This past week I have brought to you who I think will be the top ten wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks in this upcoming 2013 NFL season.
Today, I will bring to you who I think will be the top ten tight ends in 2013, while comparing my list to those from ESPN.com and NFL.com.
So without further ado, here is my 1-5 fantasy tight ends of 2013.
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints- ESPN.com (1) NFL.com (1)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has Jimmy Graham receiving 1,194 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Jimmy Graham has been a great safety valve for quarterback Drew Brees since he was drafted 4 years ago out of the University of Miami.
In only 15 games, Graham finished 2012 with 85 receptions for 982 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Graham dropped an NFL-worst 14 passes last year, and dropped 228 yards off his season total from 2011. Both of these issues were related to a wrist injury, and Graham had offseason surgery to correct the problem.
However, he also missed a game due to an ankle sprain, so it’s fair to consider Graham a bit of an injury risk for 2013. Nevertheless, he was fantasy’s top point-earning TE last season, and with Sean Payton calling plays again for the Saints and Graham entering a contract year, a bounce-back season is ahead. With Rob Gronkowski looking risky because of his broken arm, I can see Graham as the top TE being drafted in 2013.
2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots-ESPN.com (2) NFL.com (2)
The 2013 projections on NFL.con has Rob Gronkowski receiving 991 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Gronkowski was only limited to 11 games in 2013, but still finished the year with 55 receptions for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns. It is obvious that when he’s healthy, Gronk is Tom Brady’s favorite target to throw to, especially when players like Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker are no longer on the team.
But as of right now, Gronkowski (forearm/back) is one of many players on the Patriots offense who is currently placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
I believe Gronkowski is a huge risk to draft as a number 2 tight end off your draft board because of his current injury status. But if he’s cleared to play, expect another big year out of the 4th year man from University of Arizona.
3. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons- ESPN.com (3) NFL.com (3)
The 2013 projections on NFL.con has Tony Gonzalez receiving 884 yards and 6 touchdowns.
The 2012 season was a breakout year for Gonzalez and the Falcons as he received 93 receptions for 930 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Gonzalez has easily become Matt Ryan’s favorite target on the team. In 2012, at age 36, Gonzo finished second in receptions among TEs and third in targets, yards, touchdowns and fantasy points. And because the Falcons came so close but were eventually denied a trip to the Super Bowl, Gonzalez decided to return for another season after flirting with retirement.
Even though he’s getting older, Gonazalez is still such a dangerous red-zone target, tying for a TE-high 12 catches and eight TDs inside an opponent’s 20. Those numbers will earn himself a starting tight end position on someones fantasy team come 2013.
4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys- ESPN.com (4) NFL.com (5)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has Jason Witten receiving 854 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Witten was the NFL’s only tight end to exceed 1,000 yards receiving last year and set a single-season record for catches by a TE with 110, playing through a severe spleen injury to begin the year. But he found the end zone just three times. That was the fourth time in the past five seasons he’s been at five TDs or fewer, mostly because Tony Romo just doesn’t throw it to him much in the end zone.
Witten is the perfect TE for you in PPR leagues. But in non-PPR leagues, you might want to stay away from Witten because of his history with not being able to put 6 points on the board for your team. It’s not that Tony Romo doesn’t trust Witten, because his 110 receptions says it all. It’s mostly because Romo rather go to targets like Dez Bryant or Miles Austin in the red zone.
But when it’s all said and done, Witten has always been known to produce great fantasy numbers in terms of the tight end position.
5. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers- ESPN.com (5) NFL.com (6)
The 2013 Projections on NFL.com has Vernon Davis receiving 788 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Ranking Davis as a fantasy starter requires a lot of faith in the guy, because he was a disaster in 2012, catching fewer than two passes per contest in the seven regular-season games after Colin Kaepernick became the 49ers’ QB.
But in the playoffs, Davis had two 100-yard efforts, disproving the notion that he and Kaepernick can’t coexist, and he’s just too darned talented not to figure this out. He’s still only 29, and may be the fastest pass catcher on his team. The potential is there, the only thing we question about Davis is his will for the game.
His inconsistency on the field makes fantasy owners scratch their heads week in and week out. But I believe Davis will be able to get his game together this season as he and Kaepernick will have a whole training camp to get familiar with one another.
Tune in tomorrow to read who I have as my 6-10 fantasy tight ends in 2013.
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