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Overvalued Players: Tight Ends

Footballguys staff members examine the tight end position for overvalued players

The flip side of succeeding with value players is failing with overvalued players. These are players that will not put up stats commensurate to their draft spot, and avoiding them is another of the important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out these players, we asked our staff to look through the top 150 players and identify players that should under perform their draft position.

Player with 4 Votes

Joel Dreessen, Broncos

Andrew Garda: Maybe it's mean to pick on a guy this deep in the rankings, but I don't see him improving all that much this season with all the weapons in the Denver offense. Even the meager production which is needed to get his current ranking is more than I see him pulling off.

Adam Harstad: Why anyone is bothering to roster a 31 year old blocking TE who has never finished better than 18th at his position is beyond me entirely. Dreessen presents absolutely no upside whatsoever. He won't outperform whoever is on the street in any given week. He is a waste of a roster spot.

Andy Hicks: Joel Dreessen won't be the leading tight end in Denver, which makes his current ADP baffling. At 31 years of age, he will not put up numbers to even be a TE2 this year, if he makes the roster, let alone contend for starting status. The arrival of Wes Welker will severely limit the opportunities for Bronco Tight Ends this year and Jacob Tamme or Julius Thomas are younger men and more likely to get called into action.

Stephen Holloway: Joel Dreessen had off-season knee surgery and will miss the rest of the team's offseason workouts. He caught a career high 41 passes a year ago, but Julius Thomas has been impressive in on-going practices while Dreessen is out and the team added Wes Welker who specializes in short patterns and should take away some of the tight end targets. Dreessen will be at best the fifth option in the passing game and could be replaced by Thomas.

Players with 3 Votes

Antonio Gates, Chargers

Will Grant: Gates played in more games last year (15) than he did in the previous two (13 in 2011 and 10 in 2010). Yet he only finished as TE12 last season compared with TE7 in 2011 and TE2 in 2010. Entering his 11th season, it's pretty clear that Gates is not a lock for a top fantasy tight end anymore. He's falling down draft boards right now with good reason, and I would only consider him a starter if he were part of a tight end by committee approach.

Chad Parsons: Gates is getting by on name value alone at this point in his career. He was downright horrible in terms of efficiency last season and has been on a steep decline since 2010. Gates has not played 16 games in a season since 2009 and is relying more and more on touchdowns to fuel his fading fantasy production. The most regression-worthy statistic for Gates from 2012 was his five red zone touchdowns on just nine targets. Those nine targets were a low-water-mark over the past five seasons and that 56% conversion rate dwarfs his career rate. Especially for an older player, that screams regression for the next season and frankly, without the usual touchdowns, what does Antonio Gates offer in terms of fantasy upside?

Mark Wimer: Antonio Gates' career is coming to a close, and I don't think he'll finish among the top-12 players at his position this year. The team is in transition to a new coaching regime, and there isn't much talent around Gates and Philip Rivers. The Chargers may be a NFL doormat team this year, and I don't want any part of their offense on my fantasy teams.

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

Jeff Pasquino: Rob Gronkowski is a tough tight end to rank this year, thanks to his numerous surgeries on both his forearm and now his back. When he is 100%, he is the top tight end in the game and a force with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play throwing in his direction quite often. With Tom Brady losing Wes Welker, Gronkowski could see even more action - if he is ready to go each and every week. I would feel better taking Jimmy Graham or Jason Witten first from a risk standpoint, but if both are gone and Gronkowski is there, I would be tempted.

Jeff Tefertiller: Rob Gronkowski has now undergone wrist and back surgeries this offseason. He is not worth the second round pick ADP. There is a good chance that the stud tight end misses multiple games.

Jason Wood: Gronkowski is an astoundingly talented football player. He's also a walking infirmary and just had back surgery just as fantasy owners are finally feeling better about his arm (which required four surgeries but looks okay now). There's no way I can justify using a 2nd round pick on a guy that could easily miss a big chunk of the season.

Dennis Pitta, Ravens

Will Grant: Pitta came on strong in the playoffs last season, and it has people over-drafting him right out of the gate. He's certainly going to be a part of the Baltimore offense, but remember that they still have Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and even Ed Dickson competing for pass receptions. Between Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, that's another 70 potential receptions on a team that only threw for 3700 yards and 24 TDS last year. Pitta will be good. TE1 numbers are probably a lock. But spending a 6th round pick on him is projecting his playoff performance out over 16 games and that's not going to happen.

Jeff Tefertiller: Dennis Pitta is currently being selected as the fifth tight end off the board, and ahead of Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen. While he does posses upside with Anquan Boldin now in Baltimore, Pitta is overdrafted compared to the veteran tight ends.

Jason Wood: Pitta is a fine player, and it's entirely possible he could approximate last year's numbers (61 for 669 and 7), but counting on it would be foolish. Pitta is part of a group of good, but not great, tight ends and he's just as capable as finishing TE12 as he is TE5, yet fantasy owners are betting on a repeat of last year. Remember that Ed Dickson is healthy again, and the Ravens are not a prolific TD passing team so Pitta's 7 touchdowns could easily be 3 or 4 this season.

