It’s now the beginning of July. Off-season workouts and Mini-camps have concluded for all 32 NFL teams and we are about a month away from training camp. The 2017 preseason will kick off August 3 in Canton, Ohio, when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals in the annual Hall of Fame Game.
It’s time to start getting into the fantasy football mode. It can be hard for those of us who are immersed in MLB fantasy this summer but being proactive is always best. With that being said let’s look at my 2017 season-long standard TE Rankings as of Early July 2017.
#1 – Greg Olsen
Is Greg Olsen the best TE in football? No, of course not. We all know that Rob Gronkowski is the most talented at the position, but Gronk just can’t stay healthy for an entire season.
Olsen is vastly underrated across the industry and quite frankly has been his entire career. There is no other TE that offers you consistent production like Olsen. When other owners in your league take a chance on Gronk early, then you watch Kelce go, then Reed, just sit back and laugh and grab Cam Newton’s favorite target and sleep easy knowing that you got the all around best option at the position on your team.
Take this into consideration, Olsen’s rookie season in 2007 is the only year in which he missed a game. Yeah, you read that correctly, Olsen has not missed a game since 2007, 10 years ago. The University of Miami product has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and 120 targets the last three seasons and has only had less than five touchdown receptions twice in his nine-year career. Quit overlooking Olsen, he’s the safest, smartest, most consistent option year in and year out.
#2 – Jordan Reed
If we are going to make a decision on which one of the generally perceived top-three TEs to choose for our teams it should be Jordan Reed. Just like Gronk and Travis Kelce, he has injury concerns. Unlike those two, Reed’s problems stem around concussions. While Concussions are serious, if you had to choose a player who has undergone multiple back, shoulder surgeries, or someone who suffered a concussion, you have to go with Reed’s situation.
The Redskins have added Terrell Pryor to their receiving core, Josh Dotson will return and with the lack of running game, Kirk Cousins will be chucking the rock all over FedEx Field this season. Sportsline projects Reed to get targeted 126 times in 2017 and catch eight touchdowns.
Reed only played in 12 games last season, but in 2015 Reed caught 87 balls for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has another year under his belt and will be a focal point of this Redskins team this season. Be smart and take the youngest TE out of the three with untapped potential.
#3 – Travis Kelce
Kelce finally had the breakout season that everyone projected he would have last season. He is Alex Smith’s favorite target and now that Jeremy Maclin is gone he could have an even bigger role in the Chiefs offense.
Last year Kelce was the number one TE in standard leagues, he didn’t miss a game but he did undergo offseason shoulder surgery. He will be ready to go for the start of the year but it is food for thought going forward.
The 6’5″ Ohio native lacks in the touchdown production department as he has never caught more than five in any of his three seasons. Kelce’s true potential may never be unlocked until Alex Smith is no longer the Chiefs quarterback, but with rookie Patrick Mahomes waiting in the wings it is possible that he could get his shot this year if Smith struggles.
#4 – Rob Gronkowski
I know, I know Gronk is the best TE in the league and has been for years now, but you know what? He can’t stay on the football field. Gronk is not worth the risk as early as he is being drafted. According to Fantasy Pros, his average draft position is 18th on ESPN and 19th across the industry. You cannot take a player that early who only plays an average of 12 games a season in his career.
With that being said, I don’t have to explain how great Gronk is on the field and how Tom Brady loves throwing to the party animal from Amherst. If Gronk can have a healthy season odds are he will be the number one fantasy TE, but odds that he stays healthy are slim to none, which is why he fell to number four on my list.
#5 – Martellus Bennett
The man who filled in for the injured Gronk last season has a new home. Bennett goes from catching passes from the quarterback with the greatest resume of All-Time to the most physically gifted quarterback of All-Time in Aaron Rodgers. Playing for the Packers is a good thing if you catch a pigskin for a paycheck.
We saw how Rodgers elevated Jared Cook last season and the same will happen with Bennett this year. Let’s not forget that Martysaurus Rex (as he calls himself on Twitter), is only two years removed from a 91 reception season. While it’s unrealistic to expect him to catch 91 balls with so many weapons in Green Bay, it is likely that Bennett’s 6’6″ frame will be a preferred red-zone target for Rodgers.
Bennett should find himself in favorable matchups with defenses keying on guys like Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb. Rodgers likes to throw to his TE’s as they have had a minimum of 100 targets in four of the last five seasons.
Get Bennett late and worry about filling other positions first if you like the strategy to lock up Martysaurus Rex as your fantasy TE.
6. Jimmy Graham
7. Tyler Eifert
8. Delanie Walker
9. Zach Ertz
10. O.J. Howard
11. Coby Fleener
12. Eric Ebron
13. Dwayne Allen
14. Jason Witten
15. Jack Doyle
16. Hunter Henry
17. Antonio Gates
18. Charles Clay
19. Austin Hooper
20. Jared Cook
Stay tuned for my TE, and IDP rankings coming soon.
Nick Olson — @CoachO37 on Twitter