There’s always been a debate on just how important Tight Ends really are. They are kind of like the catcher position in football. There are a few elite ones at the top and then a pretty harsh drop off. If you don’t get one of the top tier guys your really better off just streaming your TE week to week and picking up a different guy based on matchups. Last year was a terrible year for the TE. It seemed like every single top tier guy was injured. So I fully expect a rebound at the position this year. Here are my personal TE rankings.

1. Antonio Gates
2. Vernon Davis
3. Jermichael Finley
4. Jason Witten
5. Dallas Clark
6. Kellen Winslow
7. Jimmy Graham
8. Owen Daniels
9. Jared Cook
10. Tony Gonzalez
11. Chris Cooley
12. Tony Moeaki
13. Benjamin Watson
14. Brent Celek
15. Greg Olsen
16. Jacob Tamme
17. Brandon Pettigrew
18. Rob Gronkowski
19. Mercedes Lewis
20. Aaron Hernandez
21. Heath Miller
22. Dustin Keller
23. Ed Dickson
24. Lance Kendricks
25. Fred Davis
26. Jermaine Gresham
27. Zach Miller
28. Todd Heap
29. Kyle Rudolph
30. Visanthe Shiancoe

Antonio Gates is still the best. He is far and beyond better than the rest of the pack. He may have had a few injury concerns in the past, but the reward is far greater than the risk. He is like the Joe Mauer of the TE division. He’s the only great one to have.

Vernon Davis is also very talented. I’d feel comfortable having him in my lineup every single week. You can trust him. And you can’t trust many TE’s. I think Jermichael Finley would be trustable, but he hasn’t really proven anything yet. Last year was supposed to be his big breakout but it was cut short by injury. Only at the thin TE position will you see that happen to a guy and then he will be ranked just as high the next year. I really do think Finley has great skills and will be an elite TE when he has a fully healthy year.

Jason Witten and Dallas Clark are old faithfuls. You can count on them to get a high number of receptions each week. The main fear with lower tier TE’s are that they will get shut out or end up with 1 catch on the day. Thats never really the case for these two guys. I do want to mention that Witten had a career high 9 TD’s last year which means at his age that has to come back down some. So be weary of that. But at a weak position like this it really doesn’t matter. A decline in numbers would matter if you were were a RB or WR, but not a TE. A decline to Witten still ranks him #4 overall.

Winslow, Graham, and Daniels are the next tier of guys. They all play for good teams who throw the ball a lot. Winslow is typically ranked a little lower, but I see him having his biggest season yet. Graham is unproven so far but came on strong at the end. Daniels has never been healthy. He would be ranked higher if it weren’t for his health. Never expect him to play a full season.

Jared Cook has a ton of upside. Some people are going crazy over him. I am not. I like him though. I just don’t think he is top 5 TE material. Tony Gonzalez is the opposite. He is old as dirt and doesn’t have much upside anymore. I still think he can catch a decent number of TD’s and have fantasy value. Deciding between these two guys is really a toss up. Which is interesting looking at the age difference.

My next group of guys are all guys that I have ranked higher than anybody else does. I really like the entire group of guys and really don’t understand why any of them are being drafted so low. Of course I’m talking about Cooley, Moeaki, Watson, and Celek. Cooley has always been a high reception guy who finds the end zone a good bit. He has good chemistry with Grossman and should be his favorite target. Moeaki has a lot of talent and will continue to improve each year. I think he is a future top 5 TE. Watson had a good year last year. Based on last year’s numbers he should already be ranked as high as I have him. Celek produces almost every week. This is a good group of guys to target late.

Greg Olsen should be used more in Carolina than he was in Chicago. But the team is worse so I don’t expect the numbers to really jump that high. Tamme would be a starter on most teams but he plays second fiddle to Clark. Just like last year make sure you grab him if something happens to Clark. Pettigrew will improve in his second year, but isn’t yet elite. He has great size though. Gronkowski and Hernandez really hurt each other’s value. I think Hernandez will get decent yardage while Gronkowski is the goal line guy. Kind of like Mercedes Lewis who is ranked right there with him. Both of those two guys won’t even put up yards. Just TD’s. So when they don’t score they kill you.

Heath Miller doesn’t seem to age. He will be as good this year as he always is. And by good I mean mediocre for fantasy. Dickson has Heap out of the way so I see him producing some weeks. And then other weeks he will put up a big zero catches. The rest of the guys on the list are only worth streaming if you are desperate and they have ideal matchups. Not much to talk about. Pretty weak position. Get one of the big boys at the top. You’ll be happy you did.

Tomorrow is the highly anticipated Kickers rankings. Huge ratings coming.