2021 Fantasy Football Consensus Tight End Rankings & Cheat Sheet (Updated Weekly)

Tight end is the most top-heavy position in all of fantasy football. With two or three elite options every year, securing one of these studs offers a distinct competitive advantage in most fantasy football leagues. Finding exactly where to draft these difference makers and where to draft them in relation to other positions can hold the key to NFL fantasy football drafts. So, what is the ideal fantasy football ranking and draft strategy when it comes to tight ends? Invest early draft capital in the first round, try to wait another round or two and find one of the mid-tier players or punt entirely and wait as long as possible? All of those questions — and more — are answered below. 

In the first round of fantasy drafts, Travis Kelce lives in a tier on his own. Kelce has five straight 1,000-yard seasons and seven straight with at least 800. Also playing in the NFL’s best offense, Kelce’s blend of upside and security keeps him in a tier alone. For this reason, he deservedly comes off the board in the first round. Those with a late first-round pick should treat Kelce like an elite wide receiver that fills the tight end slot.

Behind Kelce, a few other tight ends have a case for first-round status despite a few concerns. Darren Waller plays on a dreadful Las Vegas offense but has a similar target share to Kelce. George Kittle has also shown similar upside in the past, but he plays on a run-first offense with additional competition in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Mobile quarterback Trey Lance could also reduce pass attempts in San Francisco if inserted as the starter. 

Behind this elite group, finding the next breakout candidate provides a massive edge. However, finding the next Waller is easier said than done. This year Kyle Pitts stands out as most likely. He was drafted fourth overall to an Atlanta offense losing Julio Jones, so the opportunity for Year 1 production is there. However, with his draft position already climbing into the top 50, the edge may actually come in fading a first-year player at a position with a historically long career arc. 

Similar to wide receivers, breakout tight ends can play in strong offenses or project to see a sharp increase in targets. Last year players like T.J. Hockenson and Mike Gesicki fit this bill, and both finished inside the top eight tight ends in PPR points per game. This year, teams like the Rams and Saints lost tight ends, leaving uncertainty at the position. 

Finally, unlike running backs and wide receivers, legitimate contributors seemingly emerge out of nowhere every season at the tight end position. Last year Robert Tonyan and Logan Thomas went undrafted in most seasonal leagues. However, both finished as top-six options in points per game. Similarly, undrafted streamers like Jordan Reed pop up on a weekly basis based on injuries or strong matchups throughout the season. 

With tight ends, multiple strategies can lead to success. Drafting an elite option at the top can come with significant opportunity at an injury-riddled position. However, securing an elite season from a top-three tight end provides a real advantage. From there, identifying breakout candidates in strong offenses in the mid- to late rounds can lead to success. Otherwise, waiting until the very end and simply streaming in hopes of identifying the next Tonyan works in many seasons as well.

The table below represents the collective efforts of Awesemo’s fantasy football brain trust to provide you the best fantasy football RB rankings available. To read more about our analysts and see consensus rankings for all players and positions go here: Top 200 Fantasy Football Consensus Rankings.

To create a printable cheat sheet of only TE rankings click on the PDF icon below. For more comprehensive cheat sheets including all players/positions follow this link: Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet Hub.


Avg – average rank of all Awesemo analysts

ADP Rank – positional rank by ADP

Auction – average auction value between Alex Baker and Steve Buzzard

High – highest rank among all Awesemo analysts (a good measure of upside)

Certain columns are not available on vertical mobile view.  Flip your phone to horizontal view for the best experience.

Half PPR


Standard (No PPR)

Check out our fantasy football draft rankings, our printable fantasy football cheat sheet, our fantasy football late-round sleepers and our fantasy football player draft profiles. We've also got a brand new Fantasy Football YouTube Channel where you can tune in every day for the best fantasy videos in the business. If all that free content isn't enough for you to dominate your Fantasy Football draft this year, check out the Awesemo Fantasy Football Draft Kit, which includes sophisticated tools and proprietary fantasy data that you can only get from us. Want more fantasy football news today?

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Staff Writer

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