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2010 Player Rankings: Tight Ends
Updated: September 9, 2010   Print this page Print 
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Martellus Bennett - CHI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 27
Keeper: 19
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008 DAL 16 20 283 14.2 4      
2009 DAL 14 15 159 10.6        
Avg   15 18 221 12.4 2 0 0 0
Proj CHI   25 290   3      

Bennett sparks the optimism of coaches for the Cowboys but so far has not delivered. He only managed 15 catches for 159 yards last year and 20 for 283 as a rookie. Other teams have expressed an interest in him but the Cowboys still stand by the 6’6” receiving tight end. Bennett would be an immediate free agent pickup in the unlikely event that Jason Witten was injured but until then, he remains outside of fantasy consideration. The addition of Dez Bryant to the receiving corps only makes that more likely.

Kevin Boss - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 22
Keeper: 28
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 NYG 13 9 118 13.1 2      
2008 NYG 15 33 384 11.6 6      
2009 NYG 15 42 567 13.5 5 1 16  
Avg   14 28 356 12.7 4 0 5 0
Proj FA   35 420   3      

The productive play by the wideouts further decreased the Giants tight ends last year and they did not rank better than 22nd in yards or catches by the position in 2009. Boss remains the primary tight end here but only had 42 receptions for 567 yards and five scores last season. That’s good enough for a fantasy backup but not a starter even in a big league. The majority of his games only produced 50 yards or less and he had one catch or none in four different weeks. Boss is a fantasy backup and nothing more.

John Carlson - ARI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 13
Keeper: 14
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 2%
2007                  
2008 SEA 16 55 627 11.4 5      
2009 SEA 16 51 574 11.3 7      
Avg   16 53 601 11.4 6 0 0 0
Proj ARI   55 600   5      

The Seahawks added Chris Baker but solely as a blocking tight end. Carlson remains the pass catching tight end and enters his third season after back-to-back years of around 55 catches for 600 yards and six scores. Carlson has been very consistent and now plays in a “Denver-style” pass attack being installed by new OC Jeremy Bates. That may not make him into a superstar tight end but should see him maintain very solid stats.

Brent Celek - PHI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 10%
2007 PHI 16 16 178 11.1 1      
2008 PHI 16 27 318 11.8 1      
2009 PHI 16 76 971 12.8 8      
Avg   16 40 489 11.9 3 0 0 0
Proj PHI   82 990   7      

Celek enters his fourth season after breaking out in 2009 with 76 catches for 971 yards and eight touchdowns. That was third best for yards and fourth best for touchdowns in the NFL last year. Sweetening his outlook even further was the two games he played last season when Kevin Kolb was the starter. Both games produced eight catches and 104 yards each and he scored once in the home stand against the Chiefs. It was only two games but it is encouraging that he had two of his three best efforts with Kolb under center. It also is a plus that he is very good friends with Kolb who he also rooms with during road games.

The Eagles have a better schedule this year and Kolb has already shown a preference for Celek who was a big weapon in the offense last year. Expect no less than a repeat of 2009 with a very good chance for an even better showing. Celek will not come cheaply this year and there is no reason why he should. Celek joins the small group of difference making tight ends.

Dallas Clark - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 14%
2007 IND 15 58 616 10.6 11 2 29  
2008 IND 15 77 848 11.0 6      
2009 IND 16 100 1106 11.1 10 2 11  
Avg   15 78 857 10.9 9 1 13 0
Proj FA   80 900   9      

As a team, the Colts ranked #1 among tight ends with 169 targets, 121 catches and 1312 yards. The tight ends had more yardage than the running backs total rushing. Clark led all tight ends with 100 catches and was second with 1106 yards. His 10 scores ranked third. Clark set career marks in almost every category as the Colts turned to a more focused passing attack. Clark could always wind up as the highest scoring tight end and more importantly, he has almost no downside since he has been a top tight end for the last four years. Figure on another big season from Peyton Manning’s favorite passing outlet.

Desmond Clark - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 42
Keeper: 42
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 CHI 16 44 545 12.4 4      
2008 CHI 16 41 367 9.0 1      
2009 CHI 11 19 145 7.6 2      
Avg   14 35 352 9.7 2 0 0 0
Proj FA   15 120   1      

Even at his career apex—2006’s 45-626-6—Clark was never more than a guy you would plug into your starting lineup on a bye week or if your regular tight end got hurt, hoping that maybe he’d get lucky. Now he’s behind Greg Olsen on the depth chart and toiling for an offensive coordinator whose tight ends need to wear “Hello! My Name Is...” stickers lest he forget who they are. Even immediate relatives aren’t giving Clark a second thought on fantasy drauction day.

