Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2012: 10 TEs Worth an Early-Round Pick in 2012

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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2012: 10 TEs Worth an Early-Round Pick in 2012
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
New England Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is all smile heading into 2012, thanks to the NFL schedule makers.

The evolution of the NFL game has resulted in a weekly air show that is waging an assault on the record books while redefining the expectations of the tight end position. The best players are now routinely putting up numbers once reserved for elite wide receivers, a change that has had a significant impact on fantasy football draft strategy.

Three or four years ago, it was rare to see anyone other than Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez or San Diego Chargers stud Antonio Gates taken inside the first five rounds of a fantasy football draft. Now, there are as many as 10 tight ends that you seriously have to consider selecting in the top third of your draft, especially if you participate in a league that awards points-per-reception (PPR).

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will kick off the NFL season on Wednesday, September 5, so fantasy football drafts are in full swing in preparation for the start of the new year. Based on a 12-team league with one TE slot and two flex positions (available to start a WR, RB or TE), here are 10 tight ends that you should consider drafting in the first six rounds. 

This list assumes that your league awards at least .25 PPR, as many more sophisticated leagues have begun to do. If you participate in a standard league where PPR are not awarded, don't feel compelled to reach for some of the lower-ranked players on this list.

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