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Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings

1. Jason Witten- The best all around TE in real football,and the most solid in fantasy football. Romo's go to guy when in trouble.The Dallas O-line is built to run block and often leaves Romo running for his life, and Witten is usually there to bail him out. Will never be a burner, but is smart, tough , generally plays through injuries ,and is sure handed. Sneaky quick and finds the holes in the coverage with regularity. Even the growth of Martellus Bennett doesn't keep Witten from being the surest thing of all the top TE's. With Romo no longer having to force the ball to TO all the time, Witten should even get more plays designed for him around the goal line this year. 900-1050 yards and 6-10 TD's

2. Tony Gonzalez- Future HOFer has shown no signs of slowing down, but is with a new franchise for the first time in his long career. Great hands, precise routes, and catches the ball at its highest point as well as anyone. Its not like he hasn't played for team that prefers to run the ball before, but this time he won't be the # 1 receiving option. Has made himself into a above average run blocker, and that was part of the reason ATL was willing to give up a first day pick for him. Blocked a lot in the preseason, but I still expect him to have good fantasy season. Was by the far the most targeted TE in the NFL last year but won't get as many balls thrown his way this year. Only the uncertainty of moving to new town , with a new system, a new QB,and not being the main receiving option for the first time in his career keeps him from the 1 # spot. 850-1050 yards and 5-10 TD's

3.Dallas Clark- Had the 4th most balls thrown his way among TE's last year, despite missing a full game and parts of others. Is an average( but willing ) blocker so its not necessary to take him off the field much, but always seems to be banged up. In spite of that he is basically a big WR that is often being covered by LB's. This mismatch combined with a growing chemistry with Peyton, and the departure of Harrsion means that Clark could have an even better year in 09. Thats a lot of variables and realistically any of the top 7 TE's on this list could end up # 1 when its all over. However, short of Gates ,Clark has the biggest upside from a fantasy perspective.
800-1000 yards and 5-10-TD's

4. Antonio Gates- Once the clear cut # 1 fantasy TE, and the heir to the Gonzalez throne as the premier receiving TE in the NFL, Gates has been beset by injuries the last few years. Despite playing almost every game every year, he always had avoided chronic or serious injury. Last year he developed turf toe ,which is a serious worry. This is the same injury that ended all time tough guy Jack Lambert's career, and slowed Deoin Sanders at the back end of his despite medical advances made since Lambert's retirement. We haven't heard the dreaded turf toe whispers this pre-season but he has missed 3 straight games with "general soreness" . Was only 6th among TE's in balls thrown his way last season. Even last year he was still of one of footballs best , and is a mismatch for anyone on the defensive side of the ball. Highest upside of anyone,but don't count on a return to the top of the heap. 800-1000 yards and 5-11 TD's.

5. Chris Cooley - Possibly the worst blocking starting NFL tight end I've ever seen. But, who cares when you are playing Fantasy Football? The only downside to his blocking, is that he will sometimes be taken off the field in short yardage situations. Similar to former Cowboy Jay Novacek, as he's a big WR who plays tight end. Unlike Novacek, Cooley tends to break more tackles and is better at getting extra yardage. Massive injuries to the WASH OL the last couple of years has made Cooley one of Campell's primary receiving targets. Since WA didn't really upgrade their OL this off season and many of the vet OL are a year older, expect this trend to continue this year. 800-950 YDs 4-8 TDs

6. Kellen Winslow - Subpar 08 ,but part of that can be blamed on Cleveland's sorry QB play and OL injuries . Will probably never repeat his 07 success, because he's never gonna have 150 balls thrown his way again. New team, new system, new QB and a strong running game all point to his numbers being somewhere in between 07 and 08. Tough after the catch, but needs work on consistency with his hands. Healthy so far and that's a key for him to have any chance of breaking into the top three. He has to be targeted at least 100 times to be a top 5 fantasy TE. 750-950 YDs 4-8 TDs

7. Owen Daniels - Break out campaign last season. Is expected to help draw double coverage away from Andre Johnson. Good hands and a smooth route runner, with a knack for the big play. His success will be tied to Schaub's health. Had 100 balls thrown his way last season. Should see similar success this year. Needs more looks in the red zone, but in the pre-season it appeared as though they are going to try to get him those look
8. Greg Olsen - The arrival of Cutler should vastly improve Olsen's numbers. First time in his NFL career he has a strong armed and accurate QB who can get the ball within catching range consistently. Explosive player and improving route runner with strong hands. Could be on the verge of a break out. 700-900 YDs 4-7 TDs

