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2011 fantasy tight end rankings (1-15)

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Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports.

 

San Diego Chargers

1. Antonio Gates
(Auction: $12)
Gates was on pace to have a career year in 2010 before foot problems sidelined him for six of the Chargers’ final eight games. Still, he managed to finish second among tight ends in fantasy points. It was his fifth consecutive finish among the top five—a level of consistent production second to no other tight end in fantasy football. Gates, who is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, remains the top option in the Chargers’ passing attack and is destined to be the first tight end taken in the majority of fantasy drafts. Look for him to come off the board no later than the fourth round. (Bye: Week 6)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
55
830
10
10


 

Indianapolis Colts

2. Dallas Clark
(Auction: $10)
Clark got off to a solid start in 2010 before suffering a wrist injury and missing the final 10 games. He ultimately needed surgery to repair the damage, but he figures to be healthy in plenty of time for the start of this season. Clark, one of quarterback Peyton Manning’s top options in the Colts pass attack, figures to return to an elite statistical level while playing in a prolific offense. In fact, a season with 90 catches, 900-plus yards and eight to 10 touchdowns should be well within reach. That potential makes Clark an excellent alternative once Antonio Gates is off the board. (Bye: Week 11)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
74
924
7
11


 

Dallas Cowboys

3. Jason Witten
(Auction: $9)
Witten, one of the most consistent tight ends in the league, posted 1,002 receiving yards and scored a career-best nine touchdowns in 2010. Those numbers put him atop the position (based on fantasy points) for the second time in the last four seasons, so his draft value is obvious. Witten has elite receiving skills, and he's one of the best route runners among tight ends. While he’ll be hard-pressed to score as many as nine touchdowns again, he figures to post 85-plus catches and close to 1,000 yards. Witten will be selected no later than Round 6 in most standard 10-team drafts. (Bye: Week 5)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
66
816
8
23


 

Green Bay Packers

4. Jermichael Finley
(Auction: $8)
A highly touted breakout candidate heading into last year, Finley suffered a knee injury that ended his 2010 season after only five games. He had surgery to repair the damage, but will be back in plenty of time for the start of the 2011 season. A talented playmaker with lots of upside for the Packers and fantasy owners, he has a chance to make an impact in the team's explosive offense. Finley has had knee issues the last two years, though, which is a cause for at least some concern. Still, his statistical potential still makes him an obvious No. 1 fantasy option on draft day. (Bye: Week 8)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
67
807
5
T-28


 

San Francisco 49ers

5. Vernon Davis
(Auction: $8)
Davis caught 56 passes for 914 yards and scored seven touchdowns to finish third in fantasy points among tight ends last year. Of course, that was a far cry from the monstrous numbers (78 catches, 965 yards, and 13 touchdowns) he posted in 2009. Davis also saw fewer targets last season, due in part to the 49ers’ unstable quarterback position. While that situation still needs to be resolved, the addition of coach Jim Harbaugh is a big positive for Davis’ 2011 outlook. Look for him to at least reach last year’s totals and to remain a reliable No. 1 fantasy tight end. (Bye: Week 7)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
61
700
6
30


 

Houston Texans

6. Owen Daniels
(Auction: $5)
Fantasy owners looking for a nice bargain at tight end should target Daniels in the middle to late rounds on draft day. He failed to make much of an impact for most of 2010 due to leg injuries, but he did finish the season strong. In fact, Daniels ranked third among tight ends in fantasy points over the final four weeks. He also tied for the third-most targets at his position during that stretch. While Daniels’ recent injuries are a cause for concern, he still has the physical tools and a rapport with quarterback Matt Schaub to once again become a legitimate No. 1 fantasy tight end. (Bye: Week 11)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
54
537
3
17


 

New Orleans Saints

7. Jimmy Graham
(Auction: $4)
Graham is widely considered to be one of the top sleepers at his position heading into the 2011 season. His fantasy value is clearly on the rise after he showed glimpses of potential late in his rookie year. In the final three weeks of the regular season, he scored four touchdowns, ranked sixth among NFL tight ends in fantasy points, and became a reliable target for quarterback Drew Brees. The fact that Jeremy Shockey is gone also bodes well for Graham to make some noise in 2011. He is worth a look in the middle to late rounds as a low-end No. 1 tight end with major upside. (Bye: Week 7)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
50
528
5
T-14


 