Chris Cooley - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 4%
2007 WAS 16 66 786 11.9 8      
2008 WAS 16 83 849 10.2 1      
2009 WAS 7 29 332 11.4 2      
Avg   13 59 656 11.2 4 0 0 0
Proj FA   69 720   6      

Cooley enters his seventh NFL season but is only 28 years old – he has plenty of years left. The question is if they will remain with the Skins or not. Cooley was the subject of trade rumors during the NFL draft but nothing transpired. The chance that he would be moved was made possible when he hit the injured reserve with a broken ankle in November of last season and Fred Davis looked every bit as good if not better.

Cooley had been very consistent at around 750 to 800 yards per season and scored seven times a year on average until 2008. And to his credit he gets Donovan McNabb as a quarterback who made a star of Brent Celek last year. And there is a new offense directed by Kyle Shanahan who comes off two seasons making Owen Daniels a stud. But Fred Davis will at least command some playing time and there is talk of using two tight end sets.

Owen Daniels - BAL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 12
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 2%
Auction 12: 4%
2007 HOU 16 63 768 12.2 3      
2008 HOU 16 70 862 12.3 2      
2009 HOU 8 40 519 13.0 5      
Avg   13 58 716 12.5 3 0 0 0
Proj BAL   68 800   4      

(-Risk) Daniel had already established himself as a fantasy starter when he had 70 catches for 862 yards and two scores in 2008. Last year he was on an even hotter pace, totaling 40 receptions for 519 yards and five scores in just eight games before tearing his ACL and being lost for the season. He was on a pace for 80 catches, 1038 yards and ten scores which would have made him a top three tight end in 2009. Daniels underwent surgery and says that his rehab is on track to return by training camp. According to Daniels, this was his third torn ACL and this one is healing faster than the previous two.

Assuming that he does return healthy, he still deserves to be a fantasy starter but he’ll naturally drop in drafts just coming back from an ACL surgery. If Daniels doesn’t show any signs of the knee bothering him, he could be a steal in the draft but the risk is enough to scare most away.

08-25-10 Update: Daniels had an MRI today that showed his surgically repaired knee is 100%. He was on a hot streak last year when the injury happened and can pick right up where he left off. Consider Daniels as an upside player and at worst a solid pick that won't hurt you. He could end up top 5 as easily as most any tight end.

08-27-10 Update: Daniels is cleared to play but is not in shape yet after recuperating for the entire offseason. He'll be a larger factor as the season progresses

Vernon Davis - SFO YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 14%
2007 SFO 14 52 509 9.8 4      
2008 SFO 16 31 358 11.5 2 1 11  
2009 SFO 16 78 965 12.4 13      
Avg   15 54 611 11.2 6 0 4 0
Proj SFO   85 1020   10      

They said it would never happen. Davis was the 1.06 pick by the 49ers in 2006 because he offered a supposed freakish mix of size, speed and athleticism. And then for three straight seasons, he was a relative flop. He never remotely met expectations as the 49ers clicked through a new offensive scheme every year. And then… 2010. OC Jimmy Raye either was there at the right time or brought just the right offense because Davis went from only 358 yards and two scores in Mike Martz pass happy offense to being #1 among all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdowns and top 5 in catches and yards. He ended with 78 receptions for 965 yards and a healthy 12.4 yard average. Davis’ contract is up at the end of the year and the 49ers say they will not allow him to experience free agency next year.

Davis had over half his games exceed 50 yards and ten times scored at least once in a game. Take away the first two weeks and he really only had one down game the rest of the way. With a quarterback who now has chemistry with him and in the same offense for two straight years finally, Davis makes for a great pick in your draft. He had a great 2009 and yet still has upside for more this year with Smith starting every game.

Fred Davis - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 25
Keeper: 17
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008 WAS 11 3 27 9.0   1 -3  
2009 WAS 16 48 509 10.6 6      
Avg   14 26 268 9.8 3 1 0 0
Proj FA   28 320   3      

(+Upside) After sitting around for his rookie season, Davis was suddenly thrust into a starting role last year when Chris Cooley broke his ankle in week seven. Through those final ten games, Davis caught 41 passes for 465 yards and six touchdowns. That pace would equal 744 yards and ten touchdowns or every bit as good as Cooley had been. In fact, Davis was improving as the season progressed and had five touchdowns over the final six games. Davis never gained more than 78 yards in any game but was consistent around 50 yards or so in most matchups. His performance gave rise to speculation that the Skins would trade away Cooley before the NFL draft but nothing transpired.

