1.  
TE  KC
Rec
96
Rec Yds
1190
Rec TD
9
Rec Avg
12.4
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
Kelce seemed to reach his ceiling in 2018 when he caught 103 passes for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns for one of the great offenses in NFL history. It turns out he had another level to reach, with 2020 yielding career highs in catches and touchdowns, plus a TE-record 1,416 receiving yards. Already among the elite at his position during the Alex Smith era, Kelce now owns a three-year streak with at least 1,200 receiving yards, making him the first tight end to clear that hurdle more than twice. His age and the physical demands of his position might hint at some risk, but there is no sign of decline, nor has there been a significant injury concern since his 2013 rookie season. In any case, Kelce should remain productive for fantasy managers even when his real-life skills start to decline, assuming he's still in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. Kelce's ability to beat one-on-one coverage and make big plays is unquestioned, but he also benefits from easy receptions on screens and shovel passes, not to mention those broken plays where Mahomes summons a 25-yard gain out of thin air. George Kittle and Darren Waller provide stout competition for the 2021 tight end fantasy crown, but Kelce is the three-time defending champ for good reason.
2.  
TE  SF
Rec
87
Rec Yds
1175
Rec TD
9
Rec Avg
13.5
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
Kittle entered last season with a five-year, $75 million extension in hand, hoping to take aim at his NFL single-season tight end record of 1,377 receiving yards. Instead, it was Travis Kelce who broke the record, while an MCL sprain and a foot fracture limited Kittle to eight games for the 49ers. Kittle played at least 14 games in each of his first three NFL seasons, but that was largely on account of playing through injuries rather than avoiding them. Even last year, Kittle was fortunate to play as many games as he did, returning from the foot fracture to total 11 receptions for 160 yards in Weeks 16 and 17. He finished the season with only two touchdowns, but his numbers otherwise prorate to 96 catches for 1,268 yards — right in line with preseason expectations. It was Kittle's third consecutive season averaging more than 75 receiving yards per game, so it is his health that has been the key variable for fantasy purposes, while the athleticism, skill and target volume have been constants. Part of the issue is simply Kittle's physical playing style, subjecting himself to frequent, high-speed collisions as both a blocker and ballcarrier. Of course, that's also part of what makes him so great, and part of what keeps him on the field for all three downs.
3.  
TE  LV
Rec
102
Rec Yds
1165
Rec TD
7
Rec Avg
11.4
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
Waller quickly dismissed any notion of his 2019 breakout being a fluke, coming out of the gate strong last season with 40 receptions in his first six games. The late-blooming 28-year-old then went through a bit of a midseason slump, before closing out the year on an absolute tear with 654 yards and four touchdowns over the final five weeks. Waller finished the season tied for sixth in the NFL with 145 targets, while no other Raider saw more than 82 (Nelson Agholor, who signed with New England in March). The Raiders surely expect to get more out of their wide receivers this year, but neither John Brown, Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards nor Hunter Renfrow poses a serious threat to Waller's alpha status in the passing game, especially with Derek Carr still playing quarterback for Las Vegas. Carr's accuracy on short passes makes him an excellent partner for Waller, who picked up 48.8 percent of his yards after the catch over the last two seasons. He might not have the 4.46 speed he had as a 238-pound wide receiver coming out of college in 2015, but there's no question Waller is among the elite athletes at his new position, where he’s been decent enough as a blocker to handle snap shares higher than 90 percent in back-to-back seasons.
4.  
TE  ATL
Rec
87
Rec Yds
982
Rec TD
7
Rec Avg
11.3
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
The term "generational prospect" is thrown around too often, but Pitts is the rare case where few argue with that assessment. His 43-770-12 receiving line in an eight-game junior season at Florida was as good as it gets in terms of per-game production from a tight end, a position where even the future NFL stars don't always put up big numbers in college. Pitts also had an impressive sophomore year that included a team-high 54 receptions, and his pro day workout surpassed even the lofty expectations. At 6-6, 245, Pitts put up the fastest 40 time (4.44 seconds) and broad jump (129 inches) among tight ends in this year's draft class. The Falcons saw enough to take him fourth overall, arguably passing up their best chance to find Matt Ryan's successor. Regardless of how that works out from a franchise standpoint, it means Pitts will start his career catching passes from a veteran QB who has a 10-year streak topping 4,000 passing yards, with an average of 4,571 in that stretch. Hayden Hurst still might be the nominal Week 1 starter, but his disappointing 2020 opens the door for Pitts to be Atlanta's top pass catcher at tight end, a role that should come with steady targets after the team traded Julio Jones to Tennessee. While avoiding rookie tight ends might be a good rule in general, a prospect like Pitts is the reason we leave room for exceptions.
5.  
TE  BAL
Rec
70
Rec Yds
816
Rec TD
9
Rec Avg
11.7
Rush Att
0
Rush Yds
0
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
0.0
Andrews followed his breakout 2019 with a solid but unspectacular 2020, taking a step back along with the rest of the Baltimore offense. Although he finished TE3 in points per game and TE5 in cumulative scoring, Andrews was much closer to the mediocre pack at his position than he was to Travis Kelce or Darren Waller at the top. When it came to making big plays downfield or in the red zone, Andrews was right there with Kelce, Waller and George Kittle the last couple seasons, averaging 12.7 YPC and scoring 17 TDs. But while those other guys got big-time volume, Andrews averaged 6.4 targets, playing only 44.1 percent of Baltimore’s offensive snaps in his 15 games in 2019 and 65.0 percent in his 14 appearances in 2020. The lack of a three-down role could be attributed to either durability or blocking concerns, but either way, Andrews' snap shares barely changed after fellow tight end Nick Boyle suffered a season-ending injury in Week 10 last year. All of that may keep Andrews' target ceiling around 100, but it's not like his talent is going to waste as the seam-stretcher and red-zone weapon in Lamar Jackson and Greg Roman's run-first offense.
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