Fantasy Football Edge: Ranking the Tight Ends
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By Matt Cott
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After re-ranking the quarterbacks last week the guys from RotoAnalysis are back to tackle the tight end position. Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski lead a new crew of tight ends that are truly big wide receivers. Be sure not to overlook the tight end slot towards the back of your lineup – there are plenty of lower-end guys out there to help your team out and make a difference on Sunday.
1. Jimmy Graham, Saints TE
This was an easy call as from week to week Graham has remained an incredible option. Despite back to back slow weeks, he is still averaging 14 fantasy points per week. That would put him 3rd among all wide receivers and 6th among running backs! The most interesting thing to watch for next season will be his draft stock – his name could come out as early as the end of the first round.
2. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots TE
Gronk is off to a great start now that he is finally healthy and playing, averaging a solid 11 points a week. This has helped Brady tremendously as it opens up space for other receivers and gives him one of the best red zone options in the league.
3. Julius Thomas, Broncos TE
After originally dismissing his Week 1 breakout as a fluke, it’s clear by now that Thomas is a force to be reckoned with. His receptions and targets have taken a dip of late, but with 10 touchdowns in 11 games it’s hard to really complain. As Peyton goes, so will Thomas, and that’s a good offense to rely on.
4. Vernon Davis, Niners TE
Inconsistency isn’t something you look for in fantasy, but upside is. He has two 20+ point weeks, including a ridiculous 30 point outburst in Week 6. That kind of upside is pretty rare at the tight end position and make Davis a clear top option.
5. Antonio Gates, Chargers TE
It’s no longer 2007, but Antonio Gates has lived up to his name reputation with a nice bounce back season. He looks fresh and the Charger offense has improved following the departure of Norv Turner. With a ton of targets and receptions, Gates is a safe TE1.
6. Jason Witten, Cowboys TE
Witten is in a bit of a down year with just two touchdowns since Week 1 and a decrease in targets from Tony Romo. He had an insane 150 targets last season and is on pace for 115 this season. Granted, that is still plenty of targets to make him a usable fantasy option – it just pushes him to the second tier with a large group of guys.
7. Greg Olsen, Panthers TE
This whole range from 5 on down is pretty close, and Olsen could easily end the best of the group. The Panthers are on fire right now and Cam Newton looks to Olsen often. To show his effectiveness and importance, Olsen actually has the most 20+ yard plays of anybody on the team (rushing or receiving).
8. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons TE
The Falcons have fallen hard this season, but the injury to Julio Jones only gave Gonzo more targets in the red zone. Gonzalez is still a favorite of Matt Ryan (5th among TEs so far in scoring) and is in line for a solid end to his career.
9. Charles Clay, Dolphins TE
Clay had his first good game in weeks on Sunday. Prior to his 15 point outing he had averaged just 3.5 points in the four prior weeks. If Clay is able to maintain a strong connection with Tannehill he could jump ahead of some of the shakier names in this top 10. Otherwise, he’s doomed to fantasy irrelevancy.
10. Jordan Cameron, Browns TE
I loved Cameron as much as anybody going into the year and after his outburst, but now is the time to be pessimistic. He has just 5 points a week since Week 4 and seems to have bad chemisty with Jason Campbell. Cameron may not get the targets the rest of the way to deserve your starting spot.
11. Coby Fleener, Colts TE
The injury to Dwayne Allen was huge for fleener, who had a career-high 8 receptions last weekend. He now has 20 targets in his last two games and should be the TE1 in quite a few lineups out there.
12. Delanie Walker, Titans TE
Walker has emerged from his versatile role in San Francisco to be more of a classic tight end. He’s on a hot streak at the moment with three touchdowns in four weeks and some consistently great performances. However, the Titans have a ton of receiving options and I still don’t fully trust Walker’s reliability.
13. Jordan Reed, Redskins TE
Reed clearly would have been a few spots higher if not for his current injury situation. With RG3’s mobility limited, he has been dumping off way more passes this year – Reed has been the biggest beneficiary. For his owner’s sake, I hope his concussion clears quickly and he can get the targets to be a top 8 option the rest of the way.
14. Garrett Graham, Texans TE
Graham is an unlikely source of fantasy goodness, and a 136 yard game on Sunday gives fantasy owners plenty to imagine. With Owen Daniels out, Graham has the ability to sneak into the top 10 tight ends each and every week.
15. Martellus Bennett, Bears TE
Jay Cutler’s injury has hurt Bennett’s status, and the “black unicorn” has just one touchdown since Week 2 while averaging a mere 4.5 fantasy points per game. Nevertheless, once Cutler is back Bennett could jump into TE1 territory.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems, Matt @KidCotti21, and Matt@Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.