Fantasy Football 2012: 5 Tight Ends That Won't Be Worth Your Time
One of the deeper positions in today's NFL, tight end has emerged as a crucial one for fantasy owners.
Big names like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis will litter the early rounds of fantasy drafts this year, but there are some names—both young and old—that you should be wary of.
Here are five tight ends you would be wise to avoid on draft day.
Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons)
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Arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history, Tony Gonzalez is worthy of praise on a number of fronts. However, his days as a staple of fantasy football lineups should be nearing an end.
Although Gonzalez posted an impressive 875 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago, it would appear that the 36-year-old isn't worthy of mid-round consideration.
Gonzalez's hands are still elite, but his big-play ability has taken a considerable hit with age.
Consistency may not be the biggest issue with Gonzalez, but there's always the chance that 2012 could be the season that his production drops off considerably.
Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)
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Now the Carolina Panthers' go-to option at tight end, it appears that Greg Olsen is in line for an increase in production in 2012.
While the absence of Jeremy Shockey may benefit Olsen, the Panthers are loaded with offensive weapons.
It wouldn't be shocking to see the Panthers establish a slightly larger commitment to the running game in 2012, and the presence of guys like Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell will certainly hurt Olsen's targets.
Olsen is the right type of tight end for the Panthers' vertical passing attack, but don't expect to see anything more than a marginal increase from his 540 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
Dustin Keller (New York Jets)
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Dustin Keller posted career-highs in receptions (65) and yards (815) last season, but sadly he scored just five touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Keller has never caught more than five touchdowns in a single season, and his value certainly takes a hit if you're not playing in a PPR league.
Keller's consistency in terms of yardage is attractive to owners looking for a safe solution at tight end, but for owners with the luxury of drafting for upside, Keller shouldn't be a prime target.
Other names who could be had for a similar price include Jacob Tamme, Brandon Pettigrew and Owen Daniels.
Jared Cook (Tennessee Titans)
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Long considered one of the NFL's breakout candidates at the tight end position, Jared Cook has failed to live up to early hype.
Cook has steadily improved his stats each year since entering the league in 2009, but he has compiled just four touchdowns during his brief career.
With targets like Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and rookie Kendall Wright dominating the bulk of the touches through the air, there will be little left for Cook.
The reemergence of Chris Johnson and his monopoly on offensive touches could also hinder Cook's growth, so it's highly unlikely that he will take the massive leap forward that owners have been hoping for.
Marcedes Lewis (Jacksonville Jaguars)
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After breaking out in 2010 for 760 yards and 10 touchdowns, Marcedes Lewis fell flat on his face in 2011.
With rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the helm, Lewis posted just 460 yards and zero touchdowns in 15 games in 2011.
Prior to 2010, Lewis had never posted more than two touchdowns in a season, and it's that sort of poor production that makes his 10-touchdown season look more and more like a statistical anomaly.
While Gabbert stands to improve in his second season with the Jaguars, Lewis is a risky boom-or-bust pick who may take some time to develop chemistry with his new signal-caller.