The Tight End position has certainly evolved over the years and that has certainly impacted fantasy football. Years ago, the majority of tight ends were used as blockers and they would get the ball thrown their way occasionally. Now, it seems having a solid tight end that can go over the middle is essential to any quality team. This gives the position more depth making fantasy owners not have to reach quite a far for the top guys in your 2013 fantasy football draft.
Draft Day Outlook
The one and only guy to reach for is Jimmy Graham. First and foremost he might be my favorite player to watch since he is such a monster and just gobbles up every ball thrown his way. More importantly however, he has put up great numbers even when comparing him to top wide receivers. Graham is the only tight end worth taking early but that does not mean you can find talent in the middle rounds and we suggest waiting this year.
We are employing a strategy to wait since the remaining tight ends have a ton of question marks on them. Will Rob Gronkowski be ready to go Week 1? Will Jason Witten catches a ton of balls again? Also, he is getting older and has never found the end zone on a regular basis anyway. Can Tony Gonzalez really have that type of season again? Still if you just cannot resist taking a tight end when the run starts, these are the guys we saying you should target but again, we love the idea to wait.
There are so many tight ends with upside that you can get in the middle to late rounds. Dennis Pitta should see his targets be at a career high this year and we love Brandon Myers on the Giants. Maybe our favorite sleeper this year. Myers carried Oakland on some drives just going over the middle and catching everything thrown his way. In New York, he should see single coverage all year and Eli Manning loves to throw to his tight end especially in the red zone.
If you wait even longer you can get quality tight ends later in your draft. Greg Olsen and Kyle Rudolph both showed flashes of being a top tight end last year and both are match-up nightmares for defense coordinators. Olsen averaged under 6 less yards a game than Tony Gonzalez and had 3 less touchdowns last year. So pretty similar numbers but Olsen is going around pick 90 on average and Gonzalez is going around pick 50. So it is worth the wait to bolster your team with more running backs and wide receivers in the early middle rounds. (that is a theme in all of these draft day outlooks)
In the deepest of leagues there is still upside young guns to get late such as Coby Fleener, whom showed he still had some chemistry with Andrew Luck (college teammates). Another sneaky pick could be Tyler Eifert, the Bengals did not use a first round pick on Eifert to have him sit behind Jermaine Gresham. We are assuming many two tight end sets this year in Cincinnati.
Draft Day Advice
If you do not get Jimmy Graham then waiting is the name of the game. The variance between the remaining tight ends are not that great so it is perfectly fine to wait. In all mock drafts I have done the best teams I have formatted is when I wait on both the quarterback and the tight end. The league has changed and all teams use the tight end quite regularly so use that knowledge to your advantage and do not reach when that inevitable run happens.