1. Rob Gronkowski - NE - Death, Taxes & Rob Gronkowski TE1.
The addition of Martellus Bennett might worry some people but in 2011 when Aaron Hernandez was at his peak and finished as TE3 (79 rec, 910 yds & 7 TDs) Gronk had his best statistical season ever - 90 rec, 1,327 yds, 17 TD!!!. There is room for both in this offense.
High End TE1
2. Greg Olsen - CAR - Olsen has turned into a true "Set It And Forget It" TE. Back-to-back season of 120+ targets to go along with nearly 80 receptions, 1000+ yards and 7 TD.
3. Jordan Reed - WAS - Reed won leagues for people last season and certainly has the talent to do so again but his injury history scares me.
High Floor TE1
4. Coby Fleener - NOR - I explain why Coby Fleener is a TE1 this coming season here
5. Antonio Gates - SD - Although he's not the freak athlete of his younger days Gates remains Philip Rivers favorite red zone target. Gates missed 5 game last year (4 due to PED suspension, 1 due to injury) and still finished as TE11. Was on a 81 Rec, 916 Yard, 7 TD pace when on the field.
6. Delanie Walker - TEN - Well, Mike Mularkey wants to create an "Exotic Smashmouth" offense. I assume that means more reliance on the running game (Murray & Henry). With that being said Walker should still receive the most targets through the air. He wont see 133 again but could see something around 106 targets like he did in 2014. He finished a TE8 that season.
7. Travis Kelce - KC - You can blame Andy Reid and Alex Smith for this ranking. Finished as TE9 and TE7 the last two years. #FreeKelce.
8. Gary Barnidge - CLE - Big Play Barnidge falls down a tier with Josh Gordon now in the fold for 12 games *crosses fingers* but the deep threat of Gordon and Coleman may open things up for Barnidge. He'll see less target volume but could be more efficient on his touches due to the surrounding weapons.
9. Martellus Bennett - NE - This ranking may fluctuate as the preseason goes along but right now I'm putting stock in the Pats putting Bennett in the position to succeed. There is so much mismatch potential when paired with Gronk on the field. For those needing a refresher in 2011 Gronk was TE1 and Hernandez was TE3.
10. Dwayne Allen - IND - With Coby Fleener finally out of the picture the targets should be there for Allen to become a TE1 for fantasy. Now we just have to cross our fingers his body holds up.
11. Julius Thomas - JAX - Thomas will never replicate his Denver production in Jacksonville but I think he fills in as a nice 3rd option in this passing attack.
12. Jared Cook - GB - Cook's whole career suggests he'll flop as this reliable seam splitting receiving presence but he's never played with Aaron Rodgers. Late in your draft you should be looking for upside so I'm on board with using a late pick to see what comes of this match made in heaven.
13. Tyler Eifert - CIN - The more information that leaks out about Eifert's ankle procedure the more likely it sounds that he might be a candidate to start the regular season on PUP, leaving him out until Week 7. I'm likely staying away from him this year at his current ADP. When healthy he's in the Tier 2 class.
14. Zach Ertz - PHI - I've never been an Ertz guy and with Pederson's more conservative, slowed down approach I think Ertz's numbers will end up be similar to his 2014 production - 89 targets, 58 receptions, 702 yards, 3 TD. On the other-hand the Eagles gave Ertz a huge extension this offseason and are still looking for contributors in the passing game outside of Jordan Matthews so maybe I am too low.
Late Round Fliers
15. Vance McDonald - SF - In Chip Kelly's up tempo offense McDonald could be one of the main beneficiaries in the passing game. With Anquon Boldin out of town, Torrey Smith is the only proven commodity in San Fran. McDonald has received praised so far this offseason and listed as the starter so far.
16. Eric Ebron - DET - Will Ebron make the leap in year 3? He's off to a rough start and the addition of Anquon Boldin, who will likely be used in a similar manner to a TE, doesn't help his cause.
17. Zach Miller - CHI - Miller filled in marvelously for Martellus Bennett the second half of 2015 and looks to have the starting job locked down. Miller had either a touchdown or 57 yards receiving in 6 of his last 8 games.
18. Jason Witten - DAL - Our favorite Dad Runner slides in here as a reliable high floor target and I probably have him too low. Witten's has had at least 64 receptions and 700 yards every season since 2004.
19. Virgil Green - DEN - Green is an elite athlete that has been finally given a crack at the starting job. At the 2011 combine Green tested in the 99th percentile for Tight Ends in both the broad and vertical jumps. His 4.64 40-yard dash at 6'3", 249 lbs was in the 94th percentile. I'm excited to see what he can do given the opportunity.
20. Charles Clay - BUF - Clay had an alright first year in Buffalo and is likely the 2nd best receiving option in Buffalo. He'll have a few big weeks it'll just be to hard to predict when.
Best Of The Rest:
We still don't have any clarity of which TE (Ben Watson, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta & Crockett Gilmore) will emerge in Baltimore...I have respect for a player like Kyle Rudolph but I don't really have any interest in drafting a player with such a low ceiling and floor...Austin Seferian-Jenkins is talented but also a headcase. I'll believe his hype when I see it on Sunday's. In the meantime Cameron Brate is an interesting player to keep your eye on and it looks like he has a grasp on the starting role...A rookie who I'll be keeping my eye on the rest of camp is Tyler Higbee. Talent wise he's not far off from like a Travis Kelce...Monitor Ladarius Green's health...Will Tye and Larry Donnell appear to be splitting TE duties. Killing both players fantasy value.