Saturday, March 30, 2013

Early 2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight End

1. Jimmy Graham
2. Rob Gronkowski
3. Aaron Hernandez

This trio is the clear-cut first tier of the tight end class for 2013. Jimmy Graham should put up numbers in 2013 similar to what he did in a healthy 2011 season thanks to the return of the Saints offensive mastermind Sean Payton.
With Wes Welker leaving town, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez should both expect to see an uptick in targets while Tom Brady and Danny Amendola work on their timing and chemistry. Both Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have proven to be great when on the field, however both have had their issues with inuries in the past. Hernandez to me has the highest potential (especially in PPR leagues) with the departure of Welker, but his risk could outweigh the potential. My advice would be to draft a solid backup if you were to take Hernandez (perhaps #15 Brandon Myers?).

4. Jason Witten
5. Kyle Rudolph
6. Vernon Davis
7. Tony Gonzalez
8. Martellus Bennett

The name that stands out most for me in this tier is Kyle Ruddolph. The guy is a beast to put it simply. He won the MVP award in last years Pro Bowl game and looked absolutely dominate with an elite QB throwing his way. The reason for him being in the second tier as opposed to where he rightfully belongs can be blamed on the current Vikings QB situation (see Christian Ponder). As you can see by my ranking, I'm expecting him to take a huge leap in his third year, regardless of the QB throwing to him.
Martellus Bennett is an interesting option with his move to Chicago. Jay Cutler isn't an upgrade on Eli Manning in any sense, but the Bears lack the weapons the Giants had in 2012. Bennett will now compete with Brandon Marshall for looks, whereas last season he was competing with both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. 

9. Dwayne Allen
10. Dennis Pitta
11. Greg Olsen
12. Owen Daniels

This tier breaks down ranks 9-12, which will be starters in the majority of twelve team leagues. One name that I am higher on than other analysts is Dwayne Allen. As a rookie he had 45 receptions, 521 yards and 3 TD's in 2012. I'm expecting him to take a step forward in his second season because of the promise and skill set he displayed as a rookie. Also, moving from a Bruce Arian's vertical attack to Pep Hamilton's west coast offense will translate to more looks for the tight ends.
Dennis Pitta might rise up draft boards as the off-season progresses thanks to the departure of Anquan Boldin. Just take a look at his postseason stats if you are skeptical as to his potential (14 receptions, 163 yards and 3 TD's), and remember that was WITH Boldin still on the roster.

Brandon Myers signed with the NY Giants

13. Antonio Gates
14. Jermaine Gresham
15. Brandon Myers
16. Brent Celek
17. Brandon Pettigrew
18. Jermichael Finley
19. Coby Fleener
20. Dustin Keller

The remaining tight ends are fringe starters and great options for bye week fill-ins. My choice for the tight end with the highest upside would be Brandon Myers. Last season he put up his best season as a pro with 79 receptions, 806 yards and 4 TD's. He was the lone bright spot in an otherwise atrocious Oakland offense. I think the move to the Giants both hurt and helped his stock at the same time. Myers will now have Eli Manning throwing to him instead of Carson Palmer (+), but he will have increased competition for looks thanks to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks (-). Overall I think the upgrade in offense and QB outweighs the negatives.


  1. Awesome, thanks for sharing! I will have to do a little more research so I can finally beat my boss!

  2. Keep checking back from now until your draft. We will be updating the ranks every few weeks as the off-season goes on. Thanks for the response!

  3. I was iffy on including him with Bradford as his QB. I'd like to see him in preseason action before I could recommend drafting him... for now let's say he's #21