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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2011 Player Rankings: Tight Ends
Updated: September 8, 2011
Top 10's:        
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Tier 1
Jason Witten - DAL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 13%
2008 DAL 16 81 952 11.8 4      
2009 DAL 16 94 1030 11.0 2      
2010 DAL 16 94 1002 10.7 9      
Avg   16 90 995 11.2 5 0 0 0
Proj DAL   94 1010   8      

Witten comes off back-to-back years of exactly 94 catches and around 1000 yards but he increased his touchdown total to a career best nine after only logging two in 2009. Some of that comes from Jon Kitna playing and Witten had only caught 6 scores over the two previous years. Witten remains the receiver of choice in the end zone.

Jermichael Finley - GBP YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 12%
2008 GBP 14 6 74 12.3 1      
2009 GBP 13 55 676 12.3 5      
2010 GBP 5 21 301 14.3 1      
Avg   11 27 350 13.0 2 0 0 0
Proj GBP   70 820   8      

Finley was well on his way to cementing himself as an elite fantasy tight end when a torn meniscus in Week 5 prematurely ended his season. Indications are he's back to full speed and will re-assume his role as Aaron Rodgers' favorite target. Though you'd like to see him in a preseason game to feel better about his recovery, there's enough upside to make him a top-five fantasy TE sight unseen.

Antonio Gates - SDC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 10%
Auction 12: 10%
2008 SDC 16 60 704 11.7 8      
2009 SDC 16 79 1157 14.6 8      
2010 SDC 10 50 782 15.6 10      
Avg   14 63 881 14.0 9 0 0 0
Proj SDC   68 820   8      

(-Risk) Antonio Gates was hampered by foot and leg injuries last season and he is starting training camp on the active/PUP list because he has still not completely recovered from his torn plantar fascia that forced him to miss six of the final eight games. He still racked up 782 yards and ten scores on just 50 catches - his lowest catch total since he was a rookie. Gates says that he will play this year and that "you won't know he is hurt" if his injury lingers. He may be placed on a snap count this year to lower his exposure and he has been the most prolific tight end over the last seven seasons. But he is a risk at 31 years of age and injuries that are slower to heal.

Vernon Davis - SFO YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 10%
Auction 12: 10%
2008 SFO 16 31 358 11.5 2 1 11  
2009 SFO 16 78 965 12.4 13      
2010 SFO 16 56 914 16.3 7      
Avg   16 55 746 13.4 7 0 4 0
Proj SFO   70 820   8      

The new offense being installed by HC Jim Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman is expected to make big use of the tight end spot and that benefits Davis who is one of the best in the game. With a set of wideouts that still aspire to being just mediocre, Davis should see one of his best seasons in 2011. He remains an elite tight end.

Dallas Clark - BAL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 13%
Movement:
2008 IND 15 77 848 11.0 6      
2009 IND 16 100 1106 11.1 10 2 11  
2010 IND 6 37 347 9.4 3      
Avg   12 71 767 10.5 6 1 4 0
Proj BAL   80 800   7      

Clark was lost to a wrist injury only six games into 2010 and that came on the heels of a career best 2009 that had him catching 100 passes for 1106 yards and ten scores. He remains Manning's favorite outlet and a lock for a decent season - if not a monster one. Expect a bounce back from last year.

Tier 2
Owen Daniels - HOU YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2008 HOU 16 70 862 12.3 2      
2009 HOU 8 40 519 13.0 5      
2010 HOU 11 38 471 12.4 2      
Avg   12 49 617 12.6 3 0 0 0
Proj HOU   66 830   6      

Daniels signed a 4-year deal worth $22 million right before the lockout so you can be sure the Texans feel his knee is fine and that he can return to form. Daniels was sharp in the final four games of last year but he'll not likely be needed as much as his peak of 2008 thanks to the vastly improved rushing game.

Marcedes Lewis - JAC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2008 JAC 16 41 489 11.9 2      
2009 JAC 15 32 518 16.2 2      
2010 JAC 16 58 700 12.1 10      
Avg   16 44 569 13.4 5 0 0 0
Proj JAC   60 710   8      

Lewis was franchised this year as a sign of how important he has become to the team. He comes off a career best 58 receptions for 700 yards and ten touchdowns and while there is a chance that the rookie Blaine Gabbert takes over from David Garrard at some point this year, the role that Lewis plays should be unaffected. Rookie QBs usually love their tight ends and Lewis is a big component of the passing game.

Kellen Winslow - NYJ YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 12
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2008 CLE 10 43 428 10.0 3      
2009 TBB 16 77 884 11.5 5 1 7  
2010 TBB 16 66 730 11.1 5      
Avg   14 62 681 10.9 4 0 2 0
Proj NYJ   70 800   5      

(-Risk) Winslow enters his eighth season and while he finally had no surgeries in the offseason, he remains a perpetual risk because of his knees. He's settled down to back-to-back seasons of around 70 catches and 800 yards with five scores and that's his ceiling in this offense. A low end fantasy starter but a better backup to use.

Rob Gronkowski - NEP YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 4%
2008                  
2009                  
2010 NEP 16 42 546 13.0 10      
Avg   16 42 546 13.0 10 0 0 0
Proj NEP   45 560   8      

Gronkowski earned an extra $2 million in incentives as a rookie because no one writing the contract would have thought he would end with 10 receiving touchdowns. He scored at least once in almost half of his games but his yardage varied wildly week to week and rarely topped 50 yards. If he can increase his catch total, he'd be worthy of an every week start. The sharing scenario will continue with Hernandez but Gronkowski will be no worse than a great fantasy backup and could end up a starter.

Tony Gonzalez - ATL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 18
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 4%
2008 KCC 16 96 1058 11.0 10      
2009 ATL 16 83 867 10.4 6      
2010 ATL 16 70 656 9.4 6      
Avg   16 83 860 10.3 7 0 0 0
Proj ATL   62 620   6      

Gonzo returns for his 15th NFL season but he has been on the decline eery year since 2007 and ended last year with only 656 yards on 70 catches for six scores. That 9.4 YPC is the lowest of his career and marks a steady progression downward since 2006. Gonzo is still a part of the offense, but no longer a major part.

   
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