It's draft season and that means you are scrambling to collect every shred of information in order to make the 15 most important decisions of your life. 15 choices provide the foundation of your self-worth for an entire year. 15 choices determine whether your significant other will leave you OR tolerate your addiction for another season. Every draft pick counts. But have no fear. I have assembled the most perfect tiered fantasy rankings that you will ever see in your entire life. These tiers are derived from a projection model that implements all the necessary factors of fantasy evaluation: Coaching Tendencies, Career Efficiency Data, Injury Risk, Strength of Schedule, Calf & Thigh Girth, and Astronomical Analysis. Behold, the 100% accurate 2020 Tight End Tiers.
There's only been one tight end to finish at the top of his position four seasons in a row. One.
George Kittle may be the most complete tight end in football (and the highest paid), but his range of outcomes is less trustworthy than Kelce due to his responsibilities as a blocker and San Francisco's commitment to the run game. Very excited to see how he matches up with Jamal Adams and Isaiah Simmons. The NFC West is going to continue to be high-quality TV. He's been a low TD scorer through the first few years of his career (2, 5, 5), but so was Kelce (5, 5, 4). Look for Kittle to make a positive regression in the endzone department due to a rich target share opportunity.
Kittle carries an underappreciated injury risk following last season, where he sustained an avulsion fracture in the ankle and a torn labrum in his shoulder. He's tough as nails and has likely recovered from the ankle injury, but the shoulder, which he did not have surgery on, presents as a yellow flag. The labrum helps provide stability for the shoulder joint and could be an issue down the road if he's unable to properly compensate. I obviously haven't read the MRI report, but this particular injury is more noteworthy because of the jarring contact he'll be taking over the duration of the season while blocking. If Kittle starts having issues with dislocation, then he'll be a candidate for season-ending surgery.
Oddly enough, there's a sect of Twitter that continues to doubt Darren Waller following his breakout season. There's no viable reason to dislike the guy. Adding weapons will help him in the same way that Tyreek/Mecole/Sammy help Kelce. Waller crossed a significant threshold when he passed the 1k yardage mark last season, I don't care if it may have been related to a lack of other options. New options will create more total passing volume and he'll stay on the field due to the scheme flexibility he offers.
Waller is appropriately priced according to his positional rank, but people often view him as less than elite. If he falls too far, locking up a top 5 asset at a shallow position might be too good to pass up.
At this time of year, my injury risk optimism is at an all-time high. First of all, the greatest tight end to ever play the game has reunited with the greatest quarterback ever. He's 31 years old. The same age as Travis Kelce. I'm not worried about OJ Howard. I'm not worried about Peter King. When Rob Gronkowski is healthy and on the field, I expect him to be the same hilariously destructive sledgehammer he was in the past. Last season, with Howard and Brate, the Bucs ran the 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) at the 7th highest percentage in the league. Despite the narrative that Arians doesn't use the tight end, there's certainly a base-layer infrastructure for Gronk and Howard to get plenty of reps, and I expect the well-rested and refreshed WWE Champion to return to form. Possibly better than ever.
Gronk's current ADP allows for one of my favorite draft day strategies this season. In Round 7, you can grab Elite PPG upside at a position lacking true difference makers and pair him with any of the TEs in the tier right underneath this group (most of whom are available in Rounds 12-14). We may only get 11-12 games of Gronk, but the injury risk is easily covered with a Jonnu Smith/Blake Jarwin/Chris Herndon caliber player.
The same exact strategy applies to uber-talented Giants TE Evan Engram. Although Engram has never played a full 16 games, his PPG value has always been TE1 worthy (2017-2019 PPG Rank: TE4, TE7, TE7) and that shouldn't change this season with the Giants returning the same receiving corps from 2019. Young QBs often rely on their TEs to keep the ball moving and without a true alpha for Daniel Jones to rely on, I've projected Engram with a 22% target share, 80 receptions, 852 yards and 6 TDs. For both Gronk and Engram, the injury value is already cooked into the ADP. If I'm satisfied with my team after starting the draft