Undervalued TEsRead the introduction to this series if you haven't yet.
|Greg Olsen - CAR ADP: 164 overall, TE 18||8 votes|
Bruce Hammond - Olsen has an ADP of TE18, right about where he finished statistically in 2011. Looking deeper though, he started strong (#6 through 8 weeks) but fell off after midseason as nagging injuries took their toll and Jeremy Shockey got more involved. Again healthy and with Shockey now gone, I think Olsen rebounds and Cam Newton looks for him again as he did early last year. There appears to be no other tight end on the roster to take much of the load and I expect most of the tight end targets to go to Olsen.
Jeff Haseley - Carolina totaled 82 receptions to Greg Olsen (45) and Jeremy Shockey (37) last year. Currently, Jeremy Shockey remains unsigned, thus leaving Olsen as the team's primary receiving TE threat. If the roster stays as it is, Olsen could be in store for a dramatic improvement in production in 2012. FB Mike Tolbert and TE Gary Barnidge will fill some of the void left by Shockey, but Olsen has the opportunity to see the biggest increase and could finish as a Top 10 tight end.
Dave Larkin - It appears that the short-lived marriage between Carolina and Jeremy Shockey has come to an end, making way for Greg Olsen to have a breakout season with the Panthers. Olsen has an unobstructed path to securing the bulk of the playing time at tight end, although the team may use Gary Barnidge in two-tight end sets. Olsen should see around 95 targets with the possibility of a 60 reception, 7 touchdown campaign when all is said and done. At his current ADP, Olsen is a tremendous value in a Carolina offense that may even be better than it was in 2011.
Bob Magaw - Olsen has several causes for an optimistic projection. Criminally underused for several years by ex-CHI OC Mike Martz, he is a size/speed specimen with the talent and athleticism to have once been a national Gatorade Player of the Year finalist as a prep. He will have a full off-season and training camp in Carolina, doubly disrupted in 2011 by the labor dispute and a late-July trade. Most hopefully, he is the second best receiving weapon on the team after dangerous deep threat WR Steve Smith, and could be a frequent intermediate target for emerging star QB Cam Newton, coming off one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history, at any position.
Aaron Rudnicki - Jeremy Shockey saw a lot of time in 2-TE packages with the Panthers last year and caught 37 passes. He's no longer around and the guys expected to fill his role are primarily known for their blocking. This should mean that Olsen a slew of additional passing targets for Olsen in 2012 and a potential top-10 season. Tight end is a very deep position this year so if you don't get one of the top-2, I think waiting for a player like Olsen makes a lot of sense.
Matt Waldman - Now that Jeremy Shockey is no longer in the picture and no other comparable tight end to replace him on the Carolina roster, I expect Olsen to have a crack at a nice share of the production that Shockey earned and at the same time limited Olsen's fantasy totals. There was evidence of a nice rapport with Olsen and Cam Newton and I expect that relationship on the field to grow. The former Bears tight end has borderline elite athleticism. He adjusts well to the football, stretches the field, and has good skills after the catch. I wouldn't be surprised if the more recently heralded Coby Fleener can only hope to aspire to Olsen's skill level. I'll take Olsen over Fleener this year and you can probably add another five names ahead of him as players I'll pass on to grab the Panthers tight end late, if I didn't take one early in the draft.
Jason Wood - It wasn't that long ago when 45 receptions for 540 yards and 5 TDs would be enough to rank as a top 10 fantasy tight end. But the position has evolved into a focal point of the passing game, and thus Greg Olsen's 2011 numbers ranked him as the 18th best tight end. That said, Olsen is capable of much more and Cam Newton continues to need reliable targets beyond Steve Smith. Olsen could easily finish in the top 10 with just one or two more touchdown grabs.
|Dustin Keller - NYJ ADP: 143 overall, TE 17||5 votes|
Jeff Pasquino - The New York Jets love to run the ball, but they still throw it to keep a balanced offense going. Keller was the most targeted receiver last season, topping even Santonio Holmes with 113 passes thrown towards the young tight end. Keller very quietly finished in the Top 10 among tight ends last year and he could easily find himself back at that level again this season.
Mark Wimer - Dustin Keller had career highs in targets (115), receptions (65), yards receiving (815) and touchdowns (five) last year. I expect Mark Sanchez to continue to improve for the Jets this year, and a rising tide should also lift Keller into the top-ten at his position, well more than his current #17 ADP would suggest.
Jason Wood - I wouldn't say I'm a Dustin Keller fan. He seems to disappear down the stretch and doesn't dominate in the red zone. But he is a fluid athlete with good hands, and the Jets continue to have questionable options at the wide receiver position. Keller is virtually guaranteed to be among the most targeted tight ends in the AFC, and he remains in his prime. At TE17, Keller is being treated like an end game backup that's barely above replacement level. Yet, Keller has ranked as the 9th best fantasy tight end in EACH of the last two years. Take advantage of the arbitrage value.
