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

Overvalued TEs

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

Antonio Gates - SD ADP: 35 overall, TE 1 6 votes

Mike Brown - The foot injuries that have plagued Gates the last few years finally impacted him performance-wise last year, as he missed six games due to injuries. He still finished as the number two tight end in the league and was on his way to legendary, record-breaking numbers if he had been able to stay healthy. And people are going to remember that when drafting him. But those stats were already an anomaly, brought on in part by the absence of WR Vincent Jackson early in the year. Gates will have a tough time living up to his ADP even if he is healthy (which he has admitted he's not). Factor in the injury, and the number of quality tight ends in the early-middle rounds of the draft, and there's no real reason to take a shot on Gates remaining upright.

Will Grant - Gates is a beast and is the most consistent receiver on a team that has a great passing attack. However, you can't ignore the fact that the years are starting to catch up to Gates and he's getting hurt more often now. Gates has proven he can play through the pain, but you need to be smart and downgrade him a bit in your projections as well.

Clayton Gray - Like any normal human, I absolutely love a healthy Antonio Gates. Unfortunately, it looks like his feet may never be healthy again. Of course, he always tries to play through injuries, but even he succumbed to the pain last year. I'd rather take one of the other elite tight ends this year.

Dave Larkin - I'm hearing positive vibes out of Chargers camp about Gates, but count me among those who believe he will never be the same player again. Eighty per cent of Gates is better than nearly every tight end in the league, granted, but I am erring on the side of caution with his foot injury. The upside is there if he can fight through the pain and play week after week, but drafting him as your number one option at tight end is too risky for my liking.

Matt Waldman - Dr. Jene Bramel has said enough about the nature of plantar fascia injuries to give me the opinion that Gates is too much of a risk as the top TE off the board. There is a chance his old injury will be a pain management issue for the rest of his career and the potential is higher for Gates to incur another injury to a different body part due to overcompensation for the original injury. He's a great player and capable producing at a rate that puts a serious gap behind the rest of the tight ends (and all but 8-12 receivers), but the medical history isn't something I can overcome anymore.

Mark Wimer - Gates promises to gut out his plantar fasciitis during 2011, just as he did during 2010. During 2010 Gates played in parts of 10 games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season. He's a tough, talented tight end who scores lots of touchdowns, but you have to be on the field to score fantasy points. His feet just aren't healing well and that has me looking to the other elite tight ends in my drafts this year when I'm considering taking a TE with a high pick.

Jimmy Graham - NO ADP: 79 overall, TE 7 4 votes

Steve Holloway - Graham has been a Saints sensation and since they released Shockey in March everyone is expecting a huge season from him in his second year in the NFL. He received a basketball scholarship to the University of Miami and only played one year of football. He is extremely athletic, but this lofty ranking as well as the off-season hype seems more based primarily off his four TDs over the last three games a year ago. Graham's lack of experience and the volume of the Saint's options scream for expectations to be lowered. Graham had only 44 targets a year ago, ranking seventh on the Saints and 37th among TEs in the NFL. Being projected at TE 7 is a huge climb and there are an abundance of very good TEs.

Jeff Pasquino - The hype train just will not stop for Jimmy Graham this year. Graham was touted as the next big tight end sensation all offseason, and he has gone from a sleeper candidate all the way up to a Top 8 tight end. How does that happen? It is very hard to justify, especially with Lance Moore to run short routes over the middle. Mark Ingram will also have a say in the Saints offense this year, so look for another sleeper TE in your draft as there are many candidates at a very deep position.

Mark Wimer - Graham inherits Jeremy Shockey's starting spot in New Orleans this year, but what has he really proved so far in his career? 44 targets for 31/356/5 receiving is what, which is well outside of a top-ten finish among tight ends. I don't think that he should be in the same tier with Owen Daniels, Vernon Davis, and Marcedes Lewis but that is where he is slotted on the top 150 list. No thanks, I'll take Daniels, Davis, or Lewis over Graham in a heartbeat as they have proven their fantasy value.

Jason Wood - I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Jimmy Graham finish in the top 8, so this isn't a fist pounding "OVERVALUED" call. BUT, the tight end position is deeper than we've ever seen it. More than 20 tight ends are currently projected to have 50+ receptions, which is 3x the 10-year average. Graham -- while talented -- has looked sloppy at times in camp and the Saints have so many weapons that Graham isn't guaranteed consistent targets. For where you have to draft Graham, I would much rather grab a handful of other tight ends many rounds later that I think have similar year end numbers.

Dallas Clark - IND ADP: 43 overall, TE 2 3 votes

Will Grant - Clark was a stud TE until he was lost for the season last year. In his absence, guys like Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon emerged as legitimate receiving threats. Clark's return isn't going to push them back into the shadows, leading to great stats for Peyton Manning, but a lot of spreading the ball around to everyone else. Clark is still one of the best, but he's not a 3rd rounder anymore.

Jeff Pasquino - Taking Dallas Clark as your fantasy TE1 is asking for trouble. Clark is a great target for Peyton Manning, but both of those guys are medical risks this year. The Colts also offer several other receivers (Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon) and even a solid second tight end (Jacob Tamme) that they used extensively last season. There is no question that Clark is a great tight end when he is at 100%, but given the likelihood that he will miss time this year there are several other options to pick as a high end TE1 if that is the direction you want to steer for your fantasy squad.

Jeff Tefertiller - Clark has battled with injuries throughout the past few years. He is already wearing a brace on his wrist and seems to be perennially nicked up. Clark has only once finished with more than 850 yards and the odds are stacked against him doing it again in 2011. There is too much risk for a fourth round pick. The emergence of Austin Collie and Jacob Tamme could limit the veteran's upside. Also, the entire Indianapolis passing game needs quarterback Peyton Manning to return quickly from his neck injury and stay healthy all season just to come close to their respective ADPs.

Chris Cooley - WAS ADP: 121 overall, TE 13 3 votes

Sigmund Bloom - It seems harsh to call a player overvalued when he is going in the 10th round, but Cooley isn't practicing because of a knee that was worked on back in January. He already looked like he lost a step last year, and he probably can't afford to lose another if he wants to remain a viable fantasy TE. Fred Davis will get a ton of work in Cooley's absence, and he could end up being the more valuable fantasy TE this year when it is all said and done. There are plenty of other better veteran TE picks to make than Cooley in the 10th round or later like Brent Celek, Heath Miller, or Greg Olsen.

David Dodds - He is currently missing a lot of practice time and the reports are concerning regarding the need to constantly drain his knee for relief. When he is healthy, he is a great player. He is not healthy and his backup Fred Davis is good enough to take over his spot while he is less than 100%.

Aaron Rudnicki - There is a lot not to like about Cooley right now. The Redskins are going into the season with Rex Grossman or John Beck at QB after trading Donovan McNabb to Minnesota. While either player might be good enough to run a productive offense at times, neither inspires much confidence in fantasy owners. The Redskins added a solid WR2 in Jabar Gaffney this year and also have a young talented TE in Fred Davis that they might start to use more. Lastly, Cooley is dealing with a knee injury right now that might not be healed until after the season starts. I like him a bit more in PPR leagues since he's such a reliable possession receiver, but the risk/reward ratio is a bit too heavy on the risk side at this ADP in standard leagues.

Zach Miller - SEA ADP: 107 overall, TE 10 3 votes

David Dodds - I still can't believe Oakland let this player go. He comes to a team with better weapons in the passing game (Sidney Rice and Mike Williams) and I think that will limit Zach Miller's upside.

Steve Holloway - Miller, a former second round draft pick for the Raiders escaped Oakland to Seattle, but will the pasture there be greener this season. The combination of him joining a new team and having little time to get acclimated is a lot to overcome. This is Miller's fifth season and his highest end of the year ranking has been tenth. He is a very good TE, but in today's NFL the emphasis on passing has led to an explosion of very talented players at his position. It would be more than a mild surprise if Miller has his best season ever this year.

Aaron Rudnicki - His ADP has to be in free fall since moving from Oakland to Seattle. The passing games in Oakland and Seattle are similar but nothing special; however, instead of competing with the likes of Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy for looks he'll be competing with Sidney Rice and Mike Williams. John Carlson is still around as well and could compete with Miller for playing time. I like Miller's talent a lot and there's a chance he could emerge as the primary option in this offense, but once again I think there are similar players who can be had much later in the draft so it makes no sense to reach for Miller this early.