Cooley has remained so far and will resume the primary tight end role but new head coach Mike Shanahan has already considered to using two tight end formations and Davis has earned more playing time. The addition of Donovan McNabb is yet another plus but until Cooley leaves, Davis is unlikely to perform well enough for a fantasy starter. Mostly, he is more likely to just ruin the value of Cooley.

Anthony Fasano - KCC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 31
Keeper: 31
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 MIA 16 14 143 10.2 1      
2008 MIA 16 34 454 13.4 7      
2009 MIA 14 31 339 10.9 2      
Avg   15 26 312 11.5 3 0 0 0
Proj KCC   30 300   2      

The Dolphins prefer to use tight ends for blocking more than receiving and that was evident with Fasano leading all team tight ends last year with only 31 catches for 339 yards and two touchdowns. He had half of his games total less than ten yards in 2009. Let Fasano remain on the waiver wire.

Daniel Fells - NYG YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 36
Keeper: 32
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009 STL 14 21 273 13.0 3      
Avg   14 21 273 13.0 3 0 0 0
Proj NYG   32 280          

Despite speculation that the Rams would procure one of the top tight ends in the NFL draft, they waited until the fifth round to take Michael Hoomanawanui who will take time just to become a blocking tight end. That leaves Fell atop the depth chart and he was tendered a new contract for just one year and $745,000. The Rams are obviously not intending on having a receiving tight end this year and Fells only managed 21 catches for 273 yards and three scores last year. With a rookie quarterback likely to start, consider the Rams as unlikely to have any fantasy relevant tight end.

Jermichael Finley - FA* YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2007                  
2008 GBP 14 6 74 12.3 1      
2009 GBP 13 55 676 12.3 5      
Avg   14 31 375 12.3 3 0 0 0
Proj FA*   64 790   8      

(+Upside) There were stretches last season where Finley was perhaps the best tight end in fantasy football. Despite missing three games with injuries, he posted eight games of 50 or more yards and six games with five or more catches. Finley closed with four touchdowns in the final five games, then added an exclamation point in the playoffs with six catches for 159 yards against the Cardinals. It’s hard to believe defenses have found a solution for the match-up problems the athletic 6-5, 247-pound Finley presents, and it’s obvious Aaron Rodgers feels comfortable throwing to him; Finley was targeted 71 times in 13 games, roughly the same rate as Visanthe Shiancoe and John Carlson. With per-game numbers that compared favorably to the likes of Brent Celek and Kellen Winslow, a healthy and focused Finley could challenge the elite at his position this season.

08-27-10 Update: One more bump up for the tight end that shredded the Colts secondary. Finley is dominating over the middle and is becoming a major player in this offense.

Antonio Gates - SDC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 14%
2007 SDC 16 75 984 13.1 9      
2008 SDC 16 60 704 11.7 8      
2009 SDC 16 79 1157 14.6 8      
Avg   16 71 948 13.1 8 0 0 0
Proj SDC   85 1050   10      

Gates has been hampered by foot problems for a few seasons now but that didn’t stop him from posting a career high 1157 yards last season with a 14.6 YPC and his standard eight touchdowns. Gates saw Dr. Robert Anderson about his foot during the offseason but it was determined that there was no serious issues with it. He has been diagnosed with a minor form of plantar fasciitis that he has had for years.

That means Gates should be in good shape as he enters into his contract year. He is already 30 years old and this will be his final big contract so expect Gates to make himself as expensive as he can. No reason to hold off on scooping up Gates in a tight end required league. If Vincent Jackson is suspended by the league for a few weeks after violating his conduct clause, Gates should do even better.

Tony Gonzalez - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 12
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2007 KCC 16 99 1172 11.8 5      
2008 KCC 16 96 1058 11.0 10      
2009 ATL 16 83 867 10.4 6      
Avg   16 93 1032 11.1 7 0 0 0
Proj FA   79 830   6      

The 34-year old has opted to give it at least one more season before the clock starts on his immediate enshrinement in the Hall of Fame and his move to Atlanta was a downturn in his career at least incrementally. Gonzo ended with a healthy 83 catches but only gained 867 yards and six scores. His 10.4 yards per catch was the lowest of his career but he did play in a new offense with a quarterback who was injured much of the year.

The Falcons want to pass more this year but it is not likely to spark anything more for Gonzo than the 83 catches from last year. He’s a safe play at tight end every year but there is less reason to reach for him. While he still plays at a high level compared to all other current tight ends, he’s a step down from what he once was.

