Fantasy Football Rankings 2015: Top 10 Best Tight Ends

Gronkowski, Rob Gronkowski, Gronk NFL

Gronk, like several other tight ends in the NFL, have grown to become integral part of their team’s offenses (Getty).

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In the modern NFL offense, the tight end can play a vital role. Elite quarterbacks like Tom and Peyton use tight ends to create mismatches with the defense. 15 different tight ends scored 5 or more touchdowns in 2014, so there are points on the board for you to grab early and midseason.

The trick with picking a tight end is value. Is Gronk going to live up to his value? Will an early investment in Julius Thomas pay off? It’s also important to know what type of system your tight end plays in. Some teams expect their ends to block effectively, like in Dallas. Alternatively, players like Martellus Bennet and Jimmy Graham spend the majority of plays split off the line of scrimmage.

Scroll on to check out how we ranked the tight ends going into 2015:


1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

I can’t argue with this one. As goofy as Gronk is front of cameras, on the field he has been a monster. Last season he showed stretches of dominance, scoring in three straight weeks in weeks 13-15. Gronk had eight games where he was targeted 10 or more times, which is a large number for his position. If Gronk can stay healthy, he is a unanimous choice for top fantasy tight end this season.


2. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks

From a pure talent perspective, Graham belongs at this spot. However, his unexpected move to the Pacific Northwest puts his future role in doubt. He changes to a completely different offense, one built on a physical run game and Russel Wilson improvisation. Seattle tight ends caught only 6 of Wilson’s 20 touchdown passes in 2014, but Graham should help those numbers improve. One area Graham will be a threat is in goal line situations, where Seattle can sometimes struggle.


3. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

Olsen is a great pick at tight end as a reliable, week to week tight end. Olsen averaged 63 receiving yards per game last year, trailing only Gronk (75) at the position. Now 30, Olsen has appeared in every game for Carolina since joining the team for the 2011 season. Carolina made a big investment in Cam Newton in the offseason, so Newton should look to his security blanket often once again in 2015.


4. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts

Dwayne Allen had his breakout fantasy year in 2014, despite being injured for the playoff run. Allen scored a touchdown 7 of the first 9 weeks of the year, which is impressive considering he was never targeted more than seven times. Splitting time with Coby Fleener, Allen is the better receiving threat of the two, while Fleener is a better blocker. Allen should put up bigger numbers in 2014 if he can stay healthy for Andrew Luck and the Colts.

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5. Martellus Bennet, Chicago Bears

Bennet had his best season yet in 2014, posting career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Bennet benefitted most from Marc Trestman’s spread offense, but that system is no longer in use in Chicago. Still, Bennet remains a solid red zone option, and that should only improve given the departure of Brandon Marshall.

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6. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars

Past performance will earn Julius Thomas more than $15 million in 2015 alone, but he has a tall task ahead of him in Jacksonville. Thomas will be one of the primary options for growing Blake Bortles, and will have to fight off more attention than ever. Thomas scored 12 touchdowns last year even though he only appeared in 13 games. Thomas, who is 26, will get a chance to shine for a team that hasn’t experienced success in a long time.


7. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

When fantasy pundits touted Ladarius Greene as the inevetible successor to Gates position, Gates’ fantasy value took a hit. In week 2 Gates lit up the Seahawks for three touchdowns, and went on to post his best season totals since 2005. A decade later, Gates and Phillip Rivers are still together, and that longeivty has built a trust between the two. Rivers trusts to throw to Gates even when he is covered, knowing that Gates excels in winning the ball mid-air.


8. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

At 33, Witten is past his prime years. But he and Tony Romo have a great connection, and Witten is still a go-to on third downs. Given the news that Dez Bryant may hold out, Witten may prove even more important as one of the veteran leaders of the offense, as they go into 2015 without Demarco Murray and perhaps, without Bryant.


9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

I’m pretty high on Minnesota this year, even naming Adrian Peterson number one in our running back rankings. One of the biggest reasons I like their offense is Rudolph, who is a difference maker with his size and hands. Rudolph has missed a combined 15 games the past two seasons, but when healthy will be a key option for Teddy Bridgewater. The last time he played a full season, Rudolph was targetd over 90 times and scored nine touchdowns. Rudolph will be a low-value play early in the season that could blossom around October.


10.Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

For receivers in the league, it doesn’t matter how good you are if you don’t touch the ball. And Travis Kelce suffers from not touching the ball. Kelce appeared in every game in 2014, but only broke 90 yards twice and only scored 5 times. In an offense built around Jamaal Charles, Kelce primary function was as a blocker. But people noticed Kelce, and the athletic 25 year old should be on your radar this season.


The Next 10

Listed alphabetically

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
Larry Donnell, New York Giants
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
Josh Hill, New Orleans Saints
Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos


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