2013 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Top 30
1. Jimmy Graham, N.O.-
-The top TE option has to be Jimmy Graham. His numbers took a bit of a hit last year, but the Saints were kind of a mess and should be a better well rounded offense this season. Graham could once again be well over 1,000 yards and is a nice bet for 10+ touchdowns. We could be talking 160+ fantasy points this season, which is huge for a tight end.
2. Aaron Hernandez, NE-
-With Wes Welker in Denver and Rob Gronkowski a bit injured, Hernandez could end up the primary receiver in New England this year. Though his numbers were down last season, I would expect a nice bounce back, with 100-120 targets and likely over a 1,000 yards receiving. Now much will depend on Gronkowski’s health, but if it is questionable, Hernandez should be a star.
3. Jason Witten, Dal-
-Witten led all tight ends with targets, catches and yards last season, and that was despite the fact that he suffered an injury in preseason that had him under 100% to start the year. Witten has been the model of consistency, with four 1,000 yard+ seasons in the last six years, and in that time has yet to get under 942 yards. While his touchdowns have fluctuated, he’s basically a lock for 100 fantasy points and will likely end up north of 125.
4. Tony Gonzalez, Atl-
-Gonzalez is back for one more season and he will be looking to go out on top. A big season is likely for Gonzalez, who should be in line for well over 100 targets. Going over 1,000 yards is not out of the question for Gonzalez and 6-10 TD’s is likely.
5. Vernon Davis, SF-
-The playoffs proved that Colin Kaepernick could utilize Davis effectively after rarely seeing a target in the regular season once the 2nd year quarterback took over. With Michael Crabtree‘s injury, Davis will likely see a larger share of the offense this year and should be a major target in the red zone.
6. Dennis Pitta, Bal-
-Pitta is coming off a good year for the Ravens and should see his role increase to help make up for the loss of Anquan Boldin. Pitta was a primary red zone target last season, catching 7 TD passes in the regular season and three more in the postseason. With increased targets he could be in the 800-900 yards range and 10+ touchdowns.
7. Rob Gronkowski, NE-
-Health is a big question mark for Gronkowski this year. If healthy he’d be the number one tight end on this list, but with a chance that he could miss or be limited early in the season he needs to slide down a little bit. When he does play though Gronkowski is a must start given how big of a yards per catch and TD threat he is.
8. Kyle Rudolph, Minn-
-While Rudolph’s yards per catch of 9.3 isn’t exactly impressive, his average of 5.4 yards after the catch is, and was top 10 in the league among tight ends. Rudolph also did a good bit of his damage in the red zone as his 9 TD’s tied him for 2nd among tight ends. What’s even more impressive is how little support Rudolph had last year. Now with some additional receiver threats, and hopefully an improving Christian Ponder, Rudolph could be in line for a big year.
9. Jared Cook, STL-
-Cook has always underperformed, from his talent and potential, but could be in line for a big year in St. Louis. The Rams didn’t give him that massive contract to not get targets and they appear committed to finding ways to feature him significantly in their offense. Though the jury is still well out on Sam Bradford, he should definitely be the best quarterback Cook has ever had throwing to him.
10. Owen Daniels, Hou-
-Daniels is a very consistent tight end averaging at least 42.8 yards a game in each of the last six seasons. When healthy he’s put up good fantasy numbers, though he’s never been a big TD guy, peaking with 6 this past season. Daniels though could benefit from the addition of rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins, which could draw further coverage away from Daniels.
11. Brandon Pettigrew, Det.-
-Pettigrew had a bit of a disappointing year last season, but could be an intriguing bet for this season. The Lions figure to be top 5 in the league in attempts and Pettigrew could end up with the 2nd most targets behind Calvin Johnson. With Johnson drawing most of the attention, Pettigrew is a guy who really break-out this season.
12. Antonio Gates, SD-
-Gates continues to miss games (just one last season though), but still remains a prominent fantasy tight end. While his catches and yards fell, he had 7 TD’s last season and remains the most consistent scoring TE in the NFL. He’s never had fewer than 7 TD’s since becoming a starter in 2004. The loss of Norv Turner could change the offensive focus some, but Gates is so well established with Philip Rivers that it is likely to effect him too much.
13. Dwayne Allen, IND-
-Allen is a guy who could be in line for a big year this season. Tight ends should be featured heavily in the Colts new offense, and Indianapolis figures to throw the ball at least 600 times next season. Allen is a nice upside bet to reach 100 fantasy points (in standard scoring), but he obviously doesn’t have the previous track record. He did show a lot of promise last season, and with a year of development and more targets he could end up a top 5 fantasy tight end.
14. Greg Olsen, Car-
-Olsen had over 100 targets last year and finished first on the team in touchdowns and 2nd only to Steve Smith in yards and catches. He should again figure heavily in the Panthers offense, but with a new offensive coordinator it will be interesting to see if the tight end is featured any differently.
15. Brandon Myers, NYG-
-The Giants like to involve their tight end in the passing attack and Myers is coming off a big year in Oakland. If he doesn’t regress he could be a pretty decent shot at 80-100 fantasy points (based on standard scoring).
16. Heath Miller, Pit-
-Miller is coming off his best fantasy season, but unfortunately he’s also coming off a major knee injury. If he’s healthy he should remain a top target and a good red zone weapon, but unfortunately that is a pretty big unknown.