Detroit Lions

8. Brandon Pettigrew
(Auction: $4)
Despite coming off reconstructive knee surgery, Pettigrew still posted career bests in catches (71), receiving yards (722), and touchdowns (four) while starting all 16 games for the Lions in 2010. With a full year under his belt since the surgery, Pettigrew now has a chance to become one of the better tight ends in the league -- and in fantasy land. With quarterback Matthew Stafford under center and wideout Calvin Johnson wreaking havoc on opposing defenses, Pettigrew is in a great place to make an impact in the stat sheets. He’s a sleeper to target in the middle to late rounds. (Bye: Week 7)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
55
574
6
22


 

Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Marcedes Lewis
(Auction: $4)
Lewis was one of the best bargains in fantasy football last season. Despite an average draft position of Round 16, he finished fourth in fantasy points among tight ends on the strength of his career-best 10 touchdowns. While he remains a nice red-zone option for quarterback David Garrard, Lewis likely will find it difficult to score 10 touchdowns again. In fact, he averaged fewer than two touchdowns in his previous four seasons. So despite his success in 2010, Lewis shouldn’t be considered a No. 1 fantasy option. Instead, view him a high-end No. 2 tight end in the late rounds. (Bye: Week 9)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
43
506
4
12


 

New England Patriots

10. Rob Gronkowski
(Auction: $4)
Gronkowski made an instant impact in his first NFL season, finishing fifth in fantasy points among tight ends in 2010 on the strength of his 546 yards and an impressive10 touchdowns. At 6 feet 6 inches and 265 pounds, he is a massive target for quarterback Tom Brady, and should continue to see a significant role in the Patriots’ prolific offense. Only the presence of fellow New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, who also sees plenty of targets, keeps Gronkowski from ranking higher at his position heading into 2011. Still, he’s well worth a middle- to late-round draft selection. (Bye: Week 7)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
22
350
2
4


 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11. Kellen Winslow
(Auction: $3)
Winslow caught fewer passes and scored fewer touchdowns in 2010 than in 2009, but he still finished among the top seven tight ends in fantasy points for the fourth time in the past five seasons. He wasn’t very consistent, however, as 54 percent of his fantasy points came in only four games. He also saw a dip in targets, from 127 in 2009 to just 98 last season. While playing in an improving Tampa Bay offense is reason for optimism, Winslow should still be considered no more than a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end in most standard 10- and 12-team leagues for 2011. (Bye: Week 8)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
60
777
7
T-14


 

Atlanta Falcons

12. Tony Gonzalez
(Auction: $3)
Gonzalez has long been one of the most productive and reliable fantasy tight ends. In fact, he’s finished no worse than eighth in fantasy points at the position in each of the last five seasons. But at age 34, he is starting to lose a bit of his luster. His targets have dropped in each of the last two years, and his reception and yardage totals have declined in each of the last three seasons. That’s not a favorable trend for the veteran heading into 2011. While Gonzalez is still a low-end fantasy starter in leagues with 12-plus teams, he is no longer one of the elite players at his position. (Bye: Week 8)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
47
544
7
7


 

Washington Redskins

13. Chris Cooley
(Auction: $3)
Cooley quietly posted some of the best numbers of his career last year, but his recent lack of touchdowns hurts his fantasy value. After averaging close to seven scores per season from 2004 to 2007, Cooley has only six touchdowns in 39 games since 2008. Cooley is also dealing with knee problems -- the result of an offseason surgical procedure -- that could cause him to miss the start of the season. So while he has starting value in fantasy land, Cooley does come with some risk. Consider him in the late rounds, but keep tabs on his health status. (Bye: Week 5)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
39
497
3
T-14


 

Seattle Seahawks

14. Zach Miller
(Auction: $2)
Miller looked like a potential superstar in his first seven games last season, averaging a solid 9.9 fantasy points. Unfortunately, a foot injury and the Raiders’ unstable quarterback position put a serious dent in his production down the stretch. However, Miller still finished a respectable 10th in points among tight ends. He could be hard pressed to be that good in Seattle, though, as he's now the second or third option in the pass attack behind Sidney Rice and even Mike Williams. As a result, consider Miller more of a high-end No. 2 fantasy option and worth a middle- to late-round look. (Bye: Week 6)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
43
524
3
32


 

New York Jets

15. Dustin Keller
(Auction: $2)
Keller had all the looks of a stud tight end for owners early in 2010, when he scored 14.8 or more fantasy points in three of his first four games. But he couldn’t continue that pace, and scored six or more fantasy points just two more times the rest of the season. Such inconsistent production will keep Keller from being drafted as more than a fantasy reserve in 2011 drafts. (Bye: Week 8)

2011 Projections
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPA rating
5350
617
4
3


Tight ends 16-24

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