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ZB’s Fantasy Football Rankings 2018 (PPR)

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Fantasy QB Rankings for 2018

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

2017: QB29, 129.6 PTS, 1675 YDS/ 16 TD/ 6 INT

Aaron Rodgers only played in six complete games through an injury-plagued 2017 season. Through the first five contests, as the team went 4-1, Rodgers had a QBR of 106.14 (max is 158.3). For his career, Rodgers holds a 103.8 QBR (highest in NFL history).

Pittsburgh Steelers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

2017: QB3, 295.9 PTS, 4,577 YDS/ 32 TD/ 8 INT

Tom Brady’s offensive line must stay sharp in the wake of rookie guard Isaiah Wynn’s season ending injury. Star receiver Julian Edelman must return at full form after his suspension and missing all of 2017 with an ACL tear or the five-time Super Bowl Champion up in Foxborough will start to feel the full force of Father Time and will fall to QB5.

New England Patriots v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

3. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

2017: QB26, 168.9 PTS, 1,699 Passing YDS/ 19 Passing TD/ 8 INT, 269 Rushing YDS/ 2 Rushing TD

Deshaun Watson started six of seven games last season before tearing his ACL. Watson is the only player in NFL history to throw 19 TD passes in his first seven games.

Houston Texans v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

2017: QB9, 262.6 PTS, 4,334 Passing YDS/ 23 Passing TD/ 8 INT, 2 Rushing TD

Drew Brees should be in for a bounce-back campaign after posting a surprisingly low TD total in 2017. The veteran signal caller completed 72% of his passes, but those numbers did not translate across the plane into the end zone. The breakout performance of rookie Alvin Kamara improved what was already an exemplary ground game. The duo of Kamara and former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram combined for 20 rushing TD, half of them coming from inside the five-yard-line. With the latter off the turf for the first four games of the new campaign due to suspension, Kamara’s numbers should stabilize and Brees’ deep balls should increase with the emergence of star-receiver Michael Thomas and the return of veteran tight end Benjamin Watson.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

5. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

2017: QB5, 281.7 PTS, 3,296 Passing YDS/ 33 Passing TD/ 7 INT, 299 Rushing YDS,

Carsson Wentz played in 13 games last season before tearing his ACL. He was ruled out for their Week 1 matchup with the Falcons and according to Ian Rappaport of NFL Network, he isn’t expected to return for an extended period of time. On the plus-side for Doug Pederson, he has a more than reliable backup ready to perform in Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, they have a ten-day period after the season opener to have him continue his treatments and rehabbing if on the off chance they were to play him in Week 2. The most likely return for Wentz would be in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. The prior three matchups, 9/16 at Tampa Bay, at home against the Colts on 9/23, and at Tennessee on 9/30, are all winnable games for the current squad Pederson has ready to go. Wentz showed last year that he has the capability to finish as a top-5 quarterback even while missing a good slate of matchups, and newly-minted Super Bowl winning owner Jeffrey Lurie would rather go 3-1 and have a star for the next decade and a half then to rush him out onto the field and have something catastrophic derail his future.

Philadelphia Eagles v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

6. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

2017: QB1, 347.9 PTS, 3,983 YDS/ 34 Passing TD/ 11 INT, 586 Rushing YDS/ 3 Rushing TD

With the departures of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, and the nagging injury to Doug Baldwin, the pressure is on Russell Wilson to get rolling from the get-go this season. Fantasy owners also must be weary of his mobility. Wilson has never sustained a major injury in his professional career, yet Pete Carroll’s signal caller has taken 213 sacks since 2013, the most in the NFL.

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

2017: QB2, 299.5 PTS, 3,302 Passing Yds/ 22 Passing TD/ 16 INT, 754 Rushing YDS/ 6 Rushing TD

The Panthers have a gem of an offensive coordinator in their recent hire of Norv Turner after his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Ron Rivera knows that to prolong Cam Newton’s illustrious career, he needs to ease up on rushing and needs to drastically build on his deep ball. Directly after accepting the job in Charlotte, 65-year-old Turner went right to work, requesting cut-ups of ever single pass Newton made in 2017.

