Authors Note (8/18): Initial Projections have been modified and include Jordan Cameron, Coby Fleener, and Zach Sudfield, who were previously not on this list. Although the injury to Dustin Keller appears serious, I will wait for further reports on his knee before adjusting him here. Please check back as Rankings are subject to change.
Since I am not going to rank Kickers or Defense/Special Teams, this will be the final segment to my individual player rankings; the overall Top 150 will follow. Tight Ends have had increased value in recent years and there continue to be some good ones available, and not just at the top. Jimmy Graham is the clear cut favorite in this category, but you do not have to spend a top 2 pick to get production that will be close. Have these three guys on your draft board as quality you can get fairly late. Keep in mind when doing my projections I assume healthy seasons for all players, and round up what I think their ceiling can be for this season. This is done across the board so it does not affect their ranking on my list.
..:: Three Up ::..
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
Chandler has enjoyed mild success the past two seasons in Buffalo while hauling in a respectable 6 TD’s in each of them. The biggest jump he made was in his yards per reception which went from 10.2 to 13.3 and added to his receiving totals. I expect that number to remain around 12 ypr this year, to go along with an increase of about 10 receptions, landing him at the border of being a Top 10 Tight End. His ADP of 268 means he is a viable option you can get as one of your last picks in the draft, and that is an excellent bargain.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham makes this list because he is usually somewhat of an afterthought on draft day, the guy you wish you had remembered when someone else selects him. He has remained healthy and consistent in his first three professional years, and should continue to improve on his above average numbers. The Bengals will be one of the better offensive teams in the NFL this season and the former Sooner is a big part of that. He should be considered a TE1 and can be taken as early as round 10.
Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
He has tinkered with superstardom for the past four seasons. If he could raise his yards per reception by even a half yard he would vault himself to another level, as he is good for at least 80 catches this year. Pettigrew looks to improve on his career best 5 TD’s from the 2011 season, and with the amount of times the Lions pass, it is very possible he achieves breaking that mark. Having him this year will make you very happy as an owner, especially when you select him around the ninth round.
..:: Three Down ::..
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph popped up on many rosters last season as a waiver wire add, and deservedly so. His 9 TD’s made him a good source for fantasy points, despite his game to game production being somewhat inconsistent. Quarterback is a big concern for the Vikings, and losing Percy Harvin makes Rudolph’s role unknown. He could benefit from the extra targets just as easily as he could suffer from the added coverage he will face. He is too risky to take in the 8th round which is where he current ADP of 87.89 has him going.
Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
Getting out of Tennessee will be good for Cook and his receiving numbers, and the Rams will be improved. He is a solid option to be your starting Tight End and one who is worth taking a flier on, just not as high as his 98.94 ADP would suggest. If he falls to you in the 12th round or later do not let him pass if you are still looking for a TE. That is a safe place to take him, as opposed to reaching too early and keeping someone else off of your roster.
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Entering his 8th professional season, Daniels has been up and down as a fantasy producer throughout his career. Playing on a high impact team, the Texans Tight End is bigger in name than he is in fantasy value. His reception yardage makes him a decent option, but he does not score many touchdowns (last year was a career high 6) and in PPR leagues he does not stand out. He may stay healthy and have a good season, but he is too much of a risk to take as anything other than a back up.
The Peoplez Perspective 2013 Fantasy Football Tight End Projections:
* Updated Sunday, August 18, 2013
(Rankings based on PPR, 1 point per 10 yards receiving, 6 points per TD)