Matt Harmon's 2016 tiered redraft fantasy rankings

Print

I don't like rankings, not even a little bit. In my view, it's taking a linear thought process to an inherently fluid and non-linear concept. I often find there's a heavy amount of frivolous debate on subjects like "why do you have player-x at No. 12 but player-y at No. 15?" I don't think it does the reader a service to try and take the numerical order as a one-to-one comparison, nor do I believe we learn anything of use or substance about the players in the discussion.

With that out in the air, I do hold that using tiers by position helps offset some of the uselessness of rankings. It helps take some of the frivolity of arguing a few spots difference in the order. Most of the players in one tier have roughly the same value, whether they fall first in the set or last. It provides more actionable information for fantasy owners to use during drafts. I'd also assert picking by position, and not off of an overall list, is the best drafting approach. Again, that's a topic for another time.

A minor tangent of that regard probably was not what you expected at the start of a rankings article. Not conforming to expectations is one of my favorite pass times. Anyway, here are my tiered redraft rankings for the 2016 season as it stands here in late August.

NOTE: If you're looking for a cheat sheet based on my tiered rankings, a Twitter follower took the time to compile one. You can find google doc through this link.

Quarterbacks


Tier 1

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Cam Newton, Panthers
3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

I'll take one of these quarterbacks to finish as the QB1 overall. Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers feel like obvious choices. Russell Wilson in Tier 1 may shock a few, but I believe we saw a real change in the Seahawks offense down the stretch last year. In an up-tempo approach centered on him and an improved set of weaponry, the hyper-efficient Wilson could have a career year in fantasy.

Tier 2

4. Drew Brees, Saints
5. Andrew Luck, Colts

Speaking of weaponry, the Saints look to have assembled the best supporting cast for Drew Brees in the last three seasons. Expect Brees to push for a top-three season with a litany of talented pass-catchers to help him out in 2016. If he falls past the sixth round, I'll start thinking about abandoning a late-round quarterback approach.

Tier 3

6. Carson Palmer, Cardinals
7. Eli Manning, Giants
8. Philip Rivers, Chargers
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
10. Tom Brady, Patriots
11. Kirk Cousins, Redskins
12. Tyrod Taylor, Bills

Tier 3 holds a list of five passers I'd be comfortable with as a mostly every-week QB1 for my team. All of them have at least one semi-significant wart to keep them out of Tier 2 for, but plenty of upside to crack that grouping. Philip Rivers is often the cheapest of this tier, routinely falling to the 13th round of standard drafts. Kirk Cousins won people championships last year as the hottest quarterback down the stretch. He won't maintain that pace, but with a diverse array of talented weapons around him and likely pass-first team approach, he can certainly check in as a QB1. The Steelers offense is becoming more of a myth than an actual fantasy goldmine. Ben Roethlisberger is a trap at his current ADP. Tyrod Taylor is a perfect breakout candidate if he plays 16 games.

Tier 4

13. Matthew Stafford, Lions
14. Andy Dalton, Bengals
15. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets

This set of passers also have mostly rosy outlooks, but with minor warts to keep them off the more locked-in QB1 tier. The Lions should remain pass-heavy but emphasize a quick-strike approach. That makes Matthew Stafford a viable floor play at the position. Ryan Fitzpatrick also has not lost much luster off his surprising performance last season. The volume and weapons are there. Either way, you're likely getting more QB1 weeks than not out of these players.

Tier 5

16. Blake Bortles, Jaguars
17. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
18. Derek Carr, Raiders
19. Marcus Mariota, Titans
20. Matt Ryan, Falcons

Tier 5 holds a mixture of youth and experience to form a collection of high-end quarterback streamers. The fantasy community is all-in on Blake Bortles' statistical regression, but that's completely baked in with his ranking here. I wouldn't want Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston as every-week starters on offenses focused on the run, but all three present fine individual ceilings for utilization in plus matchups.

