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Fantasy football preview: Tight ends get boost in latest rankings

In the first of a six-part fantasy draft preview series leading up to the NFL season, Fantasy Insanity discusses the war-room game plan for the draft. Next week: tight ends. 

Hello again, all. How was everyone’s year in a basement? The Madman is excited to re-enter the real world, and fantasy world, and bring back from 2020 quarantine the glorious DVQ. 

But just as many of us have changed during a deadly pandemic, so too has the Draft Value Quotient. The biggest primary difference in the new iteration is added emphasis on scoring disparities among individual players at specific positions. This tweak has brought about some noticeable changes to some long-held Madman traditions. 

Chiefly, we are on board with selecting certain tight ends much higher than in the past. 

Recall, the DVQ represents what pick in the draft match a player’s projected output, so there is a steep curve at the top, which levels out in later rounds. Here are some highlights this season’s DVQ currently presents: 

Loosen up on tight ends 

Instead of the top tight end ranking in the 40s, as they often did, our top 2021 tight end in DVQ 5.0 ranks …? Any guesses? Incorrect, higher? Still not high enough. Keep going. Well, no, not No. 1 overall, but you’re not far off. 

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce runs up field during training camp at Missouri Western State University.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce
Getty Images

Travis Kelce ranks as the No. 3 overall player in our projections. This doesn’t mean he will score the third-most fantasy points. It means we think he will make the third-largest impact to fantasy rosters. He is at a thin position of just a few stable contributors, he scores like a top-tier wide receiver, and he plays on, if not the top offense, one of the most explosive. And his injury history is strong, meaning we expect nearly a full season from him. 

He isn’t the only one affected. Darren Waller and George Kittle also are much higher than the past. 

Wait for QBs isn’t that long 

Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott lead our QB rankings with ratings in the top 50. 

Nevertheless, we still think there is solid QB value late — we love Matthew Stafford in rounds 8-10, backing him up with a late-round pick expecting a rebound from Carson Wentz, with safer options like Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger available in those ranges. 

The Rodgers quandary 

Will Aaron Rodgers play? Will he get traded? Will he sit out? Retire? The opaqueness surrounding the 2020 league MVP has been a cloud over the offseason and created plenty of disarray within the fantasy community. There would be a a trickle-down effect for all Packers if he isn’t under center, so it is nice to see that situation clearing up a bit, with Rodgers expected to play for Green Bay this season. 

Our projections are crafted in accordance with this scenario, but be ready to audible if the presumption gets blind-sided by a new development.

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