This week, we take a look at the underrated tight end position. Whether you’re in a super-competitive league or one of those leagues that doesn’t really matter, here’s all you need to know about the top 30 tight-ends in the game of fantasy.
– These are the guys that should be gone in the fifth or sixth round of almost any league. In my opinion, it’s alright to think of the following players as a third wide-out because they’re just that talented. (BW = Bye Week)
1.) Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers – BW: 6) – Despite being hobbled by foot and toe problems in 2010, Gates still ranked second in targets on the Chargers and reached the end-zone ten times in only 10 games. That’s extraordinary of you ask me and that is why I rank him number one. No matter the circumstances thrown at Gates, he’s going to come through for you like he has over the last seven years (eight TDs or more in each of last seven seasons).
2.) Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys – BW: 5) – Witten basically became 2010’s number one tight end by default after season-ending injuries to Gates, Clark, and Finley. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not a legitimate option at the position. Witten really turned it on at the end of the season while pouring out double-digits in each of his last five games. With Tony Romo back in the picture, expect to see a lot of Witten in Big D.
3.) Dallas Clark (Indianapolis Colts – BW: 11) – Clark rounds out the elite tight-ends because of Peyton Manning. With everything else changing in Indianapolis, I see no reason why Manning and Clark can’t keep their special connection. Before going down in 2010, Clark amassed 51 fantasy point in ten games and should be Manning’s go-to guy in 2011.
Fantasy Second Tier
– These guys are on the brink of becoming elite and may be a season or two from getting there or just recently leaving their elite status. Fantasy-wise, these guys can get you through the year and quite possibly bring you greatness at the position.
4.) Jermichael Finley (Green Bay Packers – BW: 8) – The only reason Finley doesn’t join the elite class is because he has yet to play an entire season because of an ugly injury in week five. Yet the fact remains that he’s paired with one of the league’s premier passing games in Green Bay and projects to see a lot of targets.
5.) Mercedes Lewis (Jacksonville Jaguars – BW: 9) – The former Long Beach Poly Jackrabbit has size and athleticism, a la Antonio Gates. But, he doesn’t have Philip Rivers and that’s why he must stay in the sleeper zone for now.
6.) Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers – BW: 7) – Davis always projects to be up there by season’s end, but it’s never a smooth ride. With a new coach in Jim Hardbaugh, I would expect much of the same. While I’m hesitant whether he’ll have a career year, I see no reason he doesn’t have a productive year.
7.) Owen Daniels (Houston Texans – BW: 11) – Plagued with injuries during the last two years, Daniels hasn’t had a chance to have that breakout year. One more chance for the former Badger who finished 2010 with a touchdown in each of his last two games.
8.) Zach Miller (Seattle Seahawks – BW: 6) – Seattle swooped him up, but I wouldn’t expect Tavaris Jackson to be Miller’s savior anytime soon.
9.) Greg Olson (Carolina Panthers – BW: 9) – Lots of sleeper potential after his trade from the Bears to the Panthers.
10.) Brandon Pettigrew (Detroit Lions – BW: 9) – Teammate Tony Scheffler holds him back from being in the second tier.
11.) Kellen Winslow (Tampa Bay Bucs – BW: 8) – Winslow always racks up targets and catches, but lacks in the touchdown department.
12.) Chris Cooley (Washington Redskins – BW: 5) – Somewhat consistent and fun to watch, all you can ask for in a tight-end.
13.) Dustin Keller (New York Jets – BW: 8)
14.) Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints – BW: 11)
15.) Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons – BW: 8)
16.) Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots – BW: 7)
17.) Ben Watson (Cleveland Browns – BW: 5)
18.) Brent Celek (Philadelphia Eagles – BW: 7)
19.) Jermaine Gresham (Cincinnati Bengals – BW: 7)
20.) Todd Heap (Arizona Cardinals – BW: 6)
21.) Aaron Hernandez (New England Patriots – BW: 7)
22.) Tony Moeaki (Kansas City Chiefs – BW: 6)
23.) Visanthe Shiancoe (Minnesota Vikings – BW: 9)
24.) Jared Cook (Tennessee Titans – BW: 6)
25.) Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers – BW: 11)
26.) Kevin Boss (Oakland Raiders – BW: 8)
27.) Lance Kendricks (St. Louis Rams – BW: 5)
28.) Anthony Fasano (Miami Dolphins – BW: 5)
29.) John Carlson (Seattle Seahawks – BW: 6)
30.) Ed Dickson (Baltimore Ravens – BW: 5)
Did I miss someone or do you disagree with any of my rankings? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.
Fantasy Research Archive:
2011 Fantasy Football Top 30 By Position (Quarterbacks)
2011 Fantasy Football Top 30 By Position (Running Backs)
2011 Fantasy Football Top 30 By Position (Wide Receivers)
2011 Fantasy Football Top 30 By Position (Defense/Special Teams)
2011 Fantasy Football Top 30 By Position (Kickers)