Final Update September 1st, 2011: This is the final update regarding the 2011 crop pf fantasy football tight ends. if you have a specific question feel free to leave it below for me :)
- For those players who are about to experience change, I will highlight them in GREEN, and then include the change in question inside the blurb.
- A player with " U " next to their name signifies the most current update available.
When you are done with the tight ends,
Any specific questions you might have can always be left below as usual.
The Top Tier
|1. Antonio Gates – SD: Finished as a Top 4 TE for seven straight years. Coach Turner says he is healed, and the Chargers expect the “big season” in 2011 that he SHOULD’VE had in 2010. Get ready, kids!
|2. Jermichael Finley – GB: The Packers expect a ton of snaps for Finley, and Finley expects to have a monster season, and I agree. He should come as a dual qualifier at WR as a nice bonus.
|3. Jason Witten – DAL: Two straight years of over 1,000 plus yards; two straight years with 94 receptions, and the new primary red-zone focus for Dallas has Witten back in the limelight in 2011.
|4. Vernon Davis – SF: U - The 49ers will unveil a new West Coast Offense that is to benefit multiple players, like Michael Crabtree. But Vernon Davis also said this offense is very TE friendly. This could be the year he surpasses 1,000 yards and 10 TDs.
|5. Brandon Pettigrew – DET: Many feel Pettigrew isn’t yet a Top Tier TE, but the Lions are going to have to use Pettigrew more in the red-zone to offset the focus from Megatron. He is facing breakout status right now in 2011, don’t miss out.
|6. Dallas Clark – IND: Clark is nearly 100% healed from wrist surgery back in October, so it is safe to consider him a Top 10 TE. Be advised, though, you will not get the 2009 version of Clark who is now 32.
|7. Tony Gonzalez – ATL: This may be the last year for Gonzalez, but it should be a solid year for him non-the-less. Expect Gonzalez to start slow, but finish on a very high note.
|8. Owen Daniels – HOU: Daniels led the Texans in targets over the last four weeks of the 2010 season, and figures to be a big part of what the offense wants to do in 2011. But fantasy owners want to know for sure he is healthy from that hamstring and ACL injury. He’s still too risky right now to be any higher, but you could do a lot worse.
|9. Rob Gronkowski – NE: Gronkowski split time with Hernandez in the early goings, but proved himself the better TE and New England responded by giving him 756 snaps to Alge Crumpler’s 540 and Hernandez’s 486. Expect Gronkowski to still platoon early, but have a bigger role in 2011.
|10. Jimmy Graham – NO: Graham had 31 receptions as an ancillary player in the Saints’ offense. But at 6’8 260 pounds, you can expect Graham to be used much more by Brees and company in 2011. He is another sleeper candidate that will be covered more extensively by yours truly.
| 11. Zach Miller - SEA - U: Well, it means that Miller is not as valuable in Seattle as he was in Oakland.
Is Miller still a quality TE? Yes. Will Miller still produce in 2011? Yes.Seattle will have to show improvements in the ground game, O-line, and play at QB to suggest to me otherwise, THEN, they'll have to show that he will be a featured center piece in an already crowded receiver set to seal the deal.
Sorry fantasy fans, but at this point, Miller's days of a Top Tier fantasy TE are being threatened.
|12. Aaron Hernandez – NE: Hernandez will split, and lose, time with fellow TE Gronkowski.
|13.Kellen Winslow – TB: Winslow is had one of the best camps and preseasons of his career, and there seems to be no ill-effects from his knee. Winslow is still being projected as a late-round TE which means you could grab him for pennies on the dollar.
|14. Todd Heap - ARI:Heap now plays for a Cardinals' team that was desperate for a starting tight end and Arizona's newly tooled offense should help revitalize Heap's career just a little bit.The O-line has improved, Kevin Kolb has been added to the mix, Chansi Stuckey has been added as an additional weapon—all upgrades that will benefit Heap and his owners.
|15. Dustin Keller – NYJ: This ranking is tentative, until we see what the Jets do with the free agency market, and what they do with Braylon Edwards; two aspects that could hurt his value or boost it.
|16. Jermaine Gresham CIN: Gresham figures to see more action in 2011, especially in the red-zone. He could be a nice steal in the latter half of your fantasy football draft.
