Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Offseason Extra: Top 12 TEs for 2012

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

One of the biggest questions facing Fantasy owners heading into 2012 will be when to draft Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots tight end could have a significant impact on Draft Day.

Gronkowski just finished one of the best seasons ever for a tight end. He had 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns, which set the NFL record for tight ends, and he added a rushing touchdown for good measure. He now has 28 touchdowns in two seasons and should continue to post outstanding stats in his third year.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

But is Gronkowski really worth a first- or second-round pick in standard leagues? That's the decision owners will have to make on Draft Day, especially the aggressive ones who like to be proactive and not follow the formula of taking running backs with your first two picks.

This season, the first tight end drafted was Antonio Gates in Round 4, and that's typically when most tight ends are taken -- when the run starts. Two tight ends were drafted in Round 4 (Gates and Jason Witten) and two were taken in Round 5 (Dallas Clark and Jermichael Finley).

Gronkowski has proven to be an elite Fantasy option, and he had 233 Fantasy points this year. He would have been the No. 5 running back this season based on Fantasy points behind Ray Rice (285), LeSean McCoy (270), Maurice Jones-Drew (249) and Arian Foster (238) and the No. 2 receiver behind Calvin Johnson (254). All of those players are projected as first-round picks in the majority of leagues, so why not Gronkowski?

By taking Gronkowski early -- and the suggestion here is to draft him in Round 2 -- you lock up the best player at his position, and you should dominate the tight end spot every week. Gronkowski finished 46 Fantasy points better than the No. 2 tight end, Jimmy Graham.

But there is some risk involved with drafting Gronkowski early. What if he struggles? Of the Top 4 tight ends drafted, only Finley finished as a Top 5 option. Part of the reason Gronkowski was so amazing was because of his value since he was drafted in Round 9. Graham also was a Draft Day steal since he went in Round 7.

The Patriots could also improve their receiving corps, which would cut into Gronkowski's targets (he had 124 this year). Assuming that Wes Welker re-signs with the Patriots as expected, New England can also add another receiver to upgrade over free agent Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco, who will likely be released.

Tom Brady won't go away from Gronkowski, but with Welker, Aaron Hernandez and another legitimate weapon, Gronkowski might not score 18 touchdowns again, which would hurt his value, especially if he was drafted in Round 1. It's just something to consider.

You can also wait until Round 3 to take Graham, who is only going to improve as well, or load up at other positions and then draft a tight end later. You can take Hernandez or Gates in Round 4 or Witten, Vernon Davis or Finley in Round 5. The choice is yours on how you want to build your team.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

As for Gronkowski, he has played himself into first-round consideration. While we don't recommend drafting him in Round 1, don't be surprised when he comes off the board early in Round 2. We just hope he doesn't falter heading into the third year of his career.

Top 12 Tight Ends for 2012

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2011 stats: 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns (124 targets); rushing touchdown
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 233 (14.6)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 106 overall (Round 9)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 15 overall (Round 2)
Gronkowski wasn't just good in the regular season, but he was also a star in the playoffs with 17 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns against Denver, Baltimore and the Giants. His magical season didn't end the way he hoped because an ankle injury ruined his Super Bowl appearance. He had surgery on his injured ankle five days after Super Bowl XLVI, so he should be 100 percent come August. He now has 28 total touchdowns in two seasons and unless the Patriots significantly improve their receiving corps, he should remain a top target for Brady and the No. 1 tight end in Fantasy leagues. He is worth drafting in Round 2.


2012 sleeper TEs
Jared Cook, Titans
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Evan Moore, Browns

2. Jimmy Graham, Saints
2011 stats: 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns (149 targets); one fumble
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 187 (11.7)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 84 overall (Round 7)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 26 overall (Round 3)
Graham was a star this past season with double digits in Fantasy points in 11 games, and he led all tight ends in targets. He might present great value on Draft Day since most owners will reach for Gronkowski in the early part of Round 2, and Graham will be there for you most likely at the beginning of Round 3. To give you an idea, Graham would have been the No. 5 receiver this season based on Fantasy points behind Johnson, Jordy Nelson (210), Welker (206) and Victor Cruz (198). Graham could benefit greatly if Marques Colston and Robert Meachem both leave as free agents, but even if they stay we know Drew Brees will continue to look for Graham often, which is why he is a star Fantasy option in 2012.

3. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
2011 stats: 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns (112 targets); five carries for 45 yards; one fumble
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 127 (9.1)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 126 overall (Round 11)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 37 overall (Round 4)
Hernandez didn't have the same consistent season this year that Gronkowski or Graham did, but he was still a quality Fantasy option and finished as the No. 3 tight end in standard leagues. We hope Hernandez can remain healthy all year because he has missed at least two games in each of his first two seasons, but he was dominant in the playoffs with double digits in Fantasy points against Denver and the Giants. Like Gronkowski, Hernandez will benefit if the Patriots don't significantly upgrade their receiving corps, but he should remain a favorite target for Brady since he could do so many things, including take carries out of the backfield as a running back.

4. Antonio Gates, Chargers
2011 stats: 64 catches for 778 yards and seven touchdowns (90 targets)
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 115 (8.8)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 37 overall (Round 4)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 40 overall (Round 4)
Gates could easily re-emerge as the No. 1 tight end in all leagues, especially if Vincent Jackson leaves as a free agent, but health has been his biggest detractor. He missed three games this season and hasn't played in 16 games since 2009. We hope he will be 100 percent to start the 2012 season, but you never know with his nagging foot problems. If he does play 16 games he will present tremendous value since he's capable of reaching 75 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. And if Jackson is gone, we could see Gates post huge stats since he was a tremendous force in 2010 when Jackson was out for most of the season due to a contract dispute.


2012 bust TEs
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
Owen Daniels, Texans
Kellen Winslow, Bucs

5. Jason Witten, Cowboys
2011 stats: 79 catches for 942 yards and five touchdowns (117 targets)
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 117 (7.3)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 47 overall (Round 4)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 51 overall (Round 5)
Witten took a step back this season in his production as his catches, yards and touchdowns all declined from 2010 (94 catches, 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns). It could be a result of Tony Romo spreading the ball around to Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson, or Witten could be slowing down after nine seasons. We're not concerned about Witten heading into 2012 since he remains close with Romo, and Robinson might not return as a free agent. Witten might not be in the class of Gronkowski or Graham, but he should continue to catch 75-plus passes for 900-plus yards and five-plus touchdowns. That makes him a Top 5 tight end on my board, and I'll be happy to draft him in Round 5.

6. Vernon Davis, 49ers
2011 stats: 67 catches for 792 yards and six touchdowns (94 targets); one fumble
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 105 (6.6)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 61 overall (Round 6)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 55 overall (Round 5)
Davis was a beast in the playoffs with four touchdowns against the Saints and Giants in two games. It made up for an inconsistent regular season when he had seven games with double digits in Fantasy points and nine games with five points or less. The key for Davis could be who his quarterback is with Alex Smith a free agent. Smith has been good for Davis and vice versa since they are both at their best when he is getting Davis the ball. Still, we'd like to see Davis play with an elite quarterback (Peyton Manning perhaps), and his value could easily surpass Witten on Draft Day. I would move Davis ahead of Witten if he gets an upgrade at quarterback because his play during the postseason was inspiring.

7. Jermichael Finley, Packers
2011 stats: 55 catches for 767 yards and eight touchdowns (93 targets)
2011 Fantasy points (average): 118 (7.4)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 55 overall (Round 5)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 64 overall (Round 6)
Finley's Fantasy value is up in the air since he's a free agent this offseason and could leave Green Bay if he doesn't get the franchise tag. We'd like Finley to remain with the Packers because it's a tight end-friendly offense with a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. He could also look to play in Miami with former offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, but where Finley ends up will determine how good he can be, as well as his health. He played 16 games this season for the first time in his career and posted new highs in catches, yards and touchdowns as he finished as a Top 5 tight end in standard leagues. If he plays 16 games with any team he should remain a Top 10 option in all formats and is worth drafting by Round 6.


2012 rookies to watch
Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Coby Fleener, Stanford
Orson Charles, Georgia

8. Brent Celek, Eagles
2011 stats: 62 catches for 811 yards and five touchdowns (96 targets)
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 105 (6.6)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 143 overall (Round 12)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 76 overall (Round 7)
Celek had a revival for Fantasy owners this season after he disappeared in 2010. Michael Vick said before the year he would get Celek more involved, and it showed with five games with double digits in Fantasy points, including three in a row to close the season. He could benefit if DeSean Jackson leaves as a free agent, which would give Celek more targets. He will remain risky since Fantasy owners don't fully trust him after what happened in 2010 and he has to stay healthy after having minor hip surgery in the offseason. But we can see Celek finishing as a Top 10 tight end in 2012, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick.

9. Fred Davis, Redskins
2011 stats: 59 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns (88 targets); one fumble
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 90 (7.5)
2011 Average Draft Position: Not drafted in the majority of leagues
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 85 overall (Round 8)
Davis is a free agent this offseason, but he's expected to return to the Redskins after he was suspended for the final four games this year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He was off to a great start prior to the suspension with at least nine Fantasy points in seven games. Based on his average, he would have finished with 120 Fantasy points, which would have made him a Top 5 tight end. We're not sure if he can reach that level again, especially if Chris Cooley remains with the Redskins and depending on the quarterback, but he has Top 10 potential and is worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick as a starter.

10. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
2011 stats: 80 catches for 875 yards and seven touchdowns (116 targets)
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 123 (7.7)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 100 overall (Round 9)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 97 overall (Round 9)
Gonzalez is a tight end I would try to avoid because he's going to be 36 in 2012 and is nearing the end of his career. He was great at times this season with double digits in Fantasy points in five games, but he was miserable down the stretch with a combined 13 Fantasy points in his final five outings. With Roddy White still No. 1 in targets in the NFL, and the continued development of second-year receiver Julio Jones, Gonzalez will be the third option in the passing game. That's not a terrible place to be, especially with Matt Ryan playing well, but don't reach for Gonzalez before Round 8. He is not going to finish as a Top 5 tight end again like he did this season and might fall out of the Top 10 if White and Jones dominate the offense as expected.

11. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
2011 stats: 83 catches for 777 yards and five touchdowns (126 targets)
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 99 (6.2)
2011 Average Draft Position: No. 117 overall (Round 10)
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 106 overall (Round 9)
Pettigrew showed that he can be a successful Fantasy option with Matthew Stafford finally staying healthy all year. Pettigrew had at least nine Fantasy points in seven games and he closed the season with double digits in Fantasy points in three of his final four outings. He needs to be more consistent since he had eight games with five Fantasy points or less, and he struggled outdoors with only one game with double digits in Fantasy points in Week 17 at Green Bay. But Pettigrew is worth drafting as a starting option, especially if you wait to select a tight end with a late-round pick.

12. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
2011 stats: 56 catches for 596 yards and six touchdowns (92 targets); one fumble
2011 Fantasy points (weekly average): 87 (6.2)
2011 Average Draft Position: Not drafted in the majority of leagues
2012 Projected Average Draft Position: No. 112 overall (Round 10)
There are several tight ends who could be drafted in this spot, including Clark, Dustin Keller, Jared Cook, Owen Daniels and Kellen Winslow. But all of them have flaws, while Gresham should continue to improve heading into his third season. He developed a solid rapport with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, and he should be the No. 2 target for the Bengals in 2012 behind receiver A.J. Green. Gresham missed two games due to injury this year, and if he hit his average he would have been the No. 11 tight end. He should finish around the same spot in 2012, but he can improve if he shows more consistency. We expect that to happen, and he's a tremendous value with a late-round pick on Draft Day.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Titans WR Hakeen Nicks seeking comeback season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:28 pm ET) Fading wide receiver Hakeem Nicks claims he can still be the premier player he was with the Giants now that he is wearing a Titans uniform. But he also understands that he must prove it.