Carolina Panthers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

8. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

2017: QB8, 270.4 PTS, 4,515 YDS/ 28 TD/ 10 INT

Philip Rivers has been a staple of consistency over the past decade. Rivers has finished as a top-12 quarterback in eight seasons over the last decade. Although the loss of up-and-coming star tight end Hunter Henry was a lethal blow to his arsenal, with the continued rise of Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon, getting second-year receiver Mike Williams fully healthy, and another go-round from ol’ faithful in Antonio Gates, the Chargers are looking like a real powerhouse in the AFC West (no pun intended).

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

2017: QB10, 260.7 PTS, 4,251 YDS/ 28 TD/ 14 INT

There are three quarterbacks in the National Football League that can make any ordinary wide receiver look like a superstar, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Big Ben Roethlisberger. The current saga between Steelers’ top brass and superstar running back Le’Veon Bell may continue, but Mike Tomlin’s veteran signal caller needs to drastically improve his play away from Heinz Field to prolong his stellar career. Over the past four seasons, Big Ben has averaged 23.26 PTS in the Steel City, and averaged 13.97 on the road. His passer rating over the past two seasons tells all.

Roethlisberger 2016 Home Passer Rating: 113.6

Roethlisberger 2016 Away Passer Rating: 81.3

Roethlisberger 2017 Home Passer Rating: 98.8

Roethlisberger 2017 Away Passer Rating: 92.3

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

10. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

2017: QB12, 255.3 PTS, 3,804 Passing Yards/ 28 Passing TD/ 7 INT, 1 Rushing TD

The former number one pick must integrate Brandin Cooks into the offense after the departure of Sammy Watkins to Kansas City. Goff’s breakout in 2017 has the Rams on the cusp of contending for the NFC. An improved defense with the additions of Marcus Peters from the Chiefs, Aqib Talib from Denver, and Ndamukong Suh from Miami. With the growth of second-year receiver Cooper Kupp, and the rise of Robert Woods, the Rams are ready to terrorize the NFC West.

Houston Texans v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

2017: QB7, 273.6 PTS, 4,446 Yards/ 29 TD/ 10 INT

Since 2011 Matt Stafford has thrown for at least 4,257 yards each year. With two top targets in Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate, Stafford is primed for another magnificent season.

Detroit Lions v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

12. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

2017: QB34, 87.9 PTS, 1,560 YDS/ 7 TD/ 5 INT

The Eastern Illinois product started five games for the 49ers last season. He must continue with his play from 2017, or he will drop below QB15. Marquise Goodwin must keep ascending in addition to getting back a healthy Pierre Garcon. Prior to acquiring their $137-million-dollar man, his top target Goodwin was averaging 2.45 REC per game. After the Eastern Illinois alum arrived in the Bay Area, that number increased to 5.8 REC per game.

San Francisco 49ers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

13. Alex Smith, Washington Redskins

2017: QB4, 295.2 PTS, 4,042 Passing YDS/ 26 Passing TD/ 5 INT, 355 Rushing YDS/ 1 Rushing TD

If he can develop a rapport with a healthy Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson, he has the leadership capability and experience to be QB6. Through the first five games of 2017, Alex Smith had a 76.52 completion rate as the Chiefs came right out of the gate with a five-game win streak, looking like a real powerhouse in the AFC and possibly an adversary that could dethrone New England.

Denver Broncos v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

14. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

2017: QB15, 228.1 PTS, 4,095 YDS/ 20 TD/ 12 INT

After Matt Ryan’s MVP ascension in 2016 and catapulting his squad into the title game against New England, I was sold on his rise and ready to regularly see his name in conversations of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. The former Boston College star let me down. His 20 TD over the course of the season were the fewest he has thrown since his NFL debut. The void that former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left after departing for the top gig in the Bay Area had a profound impact on the offense that held a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl just months before. Julio Jones must reach the end zone on a regular basis because three scores for the most gifted receiver in football doesn’t even come close to what he is capable of.

Atlanta Falcons v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

15. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

2017: QB18, 210.5 PTS, 3,232 Passing YDS/ 13 Passing TD/ 15 INT, 312 Rushing YDS/ 5 Rushing TD

Marcus Mariota missed one game in his 2017 campaign. Although the former Oregon Duck posted more interceptions than passing touchdowns, the addition of Dion Lewis to complement the up-and-coming talent that is former Heisman winner Derrick Henry and second-year wideout Corey Davis could lead them right back to the postseason.