Daniel Graham - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 29
Keeper: 29
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 DEN 15 24 246 10.3 2      
2008 DEN 16 32 389 12.2 4      
2009 DEN 16 28 289 10.3 1      
Avg   16 28 308 10.9 2 0 0 0
Proj FA   32 310   2      

Graham will likely be the primary tight end with the departure of Tony Scheffler but that still remains well below fantasy significance. Graham has never managed more than 389 yards in a season and at 32-years of age is not going to get any better. The Broncos only had three scores and around 700 yards from all tight ends combined last year. No reason to expect any fantasy starters here.

Jimmy Graham - NOS YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 28
Keeper: 27
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj NOS   24 270   3      

(+Upside) The Saints were excited to get Graham with their 3.31 pick and the 6’8” Miami product only played football in his senior season and caught just 17 passes for 213 yards but scored five times. He was also a standout player in the Senior Bowl. Graham played basketball all four years in Miami and he is a very good athlete who is not only very tall, but has surprising speed for his frame. He is obviously raw and will likely need a full year of seasoning but he was a pre-draft favorite of HC Sean Payton and has already been impressive in mini-camps. Graham holds little promise for this season but in a dynasty league, he has as much potential in this offense as any tight end drafted in April. Hopefully he will get playing time this year regardless but in any case, he makes an interesting dynasty pick to see what happens next year.

Jermaine Gresham - CIN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 20
Keeper: 20
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj CIN   36 420   3      

(+Upside) The Bengals have not used tight ends as receivers much in years. In 2009, they appeared to be changing their tune when they took Chase Coffman with their third round pick. But Coffman was lost for the season when he experienced lingering complications from an injury when he was in college. This year the Bengals use their 1.21 pick in the draft to tab Gresham who – like Coffman – is not a blocker and seems an odd move for a team that ranked no better than 29th in virtually every statistical category for tight ends last year. Taking Gresham as the first tight end drafted when he is much more a receiver than a blocker says Cincy wants to throw to a tight end.

Gresham has been described as a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. At 6’6” he can go up high for the ball and the wingspan to grab it no matter where it is thrown. As a sign of just how confident the Bengals (and most every NFL scout) are about Gresham making a difference consider that he was the first tight end drafted, in the first round no less, and he did not even play last year. Gresham sat out 2009 because of a knee injury that is no longer a concern. Gresham will take some time to adapt to the NFL so the expectations for his rookie year should be low but in a dynasty league, he should also be the first rookie tight end taken this year. He has tremendous potential and just needs to develop.

08-22-10 Update: Hard to believe that the Bengals are suddenly going to turn into a team that actually uses the tight end overnight, but Gresham was the best tight end in the draft this year and has been the target in preseason games. Add in Terrell Owens there to suck up passes and the chances that Gresham has fantasy significance this year is slim.

Rob Gronkowski - NEP YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 26
Keeper: 30
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj NEP   28 320   3      

The Patriots do not throw to the tight ends anymore and in 2009 ranked only 31st in passes thrown to the position. This is no longer a priority with all the wide receivers. Alge Crumpler has also been added but only as a blocker so Gronkowski has a chance to re-introduce the receiving tight end to the Patriots – but that is not likely to happen this year.

The Patriots grabbed Gronkowski with their 2.10 pick despite his missing all of 2009 at the University of Arizona with a back injury. But Rob is one of the more complete tight end rookie prospects, as he’s a fantastic receiver in the passing game while also possessing the size and strength that allow for him to be a great blocker on the line of scrimmage. An extremely reliable tight end over the middle of the field, Gronkowski is a natural receiver with soft hands who catches everything that is thrown his way. He’s a risk to rely on as a rookie and even long-term it would require the Pats to change their ways for him to offer any significant fantasy value. But – the Pats did not use a 2.10 pick on a pure receiving tight end just so they could fill their bench. Upside but probably not as a rookie.

Todd Heap - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 19
Keeper: 25
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 BAL 6 23 239 10.4 1      
2008 BAL 16 35 403 11.5 3      
2009 BAL 16 53 593 11.2 6 1 2  
Avg   13 37 412 11.0 3 0 1 0
Proj FA   39 420   3      

Heap comes off his best season in four years with 53 catches for 593 yards and six touchdowns but there is no expectation that the 30-year old is having a rebirth to his career. The Ravens added Anquan Boldin to take some passes and drafted Ed Dickinson and Dennis Pitta who were receiving tight ends in college. Expect nothing more than what he did last year and don’t be surprised when he comes in a bit less. He makes a decent backup tight end and nothing more.

Aaron Hernandez - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 24
Keeper: 23
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   34 350   3      

(+Upside) The rookie is really rising and has been targeted in both preseason games so far. The Patriots already have plenty of targets for Tom Brady but Hernandez appears ready to make it one more, particularly as an occasional endzone target.

