Welcome to my Dynasty Football TE Tiered Rankings.
When it comes down to building a successful dynasty team, I’ve found it a lot easier to use a tier-based approach to player values. When you are sticking to a straight rankings list a five-or-six spot difference can seem like a lot, but if the players produce at a similar level and the only difference is the other guy is a little older or has had one or two injuries you can use this to upgrade your roster in other areas.
For an example let’s take Darren Waller. At the time I’m writing this, he currently has a dynasty ADP of 60 or a late 5th-round pick. He’s an elite talent, but when you factor in that he’s on the wrong side of 30 and was just traded to the New York Giants, there is a case to be made that he could see a drop in fantasy value this upcoming season if things don’t go well. If this scenario does play out, his production isn’t going to be much better than a guy like Evan Engram who you can currently snag around pick 180.
This is the exact situation that you can extract value from if you get ahead of the curve and play it smart. If I can flip Darren Waller for Evan Engram, who is younger and tied to a better QB this season, and also upgrade my RBs and WRs in the process my team is going to be a lot stronger, even though the downgrade from Waller to Engram is supposedly 120 picks apart.
This same principle can be applied to startup drafts. Why take Darren Waller at pick 60, when you can get an elite RB or WR, and then take Engram at pick 180 and Greg Dulcich at pick 201? (Both of these guys' ADPs will be much higher this coming draft season.)
Tiers also help me break ties in startup drafts. When you’re on the clock in round six and you know you won't be up again for 10+ picks it can be easy to default back to taking whoever is the highest-rated guy in your website's draft room. This can leave your team with positional weaknesses you’ll have to trade out of later. Looking at it from a tiers-based approach, if there are five RBs left in the top tier available but only two WRs, your team may be better served by grabbing one of those WRs with a lower ADP first, and taking whoever is left of those five RBs on your next pick.
Contending vs Rebuilding
Football changes fast, much faster than any other sport. For this reason, I don’t tend to look as far down the road as I would in a dynasty baseball or basketball league. I like to keep it very simple. If I’m a contending team I’m trying to build the best possible team in years one and two. If I'm rebuilding a team I’m building the best team for years two and three. Due to this, my ranks don’t change a ton between contending and rebuilding teams. There may be a few guys that would move up or down one tier, but it’s mostly the same.
If you make smart trades and hit on a few draft picks there is no reason for a rebuild to take more than three seasons. With how quickly injuries change things and GMs and coaches having a shorter leash than ever, I think it’s foolish to try to project out further down the road than that anyways.
Let’s go back four years to 2019 and look at dynasty startup ADP. You’ll see names like Ezekiel Elliott, Odell Beckham, Michael Thomas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, David Johnson, and Melvin Gordon in the first round. At that time you probably felt like you had your RB1 or WR1 locked down for the future. Fast forward to now and most of these guys can be had for a 2nd round rookie pick or less.
Football changes fast!
Dynasty Football TE Tiered Rankings
Make sure you also check out our other Award-Winning Rankings here at F6P. We have Draft Rankings, John LaPresto's Dynasty Rankings, and Jon Witt's Rookie Rankings.
*There is a table view below the blurbs and the rookies are below the table - keep scrolling!
Tiers 1-3 The Elite and Early Round TEs
Tier 1 - Kyle Pitts and Travis Kelce comfortably sit atop tier one in the first of three consecutive two-player tiers to start the TEs off. It’s pretty simple for me, if you’re a playoff team and have a chance to compete this year, there’s no one I’d rather have than Travis Kelce. Conversely, if I’m rebuilding, Kyle Pitts is definitely the move.
Tier 2 - If I miss out on the top two options I’m more than happy to settle with a guy from here to anchor my TE room. Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson are both young enough that they will have long-term value if you need to pivot off and rebuild, but they will be weekly producers immediately and are some of the higher-value assets in TE premium leagues.
Tier 3 - George Kittle and Dallas Goedert lock down tier 3 and production-wise will match up very closely with the tier two TEs above them. The reasons they are a tier down is that they have consistently missed a few games per season and their ceiling is just slightly lower than Andrews and Hockenson.
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Check out Jordan's Dynasty QB Tiered Rankings