Fantasy Football: 2021 Tight End Pre-Season Projected Rankings

by Jake Ellenbogen
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The new NFL season is fast approaching and so I’ve compiled my tight end rankings in fantasy football for this season. Before we get into it the scoring format I used was a full 6 points per touchdown and half-point PPR. Of course if you don’t know where to go to start your fantasy football journey I highly recommend our sponsor underdogfantasy.com if you head on over and use promo code DTR you will receive $25 bonus cash on your first deposit. Now, let’s get into it.

Top-5 Fantasy Football Tight Ends

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (274.6 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 113 Receptions, 1,401 Receiving yards, 13 TDs

2. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (208.9 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 103 Receptions, 1,154 Receiving yards, 7 TDs

3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (203.4 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 90 Receptions, 1,224 Receiving yards, 6 TDs

4. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (189.2 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 85 Receptions, 927 Receiving yards, 9 TDs

5. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (171 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 62 Receptions, 800 Receiving yards, 10 TDs

Analysis

Nothing out of the top five should come as a shock. Travis Kelce and George Kittle might be neck and neck as far as what goes into the position but in fantasy football Kelce at the moment is on a level of his own. Darren Waller ends up just barely higher than Kittle and a lot of that comes down to uncertainty at quarterback in San Francisco. T.J. Hockenson comes in third as someone who is expected to be leaned on heavily by Jared Goff who has been known to stick to a favorite target. Mark Andrews was just signed to an extension and with the injuries plaguing the Ravens do not be surprised if he has an even better season than what I am predicting.

Rounding Out the Top-10 Fantasy Football Tight Ends

6. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (162 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 75 Receptions, 765 Receiving yards, 8 TDs

7. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (146.6 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 72 Receptions, 806 Receiving yards, 5 TDs

8. Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (141.3 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 70 Receptions, 763 Receiving yards, 5 TDs

9. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons (134.1 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 68 Receptions, 721 Receiving yards, 5 TDs

10. Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots (133 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 61 Receptions, 665 Receiving yards, 6 TDs

Analysis

I might have become the biggest Logan Thomas fan overnight it seems like. This year and where his ADP is I just feel like you are getting some outstanding value to the point where you may just opt not to go tight end tier one if you can get Thomas later on. Dallas Goedert still has Zach Ertz in Philly with him but the feeling is that Goedert is far and away the favorite tight end target there.

Gerald Everett likely surprises many because he’s been going at the tail end of drafts and so that’s where I will take him but don’t be surprised if Everett breaks out in Seattle. Kyle Pitts does finish as a top 10 tight end but the idea of drafting him as a top five tight end seems premature. Jonnu Smith wraps up the top 10 as he will be potentially Mac Jones‘ favorite target all year long.

Fantasy Football Sleeper Tight Ends

11. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (131.3 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 65 Receptions, 748 Receiving yards, 4 TDs

12. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (128.8 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 52 Receptions, 608 Receiving yards, 7 TDs

13. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (104.7 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 51 Receptions, 552 Receiving yards, 4 TDs

14. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (102.5 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 55 Receptions, 630 Receiving yards, 2 TDs

15. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (101.4 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 43 Receptions, 559 Receiving yards, 4 TDs

Analysis

This fantasy football tier group has a guy in Mike Gesicki who is going to produce in Miami once again. Robert Tonyan before the Randall Cobb trade seemed like a top 10 tight end but his stock dropped a little for me when Aaron Rodgers got his trusty wideout. Noah Fant‘s stock also dropped when they named Teddy Bridgewater the starter over Drew Lock. Lock was more likely to air it out than Bridgewater in my mind. Hunter Henry falls to 14th and while he could end up having just as many yards or close to Jonnu Smith, I expect Smith will be the go-to in the red zone and hog the premium opportunities and targets away from Henry. Wrapping it up is second-year man Cole Kmet who should have a semi-breakout this year once Justin Fields starts.

Tight Ends 16-20

16. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers (101.1 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 51 Receptions, 576 Receiving yards, 3 TDs

17. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (100.8 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 48 Receptions, 528 Receiving yards, 4 TDs

18. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (100.6 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 38 Receptions, 456 Receiving yards, 6 TDs

19. Evan Engram, New York Giants (93.4 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 59 Receptions, 519 Receiving yards, 2 TDs

20. Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans (91.6 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 46 Receptions, 506 Receiving yards, 3 TDs

Analysis

Starting off with second-round rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth sounds bold but he was held out of the final preseason game while Eric Ebron played the entire thing. In preseason, he caught two touchdowns from Big Ben and one can imagine he’s going to be doing that during the season. Tyler Higbee surprisingly falls to 17th and I won’t be surprised if I get his projection more wrong than anyone. Perhaps I’m just simply putting too much stock into the deep receiver group and Jacob Harris but I really think there are too many mouths to feed to put Higbee in the top-10  of fantasy football tight ends which is where he’s going in drafts right now.

Rob Gronkowski might not be the best looking option but he still has Brady who will still throw to him. Evan Engram will need to stay healthy but with additional weapons added in Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, Engram might be able to sneak away with a solid season without the attention on him. Anthony Firkser wraps up the top 20 here and mainly because he is the only guy in Tennessee. Firkser is a good tight end but also because he’s in Tennessee he’s not likely going to have the same opportunities as some of the top tight ends.

Wrapping Up the Top-25

21. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (91.4 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 43 Receptions, 399 Receiving yards, 5 TDs

22. Jordan Akins, Houston Texans (91.6 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 48 Receptions, 480 Receiving yards, 3 TDs

23. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys (88.4 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 46 Receptions, 414 Receiving yards, 4 TDs

24. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (87.2 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 39 Receptions, 437 Receiving yards, 4 TDs

25. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (86.7 PTS)

2021 Projected Stats: 53 Receptions, 482 Receiving yards, 2 TDs

To round out 21 through 25, Austin Hooper joins the list who figures to score a bit while not really having the yards of the other guys. Jordan Akins will be a big-time safety blanket for Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills whoever starts in Houston during the year. Blake Jarwin would have been ranked higher but the fact is the Cowboys have a ton of weapons and there’s another guy playing the position who filled in last year Dalton Schultz who is just as good and will steal plenty of targets. O.J. Howard comes back from injury this year and while he doesn’t have the touchdowns Gronk has, I expect Howard to still have a role in this offense. Wrapping it all up is Hayden Hurst who can’t be forgotten in Atlanta, while Pitts is the hot commodity it is of course, Hurst who has been in the league a lot longer and will still have a decent role in 2021.

Fantasy football season is here and don’t forget you can get $25 on your first deposit in the Underdog Fantasy app using promo code DTR.

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