2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings by Tier

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IAugust 20, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Jimmy Graham #80 of New Orleans Saints pushes away from Carlos Rogers #22 of the San Francisco 49ers and goes 66 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Here’s a look at the LestersLegends 2012 fantasy football tight end rankings by tier.

Tier One:  Truly the elite. Not only elite among TEs, but also among all fantasy players. They should be taken in the first two rounds.

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints: Hard to argue with 1310 yards and 11 TDs. He’s become Drew Brees’ favorite target, which is always a good thing.

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: 1327 yards and 17 TDs (plus a rushing score). Gronk is ridiculous. He got paid, but I don’t think that will slow him.

Tier Two:  Quality starting tight ends, but a huge distance behind tier one. They should be taken in rounds four through seven.

Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots: 910 yards and seven scores. Versatile and an amazing compliment to Gronk.

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: Given his age in comparison to Gonzo, I never thought he’d be a riskier option. That just isn’t the case. If he can stay healthy, he can produce. That just seems to be too big of a challenge though.

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: His injury concerns me a little, but I still believe he’ll still be a solid TE1.

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers: The potential remains, but it’s put-up or shut-up time if he wants to be considered elite. Staying healthy would be a start.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers: Really blossomed during the NFL Playoffs. He’s too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers. There are more mouths to feed offensively, but that should make it tougher to key in on Davis.

Tier Three:  Low-end TE1s with some question marks. Should be taken in rounds seven through ten.

Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions: Made big strides last year catching 83 balls for 777 yards and five scores. He’s not explosive, but he’s steady.

Fred Davis, Washington Redskins: Emerged last year before his suspension. Should be a security blanket for RG3.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals:  Caught 56 passes for 596 yards and six touchdowns. Should continue to improve along with QB Andy Dalton.

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: He just keeps on churning. Julio Jones will take on a bigger role in the offense, and Roddy will still get his so Gonzo could suffer a little, but he’s still solid.

Tier Four:  For the most part these are backup TEs, unless you opted to wait and address other needs. They should be taken in rounds ten through sixteen.

Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles:  Bounced back from a disappointing 2010 season with 811 yards and five scores. Sometimes gets overlooked in Philly’s offense.

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts:  Luck is familiar with him so he could become his security blanket.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets:  Five TDs in each of the past two years, but his yardage grew to 815 last year. He’ll be better off as long as Tebow doesn’t take over the QB gig.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers:  He was decent last year, but could easily put up much better numbers.

Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos:  Joined Peyton in the Mile High City. Could put up solid numbers.

Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans:  Crazy athleticism. Blew up for 759 yards. Plenty of potential for more.

Kellen Winslow, Seattle Seahawks:  His knees are shot, but he continues to put up decent numbers.

Owen Daniels, Houston Texans:  The talent is there, but so is the injury risk. At this point, he’s a TE2 at best.

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