Fantasy football rankings: Eric Moody's tight end tiers

Do you use tiers when preparing for your fantasy football drafts? Tiers are groups of players who are projected to have similar fantasy point production, with the drop-off between tiers representing a more significant projected points difference. With that in mind, let's look at the tight ends.

Check out more tiered rankings: WR | RB | QB | TE

Tier 1: The Kelce tier

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Notes: Kelce belongs in a tier of his own. Over his past seven seasons, Kelce has averaged 8.6 targets, 77.5 receiving yards and 17.1 fantasy points per game. In an explosive Chiefs offense that finished first in total yards and points scored per game last season, Kelce is projected to lead all tight ends in targets.

Tier 2: High-end choices

2. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

3. T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

4. Darren Waller, New York Giants

Notes: Kelce has been fantasy's top tight end six of the past seven seasons. The one season he wasn't, Andrews took the crown. Andrews averaged 19.1 PPG through six games last year, but knee and shoulder injuries, along with Lamar Jackson missing time, derailed the remainder of his season. He'll have competition for targets with Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Zay Flowers.

Hockenson prospered in his role with the Vikings last season, finishing as the TE11 or better in seven of Minnesota's last 10 games. For the season, Hockenson ranked third in air yards and third in red zone targets. He's tied to a Vikings offense that leans heavily on the passing game and is likely to be involved in some high-scoring games.

Waller is my favorite target from this tier. He'll see a ton of targets for a Giants team without a ton of receiving talent. Waller has turned heads at training camp, and the coaching staff has him lining up all over the field. His injury history is a concern, but Waller will have a QB who was excellent at targeting tight ends last season. Daniel Jones ranked in the top five in quarterback rating, completion percentage and first-down rate when targeting tight ends. Waller is one of three tight ends we project to get over 100 targets. For your fantasy team, any tight end in Tiers 1-3 can be viewed as a solid starter.

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Tier 3: Solid starters

5. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

6. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

7. Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

8. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Notes: Since 2018, Kittle has averaged 7.2 targets and 15 PPG. He is one of the league's most talented tight ends, but he'll face competition for targets from Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Tier 4: Value options

9. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

10. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

11. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

12. Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

13. Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

14. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

15. Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

16. Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

17. Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Notes: Freiermuth is my favorite among this group. He has had one of the better starts for a tight end in league history, posting the third-most targets, sixth-most yards and fifth-most touchdowns through the first two years of a career among tight ends and is one of eight tight ends to convert 70 or more catches into first downs through his first two seasons. Freiermuth should be actively involved in the Steelers' passing game and has a very high fantasy floor. In addition to Njoku, Higbee, Kmet and Schultz, he's a very good fantasy starter. A committee approach works best for the other tight ends in this tier and the next two.

Tier 5: TE by committee

18. Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

19. Irv Smith Jr., Cincinnati Bengals

20. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

21. Mike Gesicki, Patriots

22. Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers

23. Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

Notes: Everett set career highs in targets (82), receptions (58) and receiving yards (555) last season. New Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore should work wonders for Everett's fantasy value. Dalton Schultz had a ton of success with the Cowboys over the past two seasons in Moore's scheme.

Tier 6: Sleeper potential

24. Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

25. Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

26. Tyler Conklin, New York Jets

27. Dawson Knox, Bills

28. Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

29. Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks

30. Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts

31. Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

32. Zach Ertz, Cardinals

33. Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers

34. Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders

35. Isaiah Likely, Ravens

36. Taysom Hill, Saints

37. Austin Hooper, Raiders

Johnson's sleeper appeal is diminished now that Jimmy Graham has returned to a Saints team that also has Taysom Hill and Foster Moreau at tight end. Johnson had a breakout of sorts in 2022, finishing the season as the TE15. In terms of average depth of target and touchdown receptions, Johnson ranked near the top among tight ends with at least 60 targets last season. New Saints quarterback Derek Carr has been successful targeting big, athletic tight ends throughout his career. Johnson has also been studying film of Julian Edelman to prepare for his role as a slot receiver/tight end hybrid.

Follow Eric on X, formerly known as Twitter: @EricNMoody