2021 Tight End Rankings

Happy Hour – Music City Drive-In

For this week’s The Happy Hour Podcast, we looked at tight ends. In this week’s installment, I’m looking at my Top 32 tight ends, basically through mid-tier TE3. If you want to see my full rankings for pre-season and week-to-week, in addition to Ricky’s rankings, be sure to bookmark this link to our 2021 rankings sheet here. You can, and should, follow the show on Twitter @ffHappyHourpod as well. You can subscribe to the show here.

Without further ado, let’s get to the tight ends. This is a very top-heavy group, with little separation from low-end TE1 through the end of the list, typically.

Top 5

  • 1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
  • 2. Darren Waller, Raiders
  • 3. George Kittle, 49ers
  • 4. T.J. Hockenson, Lions
  • 5. Mark Andrews, Ravens

About: These five kind of separate themselves from the pack for me. Kelce is one of the best pass catchers in the league, no matter what. Waller is great and Kittle has the ability to be top of the heap if he stays healthy and his QB play is solid. I also love Hockenson and Andrews as the top targets in their offense. This is a big tier break for me.

TE1:

  • 6. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
  • 7. Kyle Pitts, Falcons
  • 8. Noah Fant, Broncos
  • 9. Irv Smith, Jr., Vikings
  • 10. Logan Thomas, Washington
  • 11. Jonnu Smith, Patriots
  • 12. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins

About: This is a group of guys where I like their talent and potential, but I’m less bullish than the Top 5. I also think, given the small spread at TE past the top group, these guys are likely to finish as TE1s but hardly locks. Several have questions about role, competition for targets and quarterback. Still, these are TEs I like.

Fringe TE1:

  • 13. Hunter Henry, Patriots
  • 14. Robert Tonyan, Packers
  • 15. Adam Trautman, Saints

About: This is all about opportunity. Henry was a low-end TE1 with the Chargers, but I think he and Smith split more with the Patriots, and I’m giving the edge to Smith finishing as a low-end TE1. With Tonyan, he was insanely efficient in 2020. He caught 52 passes and 11 TDs on just 56 targets. I don’t think that repeats, so he just misses Top 12 for me. Finally, Trautman should eat with the Saints low on receivers, but I’m not confident he explodes just yet.

TE2s:

  • 16. Zach Ertz, Eagles
  • 17. Blake Jarwin, Cowboys
  • 18. Anthony Firkser, Titans
  • 19. Hayden Hurst, Falcons
  • 20. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers
  • 21. Tyler Higbee, Rams
  • 22. Evan Engram, Giants
  • 23. Cole Kmet, Bears
  • 24. Gerald Everett, Seahawks

About: This is a group that’s all about talent and opportunity. Some I like the talent; some I like the opportunity to rise. Ertz is a huge question mark, especially if he plays with the Eagles. But he’s a talented guy and I think he ends up providing a return. Jarwin should be OK, but Schultz isn’t gone and TE is the fifth target at best in the Cowboys offense. Hurst should do decent even with Pitts since the Falcons are slim on receivers, same for Gronkowski, Higbee and Engram in crowded pass-catching groups. I like Kmet to take a step forward, while Firkser and Everett benefit from being the third option in their offense without much competition for targets.

Just Outside Top 24:

  • 25. Austin Hooper, Browns
  • 26. Eric Ebron, Steelers
  • 27. O.J. Howard, Buccaneers
  • 28. Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
  • 29. Chris Herndon, Jets
  • 30. Jared Cook, Chargers
  • 31. Donald Parham, Chargers
  • 32. Dan Arnold, Panthers

About: This is a group where I have more questions. Some face plenty of competition for targets, including at their position (Hooper, Ebron, Howard, Schultz), while others it’s about the role in the offense (Herndon, Cook, Parham). Then there’s Arnold, who flashed on occasion for the Cardinals. I like his potential to have some decent games, I just don’t see him regularly being a factor in Carolina.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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