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2013 fantasy football profiles and projections (TEs 1-15)

[TE RANKINGS 16-30internal-link-placeholder-0]

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports/

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  • Analysis

It's hard to imagine calling the fantasy scoring leader for tight ends a disappointment, but many owners were frustrated by Graham's dip in production in 2012. The talented Miami (FL) product scored fewer than nine fantasy points in each of his final six games of the fantasy season, while also scoring just one touchdown in that time. Still, the needle continues to point upward for Graham. He has a future Hall-of-Famer in Drew Brees under center, and the return of coach Sean Payton does nothing but improve what should continue to be one of the NFL's most prolific offenses. Graham's targets also stayed relatively close to their 2011 form, so he should continue to see a prominent option in the pass attack for Brees. One of fantasy's few elite tight ends, Graham will be selected no later than the fourth round in most leagues.

Despite missing five games due to a broken forearm last season, Gronkowski still cemented his status as a fantasy superstar by scoring the second-most points at the tight end position. The Arizona product has proven that he does several things better than the average tight end, none more important than finding end zone. In 43 career games, he has scored 38 touchdowns. Targets are also never an issue for Gronkowski, even in the Patriots' spread-the-wealth offense, as his combination of size and speed allows him to utterly dominate defenses. The problem, though, is that Gronkowski is coming off multiple forearm surgeries and a back procedure that has his status for Week 1 in question. At best, he'll be worth as much as a fourth- or fifth-round pick - but Gronkowski will come with some real risk.

An ageless wonder, Gonzalez continued to defy the odds last season by posting yet another fantastic fantasy campaign in the stat sheets. Even with the dynamic duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones at his disposal, Matt Ryan still targeted Gonzalez 124 times -- that equated to 930 yards and an impressive eight touchdowns. The future Hall of Famer also had double-digit fantasy points seven times in 16 games last season, and was frequently targeted when the offense entered the red zone. The California product shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon despite being 37 years old, and his experience and big frame still allows him to beat younger, faster defenders. While he isn't on the same level as the likes of Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, Gonzalez is still a terrific No. 1 fantasy tight end and well worth a middle-round selection.

One of fantasy football's most reliable tight ends, Witten set the all-time, single-season record for receptions (110) by a player at his position in 2012 -- and he did it after returning from spleen surgery. He has been a model of fantasy consistency, finishing with at least 94 receptions and 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons. Witten has also ranked outside of the top six in scoring for tight ends only once in that time. Even with Dez Bryant going crazy over the last several games, Witten still posted solid numbers as one of Tony Romo's most trusted options. The trouble with Witten, however, is his lack of touchdowns -- he has scored five or more times just once in the last five years. Still, he's a No. 1 fantasy option in all formats and has added value in PPR leagues. Look for Witten in the middle rounds.

Davis had another down year in terms of fantasy production, as he posted the lowest reception, yardage and touchdown totals of the last four seasons. Despite the fact that he scored double-digit fantasy points in four of the first five games, Davis reached that mark just once more during the remaining 11 games and was even dropped to the waiver wire in some smaller leagues due to his consistent lack of statistical success. He did re-emerge in the playoffs by posting back-to-back 100-yard games in the conference championship round and Super Bowl, and the loss of Michael Crabtree should mean more targets in the pass attack. Davis will continue to be ranked as a No. 1 tight end in fantasy land, but there might not be a bigger risk-reward player at the position. He'll have his name called in the middle to late rounds.

Olsen blossomed in his second year in Carolina with Cam Newton under center, posting career highs in receptions and yards while also grabbing five touchdowns -- those totals were good enough for him to finish sixth in fantasy points at his position. Olsen, who has had at least five touchdown catches in five of his six years at the NFL level, also played in a career-high 97.8 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps in 2012. While he should continue to be a popular option for Newton in the pass attack this season, statistical expectations should be tempered for Olsen as he's likely reached his ceiling. Look for his role in the offense to remain the same even with the promotion of Mike Shula to offensive coordinator, so another campaign with top 10-12 fantasy production can be expected. He's worth a middle- to late-rounder.

Rudolph won the hearts of fantasy owners around the world last season, as he took a total of nine of his 53 catches to the house. Over the course of the season, the talented Notre Dame product slowly morphed into Christian Ponder's favorite red-zone target, especially once Percy Harvin was injured in Week 9. In fact, Rudolph recorded at least 51 yards and a touchdown in each of the next three games until defenses finally gave him his due attention. At 6-foot-6 and 258 pounds, the Pro Bowl MVP has Gronkowski-like size and the ability to be a true matchup nightmare for the opposition. With another year of pro experience under his belt and defenses focused on trying to stop fantasy superstar running back Adrian Peterson, Rudolph will be well worth a middle-to-late round pick as a mid-tier No. 1 fantasy tight end in leagues.

