There was no steeper drop off at any position in fantasy football last year than at the No. 3 tight end (TE) position. The top-2 tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, did the fantasy football equivalent of "lapping the field."
After those two, there are some solid players at the position worth a mid-round draft pick. After that you find a ton of players with nice upside but also many questions. Your draft slot could ultimately determine your TE strategy.
Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham will most likely end up being late first round picks. If not, they will fall no later than round two. If you wind up selecting later in round one, you could very well end up with one of them. If not, you will probably find yourself waiting on the position, especially if you pick early in the first round.
I have no problem taking Gronkowski or Graham early. After that, I'm more likely to load up at running back (RB) and wide receiver (WR) early in the draft as opposed to reaching for a TE from the next tier. Most likely I will take two tight ends later in the draft and hope one of them blows up or I can at least play the matchups well enough to have a passable Tight End-By-Committee (TEBC).
Let take a look at some of the tight ends who could be viable fantasy football options in 2012.
For comparison between TEs I will be using the Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR) from Fantasy Pros. ECR is the average ranking of many other rankings compiled from "experts" all over the Internet.