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What a mess. This position has officially become Highlander because there really can be only one. You know exactly which one, don’t even bother asking.  Writing this list is gonna make me hate Tight Ends more than any man should.  It wasn’t even a Tale of Two Cities because even at the best of times, it was the worst of times.  For all the promise of talent, I’m not certain many lived up to it.  Don’t make me even talk about Zach Sudfeld…but I’m already depressing you and we haven’t even started.  If there was ever a position to stream moving forward, TE would be the place.  Though I haven’t done the numbers, I’d bet there were way more ‘out of nowhere’ top 10 TE finishes in 2013 than at any other skill or QB position.  It’s all about matchups save for a few of these guys so my stance of not overspending on TE still stands, but hopefully I get myself roped into the right late rounder in 2014.  Ugh, let’s just get this over with.  Here’s the Top 20 Tight Ends from the 2013 Fantasy Football season…

Stats based on receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.  Rankings based on a PPR setting.

1. Jimmy Graham – Graham, cracker, CRUNCH!  I haven’t even looked at the actual final rankings on Yahoo because I don’t need to.  He was and still is the man.  He’s a wide receiver pretending he’s a tight end and it’s glorious.  Preseason Rank #1, 2013 Projections: 95/1250/11/0/0.  Final Numbers: 86/1215/16/0/0

2. Vernon Davis – Gotta love touchdowns, especially ones that let you say ‘VD gets a TD’.  I’m a little shocked that Davis finished as second best.  I guess because I didn’t draft a TE very high this year most of these numbers are gonna surprise me.  Yeah, I don’t really want to have a long post about these guys, if you can’t tell.  Preseason Rank #7, 2013 Projections: 71/937/6/0/0.  Final Numbers: 52/850/13/0/0

3. Julius Thomas – Welcome to next year’s #2 ranked TE unless Gronk surprises us all by being a full go at the start of the season – unlikely – or Peyton decides his Papa John’s business is more lucrative than his football career – unlikely times 1000.  Man, now I wanna go to the mall and get an Orange Julius and a slice of pizza from Sbarro…Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 65/788/12/0/0

4. Tony Gonzalez – Not the year he turned in from 2012 but definitely not as low as I thought he would’ve gone, I’d have to say if this was Tony’s version of a ‘it’s time to retire’ season, he could probably have about 3 or 4 more and make plenty of fantasy owners happy.  Preseason Rank #4, 2013 Projections: 78/772/7/0/0.  Final Numbers: 83/859/8/0/0

5. Jordan Cameron – It’s all about perspective.  On the one hand, his ranking feels false because of how much he failed you after about five or six games to start the year.  On the other, Cam went late enough for you to bulk up at other positions early on so his drop off should’ve been fixed by the uptick in surrounding players.  Key word being ‘should’ve’.  If you’re sore about it…ice up, son!  Preseason Rank #21, 2013 Projections: 59/696/5/0/0.  Final Numbers: 80/917/7/0/0

6. Jason Witten – I can remember maybe two games where I said to myself, ‘man, I really wish I had drafted Jason Witten’.  But those thoughts were so fleeting, I can’t even tell you the weeks except for one: week 17.  Yes, one of his biggest weeks came when few people even needed the stats.  Given his age and the young Escobar behind him, I wouldn’t be surprised by a slight fade next year.  Preseason Rank #3, 2013 Projections: 88/889/4/0/0.  Final Numbers: 73/851/8/0/0

7. Charles Clay – So THIS is what I might’ve gotten from drafting Keller late…good to know!  I had Keller as one of those ‘great late round TE grabs’ lists and it’s bittersweet to be talking about Charles in his stead.  Because I didn’t rank him, I’ll just say you cashed in on Clay if you nabbed him.  Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 69/759/6/15/1

8. Greg Olsen – Here’s what I said about Greg in the Top 20 Tight End rankings to begin the year.  ‘Olsen is solid..but still don’t feel Cam is a trustworthy source for WR/TE breakout potential to rate He-Man any higher’.  It’s nice to know you can count on production but there’s 3 TEs ranked above him that were either undrafted or late round picks so…yup.  Preseason Rank #9, 2013 Projections: 66/818/6/0/0.  Final Numbers: 73/816/6/0/0

