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Deep sleeper TEs

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Greg Olsen - CAR 7 votes

Sigmund Bloom - The writing is on the wall that Olsen will play a big role in the Panthers passing game. The team gave up a third-round pick for Olsen and paid him 10 million guaranteed in an extension. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, like Olsen a former U of M TE, oversaw Kellen Winslow's career year in 2007. The Panthers have no proven second wide receiver to speak of. Everyone forgot about Olsen after Mike Martz did in Chicago, but those who remember him on draft day will be rewarded this year.

Jeff Haseley - It's hard to believe that Olsen is currently outside of the Top 150. He is going to play a featured role in the Panthers offense this year and he could see 60+ receptions and 5-6 TDs. He is definitely a steal at his current ADP of 165 (TE15). I fully expect his ADP to rise as more people realize how valuable he is going to be this year.

Bob Magaw - Could the former highly touted Miami Hurricane Olsen have possibly landed in a better place? New CAR OC Rob Chudzinski coached All-American TEs Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow II, was a TE coach in SD with serial Pro Bowler Antonio Gates and was later reunited with Winslow as an OC in CLE. After a lost year trapped in the dungeon of mad scientist Mike Martz's passing laboratory, Olsen is going to a team that appreciates his talents and knows how to get the most out of them. They parted with a third round pick in 2012 to secure his services, and immediately signed him to a generous four year extension. He has outstanding speed and athleticism for the position. With an uncertain WR2 situation (seemingly a CAR institution lately), Olsen is almost certain to play a prominent role in the Panthers new look passing attack, with the upside to be the leading receiver some weeks. He should be a frequent between the hash marks target for expected rookie starting QB Cam Newton. This C.H.U.D. reboot will unleash a new level of horror... on unsuspecting secondaries and fantasy opponents.

Jeff Pasquino - Carolina lacks for viable pass targets once you get past Steve Smith, and there is no better friend for a rookie quarterback than a big tight end over the middle. Enter Greg Olsen, who has been a workhorse before at Chicago, and he will love being a bigger part of an offense after getting out from under Mike Martz with the Bears. A great recipe for a sleeper tight end is a lack of a second wideout, and this is exactly the case in Carolina. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski loves to use tight ends, and Olsen will see a ton of targets this year for the Panthers.

Matt Waldman - Olsen has to feel like he escaped the tight end equivalent of the old Democratic Republic of Germany. Now that he's in former UM TE/coordinator Rob Chudzinski's offense in Carolina, Olsen has a true chance to become the top-five fantasy tight end that his ability frequently promised. I don't think top-five production is coming this year, but the 7-10 range makes sense for a player who will likely serve as the Carolina quarterback's security blanket.

Mark Wimer - Olsen was traded into the Carolina offense - the same offense that made Antonio Gates an uber-stud in the real NFL and the fantasy realm. Olsen started off preseason with a bang, snagging 3/58/1 vs. the New York Giants - he's playing with great intensity, determined to show up the Bears after they traded him away. He's got great talent+plentiful opportunity+strong motivation this season - don't sleep on Olsen in your fantasy drafts, folks.

Jason Wood - People are really missing the boat on Olsen. He was buried in Chicago, but he's found a new lease on life in Carolina. The Panthers gave up a 3rd round pick for him -- and he'll immediately become one of the key cogs to new OC Chudzinski's system. Remember, Chudzinski was credited with Antonio Gates' development in San Diego, and he was also the TE coach at Miami when the likes of Shockey, Winslow and -- yes -- Olsen. Expect Olsen to provide a key security blanket for either Jimmy Clausen or Cam Newton, as well as serve as the team's best (if not only) red zone threat.

Jared Cook - TEN 6 votes

Sigmund Bloom - If you're looking for the next Antonio Gates or Jermichael Finley, here is your best candidate. Cook has freakish athletic ability that makes him almost uncoverable and an instant mismatch. The new coaching staff has expressed their excitement in getting Cook involved and he has a QB who can feed him the ball in Matt Hasselbeck. Cook has the talent, all he needs is the opportunity and the numbers will come.

