Ranking players by position is integral to fantasy football preparation, but grouping them into tiers is crucial to identifying the value you might be leaving on the draft board.
For example, if you're on the clock and looking at several tight ends in the same tier, it could make sense to wait until the next round — someone equally as worthy will probably be available with your next pick.
Tiers can also help group players with similar expectations based on upside and floor. Most importantly, we don't want to pay more than the next drafter for a similar player.
There are seven primary criteria used to create tight end tiers:
- Target pedigree: Recent adjusted target shares and targets per route run
- Performance peripherals: Yards per route run, deep targets (20-plus yards), yards after the catch and explosive target rate (15-plus-yard receptions)
- Offense quality: Projected team wins (winning teams typically score more and passing YPA correlates strongly to wins)
- Passing volume: Projected team pass attempts per game (excludes overtime)
- Quarterback quality: Team QB1 ADP (combined with passing volume to offset quarterbacks with a higher ADP due to rushing ability)
- Target competition: Number of teammates with a significant ADP (wide receivers with a top-36 ADP plus tight ends with a top-12 ADP)
- Player average draft position (ADP): Positional rank based on FFPC best ball slim data from Fantasy Mojo
The first two criteria focus on the player’s ability to generate and create production from targets, while the next four data points analyze the team environment. ADP is a final check against the current market sentiment to help us extract maximum value from our selections.
The ultimate options are receivers who demand targets at all field levels and make plays after the catch on winning pass-heavy teams. After that, every tier is some variation of strengths versus weaknesses in the profile.
For example, a talented tight end on a run-balanced offense with a high projected win total and low target competition is better than the same situation with multiple teammates challenging for opportunities. On the other hand, two talented pass-catching options can co-exist in a quality pass-happy attack.
The first table is a quick view of the complete tiers and rankings, and a more detailed heat map is included below as we break down each tier.
Last Updated: 2 p.m. May 26
|Tier||Rank||FFPC Pos ADP||UD Pos ADP||Player||Team|
|1C||10||13||13||Rob Gronkowski||Free Agent|
|2A||15||16||16||Irv Smith Jr.||Vikings|
TIER 1 TIGHT ENDS
TIER 1A – PREMIUM TALENT AND TEAM ENVIRONMENT
Travis Kelce posted his sixth consecutive 1,000-plus yard season with 1,125 yards in addition to nine touchdowns and finished as the TE2 in 2021. Historically, he has been a cheat code, and he should remain the focal point of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offense with Tyreek Hill now in Miami.
The 33-year-old saw his lowest target share (19%), TPRR (21%) and YPRR (1.84) figures since 2015. We have seen great tight ends continue to post strong fantasy finishes at later ages than running backs and receivers, but Kelce is at the point where we have to consider opportunity costs.