Tier 6

21. Joe Flacco, Ravens
22. Alex Smith, Chiefs
23. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
24. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
25. Robert Griffin III, Browns

The group in Tier 6 are all essentially floor plays as quarterback streamers. Alex Smith comes with high-floor, low-ceiling appeal, but the Chiefs might have to take to the air more if Justin Houston's absence harms the defensive strength. I like him more than this ranking leads on. Ryan Tannehill is not likely to crack the ceiling many envisioned for him, but he will post viable weeks given the weapons around him in Miami. Joe Flacco is a sneaky pick at the end of drafts playing in Marc Trestman's offense, whose units always finish in the top-half of the NFL in pass attempts. I might be an idiot, but I'm buying into a mini-Robert Griffin III revival. Hue Jackson is a proven talent maximizer, the Browns suddenly have great weapons and Griffin's legs (even if diminished) give him a safe weekly floor. Dak Prescott looked great in the preseason and falls into a nice situation. His passing numbers from the exhibition games won't hold up but his ability as a runner will provide a nice floor as a fantasy streamer.

Tier 7

26. Jay Cutler, Bears
27. Blaine Gabbert, 49ers
28. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings
29. Brock Osweiler, Texans

Showing the depth of the quarterback position, you could feel comfortable with streaming several of these players in the right matchups. Jay Cutler still has week-winning potential even if he lost Adam Gase this offseason. Blaine Gabbert certainly gives NFL fans nightmares, but plays for a bad team that will take to the air and is attached to a coach who pumps up the play-calling volume. Brock Osweiler has a ton of talent around him. If he fails, it's on him.

Tier 8

30. Trevor Siemian, Broncos
31. Sam Bradford, Eagles
32. Case Keenum, Rams

All four of these options are only for 2QB or Super Flex formats. They are all holding the fort down for talented rookies who could play at any time.

Running backs


Tier 1

1. David Johnson, Cardinals

Having David Johnson at RB1 and the would-be same tier as Le'Veon Bell is a lofty expectation for the second-year back. Yet, at his ceiling, he's the only one who can push Bell's combination of breath-taking playmaking in the open field and elite pass-catching prowess. I'll take my chances on him hitting that. He has everything you want in a running back: a safe floor in the passing game, attachment to a strong offense/quarterback, and insane opportunity. I don't think there's an argument against him as the overall RB1 and he's the only back I feel totally confident in as a first-round pick.

Tier 2

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
3. Lamar Miller, Texans
4. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
5. Todd Gurley, Rams
6. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

All five of these backs are clear workhorses for their respective teams and it should shock no one if any of them finishes as the RB1 overall. If you balk at having Ezekiel Elliott this high, I don't know what else to tell you except to get over it. Yes, he's a rookie and there's always risk in that, but he's a tremendous talent walking into quite literally the best running back environment we've seen in the last decade. Even if you don't believe in his ceiling, he has a great a floor because the Cowboys will pummel him with touches. Even everyone's favorite punching bag for running back failures, Trent Richardson, was a top-10 player at the position as a rookie. In the same vein, don't worry too much about the presence of Spencer Ware or Charcandrick West when analyzing Jamaal Charles. Those two are nice players -- Ware could even fit in as this team's fourth-quarter hammer -- but Charles is the engine of that offense. If you're wondering why Gurley is so low, check out my reasoning for him not being a top-five overall fantasy pick this year.

Tier 3

7. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers
8. Mark Ingram, Saints
9. Devonta Freeman, Falcons
10. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
11. Eddie Lacy, Packers

If 100 percent healthy and available to go for the start of the season, Le'Veon Bell would be alone at the top of these rankings in his own tier. However, the suspension and injury concerns are enough to attach an anchor to his stock. I think he is a third-round pick with this collection of warts, but most drafters seem confident in taking him in the second. The two players at the top of this tier have tremendous floors due to their involvement in the passing game. Even if Devonta Freeman loses carries between the 20-yard-lines to Tevin Coleman, he still projects as the primary red-zone and receiving back on the team. Eddie Lacy's combination of upside, environment, and on-field play warrant RB1 consideration. However, he does have enough downside to at least bring caution.

Tier 4

12. Latavius Murray, Raiders
13. C.J. Anderson, Broncos
14. LeSean McCoy, Bills
15. Jeremy Langford, Bears
16. Matt Forte, Jets
17. Jeremy Hill, Bengals

Theoretically, LeSean McCoy looks like a player who belongs in Tier 3, and there's a good argument for placing him there. However, the veteran back is closing in on 2,000 touches just since 2009. He had trouble staying healthy last season, as well. Latavius Murray could lose some third-down work to rookies, but should engulf the lion's share of his team's carries. The Raiders should be better and he has a great floor as a player who could lead the NFL in carries this year. C.J. Anderson fell down a tier because the Broncos offense could finish in the bottom-five in touchdowns scored this season. Even though I love his talent and opportunity, but it's a rough to assign confidence to a back attached to that kind of offense.

