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Fantasy Tiers: Tight Ends


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Tiers are a better way to prepare for a draft than just simply doing player rankings. Rank and sort players into groups (tiers) based on what you expect their statistical production to be, regardless of how early or late other people are drafting them. Here are my tight end tiers from last year for point per reception (PPR) leagues. I am not going to defend or justify anything from 2011. This is just for a little perspective on how I went into drafts last August.

TE

Tier 1

Team

1

Antonio Gates

SD

2

Jason Witten

Dallas

3

Jermichael Finley

GB

4

Dallas Clark

Indianapolis





Tier 2


5

Owen Daniels

Houston

6

Jimmy Graham

NO

7

Vernon Davis

SF

8

Greg Olsen

Carolina

9

Marcedes Lewis

Jacksonville

10

Kellen Winslow

TB

11

Zack Miller

Seattle

12

Tony Moeaki

KC

13

Aaron Hernandez

NE

14

Brandon Pettigrew

Detroit

15

Jermaine Gresham

Cincinnati

16

Jared Cook

Tennessee

17

Chris Cooley

Washington





Tier 3


18

Rob Gronkowski

NE

19

Visanthe Shiancoe

Minnesota

20

Todd Heap

Arizona

21

Heath Miller

Pittsburgh

22

Dustin Keller

NYJ

So how do you define tiers within a position? It all comes down to your personal preference and how comfortable you are. Overall skill, injury risk, reliability and playing time should be taken into consideration for each player. Don’t get caught up too much with the ranking within the tiers. Generally all players within the same tier are comparable enough. Players are ranked within the tiers based on my personal preference and who I would select before another player in a draft.

Here are my 2012 tiers as of today. Tight end tiers don’t usually change that much as draft day approaches. Players can get injured or signed, and sometimes existing injury concerns become more pronounced. I picked a few players as examples to explain why I have them where I do.

2012

TE

Tier 1

Team



Tier 4


Team

1

Rob Gronkowski

NE


17

Dustin Keller

NYJ

2

Jimmy Graham

NO


18

Tony Gonzalez

Atlanta





19

Ed Dickson

Baltimore


Tier 2



20

Kyle Rudolph

Minnesota

3

Jason Witten

Dallas


21

Martellus Bennett

NYG

4

Aaron Hernandez

NE


22

Heath Miller

Pittsburgh

5

Vernon Davis

SF





6

Jermichael Finley

GB



Tier 5


7

Antonio Gates

SD


23

Kellen Winslow

Seattle

8

Fred Davis

Washington


24

Lance Kendricks

STL

9

Brandon Pettigrew

Detroit


25

Dennis Pitta

Baltimore

10

Jermaine Gresham

Cincinnati


26

Tony Moeaki

KC

11

Greg Olsen

Carolina


27

Tony Scheffler

Detroit





28

Anthony Fasano

Miami


Tier 3



29

Todd Heap

Arizona

12

Jacob Tamme

Denver


30

Zach Miller

Seattle

13

Owen Daniels

Houston


31

Dallas Clark

TB

14

Brent Celek

Philadelphia





15

Coby Fleener

Indianapolis





16

Jared Cook

Tennessee





Greg Olsen: There were high hopes for Olsen in 2011 after he finally vacated the dreaded Mike Martz offense, only to put up a less-than-stellar fantasy season. Opposite of Olsen, Jeremy Shockey caught four touchdowns and put up 450 yards. Olsen and Shockey combined for 1,000 yards and nine scores on their way to what would be the third-best fantasy production from a team at the tight end position (behind New England and New Orleans, obviously). It might be unreasonable to expect Olsen to have those numbers, but it would be surprising if he didn’t finish in the Top 10 since Shockey is now out of the picture.

Tony Gonzalez: The increased role of Julio Jones will hurt Gonzalez more than it will hurt Roddy White. The 36-year-old tight end finished the season with seven catches for 63 yards over the last three games. It’s a gamble to rely on Gonzalez as your TE1.