When I hear the word "tiers," I don't think about fantasy football ... I think about the old '80s Kiss song ""Tears" are Falling. It wasn't even the makeup Kiss, either, it was the hair band version with all the pastel colors. Alright, I get it. Wrong word ... it's "tier" not "tear," but whatever. Anyways let's get back to 2018, and lots of fantasy fans are using tiers to determine the value of their players.
Ultimately, tiers sort players based on their projected level of production and ADP (average draft position). Using tiers assists fantasy owners in knowing where there's a potential decline in value among a position group, thus allowing owners to make a more educated decision on whether or not to draft a position based on who's been picked and who's still on the board. Tiers are useful for all sorts of fantasy drafts, and you can adjust them as needed to suit your league and scoring system.
Here are my own personal tight end tiers, which I will be updating (as needed) right up until Week 1:
Tier One - Rounds 2-4
Notes: This tier is a no-brainer, as it includes the best tight end in fantasy football over the better part of the last decade (Gronkowski), the best tight end over the last two seasons (Kelce) and a statistical monster from 2017 (Ertz). If you want one of this trio, it'll cost you at least a top-40 pick.
Tier Two - Rounds 5-7
Notes: Olsen had a down year in 2017 due to injuries, but he had been one of the most durable and reliable tight ends in the league. In his previous three seasons, he averaged 80 catches, 1,061 yards and five touchdowns. ... Engram was a fantasy monster as a rookie with 722 yards and six touchdowns, but you have to wonder if regression is coming with Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, Jr. in the offense. ... Walker has finished no worse than eighth in PPR points among tight ends in each of the last four seasons, yet he still lingers into the late middle rounds in drafts. ... Graham has the potential to be an absolute touchdown machine in Green Bay catching passes from fantasy star Aaron Rodgers.
Tier Three - Rounds 8-10
Notes: Doyle was the fifth-most targeted tight end in the league last season, and the presence of Andrew Luck just adds to his appeal. ... Rudolph saw a major dip in targets and catches last season, but he still found the end zone eight times. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's offense is tight end friendly, however, so Rudolph should see an increase in opportunities in 2018. ... Reed has all the talent in the world, but he's a major injury risk. He's likely to be a ninth or 10th-round pick. ... Burton might be the biggest breakout/sleeper pick at the position under new head coach Matt Nagy.
Tier Four - Rounds 11-13
Notes: Kittle showed a great rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo at the end of last season, and his fantasy arrow is pointing upward heading into 2018. ... Eifert is a major injury risk, but he's still worth a late-round look. ... The Browns and Buccaneers have a lot of mouths to feed on offense, but NFL sophomores Njoku and Howard are still on the sleeper radar in fantasy leagues. Both could push for top-12 PPR totals at the position. ... Cook might not be the sexiest fantasy name among tight ends, but he can be a useful option as a reserve and matchup-based starter in the later rounds.
Tier Five - Rounds 14-16
Notes: Ebron could see a lot of work lined up as a receiver, making him an interesting late-round pick in fantasy drafts. ... Clay could be a decent PPR option as a No. 2 tight end, but questions loom about Buffalo's offense as a whole. ... Seferian-Jenkins could develop into a nice red-zone target for Blake Bortles, but his target share seems destined to fall in Jacksonville. ... Gesicki has a chance to start as a rookie in Miami, so there's the potential for him to have a decent target share this 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 all of the latest fantasy news, notes and analysis!