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Fantasy Football: Top 5 TE's to Draft

By Kyle Carroll

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A balanced fantasy team is many times a key to victory in most fantasy leagues. At times, we can ride a fantasy player to the playoffs, but as we all know, the last few weeks tend to be the most difficult to score constant points. A solid Tight End throughout the season is just as important as a No. 2 WR or at times a RB. Many teams in the NFL look to their TE in the Red-zone, which increases the players value as they are likely to score multiple touchdowns.

Everyone knows the value of having Rob Gronkowski. He's easily the No. 1 TE in every Fantasy draft in the world. Some drafts even have him as a first round pick because of his production. Last season his numbers were down, but only playing 8 games it was to be expected.

Below I'll rank my Top 5 Tight End's entering this season. In addition, i'll include three sleepers that will likely have an impact on this season for their respective teams.

Since Gronk will be the top TE taken off everyone's board, I'm going to leave him off this list. So, this list probably should be titled something more like, Top TE's after Gronk. Gronk is projected to have 75 receptions, 10 touchdowns, and just over a thousand yards receiving.

Top 5 Fantasy TE's -

1.) Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs

Coming off a career season, Kelce will continue to be the No. 1 target for the Kansas City Chiefs QB, Alex Smith. With Tyrek Hill emerging as a serious weapon, the number of targets to Kelce may decline, but don't expect Smith to not look for his TE across the middle on 3rd down. After hauling in 85 catches, 1,125 yards and four touchdowns, and finishing first in fantasy points at his respective position, Kelce is expected to be 29.3% of his teams targets this upcoming season.

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2.) Greg Olsen - Carolina Panthers

Also is coming off a season strong statistical season. Olsen has been a strong target for Cam Newton. Olsen has played all 16 games in the last nine seasons between playing with the Bears and Panthers. Olsen has led the team in targets in the last three of four seasons. Since 2014, he's averaged 80 catches, just over a thousand yards and five touchdowns a season. Olsen is projected to score the second most fantasy points at the TE position.

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3.) Jimmy Graham - Seattle Seahawks

Graham is coming off his best season as a Seahawk. Finally getting over his knee injuries and reaching 100% health, Graham hauled in 7 touchdowns, 65 catches and 923 yards. He's expected to haul in 74 receptions for over a thousand yards, with five touchdown catches. Expect the Seahawks to increase the number of targets in the red-zone form last season, ranking ninth last season in red-zone targets.

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4.) Martellus Bennett - Green Bay Packers

Since leaving his Super Bowl winning New England Patriots, Bennett secured a spot on a roster that also hosts a future Hall of Fame QB, Aaron Rodgers. Even though the Packers were tied for 21st for targets and 18th in Red-Zone targets for the TE position, expect these numbers to greatly increase with the addition of Bennett. Rodgers has yet to have the opportunity to throw to a TE with the size and athletic ability of Bennett. Bennett took over the bulk of the job when Gronk went down with a season ending injury. Bennett's 7 touchdowns, and 55 catches helped guide the Patriots into the Super Bowl. Expect Bennett to be a match his touchdowns from last season at the very least, and expect the TE become a higher priority in the Red-zone.

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5.) Kyle Rudolph - Minnesota Vikings

Rudolph is coming off a career season, having highs in targets (132), receptions (83), yards (840) and touchdowns (seven). He led all tight ends in the league with 132 targets, in addition to his league high 25 red-zone targets, Rudolph's seven touchdowns were tied for third-most. The Vikings coach is known for utilizing the TE position averaging 111 targets over the last three seasons. Even with the Vikings QB injury troubles last season, the former Notre Dame TE managed to boast big numbers. The number of his targets are expected to land some where around 148, according to experts. The addition of rookie running back, Dalvin Cook, should increase the passing game with the foundation of a solid running game.

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Honorable Mentions:

Zac Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles

Last season, rookie QB, Carson Wentz ranked first in the league targeting the TE. The Eagles also tied for third in red-zone targets among tight ends. This lifted Ertz to his best fantasy season in his career. According to experts, 30.6% of the teams targets will be directed towards the Tight End. Ertz is expected to haul in 64 catches, close to 800 yards and four touchdowns. Knowing how often Wentz utilized the TE in the red-zone last season, expect him to rely on Ertz in the red-zone to continue, especially with the addition of LeGarrette Blount and Alshon Jeffery, two key targets that will take the focus off Ertz, leaving the TE open.

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Mid Draft Round Picks:

Jason Witten

Eric Ebron

Jack Doyle

Hunter Henry

Coby Fleener

Late Round Steal:

Evan Engram