The fantasy football tight end landscape is usually pretty straightforward.
If you feel like spending a second- or third-round pick, players like Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz can give you elite wide receiver-like production. After that, you're rolling the dice in the middle rounds on boom-or-bust plays.
But the tight end scene could be a bit more intriguing in 2020.
Young tight ends Mark Andrews and Darren Waller both were top-five fantasy tight ends last season, while relative unknown Tyler Higbee came on strong late as a legitimate TE1. And with Hayden Hurst and Austin Hooper both changing teams this offseason (for better and worse), we could see a significant shakeup in the 2020 tight end hierarchy.
So, which tight ends should you target, and when? Below are our rankings of the top 15 tight ends based on a half-point PPR scoring system.
1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)
Love him or hate him, this guy delivers. Kelce has topped 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons and gives you elite WR production at the tight end position. He turned 30 last October, so maybe a regression is coming soon. But he's the best tight end in fantasy until further notice.
2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (Week 11)
The guy who could serve that notice? Kittle, who nearly matched Kelce in production last season (85 receptions, 1,053 yards, five touchdowns) despite playing through a broken leg that caused him to miss two games. The 26-year-old is Jimmy Garoppolo's clear No. 1 target and easily could be the top tight end in fantasy this season if he plays all 16 games.
3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)
Andrews' strong 2019 campaign was inflated somewhat by his 10 touchdown receptions, so you can expect a regression there. But Hurst's departure (more on him later) should mean an uptick in targets for Andrews in a Ravens offense that targeted its tight ends 180 times in 2019, second only to the Eagles. The 23-year-old has top-3 tight end potential.
4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (Week 9)
If Philly loves its tight ends so much, why is Ertz behind Andrews? Well, he turns 30 in November, and the Eagles are rapidly increasing the role of 25-year-old Dallas Goedert, who finished second on the team in targets last season with 87. Philly also drafted a wide receiver in the first round (Jalen Reagor) to complement DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. Ertz is still a top-5 tight end, but he could regress in 2020.
5. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (Week 6)
Waller filled the "black hole" in the Raiders' passing game last season by putting up WR1 numbers: 90 catches for 1,145 yards and three TDs. Las Vegas tried to fill that hole this offseason by adding Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones while drafting Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow, so expect Waller's target share to drop. His rapport with Derek Carr should help him remain an elite tight end, though.
All signs point to Engram having a big season in 2020: He plays for a talented young quarterback (Daniel Jones) with few wide receiver weapons (Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate?) and averaged a career-high 58.4 receiving yards per game in 2019. The issue? He's missed 18 games in the last two seasons. Engram is a top-5 fantasy tight end when healthy, but he comes with significant risk.
Another guy who's a stud when healthy, Henry averaged double-digit fantasy points in the 12 games he played last season. Going from Philip Rivers to some unknown combination of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert is a downgrade, but Henry is the Chargers' top option in the passing game outside Keenan Allen.
8. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)
Ride the wave, folks. Higbee was a virtual unknown before topping 100 receiving yards in four consecutive games late in the 2019 season. He'll compete with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and fellow tight end Gerald Everett for targets, but quarterback Jared Goff clearly views Higbee as legitimate option in the passing game.
9. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (Week 6)
Score one for the old guard: The veteran tight end caught a career-high nine TD passes at age 32 last season in the Saints' high-octane offense. That number should come down, but as long as Drew Brees is under center, expect Cook to put up consistent numbers in an offense that scored the third-most points per game in 2019.
10. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (Week 9)
Some players might benefit from a change of scenery. Hooper won't be one of them. After seeing 97 targets in Atlanta last season, the 25-year-old should take a back seat to target hogs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and also will have to compete with fellow tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant. Hooper might be worth drafting in the later rounds, but don't reach based on his 2019 numbers.
11. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (Week 11)
Gesicki amassed 89 targets last season, second in Miami only to DeVante Parker. He's an athletic 24-year-old with a ton of upside who could be a solid No. 2 option for Ryan Fitzpatrick or an enticing weapon for rookie Tua Tagovailoa if he takes over. We wouldn't be surprised if Gesicki enters into the top-10 tight end conversation after a strong sophomore campaign.
12. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 13)
We understand Gronkowski arguably is the greatest tight end of all time. But this is 2020. Gronk just turned 31, has done a lot things besides play football in the last 16 months and still hasn't played a full season since 2011. He might be Tom Brady's favorite target, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Tampa Bay. Even if Gronkowski plays north of 10 games this year (we'll take the under) he's simply not a top-10 tight end anymore.
13. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (Week 10)
So, who's getting Hooper's 97 vacated targets? The opportunity is Hurst's for the taking as Atlanta's new starting tight end. The 26-year-old caught 30 passes for 349 yards on just 39 targets last season, but there's a real possibility he sees 80-plus targets in 2020 and flirts with a top-10 finish at the position.
14. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (Week 8)
One of several talented young tight ends, Fant led all rookie tight ends in 2019 with 40 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns. Denver's rookie wide receiver duo of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler could cut into his target share, but if you're in a two-tight-end league, Fant is an intriguing upside play.
15. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (Week 7)
Doyle put up decent numbers last season despite splitting time with Eric Ebron. But Ebron is in Pittsburgh now, and Doyle has a new QB (Philip Rivers) who has plenty of experience throwing to tight ends (see: Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry). He's a fringe TE1 at best, but his stock is certainly on the rise.
Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 15 tight ends in your draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston