2013 Fantasy Football Rookie TE Rankings

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati - 2013 Fantasy Rookie TE Rankings

Nearly every year, we end up hearing a lot of hype surrounding some rookie tight end. This year, however, the 2013 Fantasy Football Rookie Tight End rankings are topped off by a player that is joining a team with a pretty good pass-catching tight end already. More on him in a bit!

Last year, we got all excited over the arrival of Stanford TE Coby Fleener, who ended up playing with his college QB in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck. It only made sense that these two had built-in chemistry, and one would help the other to greatness!

But it just didn’t happen, as he finished the season with just 281 receiving yards in 12 games (due to a shoulder injury). The Colts asked him to block more, and they ended up using fellow rookie TE Dwayne Allen much more in the passing game. Allen had 72 targets, compared to just 53 for Fleener.

Without question, though, the league is turning to more of a two-tight end system, as the Patriots continue to see success with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

So the Bengals selected Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame, in spite of the fact they own Jermaine Gresham, who was drafted in the same draft as Gronk and Hernandez. Speaking of which, this also had to be the best year for rookie tight ends in NFL history! Look at this group of tight ends that got drafted in 2010:

  • Rob Gronkowski, New England
  • Aaron Hernandez, New England
  • Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
  • Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
  • Tony Moeaki, Kansas City
  • Dennis Pitta, Baltimore


Interestingly, Fleener is among the top 20 tight ends getting drafted in leagues on MyFantasyLeague.com, near Round 13. Yet, last year’s top rookie TEs (Allen (20th) and Fleener (23rd)) are being drafted behind him.

Before we get into the 2013 Fantasy Football rookie tight ends rankings are have the best chance of finishing in the top 12 by season’s end, let’s look at Fantasy Football tight end history.

Top Fantasy Rookie Tight Ends since 2002

2010 – Rob Gronkowski, NE – 42-546-10 – 114 Fantasy pts
2002 – Jeremy Shockey, NYG – 74-894-2 – 101 pts
2008 – John Carlson, SEA – 55-627-5 – 92 pts
2010 – Aaron Hernandez, NE – 45-563-6 – 92 pts
2005 – Heath Miller, PIT – 39-459-6 – 81 pts
2010 – Tony Moeaki, KC – 47-556-3 – 73 pts
2002 – Randy McMichael, MIA – 39-485-4 – 72 pts
2010 – Jermaine Gresham, CIN — 53-471-4 – 71 pts
2008 – Dustin Keller, NYJ – 48-535-3 – 71 pts
2012 – Dwayne Allen, IND – 45-521-3 – 70 pts
2004 – Chris Cooley, WAS – 37-314-6 – 67 pts
2010 – Jimmy Graham, NO – 31-356-5 – 65 pts
2006 – Owen Daniels, HOU – 34-352-5 – 65 pts
2007 – Zach Miller, OAK – 44-444-3 – 62 pts
2007 — Greg Olsen, CHI – 39-391-2 – 51 pts
2003 – Antonio Gates, SD – 24-389-2 – 50 pts
2005 – Alex Smith, TB – 41-367-2 – 48 pts
2009 – Brandon Pettigrew, DET – 30-346-2 – 46 pts
2006 – Vernon Davis, SF – 20-265-3 – 44 pts
2011 – Kyle Rudolph, MIN – 26-249-3 – 42 pts
2012 – Coby Fleener, IND – 26-281-2 – 40 pts
2003 – Jason Witten, DAL – 35-347-1 – 40 pts
2003 – Dallas Clark, IND – 29-340-1 – 40 pts
2004 – Ben Troupe, TEN – 33-329-1 – 38 pts
2011 – Lance Kendricks, STL — 28-353-0 – 35 pts
2009 – Zach Miller, JAC – 21-212-2 – 33 pts

The best tight end draft ever was obviously 2010, as we mentioned the solid crew that came out of that draft. Four of the top eight rookie efforts were turned in by that class – and that doesn’t even count Graham, who will likely be the top tight end drafted in 2013.

The second-best tight end draft ever was 2003, producing Clark, Witten and Gates. They scored a trio Fantasy average of 44 points. Yet, the previous season, Univ. of Miami product Jeremy Shockey posted 101 Fantasy points, which was the second-highest total in the past decade. But while Shockey caught 35 more TDs over the next nine seasons, he never eclipsed his rookie catch or yardage totals.

These 26 players represent the top rookie tight ends for each year. The average production from these players is about 39 catches for 435 yards and 3.3 touchdowns.

It’s reasonable to expect that kind of production from the top rookie tight ends this year. If Eifert, for instance, were to register those numbers, or about 62 Fantasy points, he would land outside of the top 25 Fantasy tight ends. Keep that in mind before relying too much on a Fantasy rookie.

2013 Rankings: Top 60 Overall

QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DST

Offensive Lines | IDP: DL | LB | DB

Rookie Rankings: Top 30 Overall | QB | RB | WR | TE


2013 Fantasy Rookie TE Rankings


1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati

The Bengals have already said they plan on lining Eifert up all over the place, which means he’ll get similar treatment as Gronk and Hernandez. Don’t be overly concerned about Gresham’s presence, but then again, Eifert will be the third or fourth passing option on most pass plays.

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati - 2013 Fantasy Rookie TE Rankings

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert won the 2012 Mackey Award as the best collegiate tight end. Other winners include Aaron Hernandez, Fred Davis and Dwayne Allen. Photo Credit: NinjaSports.net

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City

The Chiefs also plan to move Kelce out and line him up in several spots, but he’ll also be dealing with free-agent signee Anthony Fasano and Moeaki. The latter is dealing with knee issues still, so he could end up being a casualty, as Kelce develops early on.


3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

This is actually the lesser known tight-end twin from Stanford that helped Luck to several great seasons. He has to be better at blocking, especially with Brent Celek already on the team, but he’s a very talented pass catcher. He just might be one of those Graham-types, that flourishes in Year 2 and beyond.


4. Jordan Reed, Washington

Considering TE Fred Davis is still healing from a torn Achilles’, Reed has an open window at some snaps this summer. Unfortunately, Reed is dealing with a leg injury himself. Even when he’s healthy, Reed needs to improve rapidly before he’s Fantasy worthy this fall.


5. Gavin Escobar, Dallas

At 6-foot-6, Escobar provides a huge target for quarterbacks, and he’ll learn from one of the best pass-catching tight ends in NFL history in Jason Witten. From a dynasty perspective, Escobar probably climbs up a couple spots up to No. 3. For this year, however, the Cowboys mentioned they plan on using more two-tight end sets this season


6. Vance McDonald, San Francisco

The rookie out of Rice will step into Delanie Walker’s role, as the second tight end on the other side of Vernon Davis. McDonald could see a few more snaps than the Niners originally planned, now that Michael Crabtree (Achilles’) is sidelined.

2013 Rankings: Top 60 Overall

QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DST

Offensive Lines | IDP: DL | LB | DB

Rookie Rankings: Top 30 Overall | QB | RB | WR | TE


2013 Fantasy Rookie TE Rankings

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia - 2013 Top Fantasy Rookie TE Rankings

Eagles TE Zach Ertz led all college tight ends last season as a junior, with 898 receiving yards with Stanford. Photo Credit: Daaka 2

We’ll be updating these 2013 Fantasy Rookie TE Rankings throughout the offseason, so make sure you look back here over the summer.

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