Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/8/12

The NFL season is upon us and Week 1 is an important week in Fantasy Football. 

So many months of speculation, rankings, mock drafts and charts. 

As far as the tight end position goes, I think we all can agree that Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and Jimmy Graham of the Saints are the top two in the NFL, hands down. 

If you don't have either of these guys, it is important to realize the drop off of talent and clear expectations of scoring is big. 

This week is no exception. The most important thing you can do as a commissioner is break down the match-up as best as you can.

The defenses are yet to be established but if teams have little player changes or the same coaching staff as 2011, it can be easier to project how the defense will line up against your players. 

The best starts at the tight end position for Week 1 will be tough, but I feel that these guys can get 'er done for your squad.

 

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers start their season at Tampa Bay this week. Last year Tampa Bay ranked 21st in pass defense. Olsen didn't have a stellar game against the Bucs last year, but I foresee a solid game out of Olsen. 

Last year Olsen had to share a lot of touches with Jeremy Shockey who is no longer with the team.

Also, Cam Newton has a year under his belt and likes to run the ball himself, leaving the tight end position open as his dump off.

Also an obvious statistic to keep in mind; Newton targeted Olsen 90 times last year even with Shockey lurking around. I feel Olsen is a must-start this week. 

Projection:  5 rec, 55 yards, 1 TD

 

Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans

The Titans are opening their season at home against the New England Patriots. I look for this game to be high-scoring by both teams, but the Patriots ranked 31st in pass defense last season. 

I do have to mention they fared better against the tight end position last season keeping the tight end fantasy scoring low. 

But, Jared Cook emerged as one of Jake Locker's favorite targets at the end of the 2011 season and the momentum should continue into 2012. 

I look for Jared Cook to have an amazing 2012 and emerging as a top 10 tight end in the NFL. 

This game will be a platform for Cook and Locker who look to have a successful first week together at home against New England. I am going out on a limb with this pick, but for this week, go for it.  

Projection: 4 rec, 50 yards, 1 TD

 

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

The Chargers open up at Oakland, facing a Raiders team that ranked 27th in pass defense last season. Let's face it, the AFC West was a hot mess last year and these teams grind it out week after week and we rarely know who will emerge on top until the last week in the season.

Every game counts and a divisional win in Week 1 is huge. Antonio Gates has a history of eating up the Raiders' defense and this week will be no exception.

This is an easy pick for me because Gates has been Rivers go to guy for the past few years but has had many injuries that have messed with the flow of their game. 

Gates claims to feel better now than he has in years and tomorrow he will prove it against the Raiders. Gates has scored 10 TDs in 18 games against the Raiders. I feel Gates could be the top scoring tight end in Fantasy Football this week! 

Projection; 7 rec, 90 yards, 2 TD

 



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