This is a list of the top Tight End targets for NFL games based on potential production and price. The players are split into three tiers based on likelihood of success. Remember that these rankings take potential production and price into account, so some guys may be higher up on the list despite having a lower projected score for the week if the price point is favorable. Here are some TE options to consider.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional rankings:
Cream of the Crop
Greg Olsen ($5400) – After a sub par week 1 and a week 2 that did not see him score, people were off of Greg Olsen in week 3. That was a huge mistake many of us made. Olsen is the focal point of that passing attack, especially since they have no real threats in the WR group. What impressed me most from watching the game film is how often he was targeted near the red zone. He had two TDs on the day and another called back. He must have seen the ball come his way five times inside the 15 and that type of red zone targeting means big days are ahead for him. He saw 11 targets overall in this game and caught 8 for over 100 yards. Olsen was near the top for yards and catches from the position last season, so none of this is surprising. They have a good match up with Tampa Bay who has been burned in the air this year. Olsen should be highly targeted again in this one, which will include some work near the goal line and could lead to a huge day for him.
Jordan Reed ($4500) – Reed is my second favorite TE on the day. He sees a ton of targets and will until DeSean Jackson comes back. The Eagles do force the pace, so that may lead to a few more possessions for the Redskins, but the best part of Reed’s game is he sees targets regardless. They line him up out wide sometimes, they look for him in one on one spots. He does a lot of his damage underneath, but he also can stretch zones as well. He is a red zone guy although he has not seen a ton of looks since the Skins have been looking to the ground game more lately. Still he is cheap and sees consistent work. Most guys have stat upticks when the Eagles are in town and I think game script problems have changed that in the first few weeks. The Eagles are what they are and they are not much different from last year. We know they want to play fast, and some teams will let them. Dallas was able to slow it to a crawl, which kills the normally eye popping pace numbers we see from Philly. This game with Washington should feature more of the aerial game, so I would expect to see Reed be targeted 10+ times and put up a nice score here.
Jimmy Graham ($6000) – I want to start this off by saying I have been a huge detractor of Jimmy Graham since he moved from being the primary target in a pass happy offense to another piece on what looked to be a championship caliber team. With that being said though, he does have a ton in his favor here. For starters, they are making an effort to get him more involved after he griped about how he was being used. He saw a bunch of targets last week and put up numbers with them, so I expect that to continue here. What makes him tougher to come off for me is the fact TEs have been owning Detroit this year. Kyle Rudolph had 5 catches and a score in week 1 for 13 or 14 points. Ladarius Green had about the same number of catches for 70+ yards and a score in week 2. Owen Daniels followed that up with 5 catches of his own and a score as well. TEs have scored every week so far against the Lions and with Graham seeing more targets, he has a chance to add his name to that list. I do not think Seattle will be forced to throw a ton at home in a game they are favored to win, which is a drawback, but the matchup and his uptick in usage make it hard to avoid him.
Travis Kelce ($5300) – The price does not match the talent here as Kelce could be a monster. The price however does match the usage rate he sees and that is the biggest problem I have with using him. He is on the field a ton and sees a ton of snaps, but is not being targeted as heavily as he should be. This guy is a freak at the position. Most TE do not have his speed or ability to run after the catch. Kelce gets TE screens so he has the ball with a chance to run in space. I have not seen many TEs that any team is looking to run screens and get the ball into their hands. His speed can stretch defenses and he is good for at least one nice play a game. He could have so many more, but the opportunity is just not there. Despite that, he is still one of the few guys capable of going off for 20-25 DK points, so he has to be listed with the top options, despite the risk of him going long stretches without being involved in the offense.
Middle of the Pack
Martellus Bennett ($4500) – I am so torn on him this week. On the one hand, you have an Oakland defense that is quickly becoming a team you want to look to target TEs against. They have not been good and already gave up multiple touchdowns to guys who play the position. On the other hand though you have Bennett catching passes from Jimmy Clausen with his starting QB on the shelf. You also have a Bears offense that has struggled to sniff the red zone, let alone score points when they do get there. The match up is ideal, but can Clausen even get him the ball? If you told me he could, I probably still would be skeptical and that makes it tough to trust Bennett. I love Bennett and would be all over him with a good QB to get him the ball, but this Bear’s offense is a mess, so I’m very on the fence about what should have been a slam dunk play with the match up.
