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Fantasy Football 2014: Tight End Rankings are Loaded With Young Potential

Zach Ertz wants to cancel your dinner order

The tight end position has produced many young, explosive talents in recent years, and the position has shot up in prominence. Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, and Jordan Cameron are just three names that have emerged, and now sit atop the tight end rankings.

While old veterans are still occupying some of the spots, this year presents an opportunity, again, to find a young player ready to emerge. I think there are two strategies at tight end: (1) get one of the top guys early, and you will have to go early for Graham, or (2) hold out for value and try to get one of the young targets as a TE2  with upside, to pair with another cheap starter.

Some of the biggest seasons from guys that were not being selected at the very top of the tight end rankings were from guys entering their 2nd or 3rd year. Think Julius Thomas last year, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten in 2004, Chris Cooley in 2005. There are plenty of candidates this year as the position continues to escalate in prominence. Zach Ertz is poised to have a big year in Philadelphia as he really came on as a weapon late in the year and is in an offense that will give him plenty of open opportunities (and where DeSean Jackson is gone).

Tyler Eifert is going in about the same range as last year in drafts, which is interesting because rookie tight ends don’t often have huge success. I feel people are down on him when he had a decent rookie year for a top drafted tight end, and should see his role expand. Ladarius Green can run and can absolutely play a role even if he doesn’t fully surpass Gates–I expect him to become a bigger part of the offense. Travis Kelce of Kansas City has the opportunity and the athletic ability to make the leap. He’s currently going outside the Top 20, but I would take a chance on that upside. Dwayne Allen lost last year to an injury in week 1; he is better than Coby Fleener and should put up better numbers.

Travis Kelce

These numbers are based on PPR. Tiers? Jimmy Graham. Gronkowski to Cameron (who should benefit with potential Gordon absence and as the best target). A large group from Olsen to Bennett. Then a very large group from 11 to 21. I would be trying to come out of a draft with a young potential breakout candidate to go with a veteran.

  1. Jimmy Graham, NO
  2. Rob Gronkowski, NE
  3. Julius Thomas, DEN
  4. Jordan Cameron, CLE
  5. Greg Olsen, CAR
  6. Jason Witten, DAL
  7. Vernon Davis, SF
  8. Zach Ertz, PHI
  9. Martellus Bennett, BAL
  10. Charles Clay, MIA
  11. Tyler Eifert, CIN
  12. Ladarius Green, SD
  13. Jordan Reed, WAS
  14. Dennis Pitta, BAL
  15. Kyle Rudolph, MIN
  16. Antonio Gates, SD
  17. Travis Kelce, KC
  18. Dwayne Allen, IND
  19. Delanie Walker, TEN
  20. Eric Ebron, DET
  21. Jared Cook, STL
  22. Marcedes Lewis, JAC
  23. Heath Miller, PIT
  24. Mychal Rivera, OAK
  25. Adrien Robinson, NYG
  26. Zach Miller, SEA
  27. John Carlson, ARI
  28. Richard Rodgers, GB
  29. Garrett Graham, HOU
  30. Levine Toilolo, ATL
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