With the 2014 fantasy football season just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at our top 10 fantasy tight ends for 2014. NFL tight ends are bigger, faster, and targeted more and more each year. Tight ends are becoming more involved in their team’s offense and are becoming productive options on your fantasy team. There are a few that should go in the early rounds of your fantasy draft, but you can certainly wait on this position and get a reliable option in the later rounds.
1. Jimmy Graham
In terms of pass catchers I do not think I would select anyone, not even Calvin Johnson, over Jimmy Graham. He is impossible to cover and in the red zone he might be the best all-time. Everyone knows the football is going to be thrown his way, but he uses his basketball ability to box out defenders, leap, and then we see him dunking that football after his touchdown (double whammy for him by the way – no dunking and lost his case to be tagged as a wide receiver this offseason).
2. Julius Thomas
After not being drafted in numerous leagues in 2013 Thomas went onto being the best early-season waiver wire pickups of the season. He produced consistent numbers from week to week and Manning actually starting looking his way more as the season went on. There is a real chance he improves on his 788 yards from a season ago and the 12 touchdowns might be the floor for this monster.
3. Rob Gronkowski
The talent is there, but it is all about health when it comes to Rob Gronkowski. Personally, I am not touching this guy but the upside made it impossible not to have him ranked inside the top three at the tight end position. If he plays a full season he is the only player that could actually surpass Graham as the top tight end in fantasy football for the 2014 season.
4. Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis has certainly come into his own after his troubles during his early years in the league. I cannot tell you how many times I saw him run the same route up the middle of the field, only to make a leaping catch over a linebacker. He is neither the sexiest pick nor the pick with the most upside, but Davis now can be considered a safe, reliable, fantasy tight end.
5. Jordan Cameron
People are starting to go crazy for Cameron especially in point per reception leagues. With no Josh Gordon everyone is assuming Cameron will be the most targeted tight end in the league. (That includes Jimmy Graham) I do not see the Browns having enough offensive possessions to yield that fact. Sure, he has upside, but with his recent average draft position jumping 15 spots as of late, he is starting to get into bust land instead of sleeper land.
6. Jordan Reed
Now, here is my sleeper pick of the year at the tight end position. Reed got better each game and if defenses are game planning the Redskins they are going to worry about Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, the running game, then Reed in that order. Which means slower linebackers checking him, I think Reed has a breakout year and this is the tight end I am targeting in all my drafts.
7. Jason Witten
Old reliable Witten comes in at number seven for us this year. One should not expect him to do anything over his 73 catches, 851 yards, and 8 touchdowns from a year ago but the fact he is being drafted after the 80th overall pick makes him once again a draft day bargain (unless you live in Dallas or have a Cowboy fan in your draft, because they always over draft him in the 5th round).
8. Dennis Pitta
I love Pitta this year, if I do not get Reed, plan B is going after Pitta. Remember, the Ravens let Anquan Boldin go a year ago because Pitta was to step into the possession receiver role for them. Calling it now, Pitta will have more targets than the aforementioned Jordan Cameron and he will return a better draft day value. Issue is, I am a little nervous about the injury concerns with him.
9. Greg Olsen
Think of Greg Olsen as a slightly less impressive version of Jason Witten, and like Witten he will slip in drafts and put up similar numbers. In fact, he had the same amount of catches, 35 less yards, and only two touchdowns less than Witten last year. The problem is that in Dallas everyone worries about Dez Bryant and Olsen is the only reliable option for Cam Newton, which means he will get more attention from opposing defenses.
10. Zach Ertz
Here is your risk, reward, tight end for the 2014 season. In theory, he should have a monster year in that high paced Philadelphia offense. I know he did not put up great overall stats in 2013, but he really did not start to get the playing time he deserved until after the week 12 bye. If he gets a full accompaniment of snaps this year, then he has the chance to be a top five tight end.
A lot can change during the NFL preseason, so be sure to check out our most up-to-date 2014 fantasy football tight end rankings.