Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 8/23/12

's the time of year where we gamble and bet that we are smarter than the men who are paid fortunes to choose players.

That time of year where our obsession for gladiatorial combat is embossed by an unholy obsession with the numbers that surround that sport because frankly,  that's the closest they'll let us to the field.

It's time for Fantasy Football, and here if the first of my Top 10 lists.

The Tight End is a position that has seen disparate fame and very different forms over the years.  There have been great receiving Tight Ends like Kellen Winslow Sr, and Tony Gonzalez.  There have been second string Offensive Tackles who were tacked on the end of the line to create mismatches, and there have been guys like Mark Bavaro who could do both.
 

Let's be honest though, we don't care how well they can block when we are thinking FFL.  As long as they can block well enough to be on the field, if their team doesn't split them out, that's all we need.  As has been well documented, the blocking role of the Tight End has become an increasingly smaller portion of the position's role.  More Tight Ends being split out into the slot, like Dallas Clark, or used as an H-Back, like Aaron Hernandez.  They are looking for the freak athlete and they move him around the formation till they find a mismatch.  It really is one of the more interesting trends in football today, but it makes it more difficult than ever to ID the best of the bunch.  

Here is my attempt.

1. ROB GRONKOWSKI

"Gronk" is a great example of the freak athlete at Tight End.  The Patriots were lucky enough to get him after an injury in college hurt his draft stock, and they are milking this young talent for all it is worth.  He already owns the single season records for Receiving Touchdowns, Total Touchdowns, and Receiving yards.  He set all of those last year, so there is really no question who is the class of the Tight End crop.  The Patriots have improved their Wide Receiver corp in the off-season.  The question is whether that is going to limit his targets, or just free him up more as defenses have to play more "honest"  

2. JIMMY GRAHAM

Graham was a great find by the Saints.  In college, he played as a enforcer for the Miami University basketball team, with a single season on the football team while taking graduate courses.  At 6'7" 256lbs, with the speed and agility of a forward, Graham is a unique talent to the gridiron.  He is nigh-uncoverable due to his height and ability to "post up".  Those facets, combined with his speed, make him a terror in a passing heavy offense like the Saints run, especially with the accurate Drew Brees distributing the ball.   3. JERMICHAEL FINLEY

Finley is one of the difference makers in the Packers devastating passing attack.  He is a polish receiver can block enough to play inline, while being one of the better outside receivers in a well-stocked stable as well.  His statistics could easily best most of the Wide Receivers in the league.  The only concern is how many games you are going to get out of him.

4. JASON WITTEN   Witten is an example of the traditional Tight End.  He can do a bit of everything, and it a bit more a technician than a freak athlete at this point in his career.  However, do not take that to mean that he cannot overmatch most linebackers who try to cover him.  He is a master at using whichever advantage he has, and has become the most reliable receiver for the Cowboys.  He has had an incredibly consistent career, with at least 64 catches and 750 yards in every years since his rookie year.  This high ranking is dependent on the recent news about his spleen healing on it's own in time for the opening weekend.  If that is not the case, he will drop.   5. VERNON DAVIS   Davis is one of the H-Back style Tight Ends, and probably the best of the lot right now.  He has amazing speed for a Tight End, with a physicality which makes him very hard to deal with once the ball is in his hands.  He is not as tall as the other Tight Ends we have talked about, but a dynamic talent all the same.  He has also grown into a leadership role for the 49ers and can use his sub 4.4 speed to shred defensive game plans.  After all, who on your defense can you put in front of a 250 guy, with that kind speed.  Put a safety in front of him, and he will pancake you as the running back goes by.  Put a linebacker on him, and you better have him bracketed with that safety because there is not a linebacker in the league who can run with this guy down the seam.  The biggest limiting factor for him is the 49ers Run-Heavy attack.   6. JERMAINE GRESHAM   Gresham is a bit, polished receiving threat.  The Bengals picture him as the counter jab to A.J. Greens threat of a haymaker.  He uses his body control, runs good routes, runs well enough to threaten all parts of the field, and has the size to line up inline to keep defenses honest.  The word is that his knee injury is not going to cost him any time.  If that is the truth, then he should absolutely be a starting fantasy tight end.   7. COBY FLEENER   This is going to look like a leap, with Fleener being a rookie.  I have high expectations for him though.  Fleener was, as we all know by now, the main target for Andrew Luck at Stanford.  Everyone knew where the ball was going, and they couldn't do a thing about it.  Then they get drafted to the same team.  From a fantasy point of view, this is a perfect situation for the Rookie.  Luck will need a comfort zone if he is going to have any success, and Fleener was, and will continue to be, that comfort zone.  Fleener has the potential to be as good an all-around Tight End as the league has.  He is a physical blocker, coming out of a traditional Pro-Style attack who has the height and speed to dominate in the passing game as well.  I was actually tempted to put him higher, but he has to show us some actual work first.  My biggest concern is that Dwayne Allen was drafted to the same team, and make take some of his targets.   8. AARON HERNANDEZ   I remember thinking when I was watching the Tim Tebow led Florida Gators, that Tebow was not what made the team special.  What I saw as the biggest weapon was their triple option they liked to run with Hernandez and either Percy Harvin, or Jeff Demps flanking Tebow in a kind of shotgun full house backfield.  What made this so destructive was the multi-faceted abilities of all the players involved.  Hernandez is a prototypical H-Back style of Tight End, to the point where there were times that he was probably New England's best running back last year.  He, quite literally, can play any of the skill-positions outside of Quarterback, and do it at a difference-maker level.  The issues, purely from an FFL viewpoint, are these.  First, he is on the same team as the best Tight End in the league.  That he is still on the field so much, says a lot about him, but it still costs him touches.  Second, the Patriots change their attack a lot from game to game and spread the ball around, so his production will vary enough that it makes him a borderline starting Tight End.   9. DALLAS CLARK   Dallas Clark made is trying to revive a career that he built by exploiting linebackers and safeties.  The reports are that he is healthy again for the first time in 2 years, and the Bucs are looking for him to be the security blanket for Josh Freeman.  He has likely lost a step after 9 years in the league, but he knows what he is doing and should have no problem finding holes in defenses.  Worth a pick in deep leagues that require a tight end.   10. MARCEDES LEWIS

Lewis is a huge man playing Tight End, but he has a surprising agility in the passing game.  Football fans have been waitin for him to show the receiving skills that made him the Mackey Award Winner in 2005, and though he has shows flashes, he has not dominated.  No small part of that has been the lack of an elite signal caller in Jacksonville.  If Blaine Gabbert is truly progressing like has been reported, then Lewis may very well be in line for more targets.  After all, the Receiving corp in Jacksonville is still under construction, and they want to throw the ball.  A 6.7" target with great hands is always welcome when you want to throw the ball.  One that never has to leave the field due to his great blocking ability is even better.

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Trapp's Rant.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Why are Saints holding out on contract talks with Drew Brees?

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker