Typically as top-heavy as Dolly Parton standing on a pogostick, the 2010 tight end class is looking a lot less busty these days.
And that’s a good thing.
It means it is a lot harder to go bust when drafting a tight end, no matter where you do so in your league’s draft. My TE re-draft rankings for 2010 are:
1. Dallas Clark, IND. - With all the ones in 100 catches, 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns, it’s almost like a subliminal message that Clark should be No. 1 on this list. Seriously, he produced elite receiver numbers from the TE slot, an instant advantage to anyone who owns him. Sure Clark is aging (31 years old), but he isn’t the oldest TE on this list and has arguably the best QB in football locked into him every week. Anthony Gonzalez’s return may affect his value a bit, but there is no TE I’d rather have in a re-draft league.
2. Antonio Gates, SD. - Some injury concerns clouded Gates’ 2009 season at times, but there was little doubting how important he was to the Chargers offense last year when healthy. Take away LaDanian Tomlinson and add in much uncertainty in terms of Vincent Jackson, and Gates is even more valuable to his team, and your fantasy squad.
3. Jermichael Finley, GB. - Looks like a young Antonio Gates. Big, an integral part of a major passing attack and quickly becoming the favorite target of one of the best young QBs in the game.
Only thing holding him back from No. 1 on this list is that he hasn’t created much of a track record yet. That will come. It is truly highway robbery that most fantasy magazines have him ranked so much lower. Let’s hope your opponents follow the magazines’ advice.
4. Vernon Davis, SF. - Like a late-blooming perennial, Davis finally channeled his inner receiver last year to the tune of 13 TDs. Alex Smith likes him and the Niners usually pass plenty. A vastly improved O-line and defense may lead to a larger rushing scheme this season, though, and I’m not totally ready to trust Davis for back-to-back seasons.
5. Owen Daniels, HOU. - Mostly forgotten in fantasy circles was how dominant Owen Daniels was for the Texans before his 2009 injury. He may miss training camp, lowering expectations on draft day. The reality is that he’s a reliable option on a pass-happy team with a young up-and-coming QB.
6. Brent Celek, PHI. - Sure, Celek had a breakout 2009 campaign, but that was also with Donovan McNabb under center. Things may or may not change with Kevin Kolb calling the shots, and that uncertainty keeps Celek from placing higher on this list.
7. Tony Gonzalez, ATL. - Saw a dip in stats during the 2009 campaign, but then-sophomore QB Matt Ryan was a little lackluster in his second season. Things will get better for Ryan, and ultimately Gonzalez, in 2010. Much better.
8. Kellen Winslow, TB. - He was targeted in 2009 more than the dormatory urinal cakes during a frat party. And that was by a hodge-podge of questionable QBs trying to stay upright. Winslow is still the most reliable weapon on a team that needs playmakers to keep up with higher-octane opponents.
9. Jason Witten, DAL. - Forget statistics and in-depth analysis for a moment. When I was a kid, it didn’t take long to learn that you could only get so many PB&Js from one jar of peanut butter. Last year, Witten underwhelmed when he was allegedly going to be a focal point of the offense.
This year, he’s competing with newly crowned WR stud Miles Austin, uber-rookie WR Dez Bryant and new out-of-the-backfield pass-catching-friendly Felix Jones. Witten already wasn’t much of a TD producer. Let someone else jump ways too early for Witten, you can get better options later.
10. John Carlson, SEA. - Say what you will about Carlson’s 2009 showing...the reality of the situation was that he spent more time blocking than seeing passes thrown his way. That will change in 2010 as the Seahawks brought in Chris Baker as their blocking TE and plan to run plenty of two-TE packages where Carlson will be the primary weapon.
To see the rest of our redraft tight end rankings, and comments on many who didn't make the list, go here .
Be sure to check out my Quarterbacks 2010 redraft rankings.
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