Myers burst onto the fantasy football scene last season, ranking 10th among tight ends with 104.60 fantasy points (standard scoring). Much of Myers' production came in garbage time comeback attempts by the Raiders, but his 79 catches and 105 targets were still encouraging numbers. Now with the Giants, he'll be in a good position to find further success with Eli Manning throwing him the football. Tight ends have almost always had at least some level of statistical fortune for Big Blue, including the likes of Jeremy Shockey, Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard -- Myers should be no different. Whether or not the Iowa product ultimately becomes a one-year wonder still remains to be seen, but owners should expect Myers to remain prominent in fantasy land. He'll be a legitimate No. 1 fantasy option with more appeal in PPR leagues.

In his seventh NFL season, Daniels posted the best fantasy season of his career. Ranking eighth in points at the position, the Wisconsin product recorded 716 yards with a personal-best six touchdowns in 15 games. Unfortunately, this might be the statistical ceiling for Daniels. The Texans now have another serviceable option at the position from Wisconsin, Garrett Graham, who started to share some of the tight end duties in 2012. Assuming he can continue to avoid injuries, which had been a serious problem earlier in his career, Daniels will have a chance to come close to repeating his solid totals from a season ago. At a position that has lost of a lot of its luster in the last year, he'll also be one of the first 10 tight ends selected in fantasy drafts. Just don't expect Daniels to emerge into one of the truly elite fantasy options.

Few tight ends are as frustrating to fantasy football owners as Finley. In 2010, he seemed poised to launch into the next fantasy stratosphere after a solid 2009 campaign -- that is, until a torn meniscus and attitude issues derailed his emergence in subsequent seasons. In 2012, he posted serviceable reception and yardage totals but was held to just two touchdowns and ranked an unimpressive 19th in fantasy points at the position. Finley still has a lot of potential at the age of 26, and his size (6-foot-5, 247 pounds) and speed makes him a tough matchup for most linebackers. He was also more productive down the stretch in 2012, posting 50-plus yards in six of his last seven games. Finley, who should see more targets with Greg Jennings out of the mix, should be considered a low-end No. 1 fantasy option in the middle to late rounds.

Cook seems to be considered a fantasy sleeper every single season, and every single season he fails to live up to expectations. After posting career bests in receptions and yardage in 2011, Cook's numbers went south last season. That was due in part to missing three games with a torn rotator cuff, but he was far too inconsistent to be considered a No. 1 fantasy option when he was out on the gridiron. Looking ahead to the upcoming campaign, Cook will have one more shot at fantasy value in the eyes of owners. His move to St. Louis, a team that lacks a true No. 1 option in the pass attack, makes Cook -- you guessed it -- a potential sleeper at his position once again. So while he still shouldn't be drafted as an elite tight end, Cook does have enough value to be considered a low-end No. 1 option.

Cameron was impressive during training camp in 2012, but he ultimately failed to make much of an impact for the Browns or fantasy football owners during the regular season. While he is a raw talent, Cameron does have the size and speed that offensive coordinators covet for a player at his position. This could make him a valuable asset for new offensive leader Norv Turner, who likes to utilize tight ends in his offense. So if you're looking for a possible sleeper at a position that has seen a major decline in overall value , Cameron is someone to watch throughout training camp and in the preseason. In a best-case scenario, he'll be worth a late-round flier pick as a borderline No. 1 or 2 option with major potential.

Gates, a long-time fantasy football superstar, is coming off his worst statistical season since his rookie campaign in 2003. He still reeled in seven touchdowns, but his reception and yardage totals dipped below his typical standards. So, is this the beginning of the end for Gates, or is he just coming off a bad season? Based on his recent totals, the former seems to be a more likely scenario. It certainly didn't help that Philip Rivers was far from consistent under center, but Gates is clearly past his prime at the age of 33. If he can remain free of injuries, which has been a huge issue lately, he could become a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end. But if you're looking for Gates to re-emerge into an elite fantasy option, well, be prepared for a disappointment. He should come off the board in the middle to late rounds.

For the third straight season, Gresham improved his reception and yardage totals with 64 catches and 737 yards in 2012. This campaign will be his third playing with quarterback Andy Dalton, who should continue to improve and mature after an impressive sophomore campaign; that means his chemistry with Gresham will only continue to improve. A reliable, albeit unimpressive option for owners, Gresham posted at least six fantasy points nine times last season and reached double digits in four of those contests. The big question surrounding Gresham is whether or not he has already hit his statistical ceiling -- and if he can finally emerge into a week-in-and-week-out starter from a fantasy standpoint. The selection of rookie tight end Tyler Eifert certainly won't make him more appealing in fantasy football circles this year, however.

Pettigrew is coming off his worst statistical season since 2009, as he recorded decreased numbers across the board. That was due in part to an injured ankle that cost him much of the final four weeks. Now entering a contract year, the Oklahoma State product should be motivated to post a bounce-back season in the stat sheets. Unfortunately, though, it's still tough to trust the veteran as more of a No. 2 fantasy tight end in standard formats. Unless you're in a PPR league, where he has a bit more appeal, Pettigrew shouldn't be selected outside of the later rounds in most 2013 fantasy drafts.

[TE RANKINGS 16-30internal-link-placeholder-0]

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