First let's look at the 2015 Top-10 Tight Ends in fantasy points per game:
Of course, there are slight variations based on league scoring and in-game injuries, but for the most part this list looks about right compared to what we saw during the season.
Let's take a look at the fantasy points per game leaders from 2014 for comparison:
There was quite a bit of turnover in the Top-10 per-game tight ends. After Gronkowski, the top tight end spots were up for grabs, and Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert came on strong this season to secure their spots near the top.
After Gronk, projecting tight end finishes is a tricky business. They need to be in the right situation, which usually means situations in which a tight end is the No. 1 or 2 target on the team. And, such players also need to stay healthy, which is sometimes tough for these big-bodied receivers, who spend their time taking big hits over the middle of the field.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Gronk could play on one leg tied behind his back and still end up as the No. 1 fantasy tight end. His dominance over the rest of the field continues to give him value in the first round of drafts as well. The losses around him in the offense and his own injury, had defenses keying on him and made him miss a game, but he still dominated the position. You can expect more of the same going forward, as he will have just turned 27 years old going into next season.
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
Olsen doesn't have the upside of some of these other tight ends, but his consistency makes him a safe pick, but it will also probably push his ADP up above some guys who have higher upside. I usually draft a bit riskier at tight end, hoping to hit on a Jordan Reed or Tyler Eifert, but the safety of Olsen is appealing.
Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
Reed has battled injuries for most of his career, but he stayed healthy for 14 games this season and showed just how good he can be. He averaged over eight targets per game, which was only behind Delanie Walker. Kirk Cousins seems to love throwing Reed the ball and for good reason, as he put up a line of 87/952/11 through those 14 games. Reed played nine games his rookie year, then 11 in 2014 and 14 this season. Sometimes it just takes some on-the-job training to learn how to keep yourself healthy in the NFL, and I don't see any reason Reed can't continue to put together mostly full seasons moving forward.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals
Even after missing a couple games this season due to injuries, Eifert still finished near the top of the tight end fantasy rankings. His targets weren't where we want a No. 1 tight end, but he was used heavily in the red zone and scored a touchdown per game, with 13 in 13 games played. Touchdowns are tough to predict, but there's no doubt he's Dalton's favorite red-zone target.
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
After Mike Mularkey took over mid-season as interim coach, Walker led all tight ends in targets, receptions and yards. The Titans as a whole were awful, so he was fourth in tight end touchdowns, but still wasn't awful in that department. Walker's age is my biggest concern, as he'll turn 32 before next season, but there is a decent chance he leads the team in targets once again. Injuries did help him lead all tight ends in targets, despite missing a game, but there is a good chance he remains the most reliable receiver on the team in 2015.
Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars
Thomas also has had trouble with injuries, but is set up in a good passing offense as, what should be, the No. 2 target after Allen Robinson, while Allen Hurns works more as the deep threat. There was no doubt Thomas had ability other than having had Peyton Manning throwing to him (see Eric Decker), and now he's developing with Blake Bortles, who looks like he'll be a dynamic passer. Thomas is no lock, but his upside is real and could be spectacular.
Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
We all know Kelce's upside is great, but unfortunately, he plays for Kansas City, which for some reason doesn't take fantasy stats into consideration. Kelce was a steady fantasy contributor, but never saw enough targets to set him apart from the rest of the riff-raff. Will that change next season? Probably not by much. The Kansas City aren't going to start airing it out, and even if they did, Kelce wouldn't become the No. 1 target. He did leave some receptions and yardage on the field in 2015, so an uptick in efficiency is a decent possibility. Much will depend on his ADP, but there is a good chance the shine on his prospects has dulled enough that you can get a steady producer at value.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
The hope for Zach Ertz is that new coach Pat Shurmur uses him better than Chip Kelly did. Ertz is an extremely talented tight end and with enough targets, would put up good numbers, as seen at the end of 2015. Over his last five games, Ertz averaged 10 targets, catching 7.4 for 91.8 yards and .4 touchdowns. In the 10 games before that, he averaged 6.2 targets, 3.8 receptions for 61 yards and no touchdowns. His main competition for targets will be Jordan Matthews, and they should make a good 1-2 punch in what should be a more Ertz-friendly offense in 2016.
Ladarius Green, TE, Chargers
Both Green and Antonio Gates are free agents, and the odds of Green getting a good shot as the No. 1 tight end somewhere (including San Diego) are very good, and that should easily shoot him into Top-10 fantasy tight end land. Gates missed the first four games in 2015, but unfortunately, Green was also hurting. He did manage to put up decent numbers in the three games he played without Gates, with 14 receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns. At 6-foot-6, 238 pounds and with 40 time of 4.45 seconds, the intangibles are there, and we've seen Green play well when given a chance. Hopefully in 2016, he gets a starting job so he can prove just how good he can be.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns
There are quite a few questions around Barnidge for the upcoming season. Will Hue Jackson use him in the same way? Who will Cleveland's quarterback be? At 31 to start next season, will Barnidge be able to repeat his late-bloomer break out? The answers to those questions aren't readily available, but he did just sign an extension and the Browns have very few big receivers, let alone someone the size of the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Barnidge. I expect he'll at the very least be a big part of their red-zone offense and should remain a capable chain mover.