Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fantasy Football: Tight End Rankings

Here are your Joe & Joe Sports top 15 tight ends for the 2008 fantasy football season. (These rankings assume 10 rushing/receiving yards per point, 6 points per rushing/receiving TD).
  1. Antonio Gates - I'm sorry, I'm not in a rush to dethrone Gates as the #1 tight end like everyone else. He's still more athletic than anyone at the position, and he's still the most important receiver in his offense. Don't try to talk yourself out of taking Gates; he's still the best in the business.
  2. Kellen Winslow, Jr. - Winslow has become more and more important to what the Browns do on offense over the past couple of years, and he figures to continue to build on his stellar performance in 2007. If there's one piece of his game that needs work, it's his ability to factor into the red zone offense, but he's too big and strong to have trouble working that into his repertoire. Look forward to 90 catches and 1200+ yards.
  3. Jason Witten - Witten really exploded onto the scene last year. After back-to-back seasons around 65 catches and 750 yards, he shined through as Tony Romo's go-to receiver. I expect Witten to put up numbers that would be worthy of starting at WR, which means he's better than most tight ends.
  4. Tony Gonzalez - I'll admit it, I was among those who thought Gonzalez was ready to fall off in a bad way. Gonzalez answered with one of his best seasons, posting 99 catches and 1172 yards. Still, I think he's closer to the player he seemed to be becoming than that, and I figure him for more like 80 catches, 1000 yards, and 6 TDs. Not bad at all for a tight end.
  5. Jeremy Shockey - While Shockey seems to have a volatile personality and an unpredictable track record, he's got a ton of talent. He'll also be looking to prove that the Giants made a mistake, and he's got a strong offense to work with, including an elite QB in Drew Brees. I expect Shockey to rejoin the ranks of the elite tight ends.
  6. Chris Cooley - I think Cooley and Dallas Clark are similar in value, but I'd be surprised to see Cooley not improve in his second year with Jason Campbell. Campbell still has trouble with his timing, and that's less important when you're dumping it off to the tight end; head coach Jim Zorn knows this too, and will probably call for a lot of passes to the tight end. Also, Cooley is a great red zone tight end, and a Redskin, so he benefits from hometown bias.
  7. Dallas Clark - If you think Clark will grab 11 TDs again, you're a fool. Harrison should be healthy, and he traditionally gets a lot of red zone looks. Still, Clark established himself as a reliable option, and Manning makes any receiver worth owning.
  8. Owen Daniels - Don't be surprised if Daniels ends up with 1000 yards receiving in 2008. He doesn't have the nose for the goal line that some of the higher-ranked TEs have, but he's a very solid receiver on a team lacking options past Andre Johnson.
  9. Vernon Davis - He's allegedly the next big thing at the tight end position. He showed flashes of brilliance, and if Mike Martz is able to take advantage of his athleticism, Davis could be a surprise top 5 TE this year.
  10. Heath Miller - The Steelers have become a 50/50 split team, rather than the run-first juggernaut they've been in the past, and Miller is among the beneficiaries. He's got a good sense for getting open in the end zone, and he should provide owners with good, if erratic, production.
  11. Todd Heap - Not too long ago, Heap was in that top level with guys like Gonzalez, Gates, and Shockey. But last year he missed 10 games, and his production was way down in the games he did play in. Still, he's a solid receiving talent on a team without much of it, so he should be a decent low-end option.
  12. Alge Crumpler - We all remember Crumpler's days as a premier tight end when he was Michael Vick's favorite target. While Vince Young is a different kind of QB than Vick was, they're similar enough that it's not unreasonable to think Crumpler could experience a revival in Tennessee.
  13. Tony Scheffler - While Scheffler didn't start factoring into the passing game until a quarter of the season was gone, he became a solid producer almost immediately once he was given opportunities. Jay Cutler found him 5 times for TDs, and Scheffler established himself as a solid fantasy option. Don't overpay for him (read: draft him in the last three rounds if at all), but he could be a solid source of points this season.
  14. Greg Olsen - Olsen has got a lot of talent, and with Kyle Orton as the QB over Grossman, there will probably be more opportunities for the tight ends in this offense to be successful. He's still raw, but he could blossom into a fantasy starter this year.
  15. Zach Miller - Oakland's offense isn't exactly daunting, but they should be alright this season with a couple of key additions (Javon Walker, Darren McFadden). Miller should do as well as most TEs, and be a nice option during your starter's bye week, or if some tool in your league drafted multiple elite TEs and you have a thin field.

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