Grading New Tight Ends in New Places

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The spike and rise of offenses in the NFL involving their tight ends as focal points has seen a large shift of use over the past few years. We know about the Jimmy Graham’s, Rob Gronkowski’s, Jason Witten’s, and Tony Gonzalez’s of the first tier automatics. One can argue that as teams have platooned out their running backfields the same has happened at tight end.

Teams have an arsenal at their disposal when it comes to a tight end, and they can use them for an array of situations. The big down playmaker tight end is there, along with the short yardage tight end that can block for pass protection. Mixing the two together forms that added advantage to an offense. While the scale of high fantasy numbers won’t come close to the yardage and touchdowns of the first tier tight ends, you can land yourself a solid six to twelve fantasy points with the depth that is now at the entire tight end position in football.

There were plenty of moves in offseason at tight end and though none are expected to fly off the board in your drafts, drafting an appropriate tight end can be all the difference in squeezing out a win or a loss.

1. Jared Cook
Cook has always had the skill set that’s impressed people. For Cook though I believe it was more of an situational issue with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans offense never found itself with poor play from Jake Locker and CJ2K’s decline. Reuniting with Jeff Fisher and an offense that has weapons should put Cook in a decent TE2 with a possibility of spot starts.

2. Dustin Keller-
Miami did a lot of investing on the defensive side of the football and with Mike Wallace’s contract. Tannehill will have a safety net with Keller, but will Tannehill have enough time to throw the football with a revamped offensive line? Keller did enough as a Jet with the worst quarterback in Mark Sanchez, so that’s why I rank him second of new tight ends in new places.

3. Delanie Walker-
If Vernon Davis had went down to injury at any point, Walker would have been a fine fill in. A lot of Walker’s success came with Alex Smith, who had issues targeting and finding a number one wide receiver as a 49er. That was partly due to the toned down pass plays the 49ers had in place for Smith. Walker possibly fed off of Davis more than anything. Landing in Tennessee could be a big problem for Walker if Locker does not show any advancements on the field.

4. Martellus Bennett-
Bennett looks like a great signing but I’m going to categorize him as a one year wonder for now. He had opportunities his entire career, and finally had a break through as a New York Giant a year ago. I believe teams did not see Bennett as a threat and that’s how he snuck back on the fantasy radar a year ago. Chicago has an offensive minded coach now, and if Bennett struggles I would not be surprised for him to see limited snaps.

5. Brandon Myers-
I may have Myers rated too low in this ranking out of anybody listed so far. In actuality the difference statistically from Cook to Myers thus far should not be much of a difference between a tenth and twelth round pick. Myers shined last year as Raider, which was a team that produced for fantasy owners late in games when behind. As a Giant, Myers automatically steps in to a great situation.

6. Kellen Winslow Jr-
This is the last hooray for Winslow to showcase whatever he has left. His years as a Cleveland Brown seem far distant, before he washed out as a Buccaneer. The Jets are going to give him every opportunity to produce again. If he has came back to full health, Winslow Jr could be a backup tight end in deeper fantasy leagues.
7. Anthony Fasano-
Fasano is on the far backside of his tight end career. But over the years Andy Reid has always been one to have an off balance when it comes to percentages of the run game to pass game. Kansas City is expected to be balanced with Alex Smith and a quarterback friendly game plan. That alone could give Fasano a breakout game or two during 2013. His value is not worth drafting at this time.

8. Visanthe Shiancoe-
This was an emergency veteran signing by the Baltimore Ravens when their young stud Dennis Pitta went down. Schiancoe was non-existent on the fantasy radar last season because he did absolutely nothing. A resurrection at age 33 would be a huge shock. Baltimore signed him for a reason though, and New England has been a destination that has limited careers before. Two years ago in his last season as a Viking, Schiancoe had just 400 yards receiving with and just a few scores. One highlight for Schiancoe is that Joe Flacco loves to get the ball to his tight ends.


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