|17. Marcedes Lewis - JAX: he is coming off a great year, but it was a contract year. You should be leery of guys who play for pay raises only.
|18. Heath Miller – PIT: Don’t read too much into this ranking. The Steelers are poised to go more vertical which could hurt Miller in catches, but serve him better in the red-zone. If you grab him late, he would be a steal!
|19. Benjamin Watson – CLE: The Browns are without a true No. 1 receiver, and until that changes, Watson is the primary target with a lot of upside as a TE2 on your fantasy team.
|20. Tony Moeaki – KC: Moeaki played all three downs as a rookie in KC, and could be a bargain basement steal in most fantasy football drafts so keep yer traps shut when speaking to your friends, and draft him as a solid TE2…you’ll thank me later in the year, I promise.
5 Sleeping Giants?
21. Kevin Boss – OAK: Boss' injury was to his MCL not his ACL which means things could've been a lot worse.
He lost valuable time getting used to Jason Campbell, but should still figure to be a great goalline / red-zone threat in time.
It may take a few weeks, but Boss should rise to a quality TE 2 by mid-year and level out there.
22. Visanthe Shiancoe – MIN: The Vikings are going with more double TE sets, and plan on running the ball through Adrian Peterson who is the number one ranked running back by our own Greg Bosh.
Musgrave’s double TE approach worked like a dream in Atlanta, especially with a new quarterback, so there is plenty of potential upside here for ‘Shank’ who is usually good for 650+ yards and 6 TDs in any given season.
Kyle Rudolph may cut into his work a bit, though, which could hurt his 2011 fantasy football production.
23. Jared Cook – TEN: I see big things out of Cook this year, and so do the Titans coaching staff.
This is a guy who will be treated as a TE 2 in most draft, with TE1 potential. For more on Cook, come check out Jared Cook’s fantasy football sleeper value.
24. Greg Olsen - CAR: The Panthers ow have two legitimate threats at TE in Olsen and Shockey. But it is still way too early to move Olsen up any farther until I see exactly what Carolina plans to do with the two of them.
The other issue will be the inevitable shaky play at QB.
Still, Olsen has the size and pass-catching ability to suggest his fantasy stock is one the rise and he is in line to have a bounce-back season if all goes well.
25. Brent Celek – PHI: I would stay away from Brent Celek altogether in 2011.
Mike Vick is clearly considering his TEs his fourth and fifth receivers on the field as he passed to them just 16 percent of the time in 2010. And if that’s not bad, the Eagles used Celek more in blocking situations (127) last year than in 2009 (75).
In addition to those eye brow raising issues, the Eagles are poised to run more, and counter deep in situational passing; all the proper ingredients for a terrible year from Celek.
! More Risk Than Reward !
26. Chris Cooley – WSH: Cooley’s saving grace, and danger, is the fact that he is a TE in a pass-heavy offense with really bad receivers. The problem the danger out-weighs the grace by a mile.
For now take a tentative approach with him.
27. John Carlson - SEA - U: whatever potential Carlson had in Seattle is now gone with the arrival of Zach Miller, despite whatever OL coach Tom Cable says about using both TEs.
Yes, the Seahawks will utilize the double TE set like so many other teams this season, who do you think they will feature more?
- 28. Jacob Tamme - IN: Clark is back which puts Tamme on the bench. Not a fantasy option at this point.
- 29. Lance Kendricks - STL: There is reason to think that Kendricks could crack the rankings before opening day as he is being utilized in various positions in the offense, including WR which could translate into Kendricks also becoming a dual-qualifier, but more information is needed before that can happen.
- 30. Kyle Rudolph - MIN: Rudolph is expected to climb in the rankings before opening day with McNabb at the helm and Musgrave using the double TE sets. Stay tuned!
- 31. Jeremy Shockey - CA - U - With the arrival of Greg Olsen, it appears as if Shockey's workload will be split—or worse, heavily reduced than what we originally thought—cutting his value down significantly. Standard league owners now stand as the only ones who have a chance to benefit from Shockey's services, and that may be on a limited basis.
- 32. Shawn Nelson - BUF: Chan Gailey rarely utilizes the TE in his passing schemes and that won't change much in 2011.