Michael Hoomanawanui - NEP YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 18
Keeper: 18
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj NEP   48 520   2      

(+Upside) Hoomanawanui was the primary receiver in the third preseason game and had four catches fror 53 yards and two scores. He has passed Daniel Fells as the starting tight end for the Rams. The loss of Donnie Avery could spark even more action for the rookie.

Dustin Keller - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 16
Keeper: 16
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008 NYJ 16 48 535 11.1 3      
2009 NYJ 16 45 522 11.6 2 1 7  
Avg   16 47 529 11.4 3 1 4 0
Proj FA   48 550   2      

Keller had a near mirror image of his rookie season when he totaled 45 catches for 522 yards and two scores in his first season with Mark Sanchez. In 2008, Keller had 48 receptions for 535 yards and three scores for a very slightly better season. What makes 2010 more encouraging is that Sanchez came back to Keller in a big way during the playoffs. Keller had been nearly invisible to end the regular season with just nine catches in the final five games and no scores but then in the postseason, Keller had games of 3-99, 3-19 and 6-63 with a touchdown in every week. The addition of Santonio Holmes should not hurt Keller’s stock and may actually help if it spreads the defense out more. But this is a run-first offense and now Sanchez will have more than Braylon Edwards so limit any expectations of a significant increase for Keller.

Jeff King - ARI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 35
Keeper: 36
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 CAR 16 46 406 8.8 2      
2008 CAR 16 21 195 9.3 1      
2009 CAR 16 25 200 8.0 3      
Avg   16 31 267 8.7 2 0 0 0
Proj ARI   22 240   2      

King signed a one-year, $1.759 million contract in the offseason and can be counted on to share with Dante Rosario again this year. King had 25 catches for 200 yards and three scores last year and there is no reason to expect more. He’s primarily a blocker.

Jim Kleinsasser - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 44
Keeper: 44
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 MIN 16 4 43 10.8 1      
2008 MIN 16 6 92 15.3        
2009 MIN 16 10 70 7.0        
Avg   16 7 68 11.0 0 0 0 0
Proj FA   5 60          

Kleinsausage’s greatest role with the Vikings is as a helper for Minnesota’s tackles against speed rushers with Brett Favre in their sights. And while that is most certainly a critical duty, it has all the fantasy value of a Betty White swimsuit calendar. Not even immediate family members will have Kleinsasser on their fantasy team.

Donald Lee - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 37
Keeper: 37
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 GBP 15 48 575 12.0 6      
2008 GBP 16 39 303 7.8 5      
2009 GBP 16 37 260 7.0 1      
Avg   16 41 379 8.9 4 0 0 0
Proj FA   27 200   1      

Lee wasn’t even the second most productive fantasy tight end on his own team last year; that honor goes to Spencer Havner, who turned four of his seven catches into touchdowns. With Jermichael Finley developing into a dynamic option in the passing game, Lee might find himself cast as the “blocking tight end”, a role whose only fantasy value comes with the occasional one-yard TD pass on the fake dive at the goal line. He’ll also have to protect his roster spot from fifth-round pick Andrew Quarless. If you’re getting the sense that there’s very little fantasy upside to Lee this season, you’re exactly right.

Marcedes Lewis - JAC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 38
Keeper: 38
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 JAC 16 37 391 10.6 2      
2008 JAC 16 41 489 11.9 2      
2009 JAC 15 32 518 16.2 2      
Avg   16 37 466 12.9 2 0 0 0
Proj JAC   22 260          

Lewis comes off his fourth season and every year has been better than the previous. In 2009, he ended with 518 yards on 32 catches with two touchdowns. His primary job will always be as a blocker for Maurice Jones-Drew and teammate Zach Miller could start to horn in on the action as well. Lewis remains a decent choice for a bye week fill-in but his ceiling in this offense is lower than you’ll want from a fantasy starter.

Zach Miller - TBB YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 32
Keeper: 33
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009 JAC 14 21 212 10.1 2 1 3  
Avg   14 21 212 10.1 2 1 3 0
Proj TBB   22 340   1      

The ex-college quarterback had little playing time last year until the final week when he ripped off eight catches for 69 yards and two scores in Cleveland. There is hope that Miller will push Marcedes Lewis and possibly take some of his workload. In a dynasty league, Miller is the better tight end from the Jacksonville to own.

