ELITE Antonio Gates - San Diego Chargers Gates is undoubtedly the 'best tight end in football'. His 89 receptions for 1101 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2005 were more than impressive and would fall within the top ten of wide receiver rankings (and Gates did it while missing game 1 due to a suspension). In fact, Gates is such a good fantasy tight end that he is the only one worth drafting in the mid-rounds (think top ten WR stats). Gates is a stud. Don't expect the the change at QB to Philip Rivers to have much of an impact on his overall numbers. 2005 Stats Rcptns-89 Rec yds-1101 TDs–10 NOTE: (Before we even get to Shockey and the rest of the TEs, we'll say this - If you are unable to get Gates, then wait until late in the draft and grab any of the next 11 ranked tight ends...who may battle for similar numbers by year's end and don't have enough to really distance themselves from each other at this point.) ROCK SOLID Jeremy Shockey - New York Giants Jeremy Shockey had nearly 900 yards during the 2005 season and was a scoring threat anytime the Giants were on their opponents' side of the 50 yard line. QB Eli Manning loves to find Shockey in the red zone and Shockey rarely lets him down when balls are thrown his direction. Look for Shockey's '06 numbers to be near or better than his '05 totals as Manning, Shockey, and the Giants continue to develop their young offense into a powerhouse. 2005 Stats Rcptns-65 Rec yds-891 TDs–7 Tony Gonzalez - Kansas City Chiefs Gonzo didn't even finish in the top 7 of fantasy tight ends last season...and that's because he had a pathetic touchdown total of 2. But given that, his receptions and receiving yards were stellar for a tight end (placing him solidly second overall behind Gates). Although Gonzalez is 30, there is no reason to think his catch or yardage numbers will be down from a year ago...and there is every reason to believe his TD total will be back to normal (esp. for the number of grabs and yards he puts up). We're going to chalk last year's meager TD total up to an oddity that won't be repeated this season. 2005 Stats Rcptns-78 Rec yds-905 TDs–2 Todd Heap - Baltimore Ravens Heap had similar numbers to Shockey last year, but without much of a passing game in Baltimore (in fact, Heap was pretty much the passing game in Baltimore). Heap's team leading 75 grabs made him the likely candidate when the Ravens decided to throw...but this season may be a bit different. Steve McNair joined the Ravens and should be a big boost at QB and for the Raven passing game. Although McNair will find a way to spread out the offense and throw to other receivers not named Todd Heap, we expect that the addition of McNair could actually increase Heap's production. If preseason is any indication, the presence of Steve McNair will put a few more points on the board... and give the Baltimore offense significantly more scoring chances than in past years. 2005 Stats Rcptns-75 Rec yds-855 TDs–7 Alge Crumpler - Atlanta Falcons Crumpler's 5 touchdowns and 877 yards in 2005 were consistently spread from game to game with no real highs or lows in catches, yards, or touchdowns. Crumpler is a big, stable, tight end and always a red zone threat. Alge's consistent performance should continue this season as QB Michael Vick and the Falcons move toward a more conventional passing game. 2005 Stats Rcptns-65 Rec yds-877 TDs–5 Chris Cooley - Washington Redskins Cooley scored 5 of his 7 TDs towards the end of last season. In fact, Cooley went off in game 14 with 3 TDs! But other than his touchdown streak toward the end of the year, Cooley consistently spread his yards and grabs evenly across the season. Expect to see more of the same in 2006 from Cooley and the Skins as they continue to use a ball control offense with the effective use of a tight end (Chris Cooley). 2005 Stats Rcptns-71 Rec yds-774 TDs–7 SOLID Jason Witten - Dallas Cowboys Many Cowboys' fans love Jason Witten, and we like him too. But the arrival of Terrell Owens to the offense will have a definite impact on Witten's production. Owens and Glenn will allow a wide open middle for Witten, but we fear that Owens will steal away some of his red zone production. And with tight ends in fantasy football,...it often comes down to a TD every other week or three for leagues requiring a player at the tight end position. 2005 Stats Rcptns-66 Rec yds-757 TDs–6 Kellen Winslow Jr. - Cleveland Browns This guy is the real deal...but he is also an all or nothing proposition. Winslow is perhaps the best player on the tight end board outside of Antonio Gates. But, will Winslow stay healthy for 2006? Our advice: take a chance on Winslow late and plan on a waiver pickup if he gets hurt. 2005 Stats Rcptns-0 Rec yds-0 TDs–0 Ben Watson - New England Patriots Anyone who watched New England's playoff game in Denver last season knows the speed and strength of TE Ben Watson. And Watson hasn't finished impressing. The Pats' tight end has been so impressive this preseason that he has the New England coaches scratching their heads to get him even further into the playbook. Watson is a top ten fantasy tight end, but just how far he moves up on the list by year's end is anyone's guess. 2005 Stats Rcptns-29 Rec yds-441 TDs–4 Dallas Clark - Indianapolis Colts Clark is a tight end on the best offense in the NFL. He has great hands and is a burner in the open field. Peyton Manning likes to find the open man and looks to his tight end often. Last year's mediocre statistics were more due to injuries than lack of production when on the field. Provided Clark stays healthy (and there is no reason why he shouldn't), Clark will reward his owners with some nice fantasy stats in 2006. 2005 Stats Rcptns-37 Rec yds-488 TDs–4 Vernon Davis - San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis is a burner with great hands (to the point of being freakish)...so much so that the Niners made Davis an early 1st round draft selection this season. The three reasons Davis isn't bumped up further in our rankings are: Alex Smith, SF's offense, unproven rookie in NFL on a bad team. 2005 Stats Rcptns-0 Rec yds-0 TDs–0 L.J. Smith - Philadelphia Eagles Eagles' QB Donovan McNabb will be throwing the football often this season and Smith is as good of a weapon as anyone on their roster. Fantasy owners can expect Smith to repeat or increase his numbers from a year ago with a bump in touchdowns. As with most tight ends on our list, Smith is nearly as likely as any TE (beyond Gates) to post top fantasy statistics. 2005 Stats Rcptns-61 Rec yds-682 TDs–3 Heath Miller - Pittsburgh Steelers All 6 of Miller's 2005 touchdowns came in his first 7 games. He seemed to slow down with 5 of remaining 9 games with 2 or less grabs and zero TDs...with little explanation. 2005 Stats Rcptns-39 Rec yds-459 TDs–6 ___________________________________________________________ send your fantasy questions to: email@example.com
2006 Fantasy Tight Ends : Ranking Analysis
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