Introduction • QB: [under] [over]  • RB: [under] [over]  • WR: [under] [over]  • TE: [under] [over]

Undervalued TEs

Read the introduction to this series if you haven't yet.

Kellen Winslow - TB ADP: 109 overall, TE 12 6 votes

Anthony Borbely - For the first time in years, Winslow will enter the season without having some kind of surgery on his knees. The reports from training camp have been overwhelmingly positive. Even with his knee problems, Winslow has been remarkably consistent during his career. Despite the problems he has had with his knees, Winslow has played in all 16 games in four of the last five years, finishing seventh or higher in TE scoring in all four of those years. Winslow has an ADP of 113, which places him in the middle of the tenth round. I will gladly take Winslow's production at his current ADP.

Jene Bramel - Many are forecasting a breakout year for Josh Freeman this year, suggesting that 3600 yards and 20+ touchdowns are within his reach. I agree. While Mike Williams is an elite option as the primary receiving option, who else will be pushing Freeman to those levels? Arrelious Benn? Possibly, but he'll be inconsistent in his first year back from an ACL injury. Legarrette Blount? He's not close to a 50 catch threat. Michael Spurlock? Sammie Stroughter? Forget it. If Freeman is to hit his upside expectation, it'll be on the shoulders of Winslow, who had nearly 70 catches and 800 yards last year and three times as many red zone chances (leading to five TDs) during the second half compared to the first. Some will bet on Marcedes Lewis or Rob Gronkowski or Chris Cooley 2-4 rounds earlier, I'm putting my chips behind Winslow.

David Dodds - He finished 2010 as the 6th best TE yet he is getting no love in 2011. He has finished as a top seven TE in 4 of the last 5 seasons. This may not be a super sexy pick like a Jermichael Finley, but it could be a selection that you can make cheaply that helps you win your league.

Steve Holloway - Kellen Winslow Jr. has finished as TE 7 and TE 6 in his two seasons with Tampa Bay. His QB Josh Freeman showed marked improvement in his second year throwing for 3,451 yards and 25 TDs. They return their receiving playmakers from a year ago so the Bucs should have similar success and yet Winslow is being drafted as TE 12. With the abundance of athletic stretch the field young TEs, it appears that expectations for Winslow are decreased this year. Jump on this opportunity and seize the value that he presents for 2011.

Aaron Rudnicki - I'm not really sure why Winslow is being drafted as low as he is but I have to assume it has something to do with (a) the amazing depth at the TE position this year, and (b) some perception that Tampa does not have a particularly effective offense. Well, the first part is certainly true and that makes it an even better idea to wait to draft your starter at this position. The second part, however, seems difficult to find support for given how productive Tampa was last year with a group of very young players that seem likely to show continued improvement. Josh Freeman is coming off a breakout type season that saw him throw for nearly 3500 yards and 25 touchdowns. While there are some talented young WRs in place like Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, Winslow is likely to remain the #2 target at worst. He's played a full 16 game season and finished as a top-7 TE in 4 of the past 5 seasons and is still just 28 years of age. Based on all of that information, Winslow looks like one of the best values at any position this year.

Chris Smith - It is really difficult to determine year to year which tight ends will catch enough passes to become a top-5 player at the position. However, Winslow has been a top-seven tight end in four of the past five seasons so he represents value here.

Rob Gronkowski - NE ADP: 100 overall, TE 9 5 votes

David Dodds - The Patriots used a pair of rookie TEs last year to absolutely confuse defenses. By the end of the year, Gronkowski looked to be a lot bigger factor than his team mate Aaron Hernandez as he causes huge mismatches based on his size and speed. He managed a whopping 14.2 yards per catch and 7 TDs in his last 8 regular season games and I expect the Patriots to continue to exploit the mismatches he brings to the offense.

Will Grant - By the end of last season, Gronkowski was on fire, posting 16 receptions for 224 yards and four TDS in the final four regular season games. While he and Aaron Hernandez were the 1-2 TE punch for the Patriots, Gronkowski is really emerging as the 'go to' guy. Hernandez saw a lot of action with the second team in the first pre-season game and had two fumbles. Look for Gronkowski to be the #1 TE for the Patriots come week 1.

Jeff Haseley - In just his rookie year, Gronkowski managed to put up 10 TDs on 42 receptions. Oh by the way, he was part of a TEBC. He appeared to separate himself from fellow rookie, Aaron Hernandez and likely will see similar production in 2011, if not more. His ADP is 100-TE9, which is a bit too low in my opinion. He's a TD magnet and that was before Randy Moss, the red zone king, retired.

Dave Larkin - I have a minor man crush on Rob Gronkowski, I'm not going to lie. "Gronk", as his teammates call him, exploded onto the scene as a rookie and scored a touchdown on his home debut. His 2010 season saw him grace the endzone ten times. The Patriots' offensive formations and personnel groupings allow him to attack defenses in multiple ways. Bill Belichick knows what he has in Gronkowski, and that is a hard working football player with blocking and receiving talent. Aaron Hernandez is a useful chess piece too, but Gronkowski is the better all-around player in my opinion and will have ample opportunity to outperform his ADP.