9. John Carlson - Complete TE who never needs to leave the field. Strong hands and will fight for the extra yardage. Potential for a break out is there, but the addition of TJ and the return of Burleson make it less likely. Has had a strong pre-season and all reports have him on the upswing. 700-900 YDs and 4-7 TDs

10. Dustin Keller - A good TE is a young QBs best friend. Sanchez has a lot to learn, but he's smart enough to know that Keller will be open underneath. Keller has big play capability and will benefit from a lack of a true number 1 receiver on the Jets. Still needs work as a blocker and all indications are the Jets will still be a a run first team under Rex Ryan. If he improves enough in the trenches his speed could be used to take advantage of defenses in play action more often. 600-800 YDs and 3-7 TD's

11. Jeremy Shockey - His penchant for alienating team mates is balanced by his elite talent. Is currently in a wide open passing attack, with a great QB, but is the 3rd receiving option (at best). In a free agent year and seems to be a selfish guy who would be greedy enough to only play his hardest when it would most benefit him. Suddenly, all of his little bumps and bruises will seem less important as he plays for a potential big contract. 600-800 YDs 3-7 TDs

12. Kevin Boss- lacks the explosion of his predecessor Shockey, but also isn't the disruptive locker room force Shockey was. Has developed into a solid target for Eli and I see no reason why he shouldn't keep getting better. However, the lack of a proven deep threat in NY could hamper his room to make plays underneath. Was a viable red zone target last season. The NYG always run first, and he will probably see less balls thrown his way than anyone in the top 15, but will see more red zone passes than many of them. 400-600 yards and 4-7 TD's

14. Visanthe Shiancoe- Had a good season last year with lesser Qb's and Favre will probably target him a lot early while he learns the offense. Could improve, but probably not a ton. Big play guy with a better QB in a strong offense, which makes him a possible # 1 TE and high end # 2 fantasy option. 500-700 yards and 4-7 TD's

14. Zack Miller - Only reliable and somewhat proven receiver for Russell. Miller bas been Russell's safety valve and should continue to be so . If Oakland's young offense improves, Miller will be one of the largest beneficiaries. Complete tight end, throwback type player. Think of a poor man's Witten. 700-850 YDs 3-5 TDs

15. Brent Celek - Came up big for Philly in the post season and the departure of LJ Smith only makes him a more attractive pick. Still relatively unproven and Donovan has always liked to throw to the tight end on 3rd down. Is not a a guy who is going to break a lot short throws into 50 yard TD's,but will move the chains, and be a reliable red zone target. 500-650 yards and 4-6 TD's

16. Brandon Pettigrew- Probaly the next great all around real life football TE. Not sure how many passes he will see, but he will make the most of them. Great blocker and the kind of guy who will move the chains. Will probably be the only Lions receiver who's numbers improve if/when Stafford takes over the starting QB role,as he will be the young QB's safety valve. Will probably be more like Heath Miller than Jason Witten this year, but hes got upside. 500-700 yards and 3-5 TD's


17.Anthony Fasano-Wildly inconsistent hands, and a better real life football player than fantasy guy, despite 7 TD's last season. All reports from the off season are that he has improved.Plays with a QB who needs to throw short passes,and that helps, but is only a # 2 fantasy TE. Had six 0 or 1 catch games last season. 400-500 yards and 4-6 TD's

18.Vernon Davis- The Nuke Laloosh of the NFL. Million dollar skills and a 5 cent head. If Singletary could straighten him out, he could be a top 5 TE (hasn't happened yet). Regressed last season,but has been targeted a lot in the pre season. Physical specimen , willing blocker,but makes a lot of mental errors. Also a tad injury prone and a discipline problem at times. Its up to him. Boom or bust again. 350-750 yards and 2-8 TD's

19. Heath Miller- Again a better real life football player than a Fantasy TE. Good red zone and short yardage 3rd down target. Almost as good a blocker as Witten, but lacks his ability to stretch the defense. If he was in a warm weather pass happy offense, he would probably get more credit. For fantasy purposes he's a solid # 2 TE. 450-600 yards and 3-6 TD's

20. Todd Heap- After a lost 07 Heap returned to play all 16 games last year, but seemed to have lost the extra gear that made him dangerous for fantasy purposes. Should benefit from Flaccos maturation process ,and while I don't see him ever being a top fantasy TE again, his numbers should improve enough to make him a solid # 2 again. 450-600 yards and 3-5 TD's

1 comment:

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