Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
Some will assume that I am crazy with this prediction. However, my point will be made soon. One of the most important stats to consider when drafting any receiver is targets. In Fleener’s four seasons with the Colts, he had 48, 88, 92 and 84 targets, respectively. Former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham had more than 125 targets in his four full seasons as a starter. Need further proof that Drew Brees loves tight ends? Benjamin Watson had 74 catches, 825 yards and six touchdowns on 110 targets in his lone season as a starter for the Saints, while Graham slipped down to 74 in and injury-riddled first season with the Seahawks. Ultimately, Fleener has the chance to be the top fantasy tight end with Brees as his quarterback.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
For Reed, the talent has always been there. Unfortunately, he has yet to play a full 16 game schedule in his career. He played in 14 games last season. It showed, as he had 87 catches, 952 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 targets. Kirk Cousins built a good on-field relationship with Reed, and as long as Reed stays healthy, he should have a great year.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Gronk is always showing up on top 5 lists. The tight end hasn’t played a full season since 2011, yet he still has top-tier numbers. In his past two seasons, he’s played in 15 games and averaged 77 catches, 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns on 125 targets. He is a favorite target of Brady and will always be used as long as he is healthy.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
After seven seasons in San Francisco, Walker found a home in Tennesse. Last season, he led all tight ends with 94 catches, becoming a favorite target of Marcus Mariota. Although Walker has improved on catches and yards, he still struggles to find the end zone; His six touchdowns last season were a career high. If Walker can score more, he would be higher on this list.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Last season, Olsen had 77 catches, 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns on 124 targets. Consistency has been Olsen’s forte since he has been in the league. Olsen has played in every game since the 2007 season. As one of Cam Newton’s favorite targets, he should once again finish as a top-5 tight end.