Jason Wood - Aaron Hernandez is an athletic playmaker and many expected him to be the bigger offensive producer as a rookie, in spite of the fact the Patriots drafted Gronkowski higher. Yet it was Gronkowski that delivered the rarest of fantasy seasons -- a top 5 TE spot as a rookie. Hernandez was good, but Gronk was better at everything. He scored more, averaged more yards per catch, was the better run blocker, and the better pass protector. With the additions of Deion Branch (mid-2010) and Chad Ochocinco (2011 offseason), the Patriots are going to run more 3WR sets this year, and Gronkowski is going to be on the field as the lone TE a lot more than Hernandez. Snaps = opportunities = targets, and that makes Gronkowski a great shot to deliver top 5-8 fantasy numbers yet again.

Brandon Pettigrew - DET ADP: 126 overall, TE 14 5 votes

Will Grant - The Detroit passing game continues to improve, and Pettigrew is a great receiving TE. With Tony Scheffler getting long in the tooth, you can expect Pettigrew to be an even bigger part of the passing game this season. If he can stay healthy, he should improve on his #12 TE fantasy performance from last season. Pettigrew is still going in the 10th round of most fantasy drafts, making him a great pick for your fantasy team.

Steve Holloway - Brandon Pettigrew was Detroit's first round selection in 2009. He played well as a rookie with 31 receptions over 11 games. Last season, he caught 71 for 722 yards and 4 TDs. With the recent injury to the rookie RB Mikel Leshoure, the Lions should lean even heavier on their passing attack. Since Pettigrew was the second most targeted Lion in 2010 after Calvin Johnson, chances of a similar or increased role this year are very good.

Chris Smith - I love Pettigrew within this offense. I really do. With a full season from QB Matthew Stafford, I see Pettigrew being almost unstoppable as the defenses roll coverages over to slow down talented WR Calvin Johnson. Pettigrew has a chance to leap into the top-three in 2011.

Mark Wimer - Pettigrew and his QB Matthew Stafford have been simpatico in their chances to work together. Unfortunately, neither guy has been able to put together a full 16-game season with the other due to injuries to either Pettigrew (2009) or Stafford (2009 and 2010). However, even without Stafford for most of 2010, Pettigrew hauled in 71/722/4 receiving out of 110 targets last year. If Pettigrew can garner a few more TDs and perhaps 10-15 more receptions this season, he'll be in the mix for a top-five finish among fantasy tight ends.

Jason Wood - Pettigrew had the quietest 71-catch season in recent memory. But 71 for 722 and 4 TDs were good enough to put him 12th among fantasy TEs in his second season. As long as he can fix his drops (12 last year), Pettigrew should be one of Matthew Stafford's top targets.

Owen Daniels - HOU ADP: 76 overall, TE 6 4 votes

Sigmund Bloom - Daniels got the commitment from the Texans organization in the offseason via a long-term deal just before the lockout, and he deserves your commitment in your fantasy draft. He is set up to be the #2 option in a very good passing offense, and Daniels returned to his 80+ catch pace once he was healthy last year. He also showed up a lot more in the red zone in 2009 before his ACL tear, so the top 5 is definitely within his reach in PPR and non-PPR leagues alike.

Ryan Hester - Like Jermichael Finley, it was injuries -- not opposing defenses -- that have stopped Owen Daniels in recent seasons. In 2009, Daniels has a three-game stretch where he made 22 catches for 295 yards and 3 TDs before tearing his ACL in the following game. After an inconsistent start to 2010 (probably due at least in part to recovering from the ACL), Daniels encountered a hamstring injury mid-season. He certainly seemed fully healthy coming back from that as he put up 22 catches, 271 yards, and 2 TDs in the team's last four games. Reports from Texans camp suggest that Daniels is in pre-ACL form. If he plays 16 games this year, expect very big things.

Jeff Pasquino - Owen Daniels came back from injury last year and led the team in targets over the last four games with 36, racking up a solid 22-271-2 performance down the stretch. When "OD" has been healthy for a full season he has been a Top 8 TE (2007, 2008) so the upside is high if you can snag Daniels later in drafts.

Greg Russell - Two years removed from his torn ACL, Daniels appears to have regained his old form. At the time of his injury in week 8 of 2009, Daniels was atop the TE scoring. While there are solid reasons for the rankings of the five tight ends ahead of him, I will not be surprised if Daniels outscores at least two of them. With a good chance for similar production, but being drafted a round and a half later or more, Daniels is a great value this year.

