By Jesse Jordan
Fifteen years ago when I started playing Fantasy Football the Tight End position had very little importance. In fact outside of Tony Gonzalez there was so much parity at the Tight End position that my main league The Inebriation Association got rid of the TE position and opted for a WR/TE position instead. Other leagues started giving TE’s points per reception to give them more relevance in the fantasy football world. In those leagues guys like Frank Wycheck actually held some value. In 2004, second year TE Antonio Gates came along and changed everything we think about the TE position. Now days it seems like everyone is trying to mimic the success the Chargers had with Gates by bringing in fast, big TE’s that can make big plays before and after the catch. If you would have asked me five years ago if I would suggest taking a TE first round in a Dynasty Fantasy Football League I would have laughed. I believe there are 2 TE’s that should go in the top 20 picks of a Dynasty Startup draft.
Name Age Rec Yd AVG TD
1 Jimmy Graham 27 86 1,215 14.1 16
2 Rob Gronkowski 25 39 592 15.2 4
3 Jordan Cameron 25 80 917 11.5 7
4 Jordan Reed 23 45 499 11.1 3
5 Julius Thomas 25 65 788 12.1 12
1. Jimmy Graham
If I were the guy that made the decision on what to classify players as I would classify Jimmy Graham as a WR. It isn’t even fair that he is considered a TE, as Graham doesn’t do the things that other TE’s do. When have you seen old Jimmy lay down a block that sprung Pierre Thomas loose for a touchdown? That’s right never is the answer. Regardless of what Jimmy does for the Saints run game he is still considered a TE and if that’s what he’s classified as he is head and shoulders above the rest. The only concern I have for Graham is with his 6’8 frame a guy should worry about his knees wearing down. Graham is a top 10 pick in dynasty start up drafts.
2. Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski is the best true tight end in the NFL. The guy literally does it all for the Patriots. Whether it’s opening up holes for the run game, staying back to pick up a blitz on a pass block, or gaining the few extra yards needed after the catch for a first down. He is a beast and the only thing that holds him back is his injuries. Gronkowski would be a top 5 Dynasty start up pick if he’d had played all of the last two seasons. In the past 2 years he’s only played in 18 games, in those games he has averaged 77 yards and .8 TD’s on 8 targets per contest.
3. Jordan Cameron
Cameron had a really good 2013 season even though it seemed he was playing with a different QB every week. The 25 year old brought in 80 balls for 917 yards and 7 touchdowns while playing along side the #1 fantasy receiver last season Josh Gordon. If Gordon is suspended for the 2014 season Cameron’s numbers should see an increase. Last season while Gordon was sidelined for the first four games Cameron’s numbers looked like this, 30 receptions for 360 yards and 5 TDs. Even if Gordon manages to weasel his way out his suspension Cameron will still be a top TE in the league.
4. Jordan Reed
You are starting to pick up on the trend in my rankings now aren’t you? I love the name Jordan; hell I love it so much I argued with my wife about naming my first-born son Jordan cubed (Jordyn Jordon Jordan). Don’t worry I didn’t win the argument and my son got a much better name…anyways back to the topic here. While playing in only 9 games his rookie season Reed averaged a modest 55 yards on 5 receptions per contents. I believe Reed’s number are going to see a huge increase this season, as he will become RG3’s favorite target.
5. Julius Thomas
I’m going to hold of on the Orange Julius jokes in my paragraph, as I’m sure he’s been called the flavorful treat numerous times in his lifetime. I am a little leery of putting Thomas this high as the 2014 season could be Peyton Manning’s last. Thomas had a break out season in 2013 catching 12 TD’s over a 14 game span. If you aren’t concerned with Manning’s departure from Denver go ahead and take Thomas as high as the #3 TE this season.