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Fantasy points per touch: 2018 TE leaders

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The tight end position was, well, let's just say it's seen better days in the realm of fantasy football. This past season, only seven players scored more than 150 PPR points, which is the fewest since 2008, and several of the tight ends who finished in the top 10 were unreliable at best. Regardless, let's dig a little deeper into who was the most productive when the football was in their hands. And no, I'm not talking about just overall points scorers.

While the final scoring leaders offer a look at how well a player performed in the stat sheets, it fails to offer us a complete picture of how good the player really was for fantasy fans. In the case of the tight ends, here are the position's top 12 players (minimum 40 touches) in fantasy points per touch:

1. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts (3.22 fantasy points per touch): Ebron is coming off a career season that saw him average a touchdown for every 4.9 times he touched that football. That's pretty strong, and some might suggest unsustainable for next season. Still, Ebron is going to be well within the TE1 mix in 2019.

2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (2.91): Kittle broke out in a big way for the 49ers and fantasy fans alike, finishing third in PPR points while also setting a new record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single season. Kittle was also third in catches and tied for seventh in touchdowns.

3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (2.86): Kelce is now the unquestioned king of the fantasy tight ends, finishing first in PPR points for the third straight season. His 1,336 yards would have also set a new NFL record at the position if it weren't for Kittle. Kelce will be a second-rounder in 2019.

4. Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (2.85): Cook finally had the type of fantasy season we all thought he could dating back to his time in Tennessee, posting career highs across the board. Whether he can do it again remains to be seen, however, as Cook is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason.

5. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (2.79): Have we seen the last of the "great Gronk?" His point-per-touch average dropped 0.51 points compared to last season, and his three touchdowns is a career low (minimum 13 games). If he decides to return for another season, Gronkowski won't be a top-50 pick.

6. Trey Burton, Chicago Bears (2.67): Burton's points-per-touch average landed him in the top six among tight ends, but 30 percent of his PPR points came in just two games. While he'll be in the mix to be a No. 1 fantasy option in 2019 drafts, Burton won't be worth more than a late-round selection.

7. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers (2.66): You might not believe it, but McDonald was 10th in PPR points among tight ends last season (and he had more points than Gronkowski). Still, he's not going to be in the TE1 conversation in 2019 drafts. Instead, expect him to be a late-round backup at best.

8. Evan Engram, New York Giants (2.63) Engram missed five games due to injuries, but he still finished just 6.7 PPR points out of the top 10 at the position. He also saw just a slight drop in his PPR average compared to 2017 (2.67). Look for the Ole Miss product to be back in the TE1 conversation.

9. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (2.57): Njoku ranked eighth in touches and ninth in PPR points among tight ends, but he was widely unreliable with nine games finishing 21st or worse at the position. Still, the Browns offense has a ton of potential for next season so Njoku will remain a No. 1 option.

10. C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (2.44): How bad were things for the tight ends last season? Well, Uzomah and his three touchdowns were good enough to finish in the top 10 in PPT average. Keep in mind, though, that his 43 touches were the fewest of any tight end who ranked in this top-10 list.

11. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (2.42): You might think Ertz would be ranked higher, but no tight end had more touches (116) last season ... not even Kelce. He's a surefire top-40 pick in 2019.

T-12. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (2.37): Rudolph finished a solid seventh in PPR points at his position last season, but he did most of his statistical damage in just a handful of contests.

T-12. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers (2.37): Graham saw almost a full-point decline in his PPT average compared to the 2017 campaign. Shockingly, he's now just a fringe No. 1 tight end for 2019.

Notes: O.J. Howard didn't make our list due to his lack of overall touches (34), but his 3.54 points-per-touch average was impressive nonetheless. Injuries are the only thing that will keep him from putting up career numbers next season. ... Greg Olsen also missed our required touch total for this list, as the once-durable veteran has now missed 16 combined games over the last two seasons. What's amazing is that Olsen hadn't missed a single game in his previous nine seasons. While he plans to return to the gridiron in 2019, Olsen's fantasy value is pointing downward. ... Austin Hooper was the sixth-best tight end based on PPR points last season, but he wasn't reliable. In fact, 57 percent of his points came in just five games. Hooper also saw a slight decline in his PPT average (2.30) compared to 2017 (2.44). ... Jordan Reed finally stayed healthy for a season (well, mostly healthy), but his 2.22 points-per-touch average wasn't what you would call impressive. He'll be a borderline No. 1 fantasy tight end in 2019.


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!

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