Aug. 27 (UPI) -- George Kittle is one of the best offensive threats in the NFL and is my No. 1 tight end ahead of the 2020 fantasy football season.
The San Francisco 49ers playmaker claims the No. 1 spot in my Top 25 rankings for the position, just ahead of Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce. Mark Andrews of the Baltimore Ravens and Evan Engram of the New York Giants round out the Top 5 in my tight end rankings.
Kittle is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end is one of the toughest players to tackle in the NFL, which makes him a magnet for fantasy football points.
Kittle most likely will be a second-round pick in your fantasy football draft, but has the ability to produce like a WR1 and should be selected before some star wide receivers.
I split my top tight end targets into five tiers: Hall of Fame, All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Just Napping (early to mid-round targets) and Deep Sleepers (mid- to late-round sleepers). The full rankings are below.
Hall of Fame
1. George Kittle, 2. Zach Ertz, 3. Travis Kelce
Kittle has yet to score more than five touchdowns in a season, but the number of targets he draws makes him a fantasy football star.
Kittle turned 107 looks into 85 catches, 1,053 yards and five scores in 14 games last season. He hauled in 88 catches for 1,377 yards and five scores in 16 games in 2018.
I expect the 49ers tight end to bring in even more catches this season, as the team struggles with depth at the wide receiver position.
Kittle should close in on 100 receptions in 2020 if he stays healthy for 16 games. He also should be able to score more than seven touchdowns in 2020 if he is featured more in the red zone.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has been an elite fantasy football player for his position for the last five seasons. I expect another great year in 2020 from the three-time Pro Bowler.
The Eagles should be more dynamic on offense this season after they drafted former TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. They also should spread the field more by using running back Miles Sanders as a pass catcher.
I think the increased balance will benefit Ertz and allow him to produce more big plays. I expect at least 100 catches, 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns this season from the Eagles tight end.
4. Mark Andrews, 6. Austin Hooper
Tight ends Mark Andrews and Austin Hooper should each have solid seasons and prove to be integral pieces of their respective offenses in 2020.
Andrews had a breakout campaign last season for the Ravens while catching passes from NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. I expect him to improve on his 64 receptions from a season ago. He should be able to turn those catches into close to 1,000 yards.
Andrews could prove to be a mid-round steal in your draft if he can score double-digit touchdowns for a second consecutive season. He is my No. 4 option at the position.
Hooper was a Pro Bowl selection in each of his final two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before he signed with the Browns this off-season as a free agent. He should fit nicely into the offense alongside Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and the Browns' talented running backs.
You should be able to get Hooper later in your draft and I expect him to return solid value for his draft position. I expect at least 800 yards and eight scores from the Browns' new tight end in 2020.
7. Darren Waller, 9. Rob Gronkowski
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller erupted onto the fantasy football scene in 2020, with 1,145 yards and 90 catches in 16 games.
I don't expect him to repeat that yardage total due to the Raiders' off-season additions of other pass catchers, but I do expect him to improve on the three touchdowns he scored a season ago.
Waller should approach 80 catches in 2020 and has a good chance to catch more than five touchdowns this season. He is my No. 7 tight end.
Rob Gronkowski's decision to come out of retirement was one of the most exciting moves of the NFL off-season, but it remains to be seen how spending a year away from football will impact his on-field performance.
I expect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end to remain one of the best red zone threats for his position, but I don't see him getting close to the number of targets he received while he was with the New England Patriots.
He is my No. 9 tight end in 2020.
14. Mike Gesicki, 17. Eric Ebron
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki is my No. 14 option at the position this season. He should only be drafted if your league requires starting tight ends. I see the third-year pass catcher scoring more than the five touchdowns he scored last season.
I also expect Gesicki to improve on his yardage total and get more targets this season due to the Dolphins' uncertainty at wide receiver.
He is worth a late-round pick in leagues that require starting tight ends, but should only be started in good matchups if you are in a league that has at least 10 teams.
The Pittsburgh Steelers made a move to improve their group of pass catchers this off-season when they signed free agent tight end Eric Ebron.
The former Indianapolis Colts playmaker struggled to find the end zone last season, with just three scores in 2019 compared to 13 touchdowns in 2018. He also watched his yardage total drop by nearly 400 yards. I expect a bounce back from Ebron, who will now catch passes from Ben Roethlisberger.
Ebron is my No. 17 player at the position and could provide great value if you snag him late in your draft or pick him up as a free agent. He should score at least five touchdowns in 2020 and return to fantasy football relevance.
The Steelers also have three matchups in their first four games against teams that ranked inside the Top 10 for most fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season. Ebron could be a great spot starter if you didn't address the tight end position early in your draft.
20. Blake Jarwin
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin may not be an elite option at the position, but he is a player to watch in 2020. I have the Cowboys pass catcher at No. 20 in my season rankings.
He could provide your team with solid early-season value as the Cowboys have five consecutive matchups from Weeks 3 through 7 against teams that ranked inside the Top 10 for allowing the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2019.
Add Jarwin to your bench if you are in a league that requires starting tight ends. Watch his role through the first two weeks and use him as a spot starter in good matchups if you like what you see.
Top 25 Fantasy Football Tight end Rankings for 2020
1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers, Bye Week 11
2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 9
3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs, Bye Week 10
4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens, Bye Week 8
5. Evan Engram, New York Giants, Bye Week 11
6. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns, Bye Week 9
7. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders, Bye Week 6
8. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 10
9. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bye Week 13
10. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams, Bye Week 9
11. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons, Bye Week 10
13. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos, Bye Week 8
14. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins, Bye Week 11
15. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions, Bye Week 5
16. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts, Bye Week 7
17. Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers, Bye Week 8
18. Chris Herndon, New York Jets, Bye Week 11
19. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans, Bye Week 7
20. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 10
21. Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings, Bye Week 7
22. Jace Sternberger, Green Bay Packers, Bye Week 5
25. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bye Week 13