Tight ends have seemingly become more valuable each season – but I still try to avoid having two of them on my roster in a standard draft. I get my starter and then I play waiver roulette when he is on a bye, slumping or injured. In recent years I have tried grabbing a tight end early (Jimmy Graham last season and Antonio Gates two years prior) and it never works for me. I have to admit to myself that I am not as good at finding sleeper receivers or running backs as finding a sleeper tight end.
I was really hoping to grab Dustin Keller late this year but he suffered a severe knee injury on Saturday night and is now out for the season.
Another player I liked coming into the preseason was Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron. I was hoping would stay off the radar. That hasn’t happened as Cameron has excelled and might actually be a little overrated now. I love Norv Turner’s offense for tight ends – but I really don’t want to take Cameron too high.
My rankings (I only did 15 because I only draft one)
Jimmy Graham, Saints
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
Vernon Davis, 49ers – his numbers were actually dreadful with Colin Kaepernick last season, but reports out of San Francisco is that Davis is lining up a lot at receiver.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – I can almost guarantee someone else in my leagues will be willing to take a chance on Gronk’s health before I do. The only thing I am worried about Gronk breaking is my fantasy heart.
Jermichael Finley, Packers – Ask any fantasy owner who had Finley last season and they are done with him. I am willing to gamble on his talent. He is in a contract year, he passes the eye test in preseason games and I think this could be a career year for Finley – he could reach 10 touchdowns this season.
Greg Olsen, Panthers – The story of his son’s heart surgery – and his talent – make him someone who I enjoy rooting for each week.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Antonio Gates, Chargers
Coby Fleener, Colts – I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a breakout season. The Colts’ offensive coordinator was Fleener’s OC at Stanford.
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – 800 yards, five touchdowns can be hoped for – but you always have to consider the knucklehead factor when drafting some Detroit Lions.
Owen Daniels, Texans
Cameron Jordan, Browns – I really wish he wasn’t having such a strong preseason so I could draft him in the final round of my drafts.
Fred Davis, Redskins
Jared Cook, Rams
Tier 5 – Every other tight end with an eye the situations in Cincinnati, Kansas City and Tennessee.
Think I rated someone too high (Finley) or too low (Zach Sudfeld, Patriots) – let me know.