Navigating the Tight End Landscape

Title: Navigating the Tight End Landscape
Date: August 13, 2009
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: With fantasy football draft season approaching, I created a Composite ranking for tight ends, taking into account the rankings of some major outlets.

It’s almost time for fantasy football drafts, and so I guess I should provide some coverage for readers who partake. Unfortunately, that means divulging information to competitors since some of my opponents no doubt read this site. With that in mind, I’ve kept away with clear predictions and my own personal feelings, but I will try to assist you in navigating the landscape, position by position.

Today, we start with Tight Ends. Generally, TEs are drafted in this manner: someone jumps on the top guy a little too early, then there is a run on the next few top guys, and then everyone else panics to grab whatever is left. In reality, tight ends are both inconsistent for touchdowns and fairly standard in production once you get outside of the top few guys. So really, the draft should look more like this: someone jumps on the top guy a little too early, then there is a run on the next few top guys, and then everyone else waits it out to draft the 10 or 12 coin-toss TEs later on.

So who are the top guys? To figure it out, I amalgamated the rankings from five different sources to create a composite positional ranking. Again, this is based entirely on the work and predictions of others, not my own, so the value in the below chart extends as far as you think professionals are smarter than me. The sources for these rankings are found at the end of the article.
 More after the jump!

Two truths become apparent right away: the top three tight ends are obviously Gates, Gonzalez, and Witten…but nobody has any real idea in which order they should go. Personally, I’d expect Clark to be in the discussion among those three as well, if only for the consistency the Colts offense provides. So Gates, Witten, Gonzalez…take your pick, but for stress levels you may be luckiest picking two or three spots behind “that guy” that jumps on a TE early, saving yourself the hassle of decision making and drafting the leftover stud.

From there on out, it’s pretty much a crapshoot at the position. Kellen Winslow probably has the highest upside, Chris Cooley is probably the safest bet, and as always you should target TEs with a young quarterback (as your back-up TE though, since the TDs may be in short supply). The fact that 12 players fit in a range of 10 composite ranking ‘points’ tells the tale of parity (or mediocrity…of performance or prediction) at the position.

There’s really not much to say about Tight Ends. It all comes down to when the first one is drafted, how the league reacts, and your personal opinion on the middle class. It’s a top-heavy position, but it sure looks like if you miss out on the top three, you’ll have no problem snagging two mid-level tight ends without rushing to grab them. I’d recommend grabbing two, though, if you wait on the position, since last year this group included duds like Alge Crumpler (oops).

Check back over the next week or so for the rest of the positions, and feel free to comment with your Tight End thoughts…and jokes about ‘tight end’ are welcome, too.

ESPN Draft Kit
RotoWire Draft Kit (based on my scoring system)
Yahoo PreSeason Ranks
FF Today Rankings (based on my scoring system)
FF Toolbox ADP Report

I’m also a loser…on…Twitter. You can follow me here, but there’s not a whole lot of action outside of shameless self promotion.

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