2013 Fantasy Football: Top 10 TEs

Dereck E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

Rankings: Top 10 TEs
By Mora Best
This week was time to evaluate one of the most up and coming positions in fantasy football: the Tight End (TE). Every year I target a top TE and it ends up paying off high dividends come fantasy playoffs. However the depth has grown considerably over the last five years making it also easier to snatch up an early to mid-season free agent waiver wire pick up that may end up catapulting your team into greatness. Either way the days of neglecting your TE position are long gone as some TE’s lead their perspective teams in fantasy points! The first name up on this list is an example of such…

  1. My Ranking: Jimmy Graham
He is the equivalent to the Calvin Johnson of the TEs: MegaGraham. I drafted him in 3 out of my 4 leagues last year and he proved many of the people wrong who said he was not worth late first, early second round value. He finished second of all tight ends in Targets (Tgt), total yards, Yards / Game (Y/G) and Touchdowns (TDs). He also finished third in receptions of all TEs with 85. Jimmy is hands down the top fantasy TE heading into this year.
  1. My Ranking: Aaron Hernandez
For the last few years Aaron Hernandez has been ranked in the second to third round in most fantasy drafts and I have continued to pass up on him feeling I can find better value elsewhere. However this year with Wes Welker leaving town and Gronkowski having injury reports on every piece of flesh on his body, Aaron stands a good chance to have a lot of balls thrown his way. However he too has to find a way to remain healthy as he only played 10 games last year. Nonetheless I believe Aaron should finally be worth that second round tag this year.
  1. My Ranking: Jason Witten
Jason Witten is what I like to call an old reliable. He may not be the fanciest fantasy football TE, but guarantee you he will perform year in and year out. I have had him in past years and he never disappoints. This year is no different as he follows up on his 2012 campaign in which he led all TEs in receptions (110), targets (148) and yards (1039); he was the ONLY TE to have a 1, 000 yard year.
  1. My Ranking: Vernon Davis
As a childhood Forty-Niner fan I can tell you Vernon Davis is prime for a breakout year. I know some people are amazed that I not only ranked him above Tony G, but also above the beloved Rob Gronkowski. Give me a second to explain my premise though… With no Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis will easily be Kaepernick’s number one target this upcoming year. Also I guarantee, pending an injury free season, an improvement upon his 70 reception, 785 yard and six TDs 2012 season. With this being said, he will also easily become a top four fantasy football TE. You don’t have to buy in, but I’M SOLD!!!
  1. My Ranking: Rob Gronkowski
Similar to his partner Aaron Hernandez, every year Gronkowski is ranked very high in fantasy football drafts; reaching as high as mid first round in some leagues. It always amazes me because not only is he sharing a field with Aaron Hernandez, but he seems to find his way on the injury report way too much for my liking. I admit though, leading the NFL of all TEs in Touchdowns in only 11 games is bad ass… truly (11 TDs). Still with him facing elbow and back injuries while training camp is nearly around the corner, I’m not touching him in any of my drafts. He is the definition of high risk, high reward.
  1. My Ranking: Tony Gonzalez
Tony Gonzalez is another guy who fits under my “old reliable” label. He found some type of resurgence in his career last year though as he was top three in receptions (93), targets (124), yards (930) and TDs (8). It came out of nowhere for me as I expected him to retire after last year. Obviously this is not the case and if he is lurking around the mid-rounds in your draft, snatch him up with confidence knowing he is Matt Ryan’s safety net.
  1. My Ranking: Dennis Pita
Honestly I had high expectations for Pita heading into last year, even picking him up in a league. He had a good year with 61 receptions, 669 yards and seven touchdowns. He showed sparks of being able to carry the Ravens offense at times, but he is so inconsistent that I am not sure he is ready to catapult to the next level in the way I’m sure Vernon Davis is. Nonetheless like Vernon Davis, ex-teammate Anquan Boldin is now in San Francisco leaving that many more targets on the field for Pita in Baltimore. Let’s see what he does with it.
  1. My Ranking: Kyle Rudolph
I read that Kyle Rudolph was the Pro Bowl MVP this past year… Excuse me as I yawn myself to sleep because that is about as relevant as the sky being blue in terms of fantasy. Not that he isn’t extremely talented in his own right but let’s be serious; I’m surprised he was even IN the Pro Bowl game. He did tie with Jimmy Graham for second of all TEs in Touchdowns with though. Also his Quarterback Christian Ponder is improving every year so it’s not insane to think Rudolph improves his production from 53 receptions to maybe 60 and from 493 yards to around 600… However until he does it though, I won’t be drafting him as my number one fantasy TE.
  1. My Ranking: Greg Olsen
Greg has quickly become one of Cam Newton’s favorite targets after Steve Smith. He may not be an elite fantasy TE, but he is pretty much set in his role in the Panther offense. This means he should remain a top 10 TE fantasy option this year too with Cam most likely having a bounce back season.
  1. My Ranking: Antonio Gates
The regression of Antonio Gates hurts me dearly to the heart. Last year I heard that his foot had finally healed; but to no avail his production is nowhere close to where it was when he was the top TE of the field for years straight in the past. With the potential of an Antonio Gates though, how far are you really ready to let him slip? Don’t be silly, he’s still 50 receptions, over 500 yards and around 8 TDs every year. Draft with caution, but with the understanding that he is still worth your draft pick.

Honorable Mention: Owen Daniels
Owen Daniels is another TE who used to be an elite fantasy option, but has allowed injuries to tear his ability down. As he and Andre Johnson age, they seem to feel the natural gravity of being over 30 years old. Jokes aside though, he produced last year locking in 16 games too (The most impressive of it all). 62 receptions, 104 targets, 716 yards and 6 TDs was his 2012 stat line and I see him having an equal amount of production this year. Thus he earns the honorable mention title as he may very easily again become a top 10 TE in fantasy football.

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