2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Post-Draft Tight End Rankings
Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, there was no chance that the Saints would have allowed tight end (or wide receiver?) Jimmy Graham to see free agency.
And they didn't.
While the Saints designated Graham with the franchise tag (list of franchised players), Graham filed a grievance that he should have been designated as a wide receiver (instead of as a tight end). The hearing is scheduled for June 17th and 18th.
Looking back to last year, Graham arguably had the best season of his career even though he fell short of his previous career highs in both receptions and yards. Graham finished the season with 86 catches for 1,215 yards, but he had a career-best 16 touchdowns. It was only the second time in NFL history that a tight end had at least 16 touchdowns.
Not only did Graham lead all tight ends in all three categories, but he had nearly 300 yards more than the tight end with the second-most receiving yards (Jordan Cameron, 917). In addition, he led all players, regardless of position, in touchdowns; Denver's Demaryius Thomas was second with 14.
Over the past three seasons combined, Graham has a total of 270 receptions for 3,507 yards and 36 touchdowns; that equates to an average stat line of 90/1,169/12.
A lock for a monster season at a position with only a few studs, Graham is worthy of consideration in Round 1 of fantasy football drafts. In our latest mock draft, which began on May 12th, Graham was selected with pick 1.09.
Gronk: Expected to be ready for the start of the 2014 season
As Yogi Berra would say, it's déjà vu all over again.
While the injuries are different, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is coming off a season-ending injury that required surgery for the second year in a row.
One year after a total of five forearm and back surgeries, Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL in early December, but early indications are that he will be ready for the 2014 season opener.
Missing games to start and end last season, Gronk played in only seven games, but he averaged 84.6 yards per game and 15.2 yards per reception, both of which were career highs.
More than anything, Gronkowski is a dominant force in the red zone as he has a total of 43 touchdowns in 50 career games.
Provided he's ready for the start of the 2014 regular season, Gronk should be in the discussion to be the first tight end off the board. For now, however, he's a distant second after Graham due to durability concerns.
Orange Julius: Biggest fantasy bargain at TE in 2013
Among tight ends, there was no bigger fantasy bargain than Denver's Julius Thomas, who had an average draft position (ADP) of TE23 and 209th overall in 2013 based on consensus ADP data from FantasyPros.
Despite ranking ninth at the position in targets (89), only two tight ends had more fantasy points than Orange Julius last year: Graham and San Francisco's Vernon Davis.
Of course, Thomas won't be nearly as cheap (or cheap at all) in 2014 after last year's breakout season.
Along with Graham and Davis, he was one of three tight ends with double-digit touchdowns and finished with 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. Thomas missed two regular-season games, but if you count his three playoff games, he had a total of 83/976/12 over 17 games this season.
Things looking up for Rudolph
While injury cut his season short after Week 9, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was a bit of a disappointment in the first half of the season when he did play.
In eight games, Rudolph finished with only 30 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns. In half of his eight games, Rudolph had two fantasy points or less.
A number of things could help Rudolph in 2014.
First of all, the team hired Norv Turner as its offensive coordinator and Turner's offenses have long helped tight ends prosper. In addition, the should have improved quarterback play. Not only did they re-sign Matt Cassel, but they drafted Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick in Round 1.
Over the past two seasons, Rudolph has scored 12 touchdowns in 24 games and could possibly set career highs across the board in 2014.
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Here are my updated fantasy football tight end rankings (standard scoring):
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
4. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
5. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
6. Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
7. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
8. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
9. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
10. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
11. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
12. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
13. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
14. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
15. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
16. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
17. Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
18. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
19. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
20. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
21. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
22. Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
23. Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
24. Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens
25. Tim Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
27. Jace Amaro, New York Jets
28. Levine Toilolo, Atlanta Falcons
29. Ryan Griffin, Houston Texans
30. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
31. Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
32. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
33. Joseph Fauria, Detroit Lions
34. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
35. Adrien Robinson, New York Giants
More early 2014 Fantasy Football rankings:
- 2014 Fantasy Football QB rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football RB rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football WR rankings
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