Tennessee Titans v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images


1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers *

2017: RB2, 341.6 PTS, 1,291 Rushing YDS/ 9 Rushing TD, 85 REC/ 655 Receiving YDS/ 2 Receiving TD/ 107 Targets

The talk of the sports world this week has revolved around the former Michigan St. star. Revered as the best running back in the National Football League, Mike Tomlin knows he can rely on Le’Veon Bell for an unimaginable workload during the regular season. The problem this year, that has been highly publicized, is that Bell has yet to rejoin the Steelers organization while currently being in the midst of a holdout as a result of the lack of a contract extension and only have been offered the franchise tag. Bell is clearly their bell-cow, and there is no debating that, the half-back wants to be paid as the offense weapon that they utilize him to be. Bell lead all running backs in 2017 in both rushing attempts (321) and receptions (85). I do not believe that Bell will receive a contract of his liking from the Steelers. With that being said, and the mitigating factors that have arisen including being called out from some of his teammates, I’m curious to see how he responds when he gives a public statement, whether he demands a trade or stays out indefinitely, and how the city of Pittsburgh as whole reacts after their season opener against the revamped Cleveland Browns this week. James Conner is ready to lead the offense in the ground game, but I’m hesitant to start him outright in Week 1, and would be even more hesitant to trade for him before the country sees how he receives the torch.

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

2. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

2017: RB1, 383.3 PTS, 1,305 Rushing YDS/ 13 Rushing TD, 64 REC/ 788 Receiving YDS/ 6 Receiving TD/ 87 Targets

Todd Gurley has had quite an enjoyable summer. In late July it was announced that Sean McVay’s bell cow had agreed to re-sign in the City of Angels on a four-year deal worth just north of $60 million. If his volume can sustain he has outright RB1 potential.

Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

2017: RB12, 203.2 PTS, 983 Rushing YDS/ 7 Rushing TD, 26 REC/ 269 Receiving YDS/ 2 Receiving TD/ 38 Targets,

Through 25 total regular season games, Ezekiel Elliott has accrued 25 total touchdowns. He is the focal point of this offense and he will be the driving force. The only thing that worries me is lack of a number-one option for Dak Prescott, which adds to Elliotts already sky-high number of rushing attempts (564) , and the status of the team’s offensive line. All-Pro right guard Zack Martin, one of if not the best in the NFL, hyperextended his knee during the preseason and may not be 100% for the season opener. The major concern in regards to their offensive line is the status of All-Pro center Travis Frederick, who is out indefinitely as he is currently in the midst of a battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an extremely rare auto-immune disease. If Elliott can sustain his superb play from his first two excellent seasons in Dallas, he will provide yet another terrific year on the ground.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

4. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

2016: RB1, 408 PTS, 1,239 Rushing YDS/ 16 Rushing TD, 80 REC/ 879 Receiving YDS/ 4 Receiving TD/ 120 Targets

In his second season after being drafted out of Northern Iowa, David Johnson accumulated 2,118 aggregate yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns. In his first matchup of the 2017 campaign, Johnson fractured his wrist that required surgery, missing the entire year. Johnson was given a three-year extension worth $39 million, topping out at $45 million if the bell cow can achieve every incentive detailed in the fine print.

Arizona Cardinals v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

5. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

2017: RB5, 288.1 PTS, 1,105 Rushing YDS/ 8 Rushing TD, 58 REC/ 476 YDS/ 4 TD/ 83 Targets

After the organization decided to uproot and move from San Diego to LA, the former Wisconsin Badger decided to elevate his rushing yardage total into quadruple digits, eclipsing the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the first time in his career.

Los Angeles Chargers v New York Jets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

6. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

2017: RB9, 230.2 PTS, 1,040 Rushing YDS/ 9 Rushing TD, 36 REC/ 302 Receiving YDS/ 1 TD/ 48 Targets

Leonard Fournette missed three games in 2017 yet still managed to post 17.7 PTS per game in PPR scoring in his first season as a Jacksonville Jaguar after an illustrious career at LSU in Baton Rouge. He has top-three running back potential.

Atlanta Falcons v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

7. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

2017: RB3, 320.4 PTS, 728 Rushing YDS/ 8 Rushing TD, 81 REC/ 826 Receiving YDS/ 5 TD/ 100 Targets

Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram electrified the ground game in the Big Easy en route to a spectacular 2017 campaign. If Kamara’s volume resumes after Ingram returns from his four-game suspension and he builds on his progression as a multidimensional receiving back, he has RB5 potential.

