Five years ago, the top 10 fantasy tight ends at the end of the year included Tony Gonzalez, Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, and Martellus Bennett, four guys who, at least at the moment, are out of the league.
Of course, topping the list was Jimmy Graham, while Rob Gronkowski’s fantasy points per game would have had him second over 16 games. Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates are still hanging around, but by and large, tight end—the position we think of as having as much staying power as any but quarterback—saw a near-complete changing of the guard in the last five years.
Will we see the same story in the next five years? How long are the current starting tight ends going to remain such? That’s the question we’ve been answering the last few weeks. I gathered some PFF Fantasy writers (Dan Clasgens, Michael Moore), and I’ll fill the roll of Dan Schneier this time around, and they and I have been attempting to figure out how long the current fantasy starters will remain as such.
The premise: You can keep Player X for as long as you want, but you have to decide on that duration right now.
The cost: You can keep the player indefinitely at the cost of the last starter at the position. So a quarterback will cost you the draft slot of the 10th quarterback off the board, while a wide receiver will cost you the 20th receiver. In short, the question at hand is: How long will Player X be a fantasy starter?
|How long will the top tight ends be fantasy starters?|
|Number of years|
Evan Engram, New York Giants
|Age||G||Targets||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs||Fantasy Rank|
4 years: After turning in one of the most productive rookie TE seasons in history, Engram will likely see fewer targets in his sophomore season. However, his talent as a pass-catcher should keep him as a viable fantasy starter for years to come. — Dan Clasgens
5 years: Top-five fantasy tight end in his rookie year? Sign me up. — Michael Moore
1 year: Pessimism will be my theme among tight ends. For Engram, his 2017 production was largely volume-based. His 6.7 yards per target ranked 49th among qualified tight ends. That’s not a killer if the volume keeps up, but with Odell Beckham Jr.’s return to health (assuming he sticks around), Engram needs to prove he can produce on more limited volume. Even one year scares me, but I’ll take that shot. — Daniel Kelley