Fantasy football for the 2019-20 season is right around the corner, as football fans all over are anxiously waiting to assemble their rosters. However, when drafting a roster, the tight end position can be one of the most exasperating positions to fill.
Rob Gronkowski was the epitome of an elite fantasy tight end. He was a stat stuffer for fantasy teams, averaging 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns per 16-game season. Even with the gruesome injuries (torn MCL/ACL, back, etc.) he somehow managed to be a big help for teams in crucial playing weeks.
Now that Gronk has retired, there are big shoes to fill to revolutionize the fantasy tight-end position. Here are five tight ends who can bounce back from the 2018 season that fantasy teams should consider drafting.
2019 Bounce-Back Tight End Candidates
Delanie Walker: Tennesse Titans
Delanie Walker is entering his 14th season at 35 years old. Like other tight ends, he has dealt with a cycle of recurring injuries. However, before dislocating his ankle last season, Walker had just missed only eight games in his 11-year run as a starter.
Ever since turning 30, Walker had recorded consistent yearly outputs of 100+ targets and 800+ yards before being cut short in 2018. Walker has a good history with Marcus Mariota, even though Mariota is injury-prone. With backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Walker still has a high chance to be valuable to fantasy teams.
Jimmy Graham: Green Bay Packers
The former No. 1 fantasy tight end in 2012 and 2013 has gotten older and less productive in the past few seasons. Graham has finished last season with only two touchdowns, despite playing in every game.
Still, he has fantastic durability, and his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers will get better with time. Despite his career-low 25 touchdown season in 2018, Rodgers will more likely make a huge turn-around, so Graham’s red-zone presence can pay off.
Jordan Reed: Washington Redskins
Jordan Reed has only played just 65 games in his NFL career; he had never played a full 16-game season due to multiple injuries.There is still hope that Reed plays a majority of the season in 2019. The most games he’s played in was 13 games last season.
Since Washington lost Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris, this open ups Reed targets to 9.8 more targets. This is good for Reed, which means that there will be more passing downs for Washington, and as a result, a bounce-back season for Reed.
Kyle Rudolph: Minnesota Vikings
Kyle Rudolph has been a solid fantasy option over his career but struggled to sync well with Kirk Cousins. Rudolph had a good season on paper in 2018, finishing the year with 64 receptions for 634 yards and four touchdowns. However, most of that production came from only the nine-catch, 122-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Detroit Lions in week 16.
If fantasy teams are looking for a tight-end with consistency, then Rudolph is not the best option. He is perhaps a decent late-rounder, if anything.
Jack Doyle: Indianapolis Colts
If you know the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck, it’s that he loves a good tight end. Eric Ebron took full advantage of Doyle’s absence last season due to injuries, recording 13 touchdowns off 750 yards. The Colts have a lot of options, but Luck has found success with multiple tight ends before (Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. Doyle is a tight end to take a chance with, as he can produce the same numbers as Ebron, if not, even more, when healthy.