Coby Fleener ($3200) – I know the Indy offense has been pathetic and Fleener did not go off as many predicted last week, but if the situation is the same, he merits inclusion again here. On most weeks, neither Fleener, nor Dwayne Allen are guys I want in my lineups. If either is hurt though, the workload of both is consolidated into one of them and that makes the healthy player a viable option. With Allen banged up, that means Fleener is the guy. He had 4 catches on six targets last week and finished with 9 fantasy points. This should be enough to scare away some of those who were on him, but it was not a good game for him, so there is reason to believe he could do better. At the price, he’s worth taking another risk on, if only for the players he allows you to get to build around him.
Tyler Eifert ($4600) – The price is right and he had two good games to start the season, but it’s tough for me to use him here. Last week he had no catches and the main reason was they were keeping him in to chip DEs and help block the pass rush of the Ravens. KC blitzes as much as anyone and that is a fact you can look up, not just some narrative I am spewing here. If that is the case, would you not expect Eifert to stay and help the O-line like he did last week? While he is cheap and has some upside in his recent past, the game flow does not scream USE EIFERT this week by any stretch. They are also a slight favorite here, so we may see a heavy dose of Hill and If we see Gio, he will be catching passes out of the backfield while Eifert gets stuck blocking. Just think about that before you consider rostering him.
Eric Ebron ($3500) – I may love Ebron more than most do, but let me make the case for him first. Brandon Pettigrew and him were splitting snaps at the beginning of the year and Pettigrew is now out. that has led to Ebron seeing a huge increase in his expected snaps, targets, and catches for the season. Golden Tate is not 100% and Calvin Johnson is being bracketed on almost every route, which is leaving Ebron open in one on one coverage often. He has the speed to stretch the defense and has made at least one catch down the seam in every game while doing so. That means his has a higher average depth of target (aDOT) than many of his peers. He also has found the end zone in two of his first three games. The match up with Seattle is not ideal for his team, but they have been weaker against TE than other positions over the years. The Corner play has usually been so god that attacking with the TE is the way to go. Ebron has returned at least 10 fantasy points in every game so far, and at $3500 that means he keeps making value. He has the TD upside as well and could be a great play if he finds the end zone and ends up with 14-18 points on the day.
Jason Witten ($4400) – Witten is a warrior. He is playing on two bum ankles and a banged up knee. He can still run eight yards downfield, sit down in a zone and make some catches. This is exactly what he is being asked to do as well. The offense is relying on the run game as much as they can with no Dez on the outside and no Romo under center. I do not see that trend changing, which basically makes Witten a guy who has some PPR upside, but for the most part is just another touchdown dependent TE. He will see a few more targets than the guys in the bottom tier who are extremely touchdown dependent. The difference with Witten is that he will make 5-6 catches for 60 yards to go with it and return good value at 17-19 points if he scores. Most of the other guys will see half of the targets and make 3 catches for 25 yards, so that really makes them boom or bust, even at the lower price points.
Charles Clay ($3300) – Clay has caught a TD in the last two games and may be targeted more if Watkins is indeed out. I think Buffalo would rather keep it on the ground, but with McCoy out too, can they still do that? Both the Giants and Buffalo are dead last in the league with the most passing yards against them this season. That could lead to a lot of passing in this game and if so, Clay should see a few targets. He is not a safe play by any stretch, but for $3300 he does merit consideration in a game he is likely to reach his ceiling if the pass heavy script goes as many expect it to.
Rest of the Field
Jared Cook ($2800) – He burned a ton of people last week with a one catch for 7 yard game. He is a part of the St. Louis pass game, but not a big enough part to justify using him. He is touchdown dependent for value, which is in contrast to some of the guys we mentioned who may not have upside, but can get you value with catches and yards. All TEs need TDs to have a useful week as a fantasy player, but the ones who need them to reach ceilings are preferred to guys like Cook who likely need them just to reach his own floor.
Kyle Rudolph ($3200) – The Denver match up might actually be good for him, as they should be down and passing late. The drawback is Denver has a sick pass rush, so they may also need him to stay in and help with the blocking. That phrase is death to a TEs fantasy value. If he spends more time blocking, that means less routes run, less targets and ultimately less scoring plays like catches and yards. He is a red zone threat as the biggest strongest pass catcher they have, but much like Cook, he is TD dependent for value and that never feels good.
Bottom of the Barrel
There are dozens of tight ends that see the field sparingly and see very few targets if any most weeks. Some of them may catch a TD here or there, but none of the rest of this list are guys who have big upside. They may make 3-5 catches and maybe even get a TD, but they have nothing to show that is something that is repeatable, predictable, or normal for them. I would not be looking to use anyone else not on the list, unless injury pops up. Even if that happens, I do not see these guys as a high probability play when you can get guys for a few hundred to a thousand more that play consistent snaps and see consistent targets.
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