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Fantasy Too Early: Tight Ends

Happy 4th of July, a big salute to the troops and my fellow vets, and most of all, let's get this labor thing fixed so my tight ends list can get tanked by reality. Anyone else wonder if Brandon Manumaleuna is going to show up in shape for camp/first game? Or is that just me?


For the sake of some brevity, I will only provide the first 24 rankings from CBS and ESPN, but if you want the full depth look, just click the links attached above. For clarity, remember I use Eisenberg from CBS, not Richard. Final note: This is based on standardized scoring. PPR, IDP and Auction drafts are all on my potential "to do" list, depending on how much we can squeeze in pre-football season. I also assume 12 team leagues so each round of projected players is one of 12.






(WCG Expert)

#1 Antonio Gates (3rd) Antonio Gates (4th) Antonio Gates (4th) Antonio Gates (4th)
#2 Dallas Clark (5th) Dallas Clark (4th) Dallas Clark (5th) Dallas Clark (5th)
#3 Jason Witten (5th) Jason Witten (5th) Jermichael Finley (5th) Jason Witten (6th)
#4 Jermichael Finley (6th) Jermichael Finley (5th) Jason Witten (6th) Jermichael Finley (6th)
#5 Vernon Davis (6th) Vernon Davis (6th) Vernon Davis (6th) Vernon Davis (6th)
#6 Owen Daniels (8th) Owen Daniels (7th) Owen Daniels (7th) Owen Daniels (8th)
#7 Zach Miller (8th) Jimmy Graham (7th) Zach Miller (8th) Zach Miller (9th)
#8 Marcedes Lewis (9th) Rob Gronkowski (8th) Kellen Winslow (8th) Kellen Winslow (9th)
#9 Kellen Winslow (9th) Zach Miller (9th) Chris Cooley (8th) Chris Cooley (9th)
#10 Christ Cooley (10th) Kellen Winslow (9th) Brandon Pettigrew (9th) Jimmy Graham (10th)
#11 Jimmy Graham (11th) Chris Cooley (10th) Tony Gonzalez (9th) Marcedes Lewis (11th)
#12 Brandon Pettigrew (12th) Tony Gonzalez (10th) Marcedes Lewis (10th) Brandon Pettigrew (11th)
#13 Rob Gronkowski (13th) Brandon Pettigrew (10th) Rob Gronkowski (11th) Tony Gonzalez (11th)
#14 Tony Gonzalez (13th) Aaron Hernandez (12th) Aaron Hernandez (11th) Rob Gronkowski (11th)
#15 Dustin Keller (14th) Jermaine Gresham (12th) Greg Olsen (11th)
Aaron Hernandez (13th)
#16 Tony Moeaki (14th) Marcedes Lewis (12th) Ben Watson (11th) N/A
#17 Jared Cook (15th) Todd Heap (13th) Brent Celek (12th) N/A
#18 Ben Watson (15th) Brent Celek (15th) Jimmy Graham (12th) N/A
#19 Aaron Hernandez (16th) Kevin Boss (16th) Heath Miller (13th)
#20 Todd Heap (16th) N/A Tony Moeaki (13th)
#21 N/A N/A Dustin Keller N/A
#22 N/A N/A Jermaine Gresham
#23 N/A N/A Anthony Fasano N/A
#24 N/A N/A Kevin Boss N/A


I think its a grave injustice how few tight ends get ranked in top 200s, and I think it is pretty terrible how some fantasy writers neglect actual performance when writing their articles. Don't believe me? 8 TEs had over 800 yards last year...Jason Witten, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley...and they all got the love they deserve (mostly)...but what about Ben Watson? Marcedes Lewis? Brandon Pettigrew? 13 TEs had 50+ receptions, and while the guys you expect are there again, guys like Zach Miller are habitually underrated, Ben Watson, Jermaine Gresham, Dustin Keller, and of course Marcedes Lewis and Brandon Pettigrew? Personally, I try for a top 6-7 tight end by the 8th round so I don't have to ask those maybe questions, but you should pay attention anyway, in case there is an early run, you have another can't pass pick where you wanted a tight end, or you are looking for a great value #2 TE for your roster.

Top Backups and Sleepers: Brandon Pettigrew had over 100 targets last year, and so did Ben Watson, and both will be available in the 10th or later in many leagues. Brent Celek or Greg Olsen could have a big time resurgent year this season, but I really like Aaron Hernandez to overtake Gronkowski in New England because frankly he is a better receiver...But keep an eye on Tony Moeaki too.

Final Thoughts: Do not overpay for Gates (averaging 4th round), but don't start thinking 3rd-4th RB and Receiver if you don't have a guy to get 700 yards at the TE position. I try to get good value in the 7th-8th round, guys like Chris Cooley, Zach Thomas, Owen Daniels...But Id go higher (6th) for Dallas Clark, Jason Witten, Jermichael Finley, or Vernon Davis.