David Yudkin - The Jets have seen their wide receiving corps go from a strength to a potential weakness in just a few short years. They also did very little to improve their running game. Between the two, Dustin Keller looks like he will be targeted now more than ever. He's being drafted as the 17th tight end this year so far, even though he ranked in the Top 10 the past two seasons and his targets have increasing from 78 to 82 to 101 to 115.
|Tony Gonzalez - ATL ADP: 98 overall, TE 10||4 votes|
Jeff Tefertiller - Coming off TE6 and TE4 seasons respectively the last two years, it is amazing Tony Gonzalez is drafted as TE9 this season. While he has slowed in his "old" age, Gonzalez is still a stable contributor in the Atlanta Falcon offense. He is not as fast or as quick as in years past, but the venerable All Pro knows how to get open and rarely drops a pass. If you miss out on the top three tight ends this year, wait and take Gonzalez in the eighth round while stockpiling the other positions.
Matt Waldman - Age is one my favorite factors to use against my competition when I'm looking for talent likely to perform against the grain of conventional ADP-think. Gonzalez was a top-five tight end last year despite the fact that he's ancient by NFL standards at the position. That's okay, the guy takes better care of himself than 99 percent of the players in the league because he understands what to eat. He may not be the stud athlete he was in Kansas City, but he's still the most reliable third-down option in the short and intermediate passing game that the Falcons have and his savvy in the red zone is unparalleled. As the 10th tight end off the board, I'd gladly take him over Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis, and perhaps the inconsistent Jermichael Finley. Maybe what I'm saying doesn't sound like Gonzalez will "radically outperform his ADP," but higher a player ascends within the upper tiers of a positional ranking, the more intense of a change it can have. So in this case, I think the pick qualifies.
David Yudkin - Gonzalez may be getting long in the tooth, but the last time he ranked as low as tenth was in 1998 (his current ADP). That was also the last time he scored fewer than 100 fantasy points (0 PPR). In his three years with the Falcons, he's averaged 120 targets a year. Wide receivers getting selected near him at the 98th pick don't see the ball that often.
|Owen Daniels - HOU ADP: 133 overall, TE 15||3 votes|
Jeff Pasquino - Owen Daniels comes back to Houston after an injury last year, and he will once again be the unquestioned starter. Matt Schaub loves his big target over the middle, especially in the Red Zone, and the Texans do not have a legit WR2. That means plenty of targets, catches, yards and touchdowns for Daniels who is undervalued right now in all formats. Daniels is a cheap pickup late in fantasy drafts that has definite Top 10 tight end upside.
Maurile Tremblay - After a couple of top-ten seasons in 2007 and 2008, Owen Daniels was among the league's best tight ends in 2009 before tearing his ACL midway through the season. In eight games that season, he was on pace to equal Antonio Gates' production as a top three fantasy TE. He wasn't the same in 2010, but bounced back somewhat in 2011, and should play a big role in the offense in 2012. He should be a low-end TE1 if he can stay healthy.
|Fred Davis - WAS ADP: 86 overall, TE 8||2 votes|
Chris Smith - Fred Davis is a very special football player just coming into his own. He averaged 5 receptions a game and over 13 yards a reception last year and will be a wonderful first option for a rookie quarterback learning his craft on the fly this year. I fully expect him to make a push for 80 receptions, 1000 yards, 6 touchdowns and a leap into the top five this season.
|Jermaine Gresham - CIN ADP: 124 overall, TE 14||2 votes|
Chris Smith - Entering his third year in the NFL, Gresham is poised to make the jump from good fantasy option to great one this season. He missed two games last year and still finished as the 13th best fantasy tight end. With a good, young quarterback to go along with Gresham's wonderful blend of abilities, there is no reason to believe he cannot elevate to 70+ receptions, 840+ yards and 6+ touchdowns in 2012.
|Brandon Pettigrew - DET ADP: 87 overall, TE 9||2 votes|
Mark Wimer - Brandon Pettigrew plays for a powerful offense and is a trusted target for Matthew Stafford. I can see him catching 100+ passes this year, which should make him a monster in PPR leagues - Pettigrew should outperform his current #9 ADP fairly easily, in my opinion.
|Jason Witten - DAL ADP: 67 overall, TE 6||2 votes|
Andy Hicks - After Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham there is a big drop to the next group of Tight Ends. Jason Witten should be at the top of that queue, but is flling a round further than the likes of Gates and Hernandez. This is a mistake. Witten is a vital ingredient in the Dallas passing game and the departure of Laurent Robinson gives Witten more of an opportunity for touchdowns.
|Brent Celek - PHI ADP: 116 overall, TE 12||1 vote|
|Jared Cook - TEN ADP: 123 overall, TE 13||1 vote|
|Jermichael Finley - GB ADP: 68 overall, TE 7||1 vote|
|Antonio Gates - SD ADP: 56 overall, TE 3||1 vote|
|Jimmy Graham - NO ADP: 17 overall, TE 2||1 vote|
|Aaron Hernandez - NE ADP: 59 overall, TE 4||1 vote|
|Jacob Tamme - DEN ADP: 115 overall, TE 11||1 vote|