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: TE tiers for 2012

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Dave Richard's tiers and strategies: QB | RB | WR

I know you want to read about how great tight ends are going to be in 2012, but let's start with an unsettling trend.

In 2007, tight ends "broke out" with six players racking up at least 100 Fantasy points (actually, all six had at least 120 points). In 2008 that number shrunk to four with only one getting over 120. Then in 2009 we saw 10 tight ends top 100 Fantasy points (four over 120 points), only to see the number yo-yo back to five hitting the century mark and three exceeding 120 points.

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.

Last season was obviously an up year: we had 10 tight ends get over 100 Fantasy points -- four over 120 and two over 175! But if the trend continues and defenses go back to the drawing board and find a way to contain tight ends, we'll see those numbers shrink in 2012.

But who needs substantiated trends anyway?! The tight end revolution is here thanks to the new prototype for the position.

You can ask any offensive coordinator in the league and 30 of 32 of them will tell you that they'd like to find the next Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham. They're not even really tight ends, they're offensive monsters: Gigantic athletes with good speed and hands matching up with smaller linebackers and defensive backs, dominating opponents week in and week out. Defenses were powerless: They were too big and strong to jam at the line of scrimmage or box out for a jump ball in the end zone, and too fast to cover with marginal defenders. Assign two guys to one of them and you'd get burned by receivers on their teams. It's a no-win situation for defensive coordinators, which is why every team wants to get in on the action and find a dominating tight end.

Every team would kill to have one, and as such, every Fantasy owner wants to have one. Some might even reach for one.

Consistency Counts
The average Fantasy point total per game among Top 12 TEs was 7.9 (standard scoring). Here's who had at least eight Fantasy points in 40 pct. or more of games played.
Player No. of
8+ FPTS
Player No. of
8+ FPTS
Jimmy Graham 75% Tony Gonzalez 44%
Rob Gronkowski 69% Jason Witten 44%
Fred Davis 58% Vernon Davis 44%
Aaron Hernandez 50% Brandon Pettigrew 44%
Antonio Gates 46% Jermaine Gresham 43%

Paying up

It will take an unprecedented draft pick to land an elite tight end in 2012. This is the direct result of the record-breaking seasons by Gronkowski and Graham. They finished as the top receiving tight ends in NFL history last season, and in Fantasy they finished third and sixth overall, respectively, among non-quarterbacks. If you want one of them, you're going to have to be prepared to spend at least a Top 25 pick.

If you buy into the whole 'supply and demand' thing, the price tag is idiotic. There are 32 teams and they all have tight ends of varying productivity. Moreover, most Fantasy leagues have 10 or 12 owners, certainly a select few have more than 14 owners, so there's plenty of tight end talent to go around. Supply outweighs demand, so why spend a high pick for one when you can get one later?

But if you buy into the whole 'Fantasy points are good for my Fantasy team' thing, the price tag is actually reasonable. Gronkowski averaged over 14 Fantasy points per game in standard formats and Graham had over 11 per week. Not only were they mostly consistent and productive in 2011, but they both were on the map as rookies in 2010, making it impossible to call them one-year wonders. Plus they are young, their quarterbacks are pretty darn good, and their targets (124 for Gronkowski, 149 for Graham) aren't going to dwindle.

Aside from supply and demand, there are two valid arguments to passing on them: One, defenses could catch up with them, as evidenced by the trend we led off this story with. Any drop-off in production might still make these guys good starters but not at the second-round price tag. Two, by taking a tight end with a Top 25 pick, you're probably leaving some really good talent on the table, and with tight ends fairly deep, you don't have to spend a pick that early to get a no-brainer starter.

So here's your pre-draft task: Make a separate list of the players you wouldn't hesitate to take before Gronkowski or Graham. If any of those players are there when you pick in Round 2 and beyond, take them. If they're not there but Gronk or Graham are staring you in the face, then go with one of the tight ends. Not everyone's lists will be the same because not everyone values these guys the same. Let your list dictate how you go about drafting these tight ends.

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!

