2021 Fantasy TE Draft Guide: Which Rounds To Target The Big 3 — Travis Kelce, Darren Waller & George Kittle
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: George Kittle
Sean Koerner — the No. 1 fantasy football draft ranker of 2019 — runs through his analysis of the top three tight ends based on Average Draft Position (ADP) at BestBall10s. Find his comprehensive guide to drafting TEs in his 2021 Draft Tiers and his real-time rankings in our 2021 Fantasy Draft Kit.
When To Draft the Big 3 Fantasy TEs
1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Kelce has been the TE1 four of the last five seasons — he finished as the TE2 in 2017 — and is showing no signs of slowing down. Any sort of decline he may experience should be offset by Patrick Mahomes entering his prime for his age-26 season.
Kelce offers a huge edge and is absolutely worth a top-six pick, but the ideal range to take him is anywhere between picks 7 and 12.
2. Darren Waller, Raiders
Waller has overtaken George Kittle in ADP as the TE2.
Waller is without a doubt Derek Carr’s No. 1 target in Las Vegas and, with Nelson Agholor’s departure, there are 82 targets and 13 end-zone targets up for grabs. It’s unlikely that Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfrow absorb all of those, leaving the door open for Waller to see the ball even more.
Meanwhile, Kittle has to compete with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, and — when he eventually takes over — Trey Lance’s rushing ability could eat into targets.
Waller had 107 catches for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020 — it will be a steal if you can grab him in Rounds 2 or 3.
3. George Kittle, 49ers
Kittle is arguably the best TE in the league, but Waller has the edge at TE2.
Kittle’s floor/ceiling combo seems a bit lower than Waller, with the main weakness being Kittle’s lack of TD production. He saw a career-high five TDs in 2018 and 2019 — he is due for some positive regression, but Waller is a much safer bet for eight or more touchdowns.
Once Lance takes the helm in San Francisco, that could lower Kittle’s targets and TD upside even further. Aiyuk is the first true alpha WR who Kittle will play with, which will eat into his target share even further.