TIER ONE

1 Jason Witten Cowboys | Bye Week: 6

Witten has emerged as Tony Romo’s most consistent underneath target and he should get even more looks in the redzone with the departure of Terrell Owens. He remains a a top TE1 option in all leagues.

2 Tony Gonzalez Falcons | Bye Week: 4

Gonzalez will provide QB Matt Ryan another solid target to complement Michael Turner and Roddy White in the Falcons offense. Ryan is the best QB he’s played with since Trent Green and he should benefit from playing on turf in a dome.

3 Antonio Gates Chargers | Bye Week: 5

Gates had 60 receptions for 704 yards and 8 TDs last season while battling hip, ankle, and toe injuries. It appears that he is 100 percent and a healthy Gates could be one of the most productive fantasy tight ends this year.

4 Dallas Clark Colts | Bye Week: 6

Clark is coming off a solid fantasy season with 77 receptions for 848 yards. Clark still has the injury-prone label from early in his career, but he has only missed two games in the previous two seasons. Clark should be one of the first five tight ends off the board.


TIER TWO

5 Chris Cooley Redskins | Bye Week: 8

Last season Cooley posted career-highs with 83 receptions and 849 yards, however he only scored only one touchdown. Cooley is a dependable option in the Redskins passing game and a safe pick for your TE1 slot.

6 Owen Daniels Texans | Bye Week: 10

Daniels snagged a career-high 70 receptions last season and will play another big role in the Texan’s offense this year. The only drawback to Owen’s numbers are the lack of touchdowns. Daniels may offer slightly more value in a PPR league, however he’s still a top TE option in most league formats.

7 Kellen Winslow Buccaneers | Bye Week: 8

Last season Winslow missed six games with a staph infection and a high ankle sprain and only caught 43 passes for 428 yards. Winslow gets a fresh start in Tampa Bay and should start the season healthy. Winslow is your classic boom-or-bust pick, but worth the gamble.

8 Greg Olsen Bears | Bye Week: 5

Olsen’s third year in the NFL shows a lot of signs of a breakout season. The biggest improvement is obviously the arrival of Jay Cutler who loves to utilize his tight ends. Olsen could emerge as the Bears top redzone target.

9 Zach Miller Raiders | Bye Week: 9

Miller led the Raiders in receptions and yards last season, but only scored one touchdown. His success this year largely depends on the development of QB JaMarcus Russell. Miller will continue to be targeted often, which makes him a safe pick with decent fantasy value.

TIER THREE

10 John Carlson Seahawks | Bye Week: 7

As a rookie, Carlson carried a heavy load on an offense that was basically without any other viable receiving options. The healthy return of QB Matt Hasselbeck is a plus, but be careful not to overvalue Carlson as newly acquired T.J. Houshmandzadeh and a heathy Nate Burleson and Deion Branch will cut into his production.

11 Jeremy Shockey Saints | Bye Week: 5

Shockey was pretty much a non-factor in his first season with the Saints as he only had 50 receptions and failed to score a touchdown. A healthy offseason is at least some hope that he can have a nice rebound year. He could offer great fantasy value if he can manage to play in all 16 games this season; just don’t count on it.

12 Dustin Keller Jets | Bye Week: 9

Keller was able to string together a couple nice games last season, but was inconsistent down the stretch. The Jets cut WR Laveranues Coles and the offense is thin on quality receiving talent. Keller could play the role of a No. 2 receiver and could be a bigger part of the Jets passing attack. Until we see how this actually plays out we consider Keller as low-end TE1 option with an upside.

13 Tony Scheffler Broncos | Bye Week: 7

Last season Scheffler set a career-high in YPC and yards as one of Jay Cutler’s favorite targets. Unfortunately for Scheffler, Cutler was traded to the Bears and the Broncos also drafted blocking TE Richard Quinn. Scheffler is more of a risk/reward pick this season until is is clear how he will be utilized in Josh McDaniels offensive scheme that historically does not utilize TEs as much in the passing game.

14 Heath Miller Steelers | Bye Week: 8

Miller is in a contract year, which could motivate him to play hard for a new deal, but we don’t see any reason to think he’ll vastly improve on his 2008 numbers. Miller would have more value if he was more involved more consistnely in the passing game and less as a blocker.

TIER FOUR

15 Visanthe Shiancoe Vikings | Bye Week: 9

Last season, Shiancoe posted career-highs with 42 catches for 596 yards with seven touchdowns. Pay attention to the QB battle in Minnesota as we like his potential to repeat a lot better with Sage Rosenfels at QB.

16 Anthony Fasano Dolphins | Bye Week: 6

Fasano exploded with 8 receptions for 84 yards in Week 1 last season, but remained inconsistent the rest of the year failing to exceed more than 3 catches in any of the last 15 games. We doubt he’ll repeat his 7 TDs from a year ago which makes him an inconsistent TE2 fantasy option, or a good bye-week fill-in.

17 Vernon Davis 49ers | Bye Week: 6

The 49ers brought in new coordinator Jimmy Raye, who may utilize Davis a bit more in the passing game. Raye coached in Kansas City from 1992-2000 and was a big part of the development of future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. Although we do expect his production to increase, the underachieving Davis has a lot to prove before we consider him a consistent fantasy option.

18 Kevin Boss Giants | Bye Week: 10

In his first full season as the starting TE, Boss caught 33 passes for 384 and a team-high 6 touchdown receptions. Without Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer on the roster, Boss could emerge as a redzone threat, but there is some concern that rookie Travis Beckum could take a chunk of his workload.

19 Bo Scaife Titans | Bye Week: 7

Scaife led the Titans with 58 receptions a year ago, but was unable to get a long-term extension with the team. Scaife will certainly have a lot to prove, but veteran Alge Crumpler, and rookie Jared Cook will cut into his production.

20 Marcedes Lewis Jaguars | Bye Week: 7

Lewis posted career-high totals with 41 receptions and 489 receiving yards last season. If he can find the end zone on a more regular basis that would make him a viable fantasy option. Lewis should improve on last season’s numbers, but at best he’s still only a TE2 option.

21 Brent Celek Eagles | Bye Week: 4

L.J. Smith is gone, which means Celek becomes the Eagles’ primary receiving TE. After an impressive end to last season, combined with the fact that the Eagles love to utilize their TEs on redzone calls, makes Celek an interesting sleeper pick the season.