17. Dustin Keller, Mia-
-Keller had an injury filled season last year that really limited his fantasy value, but he could be a really good sleeper option this year. In 2011, Keller had 815 yards and 5 touchdowns, and that was playing with the Jets who weren’t exactly a premier passing team. With an improvement at quarterback and the weapons surrounding him, Keller could get a lot of freedom to make plays this season.
18. Martellus Bennett, Chi-
-Bennett could have some nice potential in Chicago after proving that he can be a number 1 tight end in NY last season. The question is how much will the Bears utilize the tight end (and throw in general) this season. Last year, other than Brandon Marshall, no receiver or tight end had more than 49 targets. Though Bennett could end up being the 3rd or at worst 4th leader in targets that number might not be too high.
19. Marcedes Lewis, Jac-
-It’s tough to get too excited about Lewis given the poor quarterback situation in Jacksonville, but with an improved line, Maurice Jone-Drew returning to the line-up and quality receivers Lewis could be a nice sleeper. He’s definitely got the talent, it is just a matter of whether or not the quarterbacks can get him the ball enough.
20. Rob Housler, Ari-
–Rob Housler‘s numbers haven’t been stellar, but they do deserve to be looked at with some context. He played with perhaps the worst quarterback situation, playing behind possibly the worst offensive line in the game. Though the Cardinals quarterbacks aren’t elite now, they should be much better and with the improvements along the line they should have some time to throw the ball. Bruce Arians likes to throw the football, and with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd getting most of the attention, Housler will likely see a steady stream of linebackers in coverage, which for the most part is a mismatch.
21. Fred Davis, Wash-
-Fred Davis is coming off a major injury, but appears to possibly be ready to start the season. Though the Redskins aren’t a throwing team, Davis could potentially end up with the 2nd or 3rd most targets on the team, and given his strong yards per catch could pick up a lot of yards. Touchdowns are a big issue with Davis as he hasn’t shown himself to be a real red zone threat just yet.
22. Coby Fleener, Ind-
-Despite the fact that Dwayne Allen figures to be the primary TE option in Indy, Fleener could be a nice weapon as well. The Colts replaced Bruce Arians with Pep Hamilton, the Stanford offensive coordinator so you know that the tight ends figured to be featured prominently in the offense. The team has also said they will look to split Fleener out wide more and give him additional opportunities. With Donnie Avery gone, the Colts will likely move some of those targets to their tight ends.
23. Brent Celek, Phi-
-Though he isn’t a guy you necessarily want starting, Celek could be an interesting number two tight end option and a guy to watch for next year. Even with the additions of James Casey and Zach Ertz, Celek figures to be the primary tight end option. He might not put up the 800-900 yards he used to put up, but 500-600 is still possible.
24. Zach Miller, Sea-
-Miller has been a bust so far in Seattle, but he seemed to pick it up late in the year last season and could be an interesting guy to watch. The Seahawks figure to throw the ball a little bit more and with the way TE’s are being featured with some other read option teams there is some real potential here. Also don’t forget that back in Oakland Miller was a pretty good tight end, and he didn’t have near the level of quarterback play that he does now in Seattle.
25. Jordan Cameron, Cle-
-Cameron has sleeper tight end written all over him, as he’s young is figured to be featured prominently in this new offense and has impressive size and speed. The question is though will he truly get the targets needed to be a quality tight end. Given the track record of Cleveland’s new offensive coaches, I would say yes, but it is far from a lock.
26. Tyler Eifert, Cin-
-Eifert was the top tight end in the draft, but his fantasy value could be limited with Jermaine Gresham in Cincinnati. Gresham was 2nd on the team with 94 targets last season and while Eifert is unlikely to match that number with Gresham still there, he should end up being the top TE on the team. He is an interesting sleeper tight end given his potential, but just might lack the opportunities this season.
27. Jacob Tamme, Den-
-Tamme has a long history with Peyton Manning and did catch over 50 passes last season, but his fantasy value had to take a hit with the addition of Wes Welker. Tamme was third on the team last year with 85 targets, but that number could easily fall by 30 this season. Now if the Broncos increase their total attempts from 588 to say 700, then perhaps his targets won’t fall quite as drastically, but it is definitely a situation to avoid if possible.
28. Zach Ertz, Phi-
-Ertz was one of the top tight ends in the draft and has the speed and catching ability to be a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses. With Brent Celek already there it is hard to know how many opportunities Ertz will get, but it is doubtful the Eagles drafted him to ride the bench. Chip Kelly’s offense is a bit of a question mark, but Ertz should carve out a niche in whatever they look to implement. He’s a bit of a wildcard pick and could make a nice sleeper tight end.
29. Tony Scheffler, Det-
-Though Scheffler is firmly behind Pettigrew among Detroit’s tight ends, the Lions figure to be among the league leaders in attempts this year. While Calvin Johnson, Pettigrew and Reggie Bush could be the primary beneficiaries, Scheffler could end up with 70-80 targets, and 400-550 yards. Touchdowns are a bit of a concern after he only had one last season, but he had six in just 26 catches the year before.
30. Jermaine Gresham, Cin-
-Though Gresham is coming off a career high in yards and catches, his fantasy value is very much in question with the drafting of TE Tyler Eifert in the first round. Gresham has never been a big yards per catch tight end and is more of a guy relying on a large number of targets. Though the Bengals will likely increase their share of two tight end sets and tight end targets, it could be tough to get enough opportunities for Gresham to have much fantasy value.