The Super Bowl is over. Congratulations to the Denver Broncos. I knew when my son was picking a favorite NFL team, he should have picked the Orange Crush and not the Bengals (the team had to be orange, of course).
It was a fun game for Broncos fans and fans of defense, not so much for fantasy production. After that game, it probably isn't the best time to write about tight ends. Greg Olsen was shut down, and the Broncos had two guys that didn't make an impact at all.
I've argued for which running backs and which wide receivers should be drafted first in 2016 fantasy football drafts. With tight ends, it's tough to make an argument against Rob Gronkowski. With that said, that is exactly what I'm going to do.
In addition to Gronk, I am only arguing for two other tight ends. I could have added Olsen, Delanie Walker, Gary Barnidge, and Travis Kelce, and, while they are all very good, I don't feel any of them have the upside to challenge Gronk.
Rob Gronkowski (NE).
To Gronk - *183.6 Fantasy Points, 11.5 FPPG (fantasy points per game). Gronk was the only TE with over 10 FPPG this season. In 9 of 15 games, he had over 10 fantasy point. He had 72 catches, 1176 yards, and 11 TDs. Who wouldn't be happy with that from their WR1, much less their TE? If that wasn't impressive enough, 120 targets and an average catch of 16.3 yards, should do it for you. There's not much else to say. Gronk's numbers speak from themselves, but if you do need another reason, he's Tom Brady's #1 option.
Or Not to Gronk - Gronk did have 8 games with 5 catches or fewer. All of the top tight ends have injury concerns, so I won't knock anyone for that. You will have to draft Gronk in the first round if you want him.
Jordan Reed (Was).
To Gronk - As I mentioned above, all of these guys have health concerns. Reed only had two games with over 100 yards receiving. Reed also had a little trouble holding on to the ball. Three fumbles for a tight end isn't ideal. Kirk Cousins is probably going to be his quarterback, but that's not a definite. Not to mention, Cousins isn't exactly Tom Brady.
Or Not to Gronk - Reed ended the season with 25 catches, 333 yards, and 5 touchdowns in the last 3 games he actually finished (he sat most of the Cowboy game in week 17). Reed recorded 87 catches and 11 TDs in 14 games. Reed is the undisputed #1 option in the Washington offense, and it's not that close. Reed can be drafted at least two rounds later than Gronk.
Tyler Eifert (Cin).
To Gronk - Injuries are a concern with Eifert also. Eifert, while efficient, did only have 52 catches on 72 targets. That means Gronk had as many catches as Eifert had targets. Unlike the other two, Eifert is the second option in the Bengals offense after A.J. Green. Andy Dalton had a career season, and, while he could expand on that, he could also become the Red Rifle of old.
Or Not to Gronk - Eifert led TEs in TDs with 13 in 13 games. Yes, that is a clean ratio of 1:1, TD:Games Played. When the Notre Dame alum had over 10 targets, he came through with over 20 fantasy points. Give Eifert more of a role in the offense, and the ceiling is as high as any TE. You'll be able to draft Eifert at least 4 rounds later than Gronk, and he scored more TDs than Gronk.
Tight end is such a hard position to rank and evaluate. There are only a few players that are worth starting throughout the season. Gronk was drafted in the first round this year, and he played up to that draft position. Reed and Eifert were steals this season and will be drafted much higher next season. I am not necessarily saying that you have to draft a TE early, but, if you do, you'll need to decide how high you're willing to go and how risky you're willing to be.
*Fantasy stats are based on standard fractional scoring.