Tier 5

18. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks
19. Giovani Bernard, Bengals
20. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
21. Carlos Hyde, 49ers
22. Danny Woodhead, Chargers
23. Ryan Mathews, Eagles

Giovani Bernard and Danny Woodhead offer RB2 floors in PPR, but could run into RB1 seasons if everything breaks right. Jonathan Stewart and Carlos Hyde project as early-down bangers but the former starts on a team that just went to the Super Bowl whereas Hyde plays for quite the opposite. Thomas Rawls falls a bit after The Awakening of Christine Michael.

Tier 6

24. Ameer Abdullah, Lions
25. Matt Jones, Redskins
26. Frank Gore, Colts
27. Rashad Jennings, Giants

This tier is filled with players who, as Sigmund Bloom says, are set to get touches by default. Whether a veteran like Frank Gore or the Matt Jones group of sophomores, these players might not be world-beaters at this stage, but they are likely in line for 200-plus touches. Especially for Zero-RB drafters, that's hard to pass up in the mid-rounds. Jennings has RB1 potential as long as the Giants feed him like a feature back in a high-scoring offense. He was dominant (RB3 overall) in the last four games of 2015 when he saw 21.5 touches per contest.

Tier 7

28. Charles Sims, Buccaneers
29. Bilal Powell, Jets
30. Duke Johnson, Browns
31. Arian Foster, Dolphins
32. Melvin Gordon, Chargers
33. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins
34. Chris Ivory, Jaguars
35. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers
36. Derrick Henry, Titans
37. James White, Patriots
38. DeMarco Murray, Titans
39. Dion Lewis, Patriots

Charles Sims and Arian Foster are primarily pass-catching threats and third-down backs. However, if their backfield mate were to falter or get hurt, each could vault into fringe RB1 territory in a hurry. Sims is my favorite of this group. If something happens to Doug Martin, he has the talent to become this year's Devonta Freeman. I don't like leaving a WR-heavy draft without him in my back pocket. Duke Johnson falls after Josh Gordon's reinstatement and Terrelle Pryor's emergence hamper any sort of 70-plus catch optimistic projection. I don't really want to take either of Chris Ivory or DeAngelo Williams at their current cost. Both are more DFS plays. Derrick Henry is special. He's going to take the majority of the backfield work before season's end. Bilal Powell will split the backfield and pass-catching work with Forte and has RB1 upside if the veteran gets hurt again. I can't see myself drafting DeMarco Murray at anything near his current ADP. This is both where I think you can take a shot on Dion Lewis' health risk and invest in James White. The former is a special player when on the field, while the latter is competent enough to make due in the Patriots' money pass-catching role.

Tier 8

40. LeGarrette Blount, Patriots
41. Spencer Ware, Chiefs
42. Isaiah Crowell, Browns
43. Christine Michael, Seahawks

It feels weird to have these four alone in their own tier, but their outlook is so similar. Both Isaiah Crowell and LeGarrette Blount will only be relevant in weeks where their team is favored and they can get 15-plus carries and potentially pop in a score. Blount gets ranked higher because he's been historically predictable in terms of what games to play him. Michael's re-emergence is legitimate and he's going to factor into the Seahawks backfield rotation. However, unlike the last two, that will be unpredictable outside of a potential early-season lead back role as Rawls gets healthy. I want to draft Spencer Ware on every team this year. I've heard he could eat right into Charles' early down work and will be a fixture in the red zone. He played like a star when he got work last year.

Tier 9

44. Theo Riddick, Lions
45. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars
46. Tevin Coleman, Falcons
47. Chris Thompson, Redskins
48. Terrance West, Ravens
49. Javorius Allen, Ravens
50. DeAndre Washington, Raiders
51. Shane Vereen, Giants
52. Shaun Draughn, 49ers
53. Darren Sproles, Eagles

This group is a mix of rushers loosely hanging on to gigs, potential early-down bangers and those set to siphon minor receiving work. Essentially any of these backs need to fall to the late ninth round, at the earliest, for me to consider them. Shaun Draughn is the only player here ranked well above ADP. The public at large seems to be overlooking his potential if he's the team's primary pass-catching back, as the 49ers are set to trail on the vast majority of their snaps. I'm willing to overdraft Spencer Ware on wide receiver-heavy teams with the hope he eats into Jamaal Charles' rushing workload and as the NFL's only good true handcuff (yes, over DeAngelo Williams). I like Terrance West to usurp red zone and early down work in the Ravens backfield and Buck Allen to be consistent as a pass-catcher. Both could vastly exceed these rankings if they make Forsett expendable. Chris Thompson could be this year's Theo Riddick on a pass-heavy team with a shaky starter. I believe in Ryan Mathews when he's on the field, but we can't ignore the drumbeat building for Sproles.

