|1. Jimmy Graham||NO||6||1|
|2. Rob Gronkowski||NE||10||2|
|3. Julius Thomas||DEN||4||3|
|4. Jason Witten||DAL||11||6|
|5. Greg Olsen||CAR||12||8|
|6. Dennis Pitta||BAL||11||9|
|7. Kyle Rudolph||MIN||10||10|
|8. Jordan Cameron||CLE||4||4|
|9. Vernon Davis||SF||8||5|
|10. Jordan Reed||WSH||10||7|
|11. Charles Clay||MIA||5||15|
|12. Zach Ertz||PHI||7||11|
|13. Martellus Bennett||CHI||9||13|
|14. Heath Miller||PIT||12||16|
|15. Delanie Walker||TEN||9||18|
|16. Antonio Gates||SD||10||17|
|17. Ladarius Green||SD||10||14|
|18. Garrett Graham||HOU||10||21|
|19. Dwayne Allen||IND||10||19|
|20. Jared Cook||STL||4||24|
|21. Tyler Eifert||CIN||4||UR|
|22. Eric Ebron||DET||9||12|
|23. Coby Fleener||IND||10||UR|
|24. Owen Daniels||BAL||11||20|
|25. Travis Kelce||KC||6||UR|
Why I ranked above ADP:
Jason Witten: Witten is often the TE that gets overlooked year in and year out because of more flashy stars like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and this year Julius Thomas. The Cowboys veteran has not missed a single game since 2003 and has caught at least 70 balls for 7 straight seasons. Also in that span, Witten has been targeted 100 times every season. He finished as the #6 ranked fantasy tight end a season ago and finished only 10 points shy of the #3 spot. This year, the pass-happy Scott Linehan is the new offensive coordinator in Dallas. He has never had the chance to work with a tight end as talented as Witten, but one can imagine this may be a perfect match. Witten could easily have 80 or 90 receptions this season and may very well be in line for double digit scores after finding pay dirt 8 times in 2013. Draft away, drafters, as Witten is a sure bet as any at the position to finish within the top 5 and is being taken on average outside of it as of this writing.
Dennis Pitta: I’d list Kyle Rudolph here as the other player to explain, but anyone who read my “Breakouts & Busts” column already knows how high I am on Rudolph this year. So I figured I’d use this slot for another TE who will benefit greatly from a coaching change. Last season, Pitta only played in 4 games due to a hip dislocation injury. Also, with the addition of Gary Kubiak, the TE will be utilized more this year as seen during his time in Houston. Kubiak is notorious for the use of his tight end (see Daniels, Owen), and a recent column detailing and explaining why the Ravens will be using the TE more this season can be seen here. While Baltimore will use their fair share of two tight end sets, Dennis Pitta will be the lead pass-catcher, although former Texan Owen Daniels (signed during the off-season) will see plenty of snaps. Pitta has shown a connection with QB Joe Flacco in the past, and if the Raven run game suffers like it did a season ago, they will be throwing the rock a lot.
Why I ranked below ADP:
Jordan Reed: I had Reed on a fantasy team last year and thought I had a steal the first few weeks after I snagged him off the waiver wire. But then he suffered a concussion in week 11 that took him out for the rest of the season. Reed had a checkered in jury history in college, along with concussion complications. Health wise, it’s going to be tough to count on the Redskins’ big man. He has all the skills to be a top-flight fantasy tight end, but until he shows that he can maintain his health, I’m letting my league-mates take the plunge.
Vernon Davis: Last season, Vernon Davis was an absolute beast, hauling in over 50 balls for more than 850 yards and 13 TD. Unfortunately, U don’t see a repeat in my crystal ball. The Niners added former Bill Stevie Johnson to go along with their already solid wideout core of Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. Don’t forget about rookie Bruce Ellington and sophomore Quinton Patton. More mouths to feed in the San Fransisco offense, eh? Couple that with the fact that Davis, now 30 years of age held out early on in camp. Although he has since reported, Davis does not come without risk and we already know that this team loves to run the football. No doubt, Davis will have his moments and put up his numbers, but given the amount of weapons Colin Kaepernick now has it his disposal, the veteran tight end may have a hard time fighting the others for looks. Don’t pay too much for him at your draft.
Statistical credit: Fantasyfootballcalculator.com, Russellstreetreport.com
Doug Moore is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @DMM0822!