Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings: Top 20 Tight Ends

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 7, 2011

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05:  Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 28-13.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

We all know that tight end can be an unpredictable position.  Who has a favorable matchup this week?  Who could be a surprising performer in Week 1?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – vs. Minnesota
  2. Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Seattle
  3. Jermichael Finley – Green Bay Packers – vs. New Orleans
  4. Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – at New York Jets
  5. Owen Daniels – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
  6. Kellen Winslow – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Detroit
  7. Dallas Clark – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  8. Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints – at Green Bay
  9. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – at Miami
  10. Brandon Pettigrew – Detroit Lions – at Tampa Bay
  11. Jared Cook – Tennessee Titans – at Jacksonville
  12. Zach Miller – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  13. Aaron Hernandez – New England Patriots – at Miami
  14. Jermaine Gresham – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland
  15. Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons – at Chicago
  16. Mercedes Lewis – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Tennessee
  17. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – at Arizona
  18. Brent Celek – Philadelphia Eagles – at St. Louis
  19. Dustin Keller – New York Jets – vs. Dallas
  20. Todd Heap – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Carolina


- Dallas Clark is one of the better tight ends in the league  I know, that’s not really breaking news. Unfortunately, with the injury to Peyton Manning, you have to drop him a few spots down the rankings as you just don’t know what to expect. 

- The New York Jets cornerbacks can’t cover everyone. With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie preoccupied with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, that should leave Jason Witten free to operate in the middle of the field. Will he be able to post huge numbers? Maybe, maybe not, but you know the Cowboys aren’t going to just sit back and run the ball all day. I wouldn’t drop Witten down the rankings simply because he has the Jets on the schedule.

- Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski? Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez? Both could play a major role, or the team could go with one over the other. It’s a tough situation to figure out at this point, but for now consider them both better as a low-end TE1/high-end TE2. The fact of the matter is that this debate is likely going to rage on all season long, with each one having big games. It makes it tough on fantasy owners, but that’s certainly not the Patriots' concern.

- In two games against the Titans last season Marcedes Lewis had 7 catches for 75 yards and 0 TD.  Considering the bulk of his value came from his 10 TD a year ago, I wouldn’t get too excited to play him this week.

- Jermaine Gresham had four receptions for 24 yards and one TD last season against Tampa Bay, and that was with a QB who had the ability to go to his WR (which was an impressive group). 

With Andy Dalton manning the QB spot and the top receivers no longer in the mix, Gresham could quickly become an important safety blanket for the young QB.  He showed it in the third preseason game, when he picked up four receptions for 49 yards, and could be a nice “sleeper” play for the first week of the season. Consider him a TE2, but if you need someone he’s worth the gamble.

- Jared Cook was a sleeper choice among tight ends entering the year and he gets a favorable matchup in Week 1 against Jacksonville. If you rolled the dice on him, I’d use him as a low-end option for this week.

Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Week 1 Rankings:

Top 25 Quarterbacks

Top 40 Running Backs

Top 40 Wide Receivers