee, Jerell Adams or Temarrick Hemingway. There’s no substitute for personal preference this low on the tight end board.

Derek Norton is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Derek, visit his archive, follow him on Twitter @mdereknorton, or visit his website, Sports Monocle.

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