Tier 10

54. Jerick McKinnon, Vikings
55. C.J. Prosise, Seahawks
56. Kenneth Dixon, Ravens
57. Justin Forsett, Ravens
58. James Starks, Packers
59. Tim Hightower, Saints
60. Alfred Morris, Cowboys

Purely waiver-wire territory here. Dixon has the most talent and theoretical upside on the field. Alfred Morris would be a high-end RB2 if something happened to Elliott. The same could be said for McKinnon and Starks, but their lack of any standalone value keeps them outside the draftable range, in my view. Monitor the news as the season approaches to keep tabs on these players. This was quite a fall for Prosise, but he got leaped by The Awakening while missing a ton of time with a multitude of injuries. He still has excellent long-term potential, and could exceed this ranking if he catches up quickly to handle passing downs.

Wide Receivers


Tier 1

1. Odell Beckham, Giants
2. Antonio Brown, Steelers
3. Julio Jones, Falcons
4. A.J. Green, Bengals

The top three are fairly obvious but the fourth-ranked receiver in Tier 1 may surprise some. A.J. Green should once again get back to a 30 percent market share of the Bengals' offense, with 160-plus targets. When he accomplished that feat in 2012 and 2013, he finished as a top-four receiver in fantasy. The stars are aligning for Green to return to the level of elite scoring receivers in 2016, and it feels painfully familiar to the way Julio Jones jumped into that group last year.

Tier 2

5. Allen Robinson, Jaguars
6. Keenan Allen, Chargers
7. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
8. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
9. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
10. Jordy Nelson, Packers
11. Brandon Marshall, Jets
12. Mike Evans, Buccaneers

I'm in on all of the receivers in Tier 2, and if you told me anyone from this group finished as the WR5 overall, I wouldn't fight you too hard on it. Having DeAndre Hopkins all the way down at WR9 might seem harsh based on his season-end numbers, but it's important to peel back the layers. From Weeks 10 to 17, when the Texans were a good team, Hopkins was the WR12 overall as opposed to the WR2 like he was in Weeks 1 through Week 8. The Texans took the air out of the ball, going from 2.6 rush plays per drive to 3.59 in the second half, and their defense improved. Hopkins will still be a top-12 fantasy receiver, but he's a tick off the elite level when the Texans are on their preferred formula.

Tier 3

13. Sammy Watkins, Bills
14. Randall Cobb, Packers
15. Amari Cooper, Raiders
16. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
17. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
18. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs
19. Donte Moncrief, Colts

Current ADP has Randall Cobb as the WR19-ish and Jeremy Maclin as the WR24-ish, making both a value going off my rankings. In his 15 healthy games, Maclin owned a 29 percent share of the Chiefs passing targets in 2015, which is in line with some of the receivers in Tier 1. With Justin Houston's status in serious question, it's fair to wonder if the Chiefs can play "keep away" on offense without their best defender. During the 2013 season, Alex Smith averaged almost a full 20 yards per game more in contests Houston missed. With Cobb, it's hard to envision a scenario where he doesn't at least creep back into the top-15 receivers with the Green Bay offense back at full strength. Donte Moncrief is the easiest breakout candidate to spot this year and is a lock for 120-plus targets in an Andrew Luck-led offense.

Tier 4

20. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
21 Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
22. Brandin Cooks, Saints
23. Eric Decker, Jets
24. John Brown, Cardinals
25. Marvin Jones, Lions
26. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
27. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
28. Golden Tate, Lions
29. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
30. Julian Edelman, Patriots

You can line up any of these players as your clear-cut WR2 and feel great about it, though you should have already drafted two receivers by the time these players are up in your tiers. Several of these players could quite easily jump a tier if everything breaks right. I'd put my chips behind the Lions duo, the Seahawks duo, or the Cardinals duo as the best bets to do so. I think the gap between Marvin Jones and Golden Tate is much smaller than the consensus, and I'm actually at the point where I have Jones a tick ahead. Those two could easily form a highly concentrated, 1a-1b tandem in Detroit.