9. Antonio Gates – Twas a better year than I expected but was it really all that great?  Sorry, once we hit Clay, I started thinking about how much streaming was a better option.  Not undercutting what Gates did – it was his first full season since 2009 – but really, the statline was replaceable with matchups most weeks and his TE partner in crime Ladarius started stealing his end zone thunder, especially down the stretch.  Again, if you drafted him, did you feel all that great you did?  Preseason Rank #13, 2013 Projections: 55/649/6/0/0.  Final Numbers: 77/872/4/0/0

10. Martellus Bennett – In defense of ranking the Black Unicorn very low in my original rankings, I wasn’t quite sure just how much the TE would be used in the new offense and the old offense with Davis at TE didn’t hold over much promise from 2012.  Then again, I just said TEs became streamable at about Clay so whatevs.  Here’s your TE that you didn’t hold onto all year but finished top 10 at his position.  Yay.  Preseason Rank #18, 2013 Projections: 45/594/4/0/0.  Final Numbers: 65/759/5/0/0

11. Jared Cook – Oh, real funny Jared.  One good week.  That’s all you gave us.  About 21% of his yardage game in the first game of the year.  Now if it had been the last one, it wouldn’t have been as painful but when you start the year like that, you make us hold you close to our hearts, Jared.  You wanna know how I send flowers to my mother?  Through FTE.  Preseason Rank #5, 2013 Projections: 65/851/7/0/0.  Final Numbers: 51/671/5/0/0

12. Delanie Walker – Hey, he started for a team that had a poor passing attack and was very conservative.  Of course he’d end up finish near this area.  Does it make it that exciting?  Eh, not so much.  Walker on from Delanie in 2014.  Preseason Unranked, 2013 Projections: 48/566/3/0/0.  Final Numbers: 60/571/6/0/0

13. Coby Fleener – Much like TY had his opportunity when Wayne went down, Coby got his when Allen went out.  Dwayne Allen went down game 1 of the year and you got this.  How excited are we for 2014 here, people!  Preseason Unranked, 2013 Projections: 45/729/2/0/0.  Final Numbers: 52/608/4/0/0

14. Brent Celek – Do I even have to say anything?  He finished 15% owned in yahoo leagues.  Yeah, think that sums it up just right.  Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 32/502/6/0/0

15. Rob Gronkowski – As I’ve said many times after 1 minute of love-making with my wife, ‘oh what could’ve been’.  In only 7 games, a still not 100% Gronk finished this high on the charts.  It’s both a sign of how good Rob is and how bad TE is at the same time.  Preseason Rank #2, 2013 Projections: 78/1107/12/0/0.  Final Numbers: 39/592/4/0/0

16. Garrett Graham – I have a funny feeling if I added up all of Garrett’s, Ryan Griffin’s and Owen Daniel’s fantasy points on the year, that duct-taped TE would’ve been top 7, maybe even top 5.  But as the Human Centipede once taught us, you can’t sew people together and expect to get away with it.  Eh, what was I talking about?  Oh, right TEs.  Just sew my mouth onto someone else’s TE and crap in it this point, I’d prefer it over this.  Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 49/545/4/0/0

17. Tim Wright – With Mike Glennon at the helm, it looked like for a while that Wright would be a top flight TE.  Unfortch, Glennon turned back into the Napoleon Dynamite-looking QB that Foles once got tabbed with and it was VJax or bust for most of the rest of the year.  If Glennon progresses any in 2014, Wright might be intriguing.  Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 54/571/5/2/0

18. Brandon Myers – Seriously?  When…just when was this even true.  I thought they put him at RB at one point.  No wait, that was Peyton Hillis.  And the biggest question is, how much of a difference is there.  Preseason Rank #10, 2013 Projections: 61/701/7/0/0.  Final Numbers: 47/522/4/0/0

