With the NFL season approaching – and by approaching I mean it’s never going to get here! – we get to finish off the dynasty rankings with what might be one of the most painful positions to try to manage in fantasy football. In the past few years, the tight end position has gone from extremely unimportant to now the focal point of many offenses, making the position in fantasy football much more relevant. Unfortunately the talent that is available is extremely top heavy, leaving only a few options that you have to spend either a lot of money on in an auction draft or a high pick in a start up. My recommendation? If you miss out on the Top 2, and with Rob Gronkowski’s health in question, maybe just the Top 1, you have to look to add multiple options and look to find the next great option to help your team become dominant. Let’s take a look at the dynasty tight end rankings and some options that could rise to the top of the rankings in the near future and long term.
Short Term Targets:
Dennis Pitta Baltimore Ravens: Pitta is far from a sleeper as he was already a serviceable tight end for fantasy in 2012, but could see a huge bump in production due to lack of other options in the passing game. With the departure of Anquan Boldin, Pitta becomes the second option in the heavy passing attack of the Ravens.
Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings: Rudolph burst on to the fantasy football scene last year by scoring nine touchdowns for the Vikings. With the loss of Percy Harvin, the Vikings will struggle in the passing game relying solely on new free agent Greg Jennings and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson. Quarterback Christian Ponder has already struck up some chemistry with Rudolph and should look for him frequently in 2013.
Jared Cook: Now one of the highest pair tight ends in the NFL, Cook, a freak athlete that could be considered more of a wide receiver than a tight end finds himself in St. Louis for the 2013 season. There are concerns about his lack of production while he was in Tennessee, but the Rams look to be creating a very explosive passing attack for the future and with Steven Jackson departing for Atlanta, the Rams lack a decent sized goal line running back with experience and Cook should be targeted frequently inside the 20 yard line in 2013.
Jordan Cameron: My thought was that with the coaching changes in Cleveland and the departure of tight end Ben Watson to New Orleans, the Browns would draft a talented tight end early. This assumption was wrong as it appears they may have found their guy. Jordan Cameron is a young player who is a great athlete and even with questionable quarterback play from Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell should see plenty of targets and make use of it becoming a very good fantasy option for 2013 and beyond.
Brandon Myers: Myers went from unknown to household name in 2012 where he was one of the hottest names on waiver wires in leagues as he was targeted frequently and often from quarterback Carson Palmer. With Palmer leaving for Arizona, Myers couldn’t have ended up in a better spot with the Giants. With both Giants wide receivers having issues with contracts and injuries, Myers could quickly become Eli Manning’s favorite target. He doesn’t have elite athleticism and is slightly older than most on this list but he is definitely an impact player for the next few years
Robert Housler: Housler was less than exciting last year but with the atrocious quarterback and offensive line play in Arizona, it’s hard to put all the blame on him. Carson Palmer, who turned Brandon Myers into a star in 2012, moves to Arizona in a Bruce Arian’s run offense that uses the tight end heavily in the passing game. This is mostly speculation but with those two factors along with Housler’s athletic ability and sure hands this is the perfect storm for 2013 and should be on everyone’s fantasy radar.
Long Term Targets:
Jordan Reed: One of my favorite tight ends from this year’s NFL draft was Jordan Reed, built like Aaron Hernadez he finds a perfect long term landing spot in Washington. He is risky with his smaller build and lack of blocking ability but with RG3 at quarterback and lack of other options I expect big things for Reed in the future and we could possibly see some production as early as next year.
Travis Kelce: This was probably the best landing spot for any rookie tight end in the draft as Kansas City is looking for someone to step up with only Anthony Fasano and Tony Moeaki on the depth chart, Kelce has the raw talent to jump both and become a solid option in whatever Andy Reid has in store for Kansas City, mix that with Alex Smith’s reliance on tight ends Kelce is a player worth targeting for some serious long term potential.
Ladarius Green: Green is in his second year and at 6’6″ 240 lbs he is a perfect replacement for the aging Antonio Gates and for the Chargers. We all hope that Green gets an immediate shot to win the job but my personal though is Gates has a least two more years left before anyone will be fantasy relevant in San Diego. Green is most definitely worth a roster spot just the potential home run he could become.
Gavin Escobar: Jason Witten is nearly indestructible, I mean who plays through a severed spleen? With that being said, Escobar is in a very good situation and with his ability has an opportunity to be a contributor is Witten misses time or decides to retire within the next few years. Escobar is a developmental NFL player but could transform into the next great weapon in a heavy Cowboy’s passing attack.