Zach Miller - SEA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 4%
2007 OAK 16 44 444 10.1 3      
2008 OAK 16 56 778 13.9 1      
2009 OAK 15 66 805 12.2 3      
Avg   16 55 676 12.1 2 0 0 0
Proj SEA   68 800   5      

(+Upside) Miller has to be happy that Jamarcus Russell is gone. Sure, Russell threw mostly to him but the passes were hardly all catchable. And the Raiders did little to upgrade the receivers so Miller could see an increase to his 805 yards from last year. Plus he should see more than the three touchdowns in a season that he has been limited to in Oakland. Campbell threw 11 scores to tight ends in Washington last year and made a star of Chris Cooley. Miller is in the right position for a step up. The Raiders have made Miller the primary receiver but now Campbell can make him a stud tight end.

Heath Miller - PIT YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 14
Keeper: 15
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 PIT 16 47 566 12.0 7      
2008 PIT 14 48 514 10.7 3      
2009 PIT 16 76 789 10.4 6      
Avg   15 57 623 11.0 5 0 0 0
Proj PIT   63 650   4      

Miller comes off a career best season of 76 catches for 789 yards and six scores. His first four seasons had all been solid enough around 500 yards and five or so scores but his big 2010 raises him into the realm of a viable every week fantasy starter. In reception point leagues he is worth even more since ten of his games contained at least five catches. He is a favorite of Ben Roethlisberger and could see a similar load or better this year. While Big Ben cools his heels on the sideline for a month to start the season, Miller should remain in the game plan and with Santonio Holmes gone, he’ll be no less valuable. Hines Ward is 34 years old and the youngster Mike Wallace is adept at stretching the field leaving Miller at least as important as last year.

He doesn’t have as big of a name as the tight ends first off the board but Miller should make a very good fantasy starter if you wait for the run to be well underway. He won’t win the championship for you but he will not kill you either.

Tony Moeaki - BUF YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 43
Keeper: 39
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj BUF   12 90   1      

The Chiefs third round pick was a standout at Iowa when he was healthy but battled injuries for his final three seasons. Adept at both blocking and receiving, Moeaki could step in and contribute early on and was already very impressive in minicamp. He’ll have to battle past Leonard Pope and Brad Cottam this year and that’s not likely but he could make a case for a promotion in 2011. An interesting pick in a dynasty league but not worth a redraft pick.

Shawn Nelson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 39
Keeper: 40
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009 BUF 12 17 156 9.2 1      
Avg   12 17 156 9.2 1 0 0 0
Proj FA   20 160   1      

Nelson is likely the primary receiver for tight ends but on this team that has meant almost nothing after ranking only 31st or 32nd in the league for tight end catches, yards and scores (just one) for 2009. There is a new set of coaches installing a new offense, but that doesn’t make any of these blocking tight ends worthy of fantasy attention. Barring an unseen development in camp, the Bills will not produce a tight end worthy of covering any bye week. Nelson led the Bills tight ends last year with only 17 catches for 156 yards and the lone touchdown.

Greg Olsen - CAR YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 15
Keeper: 13
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 CHI 14 39 391 10.0 2      
2008 CHI 16 54 574 10.6 5      
2009 CHI 16 60 612 10.2 8      
Avg   15 51 526 10.3 5 0 0 0
Proj CAR   50 500   4      

(-Risk) Aside from Ron Turner, the person least happy to see Mike Martz come to Chicago has to be Olsen. Where to begin with Martz’s well-earned reputation as a tight end killer? Let’s start with the best statistical season ever achieved by a Martz tight end, the 38-431-4 posted by the immortal Ernie Conwell as a garbage collector for the Greatest Show on Turf™ back in 2001. Those are shockingly pedestrian numbers, numbers that would barely crack the top 20 fantasy tight ends last year. Think Martz hasn’t had talent? Check what he did with Vernon Davis in his third NFL season: 49 targets, 31 catches, 358 yards, and two touchdowns. Out from under Martz’s thumb last year, Davis surpassed those benchmarks by the 49ers’ seventh game of 2009. So you can look at Olsen’s steady statistical progression in each of his three NFL campaigns to a healthy 60-612-8 last year—solid fantasy starter production—and know that he’ll never reach those numbers again... at least, so long as Martz is calling the plays. We’ve all heard the lip service from Martz about how his best receivers will play, and maybe from time to time the Bears will slide Olsen out to a slot position. But the harsh reality is that Martz has less of a clue how to use his tight ends than Carrot Top has about achieving peace in the Middle East. Sadly, it’s the talented Olsen whose numbers will suffer this season, so plan accordingly.

Ben Patrick - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 41
Keeper: 43
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 ARI 8 7 73 10.4 2      
2008 ARI 10 11 104 9.5        
2009 ARI 9 12 146 12.2 2      
Avg   9 10 108 10.7 1 0 0 0
Proj FA   14 120   1      

The Cardinals signed Patrick to a one-year, $1.7 million contract this season but as a team ranked dead last in targets, catches and yards by tight ends last year. Patrick was tops with only 12 catches for 146 yards and two scores. No reason to expect an improvement from a team wanting to run the ball more this year.