Brent Celek - PHI ADP: 158 overall, TE 16 2 votes

Sigmund Bloom - Celek struggled with drops due to a wrist injury and was also held in to block more often last year, but Michael Vick has already said that Celek deserves to be involved and that he was watching tape of how they used his #1 receiver back in Atlanta, TE Alge Crumpler. Vick's red zone favorite last year, Jeremy Maclin, has a mystery illness, which could free up more money targets for Celek. Celek was a top 10 option in 2009 and it's starting to look like his 2010 will be more of an aberration than his standout campaign. He's another reason you can afford to wait on TE this year if no great values present themselves.

Jeff Pasquino - Michael Vick realized that he did well with Alge Crumpler in Atlanta, so he went out and said that Celek needs to be more involved in the Eagles' offense this season. Even more in Celek's corner is the improved offensive line and the possible health issues with Jeremy Maclin. Celek scored a touchdown in the first preseason game and that may be a sign to come for his return to TE1 status.

Tony Gonzalez - ATL ADP: 108 overall, TE 11 2 votes

Mike Brown - Gonzalez may be in the twilight of his career, but he's part of what may be the NFL's next juggernaut offense. The future Hall of Famer finished in the top ten tight ends for the thirteenth consecutive season. Thirteen. Consecutive. And yet, here he is going off the board as the number eleven tight end. He's not going to be ranked number one, but he's not going to be outside the top ten, either.

Aaron Rudnicki - Every year for maybe the past 5 or so, fantasy owners play the guessing game with a player like Tony Gonzalez. Is this the year he finally starts to show signs of aging and sees a big dropoff in his production? Well, last year was the first time in those 5 years that he finished outside the top-5 at his position, but he still managed to finish 8th. He's seen a steady drop in his receptions, yardage, and yards per reception over the past few seasons and it certainly looks like the end could be getting close for perhaps the best TE of all time. I think he's got another top-10 season left in him, however, and would be fine using him as a starter if I waited this long to draft my first TE. The Falcons are an offense poised for big things this year so he will be able to fly under the radar a bit more than usual. I also think he'll remain a very effective weapon in the red zone, where he caught 10 of 20 passes thrown his way last year and converted 6 of them into touchdowns.

Vernon Davis - SF ADP: 54 overall, TE 5 1 vote

Mike Brown - With wide receiver Michael Crabtree still a question mark at every turn and the dicey situation at quarterback for this team, one would expect that they are going to lean very heavily on the reliable players they still have around. Namely, Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore. Davis is perhaps the most talented receiving tight end in the league, and is coming off seasons where he's been ranked first and third at his position. Poor QB or not, Davis isn't going anywhere.

Jermichael Finley - GB ADP: 51 overall, TE 4 1 vote

Ryan Hester - One of the biggest risers in ADP at this time last year was Jermichael Finley. Many were drafting him before Antonio Gates. While it's impossible to predict performance in any year of fantasy football, the thousands of people drafting Finley over Gates may not have been wrong had Finley been able to stay healthy. From Week 13 of 2009 through his pre-injury games of 2010, Finley had 4+ receptions in eight of nine games (and had three in the other). He also scored 5 TDs in that stretch as he was emerging in the high-powered Green bay offense. If you draft by talent, Finley should be the #1 tight end on your board. He's younger than Antonio Gates, he can run past defensive backs, and out-jump almost any defender in the league. If healthy, he's simply a monster.

Jimmy Graham - NO ADP: 79 overall, TE 7 1 vote

Jeff Haseley - The Saints love to throw to their TEs (average over 100 recs to TEs each of the last three years) and with Jeremy Shockey now with Carolina, the Saints are down to Graham and David Thomas. Graham had a very strong second half of the season catching 4 TDs in the last three games and he is easily the most athletic TE on the team. He is on the verge of great things. A Top 5 finish could very much be in the cards.

Aaron Hernandez - NE ADP: 155 overall, TE 15 1 vote

Matt Waldman - Gronkowskimania has swept the fantasy football industry. Everyone seems to think Gronkowski's 10-TD season is a sign of things to come. Just remember that Hernandez was producing in the end zone at the same rate as Gronkowski before he missed the final two games and all the TE targets went to the big guy. The other issue is the take that Chad Ochocinco's presence will cause Aaron Hernandez's game to suffer more than Gronkowski's. I don't believe it. Hernandez can beat cornerbacks on the outside and linebackers on the inside. His after the catch skill is often running back-like. If anyone loses out it's going to be Woodhead, Edelman, and likely Branch. Just like Indianapolis, I think New England is quite capable of 4 pass catchers accumulating 700-1000 yards. Bargain.

Marcedes Lewis - JAX ADP: 89 overall, TE 8 1 vote

Mark Wimer - Lewis is the number one target on the Jaguars who'll feature a starting tandem of Mike Thomas and Jason Hill at wide receiver this year. Look for Lewis to challenge for the top spot among all tight ends at season's end - he's a lock for well in excess of 80 targets (perhaps approaching 100), and should easily match or exceed his 58 receptions for 700 yards logged during 2010 (he also scored 10 TDs, which is an achievable number for Lewis again this year).

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