Kelces present over Gronks past.
Travis Kelce has finished as the #1 Tight End in fantasy for three consecutive seasons. This is a feat even Rob Gronkowski never accomplished. Factoring in durability, (Travis Kelce has missed only one game in the past five season) I'm here to argue Travis Kelce as a 1st round pick in Re-Draft and Best-Ball drafts.
During Kelce's three year reign atop the Tight End ranks, his PPR scores equaled WR 9, WR 10, and WR 18. The two season prior, Rob Gronkowski had the throne. His finishes would have been equal to WR 13 and WR 10.
Average draft position (ADP) from Fantasy Football Calculator reveals that from 2015-2018 Gronkowski had an overall ADP of 10th, 15th, and 18th in those years respectively. Travis Kelce went 40th and 28th overall in the last two seasons. Jimmy Graham went 8th overall in 2014, and was an annual first round pick.
Travis Kelce may not be as physically dominant (or as awesome) as Gronkowski was in his prime, but in relation to the Wide Receiver position his finishes are very comparable, if not better, than Gronk's. We expected Gronk to miss games during the season, and still some drafted him in the first round.
Depending on Tyreek Hill’s availability, Pat Mahomes will have Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins to target on high leverage plays. That's it. Andy Reid's ingenuity and scheming will only go so far. Not unlike Sammy Watkins' health.
Kelce will be the first read on third down and red zone plays for a potent offence. The Chiefs have the 3rd most vacated targets inside the red zone coming into 2019 and Kelce has led the Chiefs in Red Zone targets for three years running.
The difference between Kelce and the TE 6 was 8.2 points per game in 2018! That’s the same as the difference between WR 1 and WR 22. On average, over the past three seasons we see only three Tight Ends per year scoring 200+ points in PPR scoring. During that time an average of 21 Wide Receivers have scored 200+ points each year. Looking at the 295 PPR points he scored last season, a career high, we quickly see the advantage Travis Kelce can provide at Tight End.
I'm advocating for Travis Kelce to be a Round One pick this season. The Chiefs will remain a dangerous offence and their best skill position player is a clear target with upside equivalent to a top 10 receiver. Draft him early with confidence!