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To start off the tight end position in fantasy football has never been deep. This off-season and extending into the preseason we are seeing an inordinate amount of first string tight ends take a seat due to injury. That brings up a new dilemma that fantasy owners are not use to. A tight end is supposed to be durable and typically we’ll see maybe one or two dot the injury list that has any fantasy relevance.

When injuries mount that leave the opportunity for someone to step in. Don’t look now but the tight end position continues to be filled with youth. Due to the brute nature of the position, some of these tight ends currently on the injury report might be limited once on the field. After all they’re non fantasy impact is to also block edge rushers in running formations, and pass protect if called upon too.

Here are some tight ends with injury bugs that you need to be on high alert of.

Age Concerns/Risks
Jason Witten- Witten is a bruiser for punishing would be tacklers in the open field. His sure hands and route running have been outstanding with quarterback Tony Romo. Often tight ends can play through injuries and keep their presence on the football field. Witten did that last year, but one has to wonder how the return year from those nagging injuries will affect him. He is 31 and a down year could be looming. The Cowboys drafted Terrence Williams out of Baylor and are loaded at wide receiver this season. Dallas also drafted Gavin Escobar with a high second round pick in this year’s past draft.

Antonio Gates- Fantasy owners now sort of expect what type of stats they’re going to get out of Gates nowadays. He is right there on the bottom part of the top ten fantasy tight ends, and is on the lower end of ten to twelve team leagues for a starter. The Chargers offensive woes have not helped, and they still have done little to surround Gates with viable receiver options.

Tony Gonzalez- His phenomenal season was out of the ordinary, as fantasy owners were waiting for the string of weeks of Gonzalez to come back to Earth to happen. They didn’t, and may not this year either with how explosive Julio Jones and Roddy White are opposite each other. Teams have to pick their poison, and right now it’s with Gonzalez.

Heath Miller- The injury woes of the Steelers have put their 2013 season in jeopardy before it even starts. Plagued by tailback, wide receiver, and tight end injuries, Big Ben, is going to have a heck of a time maintaining his own health. Miller’s return is unknown, but for now Matt Spaeth will be Big Ben’s primary target.

Dennis Pitta- Pitta’s injury was one of the first high profiled injuries of training camp and dealt a big blow for the Ravens offense. Anquan Boldin became a beneficiary of Joe Flacco as the season wore on, but if it were not for the zone Flacco was in, Boldin would have been near useless. A large majority of catches by Boldin were from precision passes from Flacco, while Pitta had the ability to get open and was Flacco’s main primary target during the entire season. Now the Ravens will look at Ed Dickson and newly signed Visanthe Shiancoe to fill Pitta’s shoes.

Fred Davis- The Redskins are one of the few teams that have an arsenal at their disposal and do not need an elite tight end. Davis has never lived up to his billing and now is more of a situational fantasy worthy tight end. Even though he is coming off injury, Washington’s offense is not going to garner him more attention. They’ll keep things the way they were running it last year. A lot of running plays and pistol formations for RG3.

Scott Chandler- Chandler was the Bills old quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s main threat besides Stevie Johnson. After Chandler returns from injury will have to see who either EJ Manuel or Kevin Kolb figures to target the most in the Bills offense and at tight end. Right now any Bills tight end should be on the waiver wire until further notice.

Rob Gronkowski- The Patriots are know that they have to position Gronk back slowly this go around, as another blow to his arm is going to be even harder to return from. The time table for his return has not been announced, which makes the drafting of him in high rounds risky. He should be back at some point in September, and his replacement Zach Sudfeld should be a representable fill-in minus the touchdowns for those weeks.

Dustin Keller- Keller’s blown out knee was a major blow to the Dolphins. In action in preseason, Ryan Tannehill had already hooked up with Keller on a nice touchdown pass a week prior. Someone is going to have to fill that void, and Miami may have to platoon the position until someone stands out. Charles Clay or last year’s third round pick, Michael Egnew, figure to try and snare a few passes in absence of Keller.


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