Divisional Round - New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

8 Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

2017: 1,271 Rushing YDS/ 18 Rushing TD, 54 REC/ 632 Receiving YDS/ 3 TD

At the 2018 NFL Combine, the former Nittany Lion benched pressed 29 reps of 225 lbs. putting him in the same class as offensive linemen and defensive tackles. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Saquon Barkley being a top-3 back this year.

Cleveland Browns v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

9. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

2017: RB4, 295.2 PTS, 728 Rushing YDS/ 8 Rushing TD, 53 REC/ 455 Receiving YDS/ 3 Receiving TD/ 63 Targets

The diamond in the rough of the 2017 draft came out of the gates blazing last year. In his first NFL game, Hunt totaled 246 all-purpose yards and three TD. In PPR scoring, Kareem Hunt averaged 18.45 PTS per game in his inaugural year. He will hope to build on that in his second season at Arrowhead after the departure of longtime veteran Alex Smith and the insertion of former Texas Tech star signal caller and the new face of the organization, Pat Mahomes.

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

10. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

2017: RB10, 228.6 PTS, 435 Rushing YDS/ 2 Rushing TD, 80 REC/ 651 Receiving YDS/ 5 TD/ 113 Targets

Only two rookie running backs since 2001 have had more receptions in their inaugural season (Reggie Bush with 88, Alvin Kamara with 81) than Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey’s 80 receptions places him in the third slot in that elite class. McCaffrey must sustain reception numbers from his rookie season or the former Stanford Cardinal will drop to RB15. If any injuries keep McCaffrey out, CJ Anderson has the tools to excel in Norv Turner’s backfield.

Miami Dolphins v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

11. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

2017: RB72, 65.4 PTS, 354 Rushing YDS/ 2 Rushing TD, 11 REC/ 90 Receiving YDS/ 16 Targets

Dalvin Cook tore ACL after week 4 of the 2017 season. Prior to his injury, Cook averaged 15.5 PTS per game in PPR. Cook was top three amongst running backs in rushing yards before his season-ending surgery.

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

12. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

2017: RB15, 199.7 PTS, 1,122 Rushing YDS/ 9 Rushing TD, 23 REC/ 125 YDS/ 32 Targets

Despite being one of the most productive running backs in the NFL, the one aspect of Jordan Howard’s game that has never come into full force is his ability as a pass catching option. Howard has dropped 13.9 % of his targets in his pro career. With Tarik Cohen already set as Matt Nagy’s third-down back and a superior receiving option, Howard’s stock has begun to fall in PPR leagues.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

13. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

2017: RB37, 135 PTS, 744 Rushing YDS/ 5 Rushing TD, 11 REC/ 136 Receiving YDS/ 1 Receiving TD/ 17 Targets

Derrick Henry will final get the spotlight in Tennessee that he has longed for since taking home the Heisman trophy in 2015 after lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to the National Championship and posting 2,219 rushing yards and a whopping 28 touchdowns.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

14. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

2017: RB7, 263.6 PTS, 1,138 Rushing YDS/ 6 Rushing TD, 59 REC/ 448 Receiving YDS/ 2 Receiving TD/ 77 Targets

LeSean McCoy has generated a substantial amount of news this offseason and it has nothing to do with his gifts on the football field. With Nathan Peterman taking the reins of the offense as rookie quarterback Josh Allen continues to get adjusted to the professional level, I am extremely concerned about their offense.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

15. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

2017: RB14, 200.2 PTS, 865 Rushing YDS/ 7 Rushing TD, 36 REC/ 317 Receiving YDS/ 1 Receiving TD/ 46 Targets

Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combine for one of the most dominant running-back committees in the NFC. With the emergence of Mohamed Sanu and Calvin RIdley to complement Julio Jones on the outside, it would be no surprise to see the Falcons making a deep postseason run.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

2017: WR1, 310.3 PTS, 101 REC/ 1,533 YDS/ 9 TD/ 162 Targets

The former Central Michigan star has over 1,200 yards and eight or more touchdown receptions in each of the past five seasons. With the departure of Martavis Bryant, and the continued uncertainty regarding the status of Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown could be in for another career season.

