- Ranking the best fantasy football tight ends in 2021
- Getting the right tight end can be a difference maker in NFL fantasy
- Who’s the best option for the 2021 season?
It’s not one of the glamour positions in fantasy football, but being able to identify the right tight end can help savvy fantasy owners get a huge advantage on their opponents. To that end, let’s take a closer look at the top 5 choices at that position heading into the 2021 season.
Even in a run first offense, Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews has carved out a valuable niche for himself in fantasy football. His catch volume will probably never challenge some of the other names on this list, but he’s still the preeminent receiving option in the red zone for the team.
Andrews has averaged 61 catches in the last two seasons, which is decent, but has scored 17 touchdowns combined in that span as well. Unless the Ravens invest heavily in the wide receiver position in the draft or in free agency, it seems like the third year pro is locked in for a reasonable role in the 2021 season as well.
The narrative surrounding the Green Bay Packers heading into the 2020 NFL season was that their front office failed aging quarterback Aaron Rodgers by not adding an impact wide receiver in a loaded 2020 NFL Draft, or acquiring a big name talent to play alongside Davante Adams.
It turns out that their added weapon was in their locker room the entire time. Robert Tonyan had a tremendous season this year, breaking out for 52 catches and an eye popping 11 touchdowns.
As was on display this offseason, the Packers are not a team who usually makes splashy moves. It’s likely they will run the team back next year with a similar cast of characters. This will allow Tonyan to remain a focal part of the offense, and possibly build on his standout campaign.
Unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, this season was an injury plagued campaign, deterred by ailments to their best players. One of the most significant players who missed time this year was George Kittle, who was only able to suit up in 8 games this year, dealing with knee and foot injuries.
It would be wise for fantasy owners to remain plugged into the condition of Kittle’s foot over the offseason, but assuming there are no setbacks, the tight end should be in line for a huge bounce back season in 2021.
San Francisco might be looking to upgrade the quarterback position this offseason, which could help Kittle’s cause moving forward. Additionally, even though he missed half the season, Kittle still averaged the second highest yards per catch total in his career, so a fully healthy version of one of the league’s best players should be able to eclipse that next year.
Only 28 years old and on the precipice of greatness, Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has quickly established himself as one of the best at his position in only two years.
This year, he developed into the unquestioned receiving focal point of the Raiders offense, and will likely remain so for years to come.
Despite drafting WR Henry Ruggs in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and signing TE Jason Witten, the Raiders relied on Waller more than any of their new weapons. The fifth year tight end caught 107 passes for 1,196 yards and 9 touchdowns this season, and fourth in the NFL among all players in total catches, not just tight ends. Waller will likely fly off the board in the second or third round of draft boards next season in snake leagues.
Finally, we get to the gold standard of the tight end position in the NFL. Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce has caught at least 80 passes and accumulated over 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last five seasons, making him the most reliable option for the tight end position in fantasy.
Kelce set the receiving yardage record for a tight end this year in his age 31 season, and is probably Patrick Mahomes’ most trusted teammate in the Chiefs high powered offense. He recorded 145 targets this season, which was the second most in his career, showing that the dynamic quarterback has full intention of feeding his All-Pro tight end as much he possibly can.