2006 Fantasy Tight Ends : Ranking Analysis

As your fantasy draft approaches, we break down the top ranked fantasy tight ends in the NFL.

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 

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.)

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

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 

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 

2005 Stats        Rcptns-39       Rec yds-459     TDs–6 

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