Jene Bramel - Cook still has to prove himself as a consistent fantasy option. But the last six weeks of the 2010 season (24 receptions, 292 yards, including 12-154-1 on 18 targets during the last two weeks) were a preview of what could be on the horizon. Brent Celek, Dustin Keller, Greg Olsen and other drafted in the TE10-20 range can't approach that kind of TE1 upside. I'd much rather have Cook at this price than Marcedes Lewis 5-6 rounds earlier.

David Dodds - He came on at the tail end of 2010 catching 24 of his 29 receptions in the last 6 games. During this span, he was targeted 37 times and finished with 292 yards and a score. Without a true WR2 on this team, I think we could see Jared build on this success and have his best season this year.

Jeff Haseley - With Bo Scaife now in Cincinnati, the Titans will turn to Jared Cook as their main receiving weapon from the TE position. Matt Hasselbeck has been effective at utilizing TEs in his time in Seattle. He may have the same effect on Cook, who is on the verge of finally breaking out and showcasing his potential.

Jeff Pasquino - Everyone has been waiting for Jared Cook to have a breakout year, and now the environment is perfect for it to happen in Tennessee. The Titans finally moved on from Bo Scaife and made Cook the starter, and now they have brought in Matt Hasselbeck who will look over the middle for Cook several times a game. Tennessee has little to offer at wide receiver past Kenny Britt, who is also no lock to play every game. Cook has TE1 fantasy upside if he gets 5-6 targets a game.

Jason Wood - I'm surprised to see Jared Cook outside the top 150, on average. His productivity may not yet be evident in Titans box scores, but this is going to be your one chance to roster Cook late in drafts, as he'll likely be understood as a difference making offensive weapon in 2012 and beyond. Cook was considered one of the best athletes to play the TE position in years, and could probably have started for a number of teams as a rookie. But the Titans took it slow with Cook, thanks to a combination of nagging injuries and a lack of focus in his rookie season. New OC Chris Palmer has promised to use Cook as the "Y" receiver frequently, and will limit his blocking responsibilities. Given the lack of WR talent behind Kenny Britt, Cook could be the 2nd most targeted player -- and that will equate to some hefty year end totals.

Dustin Keller - NYJ 3 votes

David Dodds - The additions of Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason could really open up the middle for a player with Keller's skills. He finished as the ninth best TE last year. At age 27, he could be in for his best year yet.

Steve Holloway - Keller has played every game thus far in his three seasons in the NFL, all for the Jets. His number of targets has increased every season from 78 as a rookie to 101 last year. His yards per reception have similarly climbed from 11.1 as a rookie up to 12.5 last year. The Jets' QB, Mark Sanchez is entering his third season and the team passed more often last season than in his rookie year. Both Sanchez and Keller should continue their development process and improve their play. The Jets keep both Holmes and Keller as their main passing game targets. Despite the fact that Keller finished as TE #9 a year ago, he is currently being drafted as TE #17 and 159 overall. Keller offers outstanding value as a late TE selection.

Chris Smith - The Jets have pretty good receivers and I expect a nice season from Keller as Mark Sanchez comes into his own. Defenses are not going to be able to roll a defense to stop Keller and he'll have plenty of one-on-one matchups vs. opposing linebackers, a matchup he'll exploit more often than not.

Jermaine Gresham - CIN 2 votes

Steve Holloway - Gresham is entering his second year after being a first round pick of the Bengals in the 2010 draft. He caught 52 passes on 81 targets as a rookie. The Bengals are proceeding this year with a new QB, which will likely hinder the passing game success, but have lost their two primary receiving targets from a year ago in Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. The team drafted a first round QB in Andy Dalton. When you consider all these off-season moves, it provides a gloomy team situation and Dalton should be starting soon, if not the first game. Rookie QBs are not typically a great idea for a bad team, but they maximize the production for TEs and RBs by their preference to check down options. This situation presents an increased opportunity for Gresham and a value TE choice for you late in the draft. Gresham, who will improve greatly on his finish as TE #21 a year ago is currently being drafted at TE #20 and 185 overall.

Chris Smith - Gresham is a fantasy monster coming into his own. He has excellent route-running ability, terrific hands and does everything very well. If he was in a top-level passing team at this time, I would probably rank him top-five. Yes I do believe he is that good and he will certainly put up numbers better than his current draft position.

