The top tight ends to draft for the 2015 fantasy football season in keeper/dynasty leagues.
1. Rob Gronkowski (NE) Age: 26
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2015 Projections||View Rob Gronkowski's 2015 projected stats.|
Gronkowski's status as the league's best tight end was never doubted, but his durability entering last season caused the risk-adverse to hesitate after he missed 14 games to injuries the previous two years and was coming off ACL and MCL surgeries. Gronkowski was still getting healthy when the season started, but it didn't take long for him to put injury concerns to rest. In his first four games, he averaged three receptions for 36 yards as Tom Brady and the offense struggled with the team's playmaker at less than 100 percent. Weeks 5-16, though, he averaged six catches and 88 yards a game. He also scored nine touchdowns in that span as his surgically repaired knee was no concern. Gronkowski led tight ends in yards, touchdowns (tied) and 20-plus yard catches (19) and was third in yards per catch, and he did it in 15 games as he sat out a meaningless Week 17. At 6-6, 265, with 4.68 speed, a huge wingspan (34-inch arms) and good leaping ability (34-inch vertical), Gronkowski is simply uncoverable. He's too fast for linebackers and too big and physical for defensive backs. The Patriots line him up in tight, in the slot and split wide, creating mismatches he can easily exploit. In the red-zone he is unstoppable, catching 11 of 16 targets for nine touchdowns. With Jimmy Graham now in a run-first offense in Seattle, Gronkowski appears to be in a tier of his own.
2. Jimmy Graham (SEA) Age: 28
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2015 Projections||View Jimmy Graham's 2015 projected stats.|
It's perhaps remarkable what Graham accomplished last year considering he played most of the season with one healthy shoulder. He finished second among tight ends in receptions and touchdowns and fifth in receiving yards despite suffering a Week 5 shoulder sprain that hampered him the rest of the season. Thanks to the gimpy shoulder he averaged a career-low 10.9 yards per catch as his yards and touchdowns fell dramatically from the previous season even though he had just one fewer reception than in 2013 on a four-year low 124 targets. The injury prevented him from fighting through double-teams, and he was routinely jammed at the line, which slowed him from getting downfield. He was targeted 10 fewer times from 20-plus yards, and after 13 receptions of 25-plus yards in 2013, he had just three last season. What's more, his long-distance touchdowns dropped from five to one. The shoulder healed with offseason rest, but the concern this year is moving to what has been the league's most run-heavy offense the last three years in a blockbuster trade to Seattle. Graham likely will play more in the slot than in tight for the Seahawks, who will use the him as a wide receiver at least as much, if not more, than the Saints, creating mismatches on defensive backs with his size (6-7, 265) and on linebackers with his speed (4.56). And Russell Wilson is sure to take advantage of his 38.5-inch vertical at the goal line where he's turned 27 receptions inside the 10-yard line the last four years into a league-leading 23 touchdowns. Graham's freak athletic skills could transform the Seahawks' unintimidating passing game, but his opportunities won't be as plentiful going from the league's second-ranked offense in attempts to the 32-second ranked offense.
3. Travis Kelce (KC) Age: 25
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2015 Projections||View Travis Kelce's 2015 projected stats.|
After losing his rookie season to a knee injury, Kelce entered last season in a timeshare with Anthony Fasano. It didn't take long for him to establish himself as the team's best receiver and one of the league's best playmakers at tight end. Despite only starting 11 games and playing limited snaps early in the year, Kelce led the Chiefs in receiving, finishing sixth among tight ends in catches and yards. In a run-first offense that didn't do much downfield passing, Kelce took advantage of defenses that put an extra man in the box to stop Jamaal Charles, totaling 512 yards after the catch, most among tight ends. His 7.6 YAC average also led the position as he had 15 receptions of 20-plus yards (3rd). Kelce's speed (4.61 40) and elusiveness in the open field helped him gain a whopping 59.3 percent of his yards after the catch, as he led tight ends with 9.9 yards per target. At 6-6, 260, Kelce proved too big for defensive backs to handle even when he started to see more double-teams and safety help over the top later in the year. Kelce, who only scored five touchdowns, has room for growth, too. The Chiefs didn't use him a great deal at the goal line - just three targets, two scores inside the 10-yard line. Fasano was not re-signed, which leaves his 36 targets, including five in the red zone (three touchdowns) up for grabs. And the Chiefs improved their weak WR group by adding deept-threat Jeremy Maclin. With Maclin stretching the field, secondaries can't focus solely on stopping Kelce, who could push for 100 targets this season.
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