Kyle Rudolph, Dolphins

Heath Cummings: Rudolph was one of my deep sleepers last season but like often happens with sleepers, the pendulum has swung too far. The Vikings may have trouble even entering the red zone, much less getting the ball to Rudolph once they get there. Rudolph is a fine talent with a terrible quarterback and a one dimensional offense.

Adam Harstad: Kyle Rudolph failed to crack 500 yards last season, making a fantasy living by scoring TDs at an unsustainable rate. Historically, I'm not a huge fan of guys who are primarily a red zone threat on a terrible passing team.

Mark Wimer: Kyle Rudolph is overvalued because Christian Ponder's game is falling apart. Also, I have no faith that Matt Cassel would be an upgrade over Ponder if Ponder ends up benched during 2013.

Players with 2 Votes

Owen Daniels, Texans

Sigmund Bloom: Daniels seems like one of the most reliable options at tight end, but last year he didn't score or catch more than four balls in any of the last five games of the season. At 30, his three career ACL tears could be catching up with him. Garrett Graham was a younger version of Daniels when he followed him at Wisconsin and history could start to repeat itself if Daniels slips at all this season. He's not worth a pick as a TE1.

Ryan Hester: The selection of Daniels here isn’t as much about him as it is the guys below him and the tight end position in general. Once the first six tight ends are gone, there’s little value in jumping on any of the remaining players at the position. The difference in standard leagues between TE7 and TE12 in 2012 was 14 points total. The difference between TE7 and TE16 was 29 points. Why select a player like Daniels  in the 105-110 range when you could get Martellus Bennett  around 125-135 or Jermaine Gresham around 155-165? And if you don’t feel safe with those guys, grab a high-potential, super-athletic sleeper like Jordan Cameron (180-190) or Tyler Eifert (185-195) to pair with them.

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals

Jeff Haseley: Jermaine Gresham came into the league with high expectations, but several uninspiring seasons and dropped passes later he has become a tight end on a team that has found a better tight end. Enter Tyler Eifert. It's possible that Gresham will manage to sustain some fantasy productivity while Eifert learns the ropes, but it's also possible that Eifert comes in as a much better receiver and earns his playing time from the get go. Either way, Gresham's numbers are about to go down, which weren't that good in the first place.

Matt Waldman: Tyler Eifert is a more reliable receiver and will be moved around enough that I think it at least cuts into Gresham's targets. I also think Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones are good enough to take away targets as part of a young receiving corps with talent to complement A.J. Green. I don't think Gresham as the No.14 TE off draft boards is low enough to account for these changes.

Heath Miller, Steelers

Stephen Holloway: Before last season, Heath Miller had only two seasons where he finished among the top ten tight ends and that was back in his third and fifth seasons. He has always provided good athleticism and hands at his position, but his lack of production has been due to underuse by the Steelers as he has frequently been relegated to a blocking role. The problem this year may be a slow recovery from knee surgery because they really need receiving options, but Miller will likely be hindered early on and not come close to matching his numbers from 2012, when he caught 71 passes for a career high 816 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Matt Waldman: I'm a little surprised Miller is even on a draft list right now. It's a form of respect of a player of his skill that fantasy owners have him as the No.18 tight end heading into a season he's likely to miss at least half of and probably all but the final month. I'm not drafting Miller, but I wouldn't be against adding him in November if all signs look good. Those who do draft him will be dropping him by October. It's a wasted pick.

Players with 1 Votes

Martellus Bennett, Bears

Andy Hicks: Martellus Bennett is the latest Tight End to be tried in Chicago since Greg Olsen left in 2010. Now on his 3rd team in 3 years, Bennett currently has an ADP similar to his finishing position with the Giants last year and his career best finish of 14th. His 4 years with Dallas were underwhelming and the Giants weren't willing to reward him for his career best performance. It's easy to get carried away and think only the best will happen with Bennett this year, but experience tells you to avoid him.

Jermichael Finley, Packers

Jeff Pasquino: It is just so hard to trust Jermichael Finley. He has had so many chances to be the stud tight end in the top passing attack in the NFL with Aaron Rodgers, but he just has not been able to step up and deliver. Until he gets remotely close he will be a mediocre TE2 for fantasy purposes in my book with so many better options across the league. Green Bay is also going towards a more balanced offense, adding two rookie rushers (Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin), which will likely eat away at the overall Packer passing game.

Brandon Pettigrew, Lions

Sigmund Bloom: In a year when the top two WR2 options for the Lions went down, leaving them with the likes of Kris Durham and Mike Thomas running routes by the end of the year, Pettigrew had his lowest touchdown, catch, and yardage totals since his rookie year. Pettigrew has ample opportunity in this pass-heavy attack, but his hands, ball skills, and run after catch game have all been lacking. His fantasy numbers have come almost by default, but if the Lions get back to a reasonable number of pass attempts this year, Pettigrew will fall well out of the TE1 ranks.


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