What if your league doesn't require drafting tight ends, meaning that tight ends are eligible as wide receivers? The answer is simple: They're still Top 25 picks. That's an example of how valuable these two have become -- they're right on-par with the elite tier receivers out there.

Quantity of quality

Not everyone can get a piece of Gronkowski or Graham, and not everyone wants to. The depth at the tight end position is good, and with so many players capable of helping out Fantasy owners from week to week, there doesn't have to be a mad rush to get one in your draft.

So now is the perfect time to rehash the 'You Reach, You Lose' strategy from 2011: Assuming you do not take Gronk or Graham, take your time to pick a tight end from the second tier below. The difference between a guy like Aaron Hernandez and Fred Davis is very negligible. For example, Hernandez scored 37 more Fantasy points than Davis, but played in two more games. What's more, six tight ends finished within that 37-point span between Hernandez and Davis in 2011, so there's not a lot of difference between these guys.

Keep in mind, the tight ends we're talking about are pretty much on par with Gronkowski and Graham as far as role in the offense and a mismatch waiting to happen. These aren't jabronies who will give you two or three Fantasy points every week. Getting them as late as possible while collecting good talent at other positions is a really good plan of attack.

Once the top two tight ends are gone you might not see a tight end get picked until Round 5, and that's a good time to consider taking someone like Hernandez or Antonio Gates (who, with all his troubles, averaged 0.3 fewer points per game than Hernandez in 2011). And remember to draft smart -- if you're up to pick but the owners picking after you already have tight ends covered, you can probably wait a round before getting yours. No one should take two tight ends within the first 10 rounds of a draft unless tight ends are eligible as receivers.

Winning the waiting game

There will be two types of people in 2012 drafts: Those who purposely wait to draft a tight end late, and those who just happen to wait to draft a tight end late. You either refuse to buy into the position and will just take a good player with upside starting in Round 8 or 9, or you miss out on the top-two tier tight ends because other owners draft them, leaving you with what's left.

This isn't necessarily a recipe for failure. The types of tight ends who are left -- guys like Brandon Pettigrew, Dustin Keller and Jermaine Gresham -- still have those fine qualities teams are looking for. They just don't have the same expectations, which does not mean that they can't reach them.

So here's an idea: Instead of settling for one of these tight ends in the middle-to-late rounds of your draft, take two. Give your roster two shots at unearthing the next Rob Gronkowski, who was picked on average in Round 9 last year. And the best part is that maybe half of the owners in your league would consider taking two tight ends -- everyone who takes a tight end in the early going won't need to draft another. The quality of talent left toward the end of a draft won't be phenomenal, but it will be plentiful.

This transitions nicely to ...

Tight end tiers

Putting tight ends into tiers might not be as important as doing so for other positions because of the limited number of tight ends expected to go in every draft. So feel free to borrow ours, maybe make a change or two based on your own preferences, and be done with it. Also, don't forget to make that rank list of players you want before Gronkowski and Graham in drafts -- it will save you a lot of headache during your drafts this summer.

Elite Tier Excellent Tier Great Tier Good Tier
Rob Gronkowski Aaron Hernandez Brandon Pettigrew Dallas Clark
Jimmy Graham Antonio Gates Dustin Keller Greg Olsen
  Jason Witten Jared Cook Kellen Winslow
  Tony Gonzalez Jermaine Gresham Owen Daniels
  Vernon Davis   Ed Dickson
  Jermichael Finley   Kyle Rudolph
  Brent Celek   Scott Chandler
  Fred Davis    

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard 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
Report: Torn pectoral sidelines Vikings CB Josh Robinson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/4/2015) The Vikings secondary took a hit last month when cornerback Josh Robinson sustained a partially torn pectoral muscle, a league source has told ESPN.

The nickel back played in 690 snaps last season and was expected to battle several others for playing time. The injury could sideline him from training camp and land him on the PUP list.


Report: Packers' Andrew Quarless arrested on gun charges
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7/4/2015) Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was arrested for firing a gun twice in Miami on Saturday, per the Miami New Times.

Quarless was involved in a fight at South Beach and fired the gun into the ground. 


Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


 
 
 
Rankings