1.  
TE  KC
Rec
81
Rec Yds
1001
Rec TD
7
Rec Avg
12.4
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
The genesis of the stats was a shade less dynamic - lower catch rate, lower YPC - but Kelce still pushed over that magic 1,000-yard plateau and posted his best touchdown season. In other words, he finally learned how to click with Alex Smith, Mr. Conservative. Alas, Mr. Smith is now gone to Washington, and Kelce needs to learn how to play with Patrick Mahomes, a high-pedigree, low-experience second-year quarterback. We suspect Kelce can succeed in any environment, but it also makes you curious to see how the Chiefs click this preseason. Will they continue to push the ball downfield as they did last season, contrary to previous seasons? Or will coach Andy Reid revert to protect-the-ball, dink-and-dunk? Kelce also has to share a little more, as the Chiefs have another mouth to feed in the offense - freshly acquired Sammy Watkins. And still, there have been only 43 tight-end seasons of 1,000 yards in NFL history and Kelce has two of them. Maybe the quarterback simply doesn't matter. At 6-5, 260, Kelce is no match for defensive backs, and he's a playmaker in the open field with speed and elusiveness. Kelce's 2013 season was wiped out by a knee injury, but he's only missed one start since. If you don't like the running backs and wide receivers you're faced with in the early rounds, a pivot to Kelce is always a reasonable alternative.
2.  
TE  PHI
Rec
77
Rec Yds
888
Rec TD
8
Rec Avg
11.5
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
Ertz's catch and yardage stats have been stable and similar for three consecutive seasons, but last year was the first time the Eagles unlocked Ertz near the goal line as he was one of five tight ends with double-digit end-zone targets (10). The timing makes sense, as Carson Wentz 2.0 was a major upgrade from the rookie-year version. Wentz and Ertz also have a mind-meld that's unusual. It's obvious these two have spent a ton of time working together, developing the unspoken chemistry you see on Sunday. And if Nick Foles is required to play at all, that's not a concern for Ertz. The reliable tight end posted an 18-192-1 line in the playoffs, superb production on just 22 targets, when Foles replaced the injured Wentz. At 6-5, 250, Ertz, who turns 28 in November, is a safe place to park your money. Even on a Philadelphia team that spreads it around versus forcing the ball to its name players, expect Ertz to keep most of last year's touchdowns.
3.  
TE  NE
Rec
65
Rec Yds
1000
Rec TD
8
Rec Avg
15.4
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
Everyone knows what they're signing up for with Gronkowski - a lot of laughs, a lot of touchdowns and a lot of injury-report angst (he's missed 26 games in six years, and hasn't played 16 games since 2011). Gronkowski's rate of spiking - 76 scores in 102 games - is absurd, especially for a tight end, and he's also more of a downfield threat than people realize; his 15.1 YPC is the highest of any qualified tight end in the fantasy era. At 6-6, 265, he's still impossible to cover, with a huge catch radius, good hands and the athleticism to line up anywhere on the field. With Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels returning to the Patriots, amidst whatever family disharmony might be present with this team, Gronkowski is well slotted for another dynamic year, for however many games that winds up lasting. He's finished as the No. 1 tight end in standard scoring four times, and he's also been second once and fifth once. No one would be shocked if Gronkowski decided to retire in another year or two, but he's all-in for another run at it in 2018. A designer tight end is not for everybody, but Gronk deserves consideration in the second or third round in most formats.
4.  
TE  CAR
Rec
73
Rec Yds
877
Rec TD
5
Rec Avg
12.0
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
After a glorious run of nine consecutive years without a missed game, Olsen busted his foot last year and missed nine. It snapped his streak of three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and put a major dent in the Carolina passing game. Olsen didn't seem worse for wear in the playoffs, posting an 8-107-1 line in a dramatic loss at New Orleans. He toyed with retirement after the year before deciding he wants at least one more run with the Panthers, signing a two-year extension that will take him through 2020. What Olsen gives you in volume is lovely - he averaged 125 targets the previous three seasons - but you have to accept that he is not as dynamic a touchdown scorer as some of the other tight ends. He scored eight touchdowns in his third NFL season, and every season since has landed in the 3-7 range (not counting last year's injury mess when he scored once). Maybe Cam Newton isn't a kingmaker for his receivers, maybe the Panthers don't know how to unlock No. 88 in tight windows, maybe the reasons are more subtle than that. Just keep that fact in play when trying to come up with a reasonable projection. Given that he is entering his age-33 season and coming off a partial year, we can't justify drafting him with an aggressive tilt. But pro experience and team continuity (it is his eighth year in Carolina) do count for something. The Panthers traded for Torrey Smith and drafted D.J. Moore in the first round, but Devin Funchess figures to be the only teammate who will challenge Olsen for the team lead in targets.
5.  
TE  TEN
Rec
71
Rec Yds
777
Rec TD
5
Rec Avg
10.9
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
It's a shame Walker wasted seven years with the 49ers, because he's been fantasy gold since landing with the Titans in 2013. Consider his end-of-season ranks at the position, using half-point per reception scoring: TE11, TE8, TE4, TE5, TE6. It seems like the Titans are always talking up some other part of their offense at the beginning of the year, but it's Walker that provides the steady drumbeat. On the downside, Walker is entering his age-34 season, his YPC and touchdown count took a nosedive in 2017, and the team has big plans for second-year WR Corey Davis, the fifth overall pick in last year's draft. A lot of fantasy players and pundits feel it's better to be a year early than a year late when it comes to a declining player, and you could apply that maxim to Walker. Tennessee also has to rebuild the confidence of QB Marcus Mariota, who was dreadful for much of 2017. And a new coaching staff in town puts everything in flux, even if offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur ultimately figures to be a boon to the passing game. In previous years, we were proactive with our Walker selections. This year, we prefer a reactive stance.
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