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Razzball Nation!  The 2012 Fantasy Season is approaching!  It’s great to be back and never too early to start thinking about how to field your best squad.

What better way to start planning for your upcoming drafts than to think about sleepers.  And just like your friendly proctologist, I’m going to start with the Tight End.

Back in the day, it used to be, “Tight End, who gives a Fells?”  Then the position started going bonkers when Antonio Gates could play on both feet and Tony Gonzalez caused more carnage slam-dunking than Darryl Dawkins.

Entering 2011, the position had come full circle and died down yet again.  Gates was the prettiest girl of the bunch, but they all kinda blended together into one of those not-quite-ugliest but definitely not-one-of–the-hotter sororities.  Just have enough beers and you’ll take when you can get.  Then arose the power of the Gronk!  You like Gronk!  Gronk no take ugly sorority girl he take porn star!

With 2012 comes the year of the highly drafted #1 stud.  Gronkowski is currently getting drafted in the early second round according to Mock Draft Central, an ADP that I see rising and rising through more and more mock drafts.  Then there’s also Jimmy Graham going in the late second round.  Now, I don’t have a problem with either of those selections.  I think both will end up right around there in value, but I don’t think I’d ever get my Tight End that early.  There are just too many other skill players I’d want to draft.

After those two, it goes Gates, Witten, Hernandez, Finley, Davis, then Gonzalez, all taken rounds 5-9.  That’s 8 TEs taken before round 10, and if you’re in a 10-team league, TEs fly off the shelf like that Van Halen song: “Everybody wants some!  You want some too!”

But I’m holding out.  Who am I holding out for?  Mr. Jacob Tamme, who is flying so under-the-radar that you can wait until one of your final rounds to nab.  According to Mock Draft Central, Tamme is so undrafted he’s not even taken in the top 18 TEs and falls out of their reports and out of the top 196.  Where’s the love?

It’s pretty easy to forget just how dominant Tamme was in 2010.  After Dallas Clark went down on the IR, Tamme put together a line of 67 catches for 631 yards for 4 TDs.  Oh wait, that was in 10 games!  Sure, people argued, “he’s only a product of the system,” and “he was just a lucky pickup on the wire for teams down the stretch.”  Yada, yada.  Tamme proved he was a quality Tight End when he got his shot.  But last year, with Clark returning and Peyton Manning spending too much time with his head out of car windows, Tamme became a bigger afterthought than Larry Johnson.  He snagged only 19 catches all season while searching for playing time and an actual quarterback.

Then in the offseason, Tamme signed with the Broncos on a three-year deal following the signing of Peyton Manning.  Manning has recently said the additions of former teammates Tamme and free agent Brandon Stokley have eased his transition, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Peyton had a hand in bringing Tamme in.  Even though the Broncos have also brought in Joel Dreessen who has flashed some skills in Houston, I think Tamme is going to see a lot of work in the passing game.  First, consider Manning’s two wide receiver options:  Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker aren’t exactly the class of the league.   I think Decker has the bigger year, but that’s just a gut call and of no consequence to what I expect from Tamme.  Second, consider Manning’s limitations with both a probable limitation of arm strength and playing outdoors at Mile High vs. playing the majority of his career indoors.  I don’t think it’d surprise anyone to see a lot of check downs and a more West Coast-style of passing offense rather than the more aerial approach the Colts utilized in Manning’s heyday.

The only real concern I have with Tamme is John Fox has never fully incorporated Tight Ends in his passing game.  I’m a Panthers fan and watched almost every play in the John Fox era and if it’s not a run play it’s probably not a pass to the Tight End.  However, I think Manning’s input and whatever will cater to his capabilities will supersede Fox’s offensive mantra.   Don’t forget, Tamme’s huge 10 weeks in 2010 was the last time Peyton Manning was on the field, so his rapport with Tamme should still be there.