"(I'm) motivated, determined and ready to work," he told The Tennessean. "I am ready to bring it all and lay it on the line, man. I just want to get back in the rhythm of being talked about as one of the best receivers in the league, as I was in the past. ... I need to go out there and prove it. No need to say words."

Nicks enjoyed successive 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 and tallied 24 touchdowns in his first three years in the NFL. But he faded to the point in which he caught a career-low 38 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.

"I feel like where I am at in my career - I just turned 27 - I feel like I still have a lot in my tank," he said. "I wanted to go somewhere and prove I can still be a No. 1 receiver and be the guy I was in the past, statistically and being a guy that likes to make plays and be on the feld consistently.

"With six years of experience, playoff experience and a Super Bowl, I thnk I can definitely bring (leadership) to a team. And I want to compete for Super Bowl teams here."


Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles wants to play another six years
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(1:45 pm ET) Jamaal Charles is 29 but hasn't showed any signs of slowing down. 

In his battle to prove that you can hit the 30-year mark in age and still be a capable running back in the NFL, Charles said it's his goal to continue playing this game for an additional half-decade.

“I want to play another six years so, my form is to keep on taking my diet," Charles said, via the Chiefs' official team site. "I’m seeing guys at 37 or 38 still playing football in the trenches and that’s somewhere where you don’t want to play. So I just want to change the game with the running backs. I want this to last longer and then when I retire, I’ll be happy with where I end my career at.”

Charles ran for 1,033 yards and nine touchdowns while going for 291 receiving yards and five touchdowns. 


Eagles' Chip Kelly on Tim Tebow: 'He's a quarterback'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:29 pm ET) There's no longer a mystery as to what the Eagles brought Tim Tebow in to do. He's a quarterback.

Coach Chip Kelly said the team is not looking for Tebow to play another position, per NFL.com.

"He's a quarterback," Kelly said. "That's how we're looking at Timmy. We're not looking at him at any other position."

Kelly emphasized that Tebow has improved behind center.

"You guys will see him today. Watch him throw. I think he's improved," Kelly said of Tebow. "He's spent a lot of time in the last few years in terms of working on his game."

Tebow hasn't played in the NFL since 2012.


Kelly: 'We've to plenty of time' to wait for Eagles QB Sam Bradford
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:20 pm ET) Chip Kelly has stated that Eagles presumed starting quarterback Sam Bradford must get back on the field and prove something before he is proclaimed as such.

It hasn't happened yet. He was limited in workouts this spring and has been absent from OTA drills, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. Chief competitor Mark Sanchez has recieved the first-team reps instead.

Bradford is just nine months removed from a torn ACL, his second in two seasons. Kelly stated that Bradford is on schedule with his rehab and could do some 7-on-7 work next week.

"We've got plenty of time," Kelly added.


Russell Wilson's agent: Contract talks 'encouraging'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:11 pm ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has greatly outplayed his rookie contract and the two sides have been working on negotiations for some time. Mark Rodgers, his agent, has a positive outlook on the talks, per The Seattle Times.

“I would characterize our talks as ongoing, fluid, robust at times, thoughtful,” Rodgers said.  “And we’ve made progress. I would characterize them as positive and encouraging.”

Wilson's agent, Mark Rodgers, said that his client is prepared to play this season without a new deal despite the ongoing negotiations.

“There really are no deadlines,’’ Rodgers said. "Financially, we planned long-term for him to play for the $1.5 million dollars (in 2015). So there isn’t any expectation of additional money coming in from the Seattle Seahawks this coming year.’’

Wilson threw for 3,475 yards with 20 touchdowns last season, leading the Seahawks to their second-consecutive Super Bowl appearance.


Lions G Manny Ramirez ahead of Laken Tomlinson on first unit
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:03 pm ET) Many believed that guard and first-round pick Laken Tomlinson was a shoo-in to start for the Lions this season.

Not so fast.

