The Tight End position in football is one of the more underrated spots in a fantasy football team. Over the past few years, top tier TE’s have been putting up Wide Receiver type numbers. It may be worth it to draft a top 5 TE over a WR who’s rated in the 20-25 area of his position. It is also important to grab one of the better TE’s because there is a lack of depth at this position. Last year, the number 6 ranked TE had 53 more fantasy points (According to Yahoo! Sports scoring system) than the number 7 ranked TE.
Here are the top 15 TE for the 2008 fantasy season:
1. Antonio Gates SD
2. Jason Witten DAL
3. Tony Gonzalez KC
4. Kellen Winslow CLE
5. Dallas Clark IND
6. Chris Cooley WSH
7. Jeremy Shockey NO
8. Heath Miller PIT
9. Todd Heap BAL
10. Vernon Davis SF
11. Owen Daniels HOU
12. Benjamin Watson NE
13. Alge Crumpler TEN
14. Tony Scheffler DEN
15. Greg Olsen CHI
Antonio Gates will retake his number 1 Tight End spot from Jason Whitten with an outstanding season this year. Gates, who played injured last year, finished 3rd in TE fantasy points and though is still fighting through that same toe injury, is primed to have a big year and help his Chargers make it to the Super Bowl. The one danger here is that as of right now, Gates is on the PUP List (Physically Unable to Perform) which means if they don’t take him off of it before the season starts, he will be forced to sit out the first 6 games. Personally, I don’t see Gates missing that much time and according to reports, he is working with trainers and is very optimistic he will play the season opener.
The first 6 players on this list are all worthy of a higher draft choice, even considering a healthy Gates in the last 3rd round of your drafts. Jeremy Shockey is a mystery. His fantasy production has been as high as the number 2 ranked TE, all the way down to number 13 in recent years. With a change of scenery, Shockey will have a good season and perhaps even vault himself into the top 6 of the TE list. Another interesting TE that can have a top 6 type year is Todd Heap. Heap has had healthy issues and that has led to his statistics taking a drastic drop, especially last season. Hopefully he can be the safety net for young QBS Troy Smith and Joe Flacco and get back to his 2005-2006 production.
Look for a solid season for Titans TE Alge Crumpler. Titans QB Vince Young has struggled with his passing efficiency since he began his career. The Titans didn’t upgrade their WR group because they believed Crumpler fit the style of play for the team and their young quarterback. Young will lean on Crumpler because it is the first time he has had a proven veteran catching passes for him and Crumpler is very good at creating space with his body and finding open spots in a defense.
Here are 3 Tight Ends to look at this season:
Zach Miller OAK- An Arizona St. grad, Miller was a 2nd round pick in 2007 by the Raiders and as he got more playing time, he garnered more attention from fantasy owners looking for a fill-in TE. His last game of the year was an 8 catch 84 yd day and he should perform better with more experience this year. With JaMarcus Russel, Darren McFadden, and Javon Walker getting most of the attention by the bay, look for Miller to sneak in with some nice games of his own and can be worth picking to be a starting TE for the entire season.
L.J. Smith PHI- L.J. had one of the more disappointing seasons for a fantasy TE last year. He came in with a lot of expectations but injury and a lack of looks his way by Donovan Mcnabb hurt his statistics. Mcnabb developed a lot of chemistry with WR Kevin Curtis, but his other receivers didn’t perform as well as predicted. As teams will start to shade safeties and linebackers over to Curtis, Smith should see more holes in the defense and can use his athleticism to stretch the field. Don’t expect a great year from L.J., but look to see respectable statistics that could put him back in the top 15 TE rankings by the end of the year.
Kevin Boss NYG/Dustin Keller NYJ- Now I know these are technically 2 people but just give me a break it’s a fantasy football article. Boss moves into the starting job and all reports out of Giants camp so far is that he is catching everything thrown his way. In his last game of the regular season vs. NE last year, Boss had 4 catches along with 50 yds and a TD. The Giants need to use the TE occasionally to be successful and look for Boss to have an adequate season. As for the other team that plays in that stadium, rookie TE Dusin Keller is going to fight with Chris Baker for playing time. It will be very important for Keller to have a good training camp and preseason and to develop a relationship with starting (For now) QB Chad Pennington. Keller has the ability to do well in the Jets offensive system but he needs the snaps to get used to the speed of the NFL game.
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