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Fantasy Football rankings 2016: Tight ends

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Where do you draft Rob Gronkowski, and who follows among tight ends? We break it all down in our 2016 fantasy football right end rankings.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is definitely your first tight end off the board. But when should you draft him? After Gronk, who’s the best option available? What about the tight ends returning from injury?

Gronk continues to set the gold standard at the tight end position. He’s led the position in receiving yards the last two seasons and an outstanding 65 touchdowns in six seasons. Barring injury, he’ll lead tight ends in touchdowns and receiving yards again this season. If he falls to the second round in your draft, grab him. He’s worth being drafted in the first round but make sure it’s part of your overall draft strategy and not just a whim.

If you miss out on Gronk, there are plenty of options available and you can wait until at least the middle of your draft to take one. You can’t go wrong with Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen or Travis Kelce. Reed comes with an injury risk but has serious receiving skills. He’s a favorite target of Kirk Cousins and it’s because he creates mismatches against safeties and linebackers. Olsen and Kelce are steady and reliable tight ends. They consistently post high totals of receptions and yards. Their weakness is a lack of a red zone presence.

Tyler Eifert had his best season as a pro in 2015 and led all tight ends with 13 touchdowns. He missed three games last season and then suffered a serious ankle injury in the Pro Bowl. The Bengals have lost a lot of receiving talent, so Eifert will remain a key part of their passing game. Be wary because he’s questionable for Week 1. Jimmy Graham is returning from a torn patellar tendon. His move to Seattle has already been considered a disappointment and this injury has done him no favors. He’s expected to be ready for Week 1 and will be available at a steep discount. Ladarius Green signed with the Steelers in the offseason and immediately became their starting tight end. He missed the team’s whole offseason program but steps into an amazing Pittsburgh passing offense.

A strategy that I’ve used with success is to stream the tight end position. If the matchups are not in your favor a certain week, grab a high-upside tight end off the wire. Will Tye, Charles Clay and Zach Miller should post some big games at certain times throughout the 2016 season.

Rank Consensus Team DC AW SK MG DG
1 Rob Gronkowski NE 1 1 1 1 1
2 Jordan Reed WAS 2 2 2 4 3
3 Greg Olsen CAR 3 3 3 2 2
4 Travis Kelce KC 4 4 4 3 4
5 Coby Fleener NO 7 6 6 5 5
6 Delanie Walker TEN 5 8 5 6 8
7 Tyler Eifert CIN 6 5 8 8 11
8 Zach Ertz PHI 8 11 10 9 6
9 Julius Thomas JAC 10 9 9 12 10
10 Antonio Gates SD 11 7 11 10 14
11 Gary Barnidge CLE 12 12 7 14 9
12 Ladarius Green PIT 9 10 18 7 13
13 Eric Ebron DET 13 13 14 11 16
14 Martellus Bennett NE 21 14 13 13 7
15 Dwayne Allen IND 15 15 12 18 12
16 Jason Witten DAL 17 19 15 15 15
17 Jimmy Graham SEA 16 16 16 16 21
18 Zach Miller CHI 14 20 17 17 20
19 Jordan Cameron MIA 20 22 23 20 17
20 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB 18 17 22 19 --
21 Will Tye NYG 19 18 24 24 22
22 Charles Clay BUF 22 23 19 25 18
23 Clive Walford OAK 24 24 20 21 24
24 Jared Cook GB -- -- 21 -- 19
25 Richard Rodgers GB 23 25 -- -- 25
26 Vance McDonald SF 25 -- 25 -- 23
27 Kyle Rudolph MIN -- -- -- 22 --
28 Lance Kendricks LA -- -- -- 23 --

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