2011 Fantasy Football Tight Ends Rankings Outlook
If you have had a chance to read our other articles (and who are you kidding there is no way you went to the tight end article first) then you have heard a similar theme. The NFL is a pass happy league and the tight end position is no exception. Teams have seen the advantage of having a great pass catching tight end and are normally one of the first outlets for a quarterback if the blitz is coming.
Gates is the cream of the crop when it comes to tight ends; he has been consistent and is certainly Rivers favorite red zone target. On the other side of the coin in Finley with the Packers, if he is healthy he is a younger version of Gates and could lead all tight ends in receiver yards this season. If you don’t land Gates or Finley there are still solid options such as the point per reception beast Jason Witten and the touchdown machines of Dallas Clark and Vernon Davis. Unlike years past the tight end depth does not end after five.
In the mid to late rounds you can find huge value in guys like Owen Daniels (he had a great season two years ago before his injury), Zach Miller, and Chris Cooley. All three of these guys will provide more value in a ppr formats since they are not top red zone options but still can be very productive.
If you are looking for upside at this position we like some younger guys like Jimmy Graham of the Saints. Once he started for Shockey the Saints used him in the red zone and he was ultra productive. Last a late sleeper we really like is Jared Cook of the Titans. We all know rookies love throwing to their tight end and Locker seems to be the start for the Titans this year. It also does not hurt that when Cook took over the starting job last year he played great.
Draft Day Advice
There is a difference between the top and mid tiers for tight ends but is it a wide enough gap to justify burning a 4th round pick to get Gates or a 12th round pick to a guy like Jared Cook? Go into your draft knowing where you think each tight end would be considered good value and stick to your plan because at some point in the draft one will slip to the right spot for you.