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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.
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.
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.
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