This article is an introduction to RotoBaller's 2013 fantasy football rankings. Today we'll be taking a look around the NFL at tight ends (TE), and give you our fantasy rankings and analysis. RotoBaller.com’s team of writers will be releasing their fantasy football rankings and analysis over the next few weeks to help get you prepared for the NFL season and your 2013 drafts. Stay tuned!
Tight End Rankings - 2013 Fantasy Football
Tier 1 – Jimmy Graham, NO; Rob Gronkowski, NE; Jason Witten, DAL
These are the three true difference-makers at the tight end position. Graham essentially gives you wide-receiver production in one of the NFL’s most consistently prolific passing attacks. Gronkowski is the premier option at the position but injury concerns are paramount; early reports out of Patriots training camp are that he’s most likely headed for PUP, in which case he’d automatically miss the season’s first six games. It's worth noting, however, that Gronk missed five games last year as well and was still the second-highest scoring fantasy tight end. And while Witten doesn’t find the end zone much, he set an NFL record with 110 catches at the position last season and will remain one of Tony Romo’s favorite options.
Tier 2 – Tony Gonzalez, ATL; Vernon Davis, SF; Greg Olsen, CAR; Kyle Rudolph, MIN; Owen Daniels, HOU
The arrival of pass-catching back Steven Jackson will almost certainly hurt Gonzalez’s production, but he’s still a great red zone target and one of the better options at the position. Davis did next to nothing once Colin Kaepernick took over last year but he excelled in the playoffs and has been lining up at wide receiver in 49ers camp; he’s a good bet to lead San Francisco in receiving as they attempt to make up for Michael Crabtree’s loss. Olsen and Rudolph are essentially interchangeable, although Rudolph is an extremely imposing red zone target who could snag double-digit touchdowns. Daniels should catch around 60 balls and present a very solid TE1 option provided he stays healthy.
Tier 3 – Brandon Myers, NYG; Jared Cook, STL; Fred Davis, WSH; Rob Housler ARI; Antonio Gates, SD
Myers burst onto the scene in Oakland last year and would appear to be in a far better fantasy situation now that he’ll be catching passes from Eli Manning; be advised, however, that Myers is a below-average blocker and that could eventually result in a depressed snap count. The incredibly athletic Cook has all kinds of upside and Rams coach Jeff Fisher is pledging to use him “all over the place” as essentially a replacement for the departed Danny Amendola; he’s a threat to finally break out. Early reports from Skins camp say Davis has fully recovered from his torn Achilles, and he was a top TE option in 2011; there’s a lot of upside here. Housler is all potential: athletically he has few peers at the position, but he’s accomplished very little at the professional level. Still, he could easily be a TE1 this season now that Arizona should have decent quarterback play. Gates is in serious decline and is on the bubble as a starting fantasy tight end; perhaps more ominously, his quarterback is in a similar position.
Tier 4 – Jermichael Finley, GB; Ed Dickson, BAL; Martellus Bennett, CHI; Jermaine Gresham, CIN; Marcedes Lewis, JAC
Finley was a major disappointment in 2012, but his athleticism and the fact that he catches passes from Aaron Rodgers keeps him relevant. Dickson has so far taken over the injured Dennis Pitta’s “move” tight end role in training camp and could work his way into a low-end TE1, but drops and inconsistency are a major concern. Bennett has great potential but don’t get too carried away; Chicago’s offensive line is terrible and Brandon Marshall is a target hog. Gresham was a pretty solid option last season but Cincinnati using a first-round pick on a tight end doesn’t bode well for 2013. New Jags coach Gus Bradley and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch insist that Lewis will be used more as a receiver in 2013, but shoddy quarterback play all but guarantees he won’t approach his tantalizing 2010 totals.
Tier 5 – Brandon Pettigrew, DET; Jordan Cameron, CLE; Dustin Keller, MIA; Heath Miller, PIT; Tyler Eifert, CIN
Pettigrew has talent and plays in the pass-heaviest offense in the league, but he can’t be relied upon as anything more than a TE2. The amazingly athletic Cameron is headed for a “feature role” in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense and could easily end up as a TE1 option; he’s a major sleeper. Keller should see an uptick in production now that he’s in Miami, but he’ll most likely be a weekly boom-or-bust candidate. Miller’s ranking is more about capability than anything else; he’s almost certainly headed for PUP but is an attractive stash or possibly even a midseason free agent pickup that could pay dividends. Eifert has massive potential but unless Gresham is cut, he will suffer from shared targets at the position.
Tier 6 – Dwayne Allen, IND; Coby Fleener, IND; Brent Celek, PHI; Zach Ertz, PHI; Jacob Tamme, DEN; Zach Miller, SEA; Zach Sudfeld, NE
Allen and Fleener are ranked back-to-back for a reason- it’s hard to predict who will be the better fantasy option, as they will likely eat into each other’s production. A similar situation comes up next, as the solid Celek and highly-talented Ertz will be sharing reps; tight ends typically play a big role in Chip Kelly’s offense, however, but remember that said offense will almost certainly be run-heavy. Tamme is another guy who suffers from shared duties; he catches passes but is not normally a red zone target in Denver. We know Miller can play but he’s part of a run-heavy offense; don’t forget his terrific performance against San Francisco in the playoffs, though- it showed what he’s capable of if Seattle starts slinging the ball around more. Sudfeld is a major sleeper; the athletic UDFA out of Nevada has turned heads in Patriots camp and has a chance to be an immediate contributor with Aaron Hernandez gone and Gronkowski almost certainly destined to miss a significant amount of games early in the season.
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Check out all of RotoBaller's 2017 fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.