Football fans have been blessed with some legendary players over the last 10 years at all positions. Perhaps the best of the bunch have been the tight ends, where we saw Rob Gronkowski quickly rise to dominance in the early 2010s and Travis Kelce put up shockingly consistent big numbers since 2016.

But which player has been better (in terms of fantasy football) in the playoffs? 


We say for fantasy football because it’s difficult to compare them to each other in terms of real football. Despite both being TEs, they are/were used quite differently. Gronkowski won through sheer force, and he stayed in as a pass-blocker up to twice as often as Kelce. Kelce is a tactician, capable of getting open everywhere on the field.

Rob Gronkowski vs. Travis Kelce: Playoff Averages

For fantasy football purposes, on per-game basis, Kelce takes the cake:

PlayerGamesTgt/GRec/GY/GTD/GFP/GYards Per CatchTD %
Rob Gronkowski227.34.563.10.712.614.215%
Travis Kelce169.57.586.80.917.911.612%

But … is it really that simple?

Gronkowski’s sample size includes three games in which injuries played a significant role: Two in which he left early, and one in which he was used as a decoy.

Travis Kelce vs. Rob Gronkowski Fantasy Football Playoff Tight Ends

Three of his other four worst games in the playoffs all came in 2020, his first year back from retirement. (The final worst playoff game for Gronkowski was the Super Bowl in 2018, which was his last game before retirement No. 1.)

I don’t know if you’re seeing the trend, but it’s that Gronkowski’s floor games were all in the twilight of his career or when injured.

If you remove seven games from Gronkowski’s sample — the injury games and the 2020 season (including the Super Bowl in which Gronk miraculously turned back the clock for 6-67-2) — the averages get much closer:

PlayerGamesTgt/GRec/GY/GTD/GFP/GYards Per CatchTD %
Rob Gronkowski159.35.882.10.916.314.215%
Travis Kelce169.57.586.80.917.911.612%

Of course, removing that many games from the sample is ridiculous, but I think it’s worth doing in this case because people are probably more interested in Prime Gronk vs. Prime Kelce.

Either way, however, Kelce averages more targets, receptions, yards and half-PPR fantasy points than Gronkowski in the playoffs. Gronk may get the nod in non-PPR leagues, but in half PPR — and especially full PPR — Kelce was better for fantasy.

Gronkowski holds the upper hand on the efficiency numbers (2.5 more yards per catch and a 3% higher TD rate), but Kelce also caught a significantly higher percentage of his targets (62% vs. 79%). These data points again underscore that despite both playing TE, these two are really not great real-life comps to each other because they are/were deployed in completely different ways.


Both Players Posted Outrageously High Ceilings for TEs

Though Kelce’s averages were a touch above Gronkowski’s, their ceilings are the same.

Here are the 10 best playoff games — for fantasy football — between the two:


Hall of Fame TE Careers

Both players are incredible, and they both seem to kick it up a notch in the postseason. Kelce’s 14-catch performance just a week ago carried the team to a win. Gronkowski has caught multiple TDs in the Super Bowl not once, but twice!

Travis Kelce vs. Rob Gronkowski Fantasy Football Playoff Tight Ends

Kelce was the catalyst for KC’s epic comeback win against the Texans, and he caught the go-ahead score against the 49ers to give the Chiefs a Super Bowl win. And who can forget Gronkowski going Gronk-mode against the Broncos on the final drive of the 2015 AFC Championship game, or his game-winning catch against the Rams in the Super Bowl?

The accolades go on and on. Let’s hope Kelce can continue his incredible run and keep the flicker of hope alive that Gronkowski unretires (again).