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Young names shake up our top 20 tight end rankings for Week 1

Hunter Henry is healthy, Rob Gronkowski is retired, and George Kittle looks to build on a record 2018 performance. We break down the 25 best tight ends heading into Week 1.

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry runs with the football after a reception during the NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2019 NFL season starts this week and the tight end landscape has seen a few changes. Rob Gronkowski is currently retired, leaving the trio of Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz atop the rankings.

This could be the year the position shows some depth. Hunter Henry played terrifically in 2017, but unfortunately missed 2018 due to injury. Evan Engram and David Njoku had promising sophomore campaigns but both will have to adjust to changes as Odell Beckham Jr. is now Njoku’s teammate leaving plenty of targets for Engram in New York. 13 of Eric Ebron’s 24 career touchdowns occurred last season. That’s a tough act to repeat, especially since Andrew Luck abruptly retired and Jack Doyle is back healthy.

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Speaking of health, it’s a short injury report to start the season. Keep an eye on Jordan Reed. He’s coming out of the concussion protocol and should be ready for Week 1, but with so many concussions in the past the team could exercise caution early in the season.

If you are looking for good value or sleeper plays at the position don’t forget about the return of Delanie Walker. The Tennessee Titans missed the versatile tight end last year and he should get a lot of work as the Titans keep pace with the Cleveland Browns. One tight end you may want to avoid this week is O.J. Howard. He’s an explosive athlete, but the San Francisco 49ers were pretty good at covering the position last season.

Tight End rankings, Week 1

Rk Player Team Opp
Rk Player Team Opp
1 George Kittle SF @ Tampa Bay
2 Travis Kelce KC @ Jacksonville
3 Zach Ertz PHI vs Washington
4 Delanie Walker TEN @ Cleveland
5 Hunter Henry LAC vs Indianapolis
6 Evan Engram NYG @ Dallas
7 Greg Olsen CAR vs LA Rams
8 O.J. Howard TB vs San Francisco
9 Jordan Reed WAS @ Philadelphia
10 Trey Burton CHI vs Green Bay
11 David Njoku CLE vs Tennessee
12 Vance McDonald PIT @ New England
13 Jared Cook NO vs Houston
14 Austin Hooper ATL @ Minnesota
15 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs Atlanta
16 Jack Doyle IND @ LA Chargers
17 Jimmy Graham GB @ Chicago
18 Eric Ebron IND @ LA Chargers
19 Cameron Brate TB vs San Francisco
20 T.J. Hockenson DET @ Arizona
21 Tyler Eifert CIN @ Seattle
22 Darren Waller OAK vs Denver
23 Mark Andrews BAL @ Miami
24 Noah Fant DEN @ Oakland
25 Dallas Goedert PHI vs Washington