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Here comes the 4th, and second to last, iteration of pre-season player rankings. Tuesday will features Defenses and some IDP comments, and next Friday will be the results of the WCG Writers League draft, which I will document all season (at least the weeks I win). For now, let's look at the "block first, catch passes later" edition of Fantasy Football.
Just like the other articles, you can look here to see where I used to stand and find some other links to outside sites. As Free Agency has shaken out and teams have (or haven't) made certain moves, it has an impact on players, so I've updated some things on my lists and will show them to you below.
Remember, we are assuming a 12 team league here. I don't feel the need to call attention to the "PPR" advantaged Tight Ends, but I will give a quick asterisk to those who are studs in TD only leagues...and will point out that TEs are slightly more valuable across the board in PPR leagues.
Round 1-3 TEs: Don't do it.
Round 4 TEs: If these were 10 team leagues I'd still say no, but in a 12 team league, its the right time. Antonio Gates*, Dallas Clark, and Jermichael Finley all could go here.
Round 5 TE: Jason Witten*, Vernon Davis* and Zach Miller, even with the team switch.
Round 6-7 TEs: Owen Daniels, Chris Cooley, Kellen Winslow
Round 8-10 TEs: Marcedes Lewis*, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Dustin Keller
Late Round Picks and Sleepers: Brent Celek, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski*, Jermaine Gresham, Tony Moeaki, Tony Gonzalez*, Brandon Pettigrew
Some Thoughts: Jason Witten and Chris Cooley (Most underrated TE in fantasy) saw 100 targets in 2010, but did you know that Tony Gonzalez, Brandon Pettigrew, Benjamin Watson, and Dustin Keller did too? Or that Kellen Winslow, Jermaine Gresham, Visanthe Shiancoe, Brent Celek, Tony Moeaki, Greg Olsen and Tony Scheffler all got 70+ to go along with the guys like Jacob Tamme, Vernon Davis, Zach Miller, and Marcedes Lewis. What is my point? Opportunity. Anyone getting over 100 targets is worth owning, even as a long shot, because even at 10-11 YPC, and a miserable 50% reception ratio, that is 500-550 and probably 5+ TDs.
I bet Celek has a heck of a rebound year this year and shakes the "can't connect with my QB" bug, especially with DeSean's holdout and Maclin's illness as early storylines. Pettigrew probably steals more of Scheffler's targets and builds on a great year from last year and becomes the true #2 option in Detroit. I also think Aaron Hernandez passes Gronkowski as a receiver in NE, because he is a better receiver (though Gronk will remain a red zone TD vulture). His blocking and injuries held him back in year one, but if push comes to shove and NE wants to get Branch, Welker, and Ocho all on the field, it should be Hernandez complementing the receiver sets and Gronk being the inline blocker. Gresham and Moeaki got the targets and just need to take better advantage.
Bonus Prize: If you post in the comments below two of the three active players with more kickoff return TDs than Devin Hester, you win the final spot in the WCG Writer's League as a special guest addition. Please don't answer if you aren't willing to join the Fantasy Football league though.
If you didn't know, the WCG Writer's League will be a sample piece I use for our fantasy articles throughout the season (at least when I am winning) and should be good times.