Carolina Panthers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

2017: WR2, 309.8 PTS, 96 REC/ 1,378 YDS/ 13 TD/ 175 Targets

Quarterbacks DeAndre Hopkins has played with since 2014:

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Mallett

Case Keenum

Brian Hoyer

T.J. Yates

Brandon Weeden

Brock Osweiler

Tom Savage

Deshaun Watson

Hopefully this list doesn’t get any longer for the foreseeable future.

Kansas City Chiefs v Houston Texan Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (if RB centric offense doesn’t continue, WR6)

2017: WR6, 258.5 PTS, 104 REC/ 1,245 YDS/ 5 TD/ 149 Targets

Mark Ingram’s four-game suspension for PED’s should decrease the ground game to start the season, and increase the target share for Michael Thomas very early. Sean Payton knows he has a budding star in Alvin Kamara, and will not run him into the ground with a big-play talent like the former Buckeye ready for the spotlight.

Divisional Round - New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

4. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (if offense ignites, WR3)

2017: WR83

2016: WR4, 297 PTS, 101 REC/ 1,367 YDS/ 10 TD/ 169 Targets

Odell Beckham Jr. has clearly impressed the top brass at the Meadowlands. Beckham ranks first in TD receptions per game (0.81), third in catches per game (6.7), and second all time in receiving yards per game (94.1).

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (If TD total doesn’t rapidly increase, WR10)

2017: WR7, 251.9 PTS, 88 REC/ 1,444 YDS/ 3 TD/ 149 Targets

I personally believe Julio Jones is the best wide-out in football. The only knock on his game is his ability to thrive in the promised land. Over the past two seasons (including playoffs), Jones has hauled in 1/20 targets in the end zone from Matt Ryan for scores.

Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

6. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (if Aaron Rodgers misses time, WR13)

2017: WR14, 222.5 PTS, 74 REC/ 885 YDS/ 10 TD/ 118 Targets

Davante Adams is the only player with ten or more receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons. After Aaron Rodgers’ season was lost in 2017, Adams’ ascension continued. The former Fresno St. Bulldog moved into the top slot into Mike McCarthy’s offense. Adams’ rise lead to the dismissal of longtime receiver Jordy Nelson, and being rewarded with a four-year $58-million contract extension.

Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

7. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals (if Tyler Eifert can stay healthy, WR5)

2017: WR10, 226.8 PTS, 75 REC/ 1,078 YDS/ 8 TD/ 145 Targets

Injuries have plagued the top option in Cincinnati over the past few seasons. During the past four years, AJ Green has only played in all 16 contests twice. Now at the age of 30, Green must sustain durability to help Andy Dalton and the Bengals get back to the postseason.

Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

8. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (if offense cannot get rolling, WR15)

2017: WR13, 223.3 PTS, 75 REC/ 991 YDS/ 8 TD/ 117 Targets

2017 can be considered a subpar year for the former undrafted receiver out of Stanford. Doug Baldwin did not acquire 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2014, when he was sharing the spotlight with then-Seattle mainstay Golden Tate.

Philadelphia Eagles v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

9. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (if offense dominates, WR4)

2017: WR3, 284.2 PTS, 102 REC/ 1,393 YDS/ 6 TD/ 159 Targets

In his five years as a member of the Chargers organization, 2017 was the first season where Keenan Allen maintained his durability. In his first four years in the National Football League, Allen missed 40.6 % of the Bolts’ matchups due to injury.

Oakland Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

10 Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (if Kirk Cousins plays like last season, WR20)

2017: WR19, 198.2 PTS, 64 REC/ 849 YDS/ 8 TD/ 95 Targets

Stefon Diggs only needed 40 games to reach 200 receptions for his career (the fewest in Vikings history), while it took both Randy Moss and Percy Harvin 42. Down by a point with ten seconds remaining in regulation in the NFC Divisional postseason matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Diggs hauled in the most important touchdown reception in recent memory as time expired to push Mike Zimmer’s club into the NFC Championship game.

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

11. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (if Jameis Winston was playing week 1-4, WR7)

2017: WR17, 203.1 PTS, 71 REC/ 1,001 YDS/ 5 TD/ 135 Targets

In his four years since leaving College Station and the rest of his fellow Aggies, Mike Evans has achieved the 1,000 yard receiving mark every single season. With Jameis Winston sidelined for the first three games of the 2018 season, veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will most likely make the 6’5 star receiver his top target.