Brandon Pettigrew - DET YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 30
Keeper: 26
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007                  
2008                  
2009 DET 11 30 346 11.5 2      
Avg   11 30 346 11.5 2 0 0 0
Proj DET   35 310   2      

Pettigrew was adequate in his first pro season—at least until tearing his ACL and missing the final five games of the year. In Detroit, however, he has yet to be forgiven for not being Michael Oher, the offensive tackle drafted right after the Lions took Pettigrew; every time Matthew Stafford was sacked, Lion fans bemoaned the selection of Pettigrew over protection for their franchise quarterback’s blindside. It didn’t help Pettigrew’s case when he went down in Week 12, and he may find himself behind the curve again as his rehab extends into OTAs and possibly even training camp. The Lions traded for Tony Scheffler in the offseason, and if the ex-Bronco is able to stay healthy he’ll team with Pettigrew to give Detroit a formidable tight end tandem. However, “tandem” implies a sharing of the stats and while the Lions’ 2009 amalgamation of tight ends (Pettigrew, Will Heller, Jake Nordin, Casey Fitzsimmons) ranked 16th in the league in fantasy production it’s still multiple forks digging into the same pie. It may take an injury to Scheffler or Pettigrew to allow the other to reach their full fantasy potential; with Pettigrew still coming back from the ACL injury, as it stands right now he’s looking atff the junior share of the numbers.

Leonard Pope - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 40
Keeper: 41
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 ARI 13 23 238 10.3 5      
2008 ARI 13 9 77 8.6        
2009 KCC 13 20 174 8.7 1      
Avg   13 17 163 9.2 2 0 0 0
Proj FA   20 150   1      

The ex-Cardinal had one of his best seasons ever in 2009 but that still only meant 20 catches for 174 yards. Pope has no fantasy value and no upside.

Dante Rosario - CHI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 33
Keeper: 34
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 CAR 16 6 108 18.0 2      
2008 CAR 16 18 209 11.6 1      
2009 CAR 14 26 313 12.0 2      
Avg   15 17 210 13.9 2 0 0 0
Proj CHI   25 270   2      

Rosario and Jeff King both serve as equals in the passing game and Rosario’s 26 receptions for 313 yards and two scores was a career best in 2010. Rosario typically has only one or two catches in most games and at best is just a bye week filler. His claim to fantasy fame is starting 2008 with 96 yards and a score on seven catches. He’s just been a regular old Cinderella since.

Bo Scaife - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 23
Keeper: 22
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 TEN 16 46 421 9.2 1      
2008 TEN 16 58 561 9.7 2      
2009 TEN 14 45 440 9.8 1      
Avg   15 50 474 9.6 1 0 0 0
Proj FA   42 480   2      

Scaife signed his $4.9 million tender but there is no reason to expect much more from this year. Scaife has settled down to being an average tight end with about 400 to 500 yards per season and one or two scores. Even the return of Vince Young did nothing to spark better stats from him. Consider Scaife as nothing more than a fantasy backup with almost no upside.

Tony Scheffler - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 21
Keeper: 24
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 DEN 16 49 549 11.2 5      
2008 DEN 13 40 645 16.1 3 1 -1  
2009 DEN 15 31 416 13.4 2      
Avg   15 40 537 13.6 3 0 0 0
Proj FA   45 480   2      

The good news is, Lions OC Scott Linehan knows how to use his tight ends; for proof, see Jermaine Wiggins’ career year (71-705-4) of 2004 with the VIkings when Linehan was calling their plays. The better news is, Scheffler is clearly a competent pass catcher, having ranked 10th and 12th at his position in fantasy scoring in 2007 and 2008 before backsliding last year due to injury and the regime change in Denver. Put Linehan and Scheffler together and there’s some serious potential—though it must be tempered by the lingering presence of last year’s first-round pick, Brandon Pettigrew. Last year, with a partial season from Pettigrew and contributions from the chorus of Will Heller, Jake Nordin, and Casey Fitzsimmons, Detroit ranked 16th in fantasy production from the tight end. This time around, the hope is that between Pettigrew, coming off a torn ACL, and Scheffler, who has yet to make a full 16-game slate in four NFL seasons, the Lions can field a talented tight end all year long. That’s not ideal for fantasy owners, but with Pettigrew still slowed by his injury Scheffler should have first crack at bogarting Detroit’s tight end looks—assuming, of course, he’s able to shed his own walking boot.

