NFL Free Agency 2011: Top 5 Tight Ends and Their Future

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The free agency market regarding the TEs this year is pretty cut and dry: five really good players and at least 25 ancillary players nobody really cares about.

But just like we found out in my Top 5 Free Agent WRs and Top 5 Free Agent RBs, not everyone on the market is necessarily a worthy top fantasy football selection, despite last year’s performance.

This year I want to take a look at the five most popular players in the free agency market and what their current status is, and what it all means from a fantasy football perspective for the upcoming 2011 season.

Owen Daniels – Texans:

Daniels has been locked up by the Texans for four years to the tune of $22 million dollars, which is great news for Daniels himself.

This is also fantastic news for fantasy football owners who will be looking for advice on what to do with him.

So here’s some early advice (see how easy that was?).

Daniels was a Pro-Bowl TE in 2008 before his devastating ACL injury in 2009, and he was slow to recover in 2010, so some of you might see him as a risk.

Not so.

In his final month, Daniels averaged six catches for just under 70 yards and two TDs clearly putting any worries to rest last year.

Daniels might still be undervalued, though, which means you could draft him cheaper than you might think in your 2011 fantasy football draft if you’re clever enough.

He remains a top tier TE in my book.


Evan Moore – Browns:

You want to know what’s great about poor blocking tight ends like Owen Daniels or Evan Moore? They are treated more like receivers, and the league in a whole is making a bigger shift towards pass-catching TEs such as Moore and Daniels.

Yes, that means pass-catching TEs hold more value than the past few fantasy football seasons, with their stock steadily rising.

Anyone who suggests otherwise hasn’t been paying attention over the past few years.

Moore played on the outside 87 percent of the time he was on the field—ya know, where a WR usually plays—meaning his value is certainly there to make the case for a solid top tier TE.

His stat line suggests otherwise (16 receptions for 322 yards and a single TD in 12 games played) but he was only thrown to in EIGHT of those 12 games played.

If there is anyone who will be severely undervalued on draft day, it will be Moore, and you could feasibly make a case for grabbing him early.

But let’s wait and see how camp goes first.


Marcedes Lewis – Jaguars:

Last year was a banner year for Lewis as he racked up 700 yards on 58 catches and 10 TDs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you rush to the draft board and make him your first TE selection.

Up until last year—his CONTRACT year, mind you—Lewis was a little less than an average fantasy football TE, so take his 2010 performance with a grain of salt, as there are far more reliable options in your draft.

Lewis will remain in Jacksonville, and personally I am always leery of guys who suddenly do well in a contract year, so I would err to caution with Lewis.


Zach Miller – Raiders:

Miller’s future will become clearer when the CBA talks work themselves out and here’s why:

Under the proposed new laws, the Raiders would have a better chance of slapping the franchise tag on him, elevating their chances of keeping him—which they want to do.

But if Miller becomes a restricted free agent, he and his new agent could open the doors of opportunity on top of whatever the Raiders offer.

Either way, Miller is a top notch TE that deserves a watchful eye as the season approaches, just don’t be that homer who accidently draft Jacksonville’s TE Zach Miller, thinking you’re getting this guy, which I have seen happen personally.


Kevin Boss – Giants:

The likelihood of Kevin Boss going anywhere is very low, so expect him to stay in New York. And for those of you wondering how his recovery from hip surgery is going, Boss himself has said his recovery is “coming along real well”.

"I've been rehabbing, and that’s pretty much been my whole offseason, trying to get back to 100%," he said. "With the way the lockout has gone on, it’s been nice because I've been able to work with a hip specialist so I can get this thing 100% before we get back to work. I'm still not cleared to go 100% yet, but I’m out there doing what I can," he said. "I'm just a couple weeks away from being able to go full speed."NY Daily News

Boss should be perfectly fine before the start of the 2011 NFL season and 2011 fantasy football season, and remains a top end middle range TE.