New York Giants v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

12. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders

2017: WR36, 158.4 PTS, 48 REC/ 680 YDS/ 7 TD/ 96 Targets

John Gruden has had a 1,000 yard receiver in every season he has coached in his NFL career. Michael Crabtree is in Baltimore, and the Martavis Bryant experiment failed as the former Pittsburgh Steeler didn’t make the 53-man roster after the preseason concluded. In 22 career games where Amari Cooper has gotten at least eight targets or more, he averages north of 18 PTS per game. Jordy Nelson will be a decent contributor, but the 24-year-old Cooper is the main option in Oakland. If Jon Gruden revitalizes Derek Carr after an injury-riddled 2017 season, Cooper could be in for his best season yet.

Oakland Raiders v Tennessee Titans

13. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

2017: WR12, 224.5 PTS, 92 REC/ 1,003 YDS/ 5 TD/ 122 Targets

Golden Tate is a must-start WR2 every single week of the season no matter who’m he’s matched up against. With the emergence of Kenny Golladay and the rise of Marvin Jones Jr., opposing secondaries will have trouble locking him down.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

14. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (if Greg Olsen goes down, WR9)

2017: WR22, 195 PTS, 63 REC/ 840 YDS/ 8 TD/ 113 Targets

This year I am again, Rollin’ with the Funchess. He is in for a breakout performance. This will be his first full season as the number one option for Cam Newton after last year’s mid-season trade of Kelvin Benjamin up to Buffalo. Devin Funchess was a top-20 wideout last season after Benjamin departed.

Minnesota Vikings v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

15 Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

2017: WR9, 239.7 PTS, 91 REC/ 1276 YDS/ 4 TD/ 143 Targets

Adam Thielen’s emergence as a reliable target should drop off slightly after Case Keenum left Minnesota for the Mile High City. I’m not too high on the Vikings new signal caller Kirk Cousins after watching him play for so long in the nation’s capital, so I’m seeing a gradual decline for last year’s WR9.

Los Angeles Rams v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images


1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (must stay healthy, or TE3)

2017: TE2, 227.4 PTS, 69 REC/ 1084 YDS/ 8 TD/ 106 Targets

For three of the last four seasons, Rob Gronkowski has hauled in at least 1,000 yards and at least eight scores. The only knock on the Patriots tight end is his ability to stay on the field. The last time he played all 16 games in a season was back in 2011.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (with healthy Carson Wentz, TE1 Potential)

2017: TE3, 202.4 PTS, 74 REC/ 824 YDS/ 8 TD/ 110 Targets

In each of the past three seasons, Zach Ertz has accumulated at least 74 catches, at least 106 targets, and at least 816 receiving yards. As soon as Carson Wentz is able enough to get back on the field, Ertz’s numbers should skyrocket into top-two tight end territory.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (if Pat Mahomes excels, TE)

2017: TE1, 233.5 PTS, 83 REC/ 1,038 YDS/ 8 TD/ 123 Targets

Last year’s top scoring tight end should continue his terror for opposing defenses in 2018 with the adjustment in the pocket to Pat Mahomes. Look for Kelce to improve upon his stellar performance in 2017 with who’m I believe is the best young offensive core in the National Football League.

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

4. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers (if heʼs Aaron Rodgersʼ red-zone target, if not TE7)

2017: TE6, 171 PTS, 57 REC/ 520 YDS/ 10 TD/ 97 Targets

If I read you out a list of the top tight ends in the National Football League and asked you to tell me which one hauled in the most scores in 2017, you’d probably select one that played Division I Football for more than one year. And assuming you chose one based on those parameters, you would be incorrect. Aaron Rodgers’ new red-zone threat is ready to prove that his three-year $30 million dollar contract will bring continued success and another Lombardi trophy to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

5. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

2017: TE50, 17 REC/ 191 YDS/ 1 TD/ 38 Targets

2016: TE2, 207 PTS, 80 REC/ 1,073 YDS/ 3 TD/ 129 Targets

Prior to 2017, Greg Olsen hadn’t missed a game since back in 2007. Now in the latter stages of his career, the scoring numbers won’t be as fluid, but Cam Newton will absolutely have him as a top target down the field.