Visanthe Shiancoe - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 11
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 4%
2007 MIN 16 27 323 12.0 1      
2008 MIN 16 42 596 14.2 7      
2009 MIN 16 56 566 10.1 11      
Avg   16 42 495 12.1 6 0 0 0
Proj FA   55 570   9      

(+Upside) Is it really possible that Shiancoe actually slipped from fifth to sixth in fantasy scoring among tight ends with Brett Favre at the helm? It’s true, but “slipped” might not be the most accurate word; Big Shank actually saw a 33 percent uptick in catches and a greater than 50% jump in touchdowns. The ranking has less to do with his quarterback and more to do with improved tight end play around the league, but the good news is that whether or not Favre comes down from his tractor and returns to the Vikings Shiancoe’s fantasy value seems solid. With Tarvaris Jackson at the helm Shiancoe was a favorite on the seam route, in no small part because throwing the ball deep down the field is one of the few things T-Jax does well; he averaged four yards more per catch in 2008. But Favre loves him some tight end at the stripe, and Shiancoe led Minnesota receivers in TD grabs last year with 11 after tying Bernard Berrian for that honor in 2008 with seven. It’s always preferable to have a future Hall of Famer throwing the ball at your fantasy tight end, but the fact remains that Big Shank has been a top six performer regardless of quarterback.

Jeremy Shockey - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 17
Keeper: 21
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 NYG 14 57 619 10.9 3 1 6  
2008 NOS 12 50 483 9.7        
2009 NOS 13 48 569 11.9 3      
Avg   13 52 557 10.8 2 0 2 0
Proj FA   45 520   2      

Two seasons as a Saint and nearly the exact same result in both. Shockey had 50 catches for 483 yards and no scores in 2008 when he left the Giants and followed that up with 48 receptions for 569 yards and three scores last year. He was injured and missed two and three games respectively. While Shockey may be fighting for a new contract, he is what he is – an average receiving tight end that cannot stay healthy or scores much. He’s no longer a fantasy starter and lost the upside moniker years ago.

Ben Watson - NOS YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 34
Keeper: 35
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2007 NEP 12 36 389 10.8 6 1 11  
2008 NEP 14 22 209 9.5 2      
2009 NEP 16 29 404 13.9 5      
Avg   14 29 334 11.4 4 0 4 0
Proj NOS   20 200   3      

The Browns signed Watson to a three-year, $12 million contract with $6.4 million guaranteed but he’s expected to do more blocking than receiving. He could become a bye week fill-in but wait until you need to him to see what the new Browns offense is doing with their tight ends. Chances are – not a lot.

Kellen Winslow - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 11
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 4%
2007 CLE 16 82 1106 13.5 5      
2008 CLE 10 43 428 10.0 3      
2009 TBB 16 77 884 11.5 5 1 7  
Avg   14 67 806 11.7 4 0 2 0
Proj FA   70 760   5      

Winslow had a decent enough season in 2009 when he caught 77 passes for 884 yards and scored five times. The slightly troubling part was that he only had one touchdown with Josh Freeman as the quarterback and that came in week nine in Freeman’s first game. Winslow did not score in the final eight games but did remain above 50 yards in most games. The Buccaneers are tilling the soil with wide receivers so Winslow may be needed even more than last year with a very inexperienced passing attack.

Winslow underwent yet another surgery in the offseason to clean out some debris and fix scar tissue but is expected to be fine for training camp. Winslow has a chronic knee condition but bounced back nicely last year. He’ll remain a risk because of the knee but he may have a little upside this year as well.

Jason Witten - DAL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2007 DAL 16 96 1145 11.9 7      
2008 DAL 16 81 952 11.8 4      
2009 DAL 16 94 1030 11.0 2      
Avg   16 90 1042 11.6 4 0 0 0
Proj DAL   82 890   4      

Witten comes off a highly productive season with 94 catches that ranked him #2 among all NFL tight ends and his 1030 yards came in #3. It was almost as good as his career season in 2007 when he had 1145 yards but where he fell off the map was with scoring. Witten only managed two touchdowns despite ranking up 70 yards or better in seven games. While Witten himself says he will improve as a red-zone target this year the reality is that he is not calling the plays and the Cowboys rushing game proved good enough near the goal line last year anyway. Add in yet another receiving weapon in Dez Bryant and there is no big hope that Witten will see any more scores.

But Witten remains an integral part of the offense and with all his catches and yards provides rather rare consistency for a fantasy tight end. Witten will not be the reason why you win your league but he won’t be the reason you lost it either. Productive, consistent and always produces at least half his games with 50 or more yards.

   
 
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