Fantasy Football Week 1: Ranking the Top 10 Tight Ends

By Vincent Frank on Saturday, September 9th 2017
Fantasy Football Week 1: Ranking the Top 10 Tight Ends

1. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

When healthy, Reed has continually proven himself to be among the most-productive fantasy tight ends in the game. Last season alone, Reed caught 66 passes for 686 yards and six touchdowns in just 12 games. This enabled him to finish as the ninth-best fantasy tight end despite missing a quarter of the season. That was primarily helped by a 9.1 percent touchdown rate and a 74 percent catch rate.

Now set to take on an Eagles defense that yielded only 44 receptions to tight ends last season, some expect Reed to struggle. But taking into account his level of consistency and the fact that both Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce are not part of the main DFS slate Sunday, look for Reed to finish as the TE1. 

2. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

We absolutely love this matchup for Walker. Flying under the radar, the veteran tight end has finished as a top-five tight end in each of the past two seasons. It's not a confidence that those were Marcus Mariota's first two years in the NFL. During this span, Walker has caught 68 percent of the passes thrown in his direction 9.4 percent touchdown rate. He's also going up against a Raiders defense that yielded over 1,000 receiving yards and a 65 percent catch rate to tight ends last season. 

3. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

With NaVorro Bowman and Reuben Foster in the mix this season for the 49ers, it's hard to imagine them being as bad in terms of covering tight ends as they were last year. This is a unit that yielded a 71 percent catch rate to that position in 2016. Even then, there's no reason to believe Olsen won't be able to put up a solid fantasy outing here. He's finished as a top-six fantasy tight end each of the past six seasons and is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he caught 62 percent of the 129 balls thrown in his direction. 

4. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks 

After struggling in his initial season with Seattle, Graham picked it up big time. He showed to find a connection with Russell Wilson, ultimately putting up 923 yards and six touchdowns while catching 68 percent of his targets. This led to a No. 4 fantasy raking and No. 3 consistency mark among tight ends last season. It also doesn't hurt this week that's he's taking on a Packers defense that yielded over 900 receiving yards and a 65 percent catch mark to tight ends last season. 

5. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz quickly became Caron Wentz's favorite target during the quarterback's rookie season, putting up 78 receptions and 816 yards to go with a stellar 74 percent catch rate. Not only did this enable him to finish as a top-eight fantasy tight end, he finished in the top 10 in consistency. The one problem here is that Ertz caught just four touchdowns on 106 targets. That's not going to get it done. Thankfully, Ertz and the Eagles are taking on a Skins defense in Week 1 that ranked in the bottom five of the NFL against fantasy tight ends last season, yielding north of 1,000 receiving yards and an absurd 74 percent catch rate. Whew. 

6. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

This is not a tremendous matchup for Enron. First off, he dealt with a hamstring injury during the preseason. And while he's going to be ready to go Sunday, it has to be of concern. Secondly, he's now forced to take on a Cardinals defense that gave up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season. Thanks, Tyrann Matthieu. It also doesn't help that Ebron caught one touchdown on 61 receptions last season. We have him at six, but don't be surprised if Enron finishes outside of the top 10 here. 

7. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Eiefert is going to have a heck of a time against a Baltimore defense that features Erick Weddle and recent acquisition Tony Jefferson at safety. Add in the presence of C.J. Mosley at middle linebacker, and that's only magnified further. Even without Jefferson in the mix last season, Arizona ranked in the top half of the NFL against fantasy tight ends. With that said, Eifert has caught 18 touchdowns over his past 21 games and boasts an absurd 22 percent touchdown rate over that span. Even with limited production and a single score here, he'll be a top-seven option. 

8. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Regression. From a fantasy standpoint, that has defined Witten's career over the past two seasons. During this span, he has not finished as anything better than a bottom-end TE1 option. Though, Witten did catch over 70 percent of the 90 balls thrown in his direction last season and seems to have a nice connection with youngster Dak Prescott. Surprisingly, the New York Giants also finished in the bottom 11 against fantasy tight ends last season. 

9. Evan Engram, New York Giants

We absolutely love this matchup for the rookie first-round pick. Not only did he earn a starting job out of camp, Engram might be targeted more with Odell Beckham Jr being a game-time decision for Sunday night. Considering Engram and his Giants are taking on a Cowboys team that yielded 120 receptions for 1,206 yards and eight touchdowns to tight ends last season, we're looking for a big NFL regular season debut. That's only magnified by the fact that Dallas also gave up a 78 percent catch rate en route to yielding the most fantasy points to tight ends in 2016. 

10. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans 

There just aren't many more sexy options for this 10th spot. And while Fiedorwicz has not broken out from a pass-catching standpoint in his career, he did build up a strong rapport with Tom Savage during the preseason. Look for TE1 production from the recently-extended former Iowa standout, especially after he did tally 54 receptions for almost 600 yards in 2016. 

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