So here we are at the portion of my previews where we look at fantasy football TEs. This one is also kind of tricky due to the fact that very few can be huge numbers guys, and only thought of fondly in leagues that require a TE position filled.
Some leagues use a fantasy WR/TE roster spot, so usually only the top 7 or 8 players are truly difference makers. No matter what kind of fantasy league you are in, there are some good players here, and a few will be taken before the 5th or 6th rounds. So sit back, read and relax, and take in my latest segment.
Top 15 Tight Ends 15-1
15. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals: Gresham is the new blood in the TE game, but he is also a freakish rookie built for speed and power. When Vernon Davis came on the scene, we all knew that in time others would come and be much like him. Gresham has looked great in pre-season so far, and is almost like a 4th receiver on the field. The Bengals have not been well known for great TE play in the past, but that may be about to change. He collected 66 catches and 14 TDs last year at Oklahoma, so we know he can play the position.
14. Zach Miller, Raiders: His catch totals have gone up by at least 10 catches every season, and now with a better QB in Oakland he can only get better. Miller is sleek for a guy who is 6 foot 5 inches and 255 pounds, which makes him tough to cover. The one knock is that he does not get into the end zone very often, but with Oakland having questions in the run game, he may see more action inside the 10. In point per catch leagues, he stands to be a big plus.
13. John Carlson: He may benefit by the fact that the WR corps is hurting, and he is a pretty good pass catcher. QB Matt Hasselbeck is starting to wear down, so a shorter passing game may be needed for Seattle to try and stay in games. Carlson was one of the better TEs last year in scoring TDs with 7, a pretty good number in TE required leagues. The Seahawks did add Chris Baker, but he is more likely to be used for blocking.
[adinserter block=”2″]12. Visante Shiancoe, Vikings: How many guys does Brett Favre make better by being here? Well if anyone it is the TE position. Shiancoe was a nice filler in the past at this position, but last year with Favre at QB he collected 11 TDs and hauled in 56 catches, which was a career high. He does not have great speed so you may not see him do the things that the “Hybrid-TEs” may, but in the red zone he should be huge again this season.
11. Heath Miller, Steelers: Last season, Miller, who was usually known as pretty much a red zone option, hauled in 76 passes and became a guy used at all times. Some think that a few new WRs and a shaky QB position can hurt his stats, but when you have problems at QB it is always smarter to use your TE, and the Steelers like to play a power game so why not use the biggest target to the highest extent? He also led all TEs in percentage of catches to balls thrown his way, so you can trust his consistency.
10. Chris Cooley, Redskins: Cooley, when healthy, always manages to get his numbers. Now add a more reliable QB in Donovan McNabb, and Cooley can find his career revamped this season. The Redskins always like him in the red zone, but the looks may be decreased with the load of RBs the Skins now have. In point per catch leagues, Cooley always gets his stats, so stick close to him.
9. Owen Daniels, Texans: Before tearing his knee up in week 8, Daniels was the best TE in all of fantasy. He could have been relied on as much as just about any top WR in the league and Houston’s offense sure is pass heavy. If he stays healthy this year, mixed in with Andre Johnson, Daniels may very well continue to see his numbers increase. A lack of a sturdy running game can help him as well.
8. Jason Witten, Cowboys: I may be too harsh on Witten, but the Cowboys have so many guys who need to get the ball that Witten may become the odd man out. He did catch 94 passes last year, but only 2 went for TDs. Dallas has to satisfy 3 RBs, a rookie WR, and a budding star in Miles Austin, it just makes it to hard to predict another monster year for Witten, but he usually does get it done.
7. Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers: In all my previews so far, I have not recommended a single Buc, but Winslow is certainly the best player on this team. It also does not hurt that he has a young QB learning the ropes, so they tend to lean on TEs for success. Winslow has matured, and can stay healthy when not doing crazy off-field stunts. Last year’s output of 77 catches and 5 TDs are decent numbers for TEs, but with a bunch of untested youngsters in the receiving corps this year he could easily thump that number.
6. Jermichael Finley, Packers: Once the Packers turned him loose and eased up on using Donald Lee, Finley went off, having at least 6 catches in four games, and scored a TD in 3 of those. Finley is tall at 6 foot 5 inches, and is tough at 247 pounds, but his agility reminds many of Andre Johnson. This can be the year that Finley becomes the best TE in football, and his speed will make this offense very tough to stop. I know he is ranked 6 here, but he may be worth taking 3rd or 4th here.
5. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons: Still one of the best in the game, Gonzalez had another quality year last season with 83 catches and 6 TDs. Yes, some people say he is slowing down, and well when you get used to close to 100 catches you can see why. Gonzalez always manages somehow to get it done, and although Roddy White is a big numbers guy at WR, very few guys here are big play pass catchers, so Gonzalez remains a key ingredient.
4. Brent Celek, Eagles: Celek played 2 games last year with new QB Kevin Kolb, and in those collected 16 catches for 208 yards, and for the season totaled 76 grabs, 8 TDs and fell just short of 1,000 yards. The position is all his now and with Kolb at the helm, and the Eagles going back to a shorter West Coast style offense, Celek can be huge. The Eagles are expected to look at him plenty in the red zone due to an inexperienced running game.
[adinserter block=”1″]3. Antonio Gates, Chargers: Just when we thought it was over for Gates, boom he comes back with 79 grabs, over 1,000 yards and 8 TDs. He is still a big target and has good speed, and now with WR Vincent Jackson looking to get out of town, there may be even more passes for Gates to have. The Chargers also are young in the running game, so we will expect plenty of passes, and Gates knows how to go and get it.
2. Vernon Davis, 49ers: Being called out by head coach Mike Singletary in 2008 appeared to save Vernon Davis from a “bust” label on his career. Davis was unreal last year with 78 catches, 968 yards and 13 TDs, by far his career best for every category. He looks like a linebacker with RB speed, and his intimidating when running down field. Alex Smith and his hope of finding his nitch here will rely heavily on Davis, and San Fran is lucky, because he is ready for the task.
1. Dallas Clark, Colts: By far the best in the game last year, Clark reached the 100 catch plateau, went for double digit TDs and over 1,100 yards. This Colts team, has so much talent that it is too hard for everyone to constantly remained covered, and Clark benefits from this greatly. His hands are amazing, and he glides fearlessly down the middle of the field. Peyton Manning does not need a special time to go to his TE when he has a guy like Clark. In any league, TE needed or not, he is a guy who goes in the 4th round at the latest, he is as good as any WR.
Other names to consider:
Kevin Boss, Giants: His numbers get better every year, and he looks more confident in the red zone.
Todd Heap, Ravens: He has stayed healthy the last 2 seasons, and now has Anquan Boldin in town to help him get open. Heap has always had the skills, now it is time for it to really show,
Aaron Hernandez, Patriots: This rookie can be a super sleeper as Tom Brady loves TEs for TDs. He is a great pass catcher, but had problems with marijuana use in college. He fell to the 4th round, but he is well worth a look.
OK, so here is the latest installment for your helping. Next time I join you we will look at rules to go by, and war room secrets to help you on draft day. Remember to look closely at what I offer you and good luck!
If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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