Tight ends are always a thin position in fantasy football. Typically going into the year, there are usually 3-4 studs, some unknowns in the mid rounds, and a lot of fliers towards the end.
Since it is such a thin position, it often gets overlooked. Without a consistent tight end on your roster, it is extremely difficult to rely on others on a week to week basis and expect a decent return.
Below, are my Top 5 NFL Fantasy Tight Ends in 2021 in order:
1. Travis Kelce: Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce has been the best tight end in football for quite some time now. In his last five seasons in the league, he has gone over 1,000 yards and nearly 100 receptions. Last year in particular, he scored a career high 11 touchdowns.
It is no secret that Patrick Mahomes consistently looks for Travis. He is a matchup nightmare against any linebacker/safety in the NFL. His combination of speed, route running, and physicality after the catch is unmatched.
The one thing that has always put somewhat of a cap on Kelce’s numbers, is his teammate Tyreke Hill. Hill is another weapon on the Chiefs offense that is incredible to watch. Mahomes looks for “The Cheetah” time and time again, as he beats defenders deep downfield multiple times a game.
With that being said, do not be surprised if Kelce goes over 1,500 yards this year and scores double digit touchdowns once again.
2. George Kittle: San Francisco 49ers
George Kittle is a guy that is arguably just as good as Kelce. If they were to switch teams, I would not be surprised if he even eclipsed Travis’ numbers considering Patrick Mahomes would be his quarterback.
After an injury plagued season for Kittle, George looks to replicate some of the incredible numbers he put up the prior two seasons. In back to back years, he put up over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns respectively.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has shown a tendency to draw up a handful of plays specifically designed for Kittle. As he has shown, he makes the most of it with his incredible yard after catch ability.
The one wild card that could even take Kittle’s numbers to new heights is the potential switch at quarterback to Tray Lance. If/when Shanahan decides to hand the keys to Lance will be extremely interesting.
Due to his arm talent and athletic ability, look for Kyle to open up the playbook which should get Kittle the ball even more for big plays. Do not be shocked if George winds up being top five in receiving yards at the end of the year.
3. Darren Waller: Las Vegas Raiders
Darren Waller is a guy who is coming off an incredible breakout year with The Las Vegas Raiders. In 2020, he caught over 100 balls, racked up nearly 1,200 yards and reached the end zone nine times making him a PPR monster.
In 2019, he put up very similar numbers as well, but only scored three touchdowns on the season.
It is clear that Waller is Derek Carr’s favorite pass catcher on this Raiders offense. Similarly to the Niners, head coach Jon Gruden designs plenty of plays for his tight end. Like Kittle, Waller takes full advantage of the opportunity.
His superb route running, incredible hand strength, and physicality after the run is amazing to watch. Look for Darren to put on an encore in his fourth year in the league.
4. Mark Andrews: Baltimore Ravens
Unlike Kelce, Kittle, and Waller, fantasy managers around the world rely on Mark Andrews production in the end zone to collect most of their points. To their credit, he has been a touchdown machine.
Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson, found Mark seven times for touchdowns in 2020, and ten times the year before. Because the Ravens are a run first team, his total yardage is usually limited compared to the first three guys.
With that being said, he did rack up 701 yards last season and 852 the previous year which is pretty impressive for a tight end.
I expect Andrews to have another productive year for Baltimore especially in the touchdown department.
5. Kyle Pitts: Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts is a guy who could make an immediate impact for The Falcons as a rookie. In his eight games played last season at Florida, Pitts caught 43 balls for 770 yards and an incredible 12 touchdowns.
At 6’6” 240 pounds, Pitts is a freak of nature. Considering Julio Jones went to Tennessee this offseason, Pitts should see plenty of targets alongside Calvin Ridley from quarterback Matt Ryan.
Atlanta has historically been a pass happy team which will also play into Pitts’ favor. Look for Ryan to target the big tight end particularly in the red zone, where he should make fantasy managers that took a chance on him fairly happy.
If I had to project stats for him this upcoming season, I would have Pitts’ going for 45 receptions, 650 yards, and seven touchdowns.