Tier 5

31. DeSean Jackson, Redskins
32. Josh Gordon, Browns
33. Michael Crabtree, Raiders
34. Torrey Smith, 49ers
35. Kamar Aiken, Ravens
36. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
37. Jordan Matthews, Eagles
38. Stefon Diggs, Vikings

Torrey Smith and Kamar Aiken are clearest options their teams have at the No. 1 receiver spot. Volume alone could boost them as high as the top-20. Crabtree and Sanders are the (maybe) second fiddles in highly concentrated two-wide receiver offenses. They can easily exceed this ranking and their too-cheap ADPs. Jordan Matthews feels way too low at WR37. Yet, coming into the season hurt and playing in a far less voluminous offense makes him a hard sell to match his fantasy rankings of the last two years. I think this is the tier where you can take a stab at Josh Gordon's theoretical upside, but only (I can't stress this enough) if you took a wide receiver-heavy approach early in the draft. Stefon Diggs is a late riser for me, but a player I've planted a flag on and one I can tell myself a story to where he becomes a WR2 in fantasy.

Tier 6

39. Sterling Shepard, Giants
40. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
41. Willie Snead, Saints
42. Kevin White, Bears
43. Corey Coleman, Browns
44. Allen Hurns, Jaguars

Given where all five of these players go, I'll take the shot in the dark on the unknown of Sterling Shepard, Kevin White and Corey Coleman. Shepard and Coleman are the only rookie wideouts I would take in the single-digit rounds. Fitzgerald and Hurns are traps at their current ADPs

Tier 7

45. DeVante Parker, Dolphins
46. Travis Benjamin, Chargers
47. Bruce Ellington, 49ers
48. Tavon Austin, Rams
49. Tajae Sharpe, Titans
50. Markus Wheaton, Steelers
51. Michael Thomas, Saints
52. Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
53 Terrance Williams, Cowboys

If DeVante Parker or Markus Wheaton fall to this range of the draft, I'm in on the discount. If they start creeping off the board earlier, I'd back away on both. They look like boom-or-bust weekly plays, with Parker being the likelier of the two to establish himself by mid-season. If they aren't options, I'm fine taking the plunge on veterans I believe will out-produce expectations in Willie Snead, Travis Benjamin, and Bruce Ellington. Michael Thomas might be tough to predict from week-to-week but he will have big games and is an ideal upside flex play. Mohamed Sanu has a big-time opportunity on his hands as is, and would inherit WR2 volume if Julio Jones went down. Not much has changed since Terrance Williams was a top-45 wide receiver the last two seasons. His role is still relatively secure, even if he doesn't merit it with his play. Get on board with Tajae Sharpe. I'm reserving late-round picks for him everywhere I can.

Tier 8

54. Rishard Matthews, Titans
55. Mike Wallace, Ravens
56. Sammie Coates, Steelers
57. Phillip Dorsett, Colts
58. Devin Funchess, Panthers
59. Will Fuller, Texans
60. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
61. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers

There's a healthy mix of ceiling and floor here. I'll take my shots on high upside athletes in great offenses (Devin Funchess, Phillip Dorsett and Sammie Coates) as cheap assets, or sneaky candidates for 100-plus targets (Vincent Jackson and Mike Wallace) over the rest. Most of these players you take with a quick trigger finger to drop for a shiny waiver pickup, or just let fall to the wire altogether.

Tier 9

62. Ted Ginn, Panthers
63. Davante Adams, Packers
64. Nelson Agholor, Eagles
65. Dorial Green-Beckham, Eagles
66. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
67. Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots
68. Robert Woods, Bills
69. Steve Smith, Ravens
70. Charles Johnson, Vikings
71. Terrelle Pryor, Browns



All of these players are deep league fliers. However, they are also prime value fliers when it comes time for DFS. Keep these players in your back pocket, especially those attached to voluminous offenses, when their teams are walking into projected shootouts. Ted Ginn is still going to matter in Carolina, whether you like it or not. We're keeping an eye on youngsters like Malcolm Mitchell as the Patriots X-receiver or either of Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham to seize the opportunity in Philadelphia. We're rooting for Steve Smith, but he has a long road to travel in getting back to anything close to form. TerrellePryor is an awesome story and has special athleticism, but is just a splash player for now.

