How tantalizing did Aaron Hernandez look this offseason with Rob Gronkowski going under the knife for yet another surgery? He was number one across the board with the promise of fantasy domination almost synonymous with his name. What a different time.
Thankfully, that Assquatch is locked away for a long time now for killing another man, so hopefully we can all move away from thoughts of drafting that murderous P.O.S. scumbag. (R.I.P. Odin Lloyd)
Ahem, sorry this isn’t Rob Johnson ranting time? Okay. Moving on.
Tight Ends are a Quarterback’s best friend in their time of need. Who better to look to when presented with incoming defensive pressure than the hulking 6’6”, 250 guy cutting back to bail you out? Tight Ends are football’s “Get out of Jail Free” card.
However, Tight Ends can be a luxury for Quarterbacks on receiver heavy teams. When defenses are so focused on star receivers and running backs, they often leave linebackers to cover the TE, leading to terrific mismatches and exploitation for big yards and TDs.
Tight Ends in either of these situations generally exhibit the highest fantasy value. If the QB behind a bad O-line needs a quick escape plan, it can lead to big reception numbers, which is often connected with yards and TDs. If the QB sees mismatches because defenses don’t have the personnel to cover Wide Receivers and the Tight End, it could lead to big plays.
Full disclosure, I feel like garbage. I’m pretty sure I am developing mono, so I’m sorry if the descriptions of players aren’t up to par. I can assure you, I made the rankings before I was sick. Help me Tom Cruise!
Tight End Rankings:
1. Rob Gronkowski- Yeah, he’ll probably miss the first couple games or so, but the Brady-Gronk combination is impossible to ignore. TEs don’t win championships. Gronk wins championships (as long as he’s healthy).
2. Jimmy Graham- He looks like a giant tool, but don’t let that stop you from taking the most consistent form of TE dominance in the league.
3. Tony Gonzalez- GONZO!
4. Jason Witten- With 110 receptions and over 1,000 yards, he somehow only managed 3 TDs last season. Expect the yards to stay the same, and TDs to receiver a nice bump this year.
5. Vernon Davis- “Vernon Davis is the man!” said nobody last year. Dear lord, this guy is a freak of nature. Why can’t he manage to put up respectable numbers consistently? You know when I was talking about mismatches up above? There is no linebacker in the league capable of covering this guy, yet excluding the first 5 games of the season; he only managed to exceed 3.7 (non-PPR) points ONCE. Ashley Simpson said it best, “You make me wanna LA-LA…” Except by LA-LA, I mean toss my laptop through my TV screen and tear down my Vernon Davis Fat Head. He’s ranked at 5 because you can’t ignore the potential, and with the lack of receivers in San Fran, I have to believe he will be incorporated more into the scoring plan.
6. Kyle Rudolph- Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson won’t disrupt the Ponder-Rudolph love connection. PS, Ponder sounds like the 10th reindeer left out of the song.
7. Antonio Gates- Rivers will be looking to throw short this season, after the Chargers decided they no longer wanted to lead the league in terrible passes and interceptions. Along with that, their receiving corps looks like a post-battle scene in Saving Private Ryan. Both of these factors will reintroduce Antonio Gates to fantasy TE relevance this year.
8. Greg Olsen- Cam is becoming more comfortable with his TE, which should lead to increased numbers this year. If you type in Greg Olsen on Google, he looks like a high school senior after his first day of practice.
9. Jared Cook- Sam Bradford’s new favorite target. In PPR leagues, this guy will replace the hole left by Danny Amendola, when he wasn’t injured. They already have great chemistry and with a rather weak receiving group, expect big things from Cook this year.
10. Owen Daniels- Another NCHS alum. Fun fact, I graduated in the same class with his brother. I’m practically part of the NFL. When it comes to fantasy, Owen is a solid pick. He won’t let you down, but he doesn’t have the crazy upside that some of his counterparts do.
11. Zach Sudfeld- Sudfeld is huge. And we all know who Brady likes to throw to down low. If Gronk misses any extended period of time, this guy will likely be Top-5 in his absence. It’s not often (if ever) I suggest handcuffing a TE, but this would be the appropriate time to do so.
12. Jermichael Finley- I loathe Finley. Ask Pat Wolande, my co-host for “The Bye” last year. This dude is a mental case and excuse factory. He has the drops. He’s injured. He has a bad chemistry with Rodgers. He was an orphan. Blah. Blah. Blah. I may as well have played Derrick Rose last year for my TE spot. They produced about the same results. Supposedly, Rodgers and him have better chemistry and he’s been looking good in camp. You will never see him on one of my rosters.
13. Fred Davis- Ol’ Achilles Fred! If he stays healthy this year, he could easily be a top-ten TE.
14. Jordan Cameron- Just let me make this clear. Jordan Cameron is not Antonio Gates. Also, Brandon Weedon is not Philip Rivers. Yes, Norv Turner is the OC in Cleveland now, but lets not forget last year Cameron had a measly 226 yards and 1 TD. It’s possible that Cameron has a big season, but I’m not buying in just yet.
15. Brandon Meyers- He’s on the Giants, which is a couple steps up from the Raiders, I guess. Should put up similar numbers to Bennett last year, if not a little more.
16. Rob Housler- He’s big, fast and has excellent hands. Carson loves throwing to TEs, but Bruce Arians play calling doesn’t exactly favor the big guys. We’ll see who’s philosophy is in tact by the end of the season. I’m thinking top-ten or massive bust. I happen to think it’s the former.
17. Jermaine Gresham- Stock definitely takes a hit with the drafting of Tyler Eifert. I don’t see a massive TE performance in the Bengals’ offense this year.
18. Martellus Bennett- Jay Cutler doesn’t like throwing to anyone not named Brandon Marshall. Way overhyped.
19. Brandon Pettigrew- PETER PETTIGREWWW. That’s all I can think about when I hear his name. He’s like Chipotle before a long car ride: Always seems like a great idea at the time, but somewhere down the line, something starts to stink.
20. Coby Fleener- Now that Arians’ is gone, we might see an increase in Fleener’s production this year. The only problem is, Dwayne Allen is a stud and will steal a lot of Targets.
21. Dwayne Allen- Look out Coby Fleener.
22. Heath Miller- Once his injuries heal, expect the same type of production known to the Miller name.
23. Scott Chandler- If the “A-Team” of back-up Bills’ QBs can locate anyone downfield, it’ll probably be this guy.
24. Tyler Eifert- Something gives me the feeling this guy will be the main TE in Cincy, sooner rather than later.
25. Zach Miller- Russell Wilson doesn’t seem to find him too much, which is surprising, because he has the BIGGEST NECK EVER!
26. Julius Thomas- What’s with Denver and their groups of threes? Three RBs, Three WRs and Three TEs. Anyway, he’ll be the starting TE while the other two are injured, but there are too many other targets for Peyton to consider.
27. Dallas Clark- Thought he retired. Apparently not. He’s now in the wonderful city of Baltimore!
28. Anthony Fasano- With Smith at the helms, expect a season full of inconsistency.
29. Marcedes Lewis- Are you really this desperate?
30. Delanie Walker- Has there ever been a prominent Titan TE?
31. Brent Celek- They at least have 5 or 6 they plan on using, so Celek won’t be a huge factor.
32. Luke Stocker- Come on, really?
Tomorrow Kickers and Defenses! And then I’m done! Maybe, I will do a preview of the NFL and my predictions this year…