We’re closing in on the NFL draft. What better time to start exploring the 2013 fantasy football tight end landscape?
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Graham caught 85 passes last year for 982 yards and nine touchdowns. He has 20 TDs in the past two seasons combined.
2. Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots
With Wes Welker moving on to the Denver Broncos and Rob Gronkowski (arm) becoming a concern, Hernandez will have a chance to put up special numbers. He will, of course, have to stay healthy himself. In ten games last year Hernandez caught 51 passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns.
3. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten caught 110 passes for 1,039 yards last year. His downside is his touchdown total (three). That can be overlooked, particularly in PPR leagues, because of his consistency and durability.
4. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Gronk is a high-risk, high-reward option. He’s the best tight end in the game when healthy. He could miss the start of the season and the risk of re-injuring seems great at this point.
5. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph won the Pro Bowl MVP, but doesn’t mean he’ll automatically ascend to greatness. I believe he has the physical tools to make the leap, particularly if Christian Ponder can take a step forward. Rudolph caught nine touchdowns last year.
6. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Gonzo continues to go strong. He’s 37, but showed no signs of slowing last year when he caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns. Julio Jones and Roddy White command so much attention on the outside that Gonzo is free to work the middle of the field.
7. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
Pitta caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns last year. With Anquan Boldin in San Francisco, look for Pitta to become more of a focal point in the offense.
8. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Gates disappointed last year, finishing with 49 catches for 538 yards and seven touchdowns. He has averaged nine touchdowns for each of the last nine seasons.
9. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Daniels caught 62 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns. He’s always an injury risk, but he’s productive when he can stay healthy.
10. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen caught 69 passes for 843 yards and five touchdowns. He’s one of Cam Newton’s favorite targets.
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