Fellow newcomer Manny Ramirez, for whom the team traded in a swap with Denver, began OTAs this week working with the first team. Tomlinson was on the second unit.

Jim Caldwell explained why, praising the 32-year-old Ramirez along the way.

"He's a guy that's certainly going to add some girth and power and experience in the (interior)," Caldwell told MLive.com. "But, also, you can just tell from a leadership standpoint, I mean, he's tremendous. Real solid guy, just a person that's well-rounded, has a good sense of what being a real pro is. ... I think you'll see some of that wear off on some of our younger guys."

Ramirez was a full-time starter with the Broncos in each of the last three seasons.


Packers OLB Julius Peppers sent home from OTA's with illness
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:55 pm ET) Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers was absent from organized team activities on Thursday, per Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Peppers was sent home because of an apparent illness before practice started for the day.


Healthy QB Tony Romo providing optimism for Cowboys
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) A Tony Romo ahead of the game is a rather scary thought for NFL defenses. But such is the case for the Cowboys quarterback, who for the first time in three years is healthy at this point in the offseason.

In 2013, he was recovering from the removal of cyst. Last year he was battling back from a discectomy. But he's fine now and is performing quite well.

"It's been great," Romo told ESPN. "I think just to be able to kind of have an offseason. You're always rehabbing, but at the same time, I'm kind of able to build during this offseason. It's exciting really."

It's more exciting considering he is coming off his finest year, which featured a league-best completion percentage (69.9) and passer rating (113.2) with 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

In training camp he never practiced more than two straight days, then sat out every Wednesday during the regular season. It remains to be seen if a healthy offseason translates into even better production for the 35-year-old Romo in 2015. The team will be careful in regard to his health.

"Tony's obviously further along," Jason Garrett said. "He didn't have an offseason surgery, so he was able to get a lot more things in our offseason program up to this point. ... You want to make sure you monitor him. ... He's handled everything we've asked him to do to this point really well."


WR Mike Wallace optimistic about fit in Vikings offense
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:38 pm ET) Vikings burner Mike Wallace has been in search of an offense that best fits his skill set since leaving Pittsburgh. He believes he has found one.

Wallace was stuck in a West Coast system in Miami, which resulted in two seasons with weaker numbers than he produced in his heyday with the Steelers. His 12.8 yards-per-catch average with the Dolphins was a far cry from the 17.2 he achieved previously. He caught 12 passes of 20-plus yards in Miami after snagging 44 in four years with Pittsburgh.

For a receiver that was clocked at 4.33 in the 40 in 2009, those statistics in Miami are unworthy of his speed. He is seeking a quarterback that can fire the ball downfield and will be given the freedom to do so. He is hoping it's Teddy Bridgewater. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner is vowing to cut the offense loose, which pleases Wallace.

"I think it's more so [like] my first four years, he told ESPN. "It's a vertical offense, [rather] than a short, West Coast offense. You go down the field a lot more here, more what I'm accustomed to."


Cowboys DE Greg Hardy appeals 10-game suspension
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:29 pm ET) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and his representatives made an appearance in Washington D.C. this morning to argue in favor of reducing or overturning his 10-game suspension, per The Dallas Morning News.

Dallas, which doesn't play any role in the appeal process, is supporting its player from a far.

“No real comment beyond just supporting him,’’ head coach Jason Garrett said. “This is part of the process that he’s going to go through in appealing this suspension. He and his representatives will handle it as well as they can and we’ll see what happens.

“The biggest thing is to handle it the right way. We’re going to try to handle it the right way as an organization and we expect him to handle it the right way as an individual player."

A judge found Hardy guilty of domestic violence in July of 2014 and sentenced him to 18 months probation after suspending a 60-day jail sentence. 

Hardy and his reps will argue that he was found not guilty in the eyes of the law, and that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's punishment -- 10-game suspension -- was excessive compared to what was outlined in the personal conduct policy -- two-game suspension -- at the time of the incident involving his former girlfriend.

The NFL's investigation at the time concluded that Hardy's actions "constitutes a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.”


 
 
 
Rankings