2010 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends <br> By Steve Strange
By Steve Strange. Steve Strange, a graduate of Penn State's Center for Sports Journalism in 2006, is currently writing Fantasy is Reality, a book geared around the commissioner aspect of fantasy sports. Steve has been playing fantasy sports of all sorts and sizes since 1997. Feel free to e-mail Steve questions and comments at [email protected].
These 2010 Fantasy Football Tight Ends Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out the other 2010 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2010 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material.
Dallas Clark, TE, Colts. Bye: 7.
Clark keeps getting better. Last year he had 100 catches for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns.
What to Like: After seven seasons together, the rhythm between Peyton Manning and Clark is on cruise control.
Concern: Believe it or not, he's 31. Clark doesn't miss a ton of games, but he's only played a full season once. A minor age and injury risk is attached.
X-Factor: Pierre Garcon is emerging and Anthony Gonzalez will return from injury, but it won't matter. The Colts offense is efficient and dynamic enough to feed everyone.
As a key cog in the Peyton Manning machine, Clark is a valuable fantasy commodity.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 92 catches. 1,045 yards. 10 total TDs.
Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers. Bye: 9.
After three seasons of underachieving, Davis took fantasy owners on a 13-touchdown joyride last year. Congratulations to those that selected him late in the draft, or signed him after the first few weeks.
What to Like: He's a monster who responds to Mike Singletary. Davis is only 26 years old, and 2009 may have just been the beginning.
Concern: It wasn't long ago that Singletary famously and publicly trashed Davis for his immaturity. It appears that Singletary saved Davis' career in doing so, but poor attitudes sometimes creep back up.
X-Factor: Davis has an ideal supporting cast. Frank Gore is an explosive runner who can catch, Michael Crabtree gets safeties' attention, and the offensive line has promise.
Davis has finally arrived.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 84 catches. 1,037 yards. 11 total TDs.
Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers. Bye: 10.
It's hard to believe that Gates is only 30. It seems like he took over for Kellen Winslow Senior after the Air Coryell years.
What to Like: Gates had at least 70 catches in five of the last six seasons. The 2003 season was the last time Gates had fewer than eight touchdowns.
Concern: I'm one of those people who keep waiting for Gates to fall off the fantasy cliff. He never does.
X-Factor: With Vincent Jackson suspended, LaDainian Tomlinson in New York and Chris Chambers at Arrowhead, Philip Rivers will rely on Gates more than ever.
Gates is a like gigantic human catcher's mitt.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 73 catches. 960 yards. 10 total TDs.
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys. Bye: 4.
Jason Witten had 94 catches last year, which was his fourth NFL season with over 80 receptions.
What to Like: Witten has great rapport with Tony Romo, and the Cowboys offense is explosive.
Concern: Witten had one touchdown in 2006, four in 2008, and two last year. His lack of red-zone production is a confusing, but alarming fantasy concern.
X-Factor: Witten doesn't get injured. He's played in every Cowboys game since 2003, breaking ribs and records in the process.
Witten can blow up if he starts finding the end zone.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 93 catches. 1,020 yards. 5 total TDs.
Kellen Winslow, TE, Bucaneers. Bye: 4.
Whether he's playing the staph infection blame game, crashing motor cycles, or going on "solider" tirades, controversy seems to surround Winslow.
What to Like: Winslow quietly put together a nice 2009 (77 receptions for 884 yards and five touchdowns) for the three-win Buccaneers. He was responsible for more than a quarter of Tampa's receptions.
Concern: In 2009, four of Winslow's five touchdowns came in the first five weeks (before Josh Freeman took over as quarterback).
X-Factor: Don't forget that Winslow is a former sixth-overall pick. His talent has never been in question.
Winslow should be the first look in Tampa's offense so receptions should be plentiful. He just needs to stay healthy, find the end-zone and keep himself under control.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 84 catches. 890 yards. 7 total TDs.
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons. Bye: 8.
Gonzalez saved a stranger's life with the Heimlich maneuver, gave good relationship advice in Maxim and poses for PETA. He's the type of person you want leading your fantasy franchise.
What to Like: Oh, he's a pretty good football player, too. In 13 NFL seasons Gonzalez has 999 receptions for 11,807 yards and 82 touchdowns.
Concern: Gonzalez is 34. Everyone gets old.
X-Factor: Gonzalez still had a really good 2009 (83 receptions for 867 yards and 6 touchdowns), and that was with Matt Ryan nicked up for a few games.
The greatest tight end in the history of fantasy football should muster one more season of greatness.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 80 catches. 860 yards. 7 total TDs.
Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins. Bye: 9.
Cooley is coming off a disappointing 2009 in which he missed nine games with an ankle injury.
What to Like: This is your chance to get one of the games best tight ends at a discount. Cooley's ankle ruined his 2009, and the Skins lack of offensive punch limited him to one touchdown in 2008. Many have forgotten about the former top-five tight end.
Concern: Fred Davis stepped up when Cooley went down, catching 41 balls in his absence. It's lucky for both men that Mike Shanahan will use of plenty of two tight end sets. Cooley is also effective in the slot, which limits the worry of this concern.
X-Factor: Donovan McNabb led Brent Celek to 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. Cooley and Celek are similar in size and skill set.
Cooley is a big fantasy football nut, so he'll be trying to pad his stats.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 78 catches. 940 yards. 6 total TDs.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers. Bye: 10.
Players like Jermichael Finley are the reasons to pass on the top tight ends this year. Finley is great value as the eighth tight end off the board.
What to Like: Including the wildcard loss to Arizona, Finley has 44 receptions for 575 yards and four touchdowns in his last eight games.
Concern: Finley has never put together a full NFL season.
X-Factor: Donald Lee is going to the bench, and Finley is officially Green Bay's No. 1 tight end.
The upside of Aaron Rodgers gunning to Finley for a full season is intriguing.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 69 catches. 835 yards. 9 total TDs.
Brent Celek, TE, Eagles. Bye: 8.
The 25-year-old Celek is coming off a career season.
What to Like: Celek had more receptions (16) than any other Eagle in Kevin Kolb's two starts last season.
Concern: With Donovan McNabb gone, the true fantasy worth of all members of the Eagles offense will not reveal itself until Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4:15pm (EST).
X-Factor: The Eagles could go even more hardcore, traditional West Coast offense this year, which means even quicker and shorter dinking and dunking. That would be good for Celek.
You can't ignore Celek's production last season, but I'd like to see him do it once more before completely buying in.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 74 catches. 920 yards. 6 total TDs.
Heath Miller, TE, Steelers. Bye: 5.
The most underrated player on the Steelers offense had his best statistical season in 2009. He had career bests in targets (98), catches (76) and yards (789).
What to Like: Miller is sure-handed. He caught a whopping 77.6 percent of balls thrown his way last season.
Concern: The Steelers don't throw to Miller enough. People in Pittsburgh always complain about it.
X-Factor: For what it's worth, Miller only had one catch for two yards in Dennis Dixon's lone start last season. The Steelers should go with Byron Leftwich, but keep this mind just in case.
Miller is a durable, talented player entering his prime.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 75 catches. 780 yards. 7 total TDs.