Especially in PPR leagues, I think Tamme is going to be a beast and a top-7 TE.  With a major downgrade in WRs from what he was working with in Indy, I expect Manning to look for Tamme early and often.  And with such a discount in price, why not load up on other position players and snag Tamme late?  That’s going to be my plan.

2012 Projection:  79 Catches  819 Yards  8 TDs

4 Responses

  1. David_KOA says:
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    @razzball poster,
    Wow! going off as the 18th TE off the board. That is absurd and you would think going to be changing drastically over the summer. Over at FFC as of now he Jacob Tamme is going at 8.03 the 8th TE off the board.

    I think if you are looking for late round sleeper TE production then look at Jared Cook and Brent Celek.

    Jared Cook going off the board at 13.03 the 15th TE had a ton of sleeper hype going into 2011 drafts. I hate to say it for most of 2011 he did nothing. That being said his last three games 21 catches, 111.66 YPG & .3 TD’s. Look at what happens when you give him some looks. Plus you add the addition of a full off season CJ?K, Britt should be healthy and if so is a monster, and then the addition of Kendal Wright to go along with Nate Washington. On a side note that Titans offense could be down right nasty in 2012. If he can get around 6 targets a game which should come easy.

    Brent Celek going off the board at 13.06 the 16th TE off the board. Remember just a couple of summers ago the amount of love one Mr. Celek was getting? Then Kolb got hurt and in came Vick and out the window went Celek and his production. That was till week six of the 2011 season. The first five weeks of the season he only saw 12% of the Eagles targets. Then comes week six and it all changes it jump to 22% for the rest of the season. Week 6-17 4.1 catches, 67.09 YPG & .45 TD’s. If you project those numbers over a full 16 game season, we have a top 3 TE for fantasy in 2011.

    Again it is early but if these players ADP stay around the current price come draft day. The owners who do wait and grab one or both of them could be rewarded in a big way.

    • JB Gilpin says:
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      @David_KOA, Yeah, there is definitely additional statistical data we need to truly evaluate anything right now, but Tamme did slip pretty far in my Expert Mock last night (recap will be up tomorrow), so much so that he went the pick right before me in the 12th round of a 12 teamer.

      If Tamme is indeed going in the 8th round (I think that’s what you’re saying), then that probably is too high. But in the double-digit rounds, Tamme is a gold mine. I do like Cook, but I am cautiously optimistic with the Titans still considering Matt Hasselbeck their starter. I like “CJ?K” as his moniker, I think he does get 1000 but barely and the Titans offense isn’t as dynamic as you think.

      If going to pass on Celek though, he found more and more success as injuries ravaged the Eagles’ receiving corps. Of course if they get injured frequently again (a definite possibility) Celek would be fine… But until then I’d let someone else grab him.

      Thanks for reading!

      • David_KOA says:
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        @JB Gilpin, From week 6 till week 17 in the six full games, that the Eagles did have Jackson, Maclin & Celek in uniform together. Maclin missed three(plus throwing out the two games he barley played) & Jackson missed one game. Brent Celek had a stat line of 42 catches, 490 yards(week 15 help boost this big for yards) & 5 TD’s. Throwing out his yards in week 15 vs the Jets and replacing it wih his AVG for the five games he played with Jackson & Maclin. His AVGs 7 catches, 66.8 yards & .83 TD’s. You project that over 16 games and you have a TE that is top three again.

        Looking at the stats it look like when on the field Jackson and Maclin actually help the production of Celek. Another big reason we saw a step in production for Celek was Vick deciding to make an effort to get his TE more involved.

        I do not think we see Celek name as a top three TE when it comes to the end of the season. That being said he has a really good shot at being in the upper half of the postion in a 12 team league. With the outside shot of being top three as he showed last year he can produce.

  2. Yanee Tan says:
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    Damn,

    My hands are just itching for some football NOW…
    for RCL Leagues count me in… (!Yahoo) most probably

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