Wild Card Round - Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

6. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

2017: TE4, 174.5 PTS, 74 REC/ 807 Receiving YDS/ 3 Receiving TD/ 111 Targets, 1 Rushing TD

Delanie Walker has been a staple of consistency in Tennessee and can be regularly relied upon to put up average numbers throughout the season. He stays healthy, plays when banged up, and will always be a factor in the air, regardless of who’s throwing his way.

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

7. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (with consistent QB play, if not, drops below TE15)

2017: TE24, 94.7 PTS, 32 REC/ 386 YDS/ 4 TD/ 60 Targets

The second-year man out of the U was top-seven in red zone targets amongst all tight ends last season, and he now has an established signal caller in the pocket, and a Heisman trophy-winning number one pick ready to take the reins of the offense whenever the time comes.

Green Bay Packers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

8. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (Assuming he maintains the same role and Andrew Luck has no drop off, if not TE12)

2017: TE7, 169 PTS, 80 REC/ 690 YDS/ 4 TD/ 107 Targets

Jack Doyle excelled in 2017 and didn’t play a single snap with Andrew Luck. In 2017, only one tight end had more catches than Doyle, that being Travis Kelce. In their last regular season game together on 1/1/17, Indianapolis beat Jacksonville 24-20 on Luck’s game winning TD to Doyle with nine seconds to play in regulation. That was Luck’s last regular season appearance.

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

2017: TE8, 158.2 PTS, 57 REC/ 532 YDS/ 8 TD/ 81 Targets

Kyle Rudolph tied for second most receiving touchdowns amongst tight ends in the 2017 campaign while Zimmer’s club excelled with Case Keenum in the pocket.

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

10. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (if Jameis Winston thrives, TE6)

2017: TE10, 143.1 PTS, 48 REC/ 591 YDS/ 6 TD/ 77 Targets

For the first three matchups of the 2018 NFL season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will feature the only starting QB-TE tandem that can call Harvard University their alma mater in veteran signal caller Ryan Fitzpatrick and multidimensional tight end Cameron Brate. The consistent pass catching 27-year old hauled in a touchdown in Week’s 3, 4, 5, and 6 last season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

11. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (if healthy, TE5)

2015: TE3, 244 PTS, 87 REC/ 952 YDS/ 11 TD/ 114 Targets

The ultimate wild-card tight end in the NFL plays in our nation’s capital. When he’s healthy, Reed is a top-five player at the position. But that’s just the thing, when. Over the past four years, Reed has played in 43 out of 64 of Washington’s matchups.

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

12. Evan Engram, New York Giants (if Odell Beckham Jr. or Saquon Barkley go down, TE9)

2017: TE5, 173.6 PTS, 64 REC/ 722 YDS/ 6 TD/ 115 Targets

I see a MAJOR drop off coming for the second-year tight end for the Giants. With the arrival of Saquon Barkley and his ability to be an every-down back, combined with the return of a fully-healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and his newly signed contract, I wouldn’t expect the same result from Engram.

New York Giants v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

13. Trey Burton, Chicago Bears

2017: TE26, 79.8 PTS, 23 REC/ 248 YDS/ 5 TD/ 30 Targets

Moving from Philadelphia to the Windy City should pay dividends to Mitch Trubisky’s new weapon. Trey Burton is ready for the spotlight in a revamped Bears offense where he sits number one on the depth chart. In the two starts Burton made last year for the Super Bowl champions with Zach Ertz sidelined, he accumulated seven receptions for 112 yards and three scores. With the added star power of Allen Robinson, the Bears are on the rise.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

14. OJ Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (if Cameron Brate declines, TE11)

2017: TE21, 101.2 PTS, 26 REC/ 432 YDS/ 6 TD/ 39 Targets

OJ Howard delivered on the highest stage in back-to-back years in the NCAA National Championship games. Howard combined for nine receptions, 314 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. Howard has the potential to be the focal point of the offense in the years to come, a feat that most ordinary tight ends never dream of.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

15. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals (must stay healthy, or drops below TE15)

2015: TE6, 192 PTS, 52 REC/ 615 YDS/ 13 TD/ 74 Targets

Tyler Eifert falls into the same tier that Jordan Reed finds himself in. Eifert has played in 10 total games over the past two years and in both has unfortunately undergone season-ending back surgeries.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images