Tight end


Tier 1

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

He's in a tier all of his own, and we all know Rob Gronkowski's weekly ceiling is undeniable. However, with limited options for elite receivers and running backs, but the depth at the tight end position later on, he's a hard sell this year in the first round.

Tier 2

2. Jordan Reed, Redskins

You could argue that Jordan Reed belongs in the same tier as Gronkowski. He was neck-and-neck with the Patriots star in terms of points-per-game in 2015. His injury history is enough to keep him below, even though Washington seems unconcerned after giving him a big money deal.

Tier 3

3. Greg Olsen, Panthers
4. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
5. Tyler Eifert, Bengals
6. Gary Barnidge, Browns

Gary Barnidge can regress a bit off his 2015 out-of-nowhere numbers and still check in as a TE1. Given the ups and downs of receiving options in Cleveland, it's not hard to imagine he pushes 100 targets for a second consecutive year. Travis Kelce could benefit from another progression by the Chiefs offense and I'm willing to wait out three weeks for Tyler Eifert's elite ceiling.

Tier 4

7. Delanie Walker, Titans
8. Coby Fleener, Saints
9. Julius Thomas, Jaguars
10. Antonio Gates, Chargers
11. Dwayne Allen, Colts
12. Jared Cook, Packers

These players present the final cut-off to the group of players I'd feel comfortable rolling out close to every week as my TE1. Other options and overall offensive volume seem likely to siphon away some of Delanie Walker's 133 targets from last year. I've finally landed here on Coby Fleener. There's just too much opportunity in that offense for him to not soak up passes, and he already has a top-eight tight end season to his name. However, I do think Michael Thomas cannibalizes his value enough to keep him off the elite season some envision for him. Dwayne Allen and Antonio Gates might not rack up high reception and yardage numbers, but both are proven red-zone monsters in high-octane offenses. I might be an idiot, but I am in on Jared Cook this season. If you project Cook for Jermichael Finley's old level of market share on the Packers' 565 targets from last season that equals out to 93 targets. Just using Cook's rate stats (57 percent catch rate, 3.3 touchdown rate, 12.8 yards per reception) over the course of his career on that workload you get 53 catches, 678 yards and three touchdowns for a total of 85.8 standard fantasy points. That would have been the TE13 last season, but now he gets Aaron Rodgers, not the horrendous patchwork of passers he is used to.

Ladarius Green would be in this tier but I removed him until we know more about his health situation.

Tier 5

13. Zach Miller, Bears
14. Martellus Bennett, Patriots
15. Zach Ertz, Eagles
16. Jason Witten, Cowboys
17. Eric Ebron, Lions
18. Cameron Brate, Buccaneers

Zach Miller is my favorite player from this tier. He could push Kevin White for the second spot in the target pecking order in Chicago. If the Bears offense takes to the air more often than not, he could be a TE1 finisher in several weeks this year. Eric Ebron also has that upside and looks like he avoided major injury after a preseason scare. Cameron Brate is a Jameis Winston favorite and enjoyed a positive offseason.

Tier 6

19. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
20. Jordan Cameron, Dolphins
21. Vance McDonald, 49ers
22. Charles Clay, Bills
23. Will Tye, Giants
24. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks
25. Virgil Green, Broncos

You're looking at pure streamers and DFS options this late in the tight end tiers. Vance McDonald could be just another beneficiary of volume in the 49ers offense, while Will Tye might surprise with decent touchdown numbers in New York. Jimmy Graham is the wild card here, as he'll shatter this ranking if he's healthy. Given that we are still waiting to see Victor Cruz return from this same devastating injury almost two years later, I'll play it conservatively.

Tier 7

26. Clive Walford, Raiders
27. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buccaneers
28. Benjamin Watson, Ravens
29. Austin Hooper, Falcons
30. Lance Kendricks, Rams

Any of these players are capable of fine weeks at the tight end position. We hope you don't have to go this far down the board to find those points outside of a disaster-level scenario. I expect the clearly talented and team favorite Cameron Brate to at least push Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but Jenkins has big-play ability.

Matt Harmon is an associate fantasy writer/editor for NFL.com, and the creator of #ReceptionPerception, who you can follow on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB or like on Facebook.

Print