How do we measure a player’s overall value? If we look at his production relative to others at his own position, Travis Kelce looks like one of the safer overall selections early in drafts.

With Kelce, after all, he’s not only super productive, he’s also playing at a position where there aren’t many premium producers. Barring injury, Kelce will be miles better than most of the other starting tight ends in your league.

It can be argued and debated in various ways, but consider the chart below. In this one, you’re seeing the overall production for each player, and then you’re seeing how that compares to the average of the top 12 at that position in the given season. (There are 12 franchises in a typical league, so the top 12 can generally be considered “starters”.)

At tight end, the top 12 last year averaged 183.3 PPR points. Kelce scored 314.8, so he was over 131 points better than the average of the 12 other starting tight ends in the 2020 season.

In the last 10 years, only two players have created more statistical spread between themselves and the other top players at their positions – 2019 Christian McCaffrey and 2016 David Johnson, who crushed the other running backs in those seasons.

Considering the position he plays, Kelce’s 2020 season was more significant – more valuable – than Peyton Manning’s 55-touchdown season in 2013.

And this isn’t a one-time deal. Kelce in each of the last four years has graded out as one of the top 50 players of the decade.

There’s something to be said for waiting on tight ends. In typical fantasy leagues, teams start only one, creating good potential to pick up a lesser starter in the later rounds (or even off the waiver wire). But the numbers suggest Kelce fairly should be one of the first 10 players chosen in drafts.

TOP 50 (RELATIVE) PLAYERS, last 10 years
YearPosPlayerPointsTop 12Dif
2019RBChristian McCaffrey, Car.471.2293.3177.9
2016RBDavid Johnson, Ariz.413.8278.5135.3
2020TETravis Kelce, K.C.314.8183.3131.5
2013QBPeyton Manning, Den.498.8367.3131.4
2011TERob Gronkowski, N.E.330.9209.1121.8
2020RBAlvin Kamara, N.O.377.8266.4111.4
2017RBTodd Gurley, LAR387.3276.0111.3
2018TETravis Kelce, K.C.296.6188.3108.3
2011RBRay Rice, Balt.376.9268.8108.1
2019WRMichael Thomas, N.O.374.6268.4106.2
2013RBJamaal Charles, K.C.382.0277.2104.8
2018QBPatrick Mahomes, K.C.496.1391.4104.7
2013TEJimmy Graham, N.O.303.5201.0102.5
2020TEDarren Waller, L.V.282.6183.399.3
2014RBLeVeon Bell, Pitt.370.5275.694.9
2011QBDrew Brees, N.O.478.4383.794.7
2018TEZach Ertz, Phil.280.3188.392.0
2019QBLamar Jackson, Balt.463.0373.189.8
2014WRAntonio Brown, Pitt.391.1302.588.6
2011TEJimmy Graham, N.O.296.0209.186.9
2015RBDevonta Freeman, Atl.320.4233.886.6
2014RBDeMarco Murray, Dall.361.1275.685.5
2018RBChristian McCaffrey, Car.388.0302.885.2
2011WRCalvin Johnson, Det.361.2276.984.3
2015WRAntonio Brown, Pitt.392.2308.983.3
2018RBSaquon Barkley, NYG385.8302.883.0
2012RBAdrian Peterson, Min.351.4268.682.8
2020RBDalvin Cook, Min.343.8266.477.4
2020WRDavante Adams, G.B.360.4285.175.3
2016QBAaron Rodgers, G.B.446.3371.275.2
2014RBMatt Forte, Chi.350.6275.675.0
2011QBAaron Rodgers, G.B.455.9383.772.1
2018RBTodd Gurley, LAR374.1302.871.3
2015QBCam Newton, Car.455.5384.271.3
2020RBDerrick Henry, Ten.337.1266.470.7
2019TETravis Kelce, K.C.256.3185.870.6
2018TEGeorge Kittle, S.F.258.7188.370.4
2013QBDrew Brees, N.O.437.3367.370.0
2014TERob Gronkowski, N.E.266.4196.669.8
2017RBLeVeon Bell, Pitt.345.6276.069.6
2014QBAndrew Luck, Ind.443.4375.068.4
2015WRJulio Jones, Atl.377.1308.968.2
2017QBRussell Wilson, Sea.415.8347.768.1
2011QBCam Newton, Car.448.9383.765.1
2013RBMatt Forte, Chi.341.3277.264.1
2011QBTom Brady, N.E.446.7383.762.9
2017TETravis Kelce, K.C.235.5173.861.7
2011RBLeSean McCoy, Phil.330.4268.861.6
2011WRWes Welker, N.E.335.9276.959.0
2012QBDrew Brees, N.O.437.4378.958.5

—Ian Allan