Owen Daniels - HOU ADP: 76 overall, TE 6 2 votes

Mike Brown - Why Daniels is going off the board so early, I have no idea. He's two years removed from a top ten finish, as injuries have plagued his stats in recent seasons. Granted, he finished strong in 2010 but that was only after a brutal start to the season. He's a solid player with a decent shot at finishing as a TE1, but so is every other player being taken in that area of the draft. Fact is, he's going ahead of youngsters with more upside (Graham, Lewis) and veterans who are safer and more solid choices (Gonzalez, Winslow). Fact is, Daniels doesn't really offer either of those qualities in very large quantities, making this one a head-scratcher for me.

Jeff Haseley - Daniels has not finished inside the Top 10 since 2008. While he had a strong 2009, before he suffered his 2nd ACL tear of his career, that was also before the emergence of a running game in Houston. The Texans offense is still pretty potent, however it goes through Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. All other TEs ranked near Daniels are more of a focal point in their respective offenses. I don't see him rebounding from a 26th ranking to a Top 6 status. I'd rather have Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis or Rob Gronkowski ahead of him.

Marcedes Lewis - JAX ADP: 89 overall, TE 8 2 votes

Anthony Borbely - Lewis broke out last year with 700 receiving yards and 10 TDs, good for a fourth place finish in TE scoring. Prior to that, he had never even been a top 20 TE. One great year after several years of minimal production is not enough to convince me that Lewis is a starting fantasy TE. The Jaguars have one of the worst receiving corps in the league and Lewis will get more attention from defenses this year. His ADP is 94 and there is no way I would risk a pick that high on a player that has had one good year and four mediocre ones.

Jene Bramel - Lewis has been in the league five seasons. He's a talented player, but his breakout 2010 season looks much more like a career year than the beginning of something special. 50% more receptions in 2010 than any prior year. Three more touchdowns last year than his four previous years combined. The second tight end tier may be deeper this season than any in recent memory. It's not the year to expect a player that had been a mid-TE2 at best between 2007 and 2009 to repeat his outlier season.

Jason Witten - DAL ADP: 48 overall, TE 3 2 votes

Sigmund Bloom - Witten is coming off a #1 TE finish in all formats, but that's only because Dallas Clark, Jermichael Finley, and Antonio Gates all played partial seasons. Witten benefited from Jon Kitna being the Dallas QB for over half of the season. Kitna's more conservative approach made Witten the main man in the passing game, but Witten has struggled to put up similar numbers when Tony Romo was tossing the ball. Witten's red zone involvement has been sporadic with Romo, and he was off to a mediocre start with Romo last year. He is not worth targeting in the first five rounds even though he'll go there.

Ryan Hester - How can a player with consecutive 94 catch seasons be overvalued as the #3-ranked tight end -- when 71 of those catches went into the boxscore as (Quarterback-other-than-Tony-Romo) to Jason Witten. Only one of Witten's nine touchdowns came from Romo as well. With Romo returning and Dez Bryant emerging, Dallas will utilize the perimeter and vertical parts of the field more than Jon Kitna did in relief of Romo last season. Witten is still an incredibly strong player, but there are others available later who can perform just as well -- if not better.

Tony Gonzalez - ATL ADP: 108 overall, TE 11 1 vote

Ryan Hester - If this year's fantasy drafts were based on career achievement, Tony Gonzalez would be picked in the first or second slot among tight ends. However, a new fantasy player just looking at his downward-trending stats from the last couple of years would realize that he's not worthy of that level of respect. With rookie wide receiver Julio Jones making big strides in camp (ironically enough, the biggest compliments came from Gonzalez himself), some of Gonzalez's already decreasing targets will be going elsewhere. There are many better options than Gonzalez. Don't fall in love with a name from the past.

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

Jason Wood - The Patriots are always able to surprise, and last year's use of not one, but two rookie TEs as major cogs was surprising. While Hernandez has all the athleticism in the world, he also dropped way too many passes last year. In the meantime, Rob Gronkowski was a force. This year, with the addition of Ochocinco and a full year of Deion Branch, the Pats will use more 3WR/1TE sets. Gronkowski has better hands, and is a much better blocker...ergo he'll be on the field much more than Hernandez barring injuries.

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