Todd Heap - ARI 2 votes

Greg Russell - Once a consensus top tight end, an inability to stay healthy has been Heap's biggest detriment. In the last three years, however, Heap only missed three regular season games while also playing in five playoff games. This year finds Heap on a Cardinals team that is short on experienced receivers after Larry Fitzgerald. Heap has an opportunity to become a favorite target of Kevin Kolb, a QB who is short on real game experience. Heap is a good choice to platoon with another late round TE if you pass on the players at the top of the position.

Jeff Tefertiller - Heap will benefit from the change of scenery. He is now playing in Arizona where defenses are focused on stopping Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals have no other receiving options; the veteran tight end will be active in the passing game. Quarterback Kevin Kolb will need someone other than Fitzgerald to step up. Heap is the favorite and could garner 65 receptions and 800 yards if he can stay healthy.

Kevin Boss - OAK 1 vote

Jeff Tefertiller - Boss signed in Oakland and should see an increased role over his days in New York. Boss is an underrated receiver and Jason Campbell does not have veteran receivers to target so the tight end could see his share of check downs. Zach Miller was able to post very good numbers while a Raider and Boss could approach Top 10 status as well.

Brent Celek - PHI 1 vote

Jeff Haseley - The Eagles could rely on Celek more this year, especially earlier in the year before Steve Smith returns and Jeremy Maclin returns to health. He is a great late round TE to target after the bigger names have been selected. He is worth way more than his ADP of 158 (TE20) suggests.

Lance Kendricks - STL 1 vote

Bob Magaw - The Rams clearly had big plans for the former Wisconsin TE and viewed him as an important weapon to help solve their red zone woes, in passing on talented WRs (Little and Cobb) and RBs (Leshoure, Thomas and Vereen) to take him in the second round of the 2011 draft. Based on early returns in training camp and preseason, Kendricks has flashed early star potential and may exceed even the Rams big expectations. He has been a quick study in learning multiple positions, has formed instant chemistry with Bradford (Jermaine Gresham was a favorite target at Oklahoma) and has been as advertised as a matchup nightmare, with the proverbial "too fast and athletic for LBs and too big and strong for safeties" game. Kendricks already looks like the third most important skill position player for St. Louis, after Bradford and Jackson, and appears destined to be an integral part of new OC Josh McDaniels passing game... especially in the red zone. A top 10 TE finish with upside could be beckoning. Pigskin magnet hands. Explosive RAC skills. Check (mate).

Heath Miller - PIT 1 vote

David Dodds - Miller had a down year last year and scored just 2 TDs. He played better with Ben Roethlisberger at QB and actually put up better numbers in the last 6 games than he did in the 8 games to start the season. He has had two top-9 finishes over the last 4 years and could bounce back to that level again in 2011.

Evan Moore - CLE 1 vote

Mark Wimer - Ben Watson has been missing practices in training camp due to (first) a concussion and (second) a sore hamstring. All accounts out of Cleveland are that Moore has looked very good in practices. Watson led the team vs. Green Bay with 2/56/0 receiving, but Moore got his share of balls, too, with 3/11/0 receiving. Moore could unseat the veteran at some point during the coming season, and he's recognized as a good red-zone presence for the team. In addition, Moore averaged a whopping 20.1 yards per reception last year (16/322/1) and enters his third season with the team this year. I've added him in a couple of dynasty leagues, and he might be worth a look in TE-required redraft leagues this season.

Dennis Pitta - BAL 1 vote

Dave Larkin - If you haven't seen the ridiculous catch Pitta made down the seam over a defender in the first Ravens preseason game, go and watch it. Pitta has worked hard behind Todd Heap and has shown patience, but now is his time to shine. Ed Dickson was pencilled in by many to be the starter as he appeared the more athletic, pass-catching threat. Pitta will have a say in this battle. In fact, he took the first team reps in practice recently despite the fact Dickson was healthy. Keep a close eye on this battle for the remainder of preseason.

Julius Thomas - DEN 1 vote

Matt Waldman - It looks like Cecil Lammey was right about Thomas, who is dazzling in camp as a receiver. The talking heads in Denver anticipate Thomas earning the starting job by the end of preseason. He adjusts well to the ball, stretches the seam with speed, and makes plays in tight coverage. Blocking is the issue, but he should earn enough opportunities as a situational receiver to outplay his current value. Of course, in Footballguys leagues, he's probably close to overvalued.

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