Most consistent fantasy tight ends of 2018


The fantasy tight end spot was still brutal overall this past season. Only seven players at the position scored more than 150 PPR points, a list that includes Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, Austin Hooper and Kyle Rudolph. That is the fewest tight ends to hit that mark since 2008, when only six players reached 150 PPR points.

On a positive note, three tight ends (Kelce, Ertz, Kittle) topped 250 PPR points this season. That's the most players at the position to hit that mark in a single season in NFL history.

So, who were the best players when it came to putting up solid totals on a regular basis, and who was more name than numbers? Here's a look at the tight ends who finished in the top 10 most often last season (minimum eight games), along with some interesting notes on players to watch in 2019.

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (81.3 percent): This should come as a surprise to no one, as Kelce led the tight end position in PPR points for the third straight season. Not only did he lead the spot in top-10 finishes, but he also led the league in top-five finishes (62.5 percent) as well. At what has become a very thin position, Kelce will warrant a top-25 pick in 2019 drafts.

2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (75 percent): Ertz was the closest to Kelce in terms of PPR points (-14.3), and he also finished second in top-five finishes (56.3 percent). The talented veteran has now seen his ranks among the top tight ends rise in each of the last four seasons, and his status as an elite option is pretty secure with Carson Wentz back going into 2019.

3. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (70 percent): Howard was in the midst of a breakout season before a bum ankle cost him the final six games. He was pretty consistent before that, however, as he had a six-week stretch where he scored four touchdowns and averaged 13.5 PPR points per game. With new head coach Bruce Arians now at the helm, there's even more to like about Howard.

4. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (68.8 percent): One of the best draft bargains in fantasy land, Kittle exploded in the stat sheets. He ranked second in games with 10-plus PPR points (13) and was third in games with 20-plus points (5), and only Kelce and Ertz averaged more points per game at the spot. The fantasy star and WWE superfan will be a top-40 pick next season.

5. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts (62.5 percent): Ebron was a late rounder who went on to score 14 touchdowns in 2018. That's more than he had in his previous four seasons in Detroit. We might have seen this coming, however, as he ranked in the top 15 in seven of his final nine games of the 2017 fantasy season. But ... can he hold off Jack Doyle in 2019? That's something to watch.

6. Evan Engram, New York Giants (45.5 percent): Engram took a step back from his rookie season, as he was a top-10 performer in almost 10 percent fewer games. He did help owners down the stretch, though, averaging 14.5 PPR points in the final three games of the fantasy season while Odell Beckham Jr. was out of action. Look Engram to be a low-end No. 1 tight end in 2019 drafts.

T-7. Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (37.5 percent): Cook is coming off his best fantasy season as a pro, but the numbers show that he wasn't all that consistent as a top-10 performer. In fact, Cook scored fewer than 10 PPR points in 50 percent of his games and was held under seven points five times. Scheduled to become a free agent in 2019, Cook's value is up in the air right now.

T-7. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (37.5 percent): Hooper was the definition of an all-or-nothing fantasy option last season. In fact, 57 percent of his total points came in just five games. He also ranked outside of the top-15 tight ends in 10 of 16 games. Of course, in a season that saw the continued decline of the position, Hooper still finished as the No. 6 fantasy tight end.

T-7. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (37.5 percent): Njoku was also either extremely productive or a complete stinker in the stat sheets. In fact, he had three top-five finishes among tight ends but also had nine games where he finished 21st or worst. Playing in an offense that's seen as one of the NFL's youngest and most exciting, Njoku should still be seen as a No. 1 in 2019.

10. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers (33.3 percent): McDonald actually ranked 10th in fantasy points among tight ends last season. That says more about the lack of depth at the position, however, as McDonald produced No. 1 tight end totals (top-10) in just three of his 15 games. There's not a lot of room for statistical growth, so he'll remain a No. 2 option next season.

11. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers (31.3 percent): The most disappointing fantasy tight end one season ago, Graham went from fourth to 11th in his percentage of top-10 performances compared to his final year in Seattle. While he was a top-five finisher five times, Graham also failed to crack the top 20 seven times. It appears his time as an elite fantasy tight end are over.

T-12. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (30.8 percent): Gronkowski was also a major bust, as he dropped more than 30 percentage points in his number of top-10 finishes compared to the 2017 campaign. That was partially due to injuries and his decline in touchdowns (3), which tied his career low. If he doesn't retire, Gronkowski will be a risk-reward pick in all 2019 drafts.

T-12. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (30.8 percent): The fact that Smith had the same percentage of top-10 finishes as Gronkowski is a shock, but it's true. He had a nice four-week stretch where he scored three times and averaged around 12 PPR points per game, but that was the extent of his value. He won't be draftable in 2019 with the return of Delanie Walker (ankle).

Notes: Jordan Reed was able to stay healthy for 13 games this past season, but he couldn't put things together in the stat sheets. In fact, he produced top-10 numbers at the position just three times and was more often outside of the top 15 (54 percent). He'll still have fringe No. 1 tight end value in 2019 drafts, but he's worth little more than a late-round pick at this point in his career. ... Greg Olsen struggled with injuries and inconsistent numbers last season, as he finished as a top-10 tight end in just 22.2 percent of his games. After being one of the most durable players at his position, Olsen has also missed 16 games over the last two seasons due to injuries. ... Fantasy fans had big hopes for Trey Burton, but those hopes didn't translate into consistent production. In fact, 30 percent of his PPR points came in just two games. So while he was a top-eight tight end overall, Burton wasn't at all reliable. ... Chris Herndon could be a name to watch in 2019. While he was a top-10 tight end in just four of his 16 games as a rookie, he did put up double-digit PPR points five times in his final 10 contests of the fantasy season.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for the latest fantasy football news and analysis!