19. Scott Chandler – Zzzzzzzz…uh, mmm-huh?  Mommy?  Is it feeding time?  Please close the cellar door, it’s too bright…woah, where’d I go.  Must’ve been sleep typing.  Oh, we’re talking about the 19th best TE.  Back to sleep goes me.  Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 53/655/2/0/0

20. Zach Ertz – Well at least it ends on a slightly exciting note.  Ertz’ role grew as the course of the season wore on and became a bit of a red zone target for Foles near the end.  Depending on who comes into Philly as a 2nd or 3rd WR, Ertz might shine in 2014.  Preseason Unranked.  Final Numbers: 36/469/4/0/0

  1. J-FOH says:
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    Just to ensure you get one comment and won’t commit hara-kiri

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Thank you for making me feel warm and fuzzy

  2. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    so these rankings were done somewhat from something besides just the pts for catches/yards/TD’s? If not there are some small discrepancies (gronk’s 122.2 being better than g.graham’s 127.5 but less than celek’s 118.2). unless you were working under something different than 1 pt PPR. either way, almost exactly right on olsen’s projection. nice. I remember wanting to really draft keller late too. I was telling everybody i knew at the time (if they weren’t in my leagues) about that.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Fantasy points aren’t always TE same as FPPG and actual breakdown of how they finished the season. I used Yahoos end of season ranks because I go through them for my leagues. Maybe ESPN or others would have a slightly different take but it’s not just a ‘who had more fantasy points’ thing. Hopefully Razzball has its own ranking system in the near future.

      Yeah, RE Olsen. It was more me realizing that the Carolina offense is what it is and I wasn’t expecting much of any improvement nor downgrade.

  3. The imp says:
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    I’m on board with waiting for TE. It took forever ( and didn’t last) to settle on Reed, but I’m not sure Te is as stream able as DSTs are. It took awhile for ARI to separate as a bad TE defense. After that picking who to pick on looked a little shaky as targets. That being said I settled on Reed then Pitta (and look what that got me), so I didn’t really try streaming the position. Outside of the Reed weeks it was more like puddling the position.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      But that plays directly into my point. Why sit on Antonio Gates when Marcedes Lewis starts going off? Was just saying there were only about 4 maybe 5 set them and forget them guys. Jason Witten had more Garrett Graham weeks than Garrett Graham did. Main difference is he played all 16 games

      • The imp says:
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        @Sky: The “disagreement” is in part my narrow definition of streaming. In my league only about 50 players have set it and forget it statistics over the year. Ebbing and flowing to new options is definitely necessary outside of that group. If a marginal Te 1 like Gates goes cold, I agree it is time to move on. But the streaming I wonder most about is the sort of streaming based on matchups ( especially for wr and te). With good luck I produced a #5 ranked DST, but I’m pretty sure it is harder to do that with TEs. I’m gonna have to look and see how lucky I’d have to be to beat a guy like Olsen over the course of t he season. I’m open to being wrong about the power of matchups.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I hear ya. I’m just pointing out risk/reward of sitting on mediocre production vs maybe taking a week here and there on the chin or excelling at it when you’re getting saddled with 4/45 lines already. I guess I should refer to my idea more as riding the hot hand than streaming per se. There were stretches in which Delanie was a top 5 TE. I also enjoyed a couple of top 5 TE weeks from Ertz. Just not a position I feel people should stay married to.

  4. Position-puddling is the worst.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It’s how you get Mosquitos.

  5. Blow Schaubs says:
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    My 12-team, 0.5 PPR keeper league allows off-season trading. Which usually happens in these few weeks leading up to National Fantasy Baseball Prep Month. We can keep as many as 4, which count as your first picks. Currently, I would keep McCoy, Megatron, Jimmy, and Dez.
    Two things. One, I should absolutely trade Dez for Lacy, correct? And B, do I consider Foles over Dez/Lacy? (1 QB, 2WR, 2RB, 1 W/T, 1 W/R/T) I’m thinking I let Foles go.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Nice tough decisions to have. Actually, Dez is only 2 years older than Lacy and at a position that doesn’t have as much issues with injuries (i.e., can have a longer, more productive career). I’d hold onto Dez there. Sadly, you’re gonna have to let Foles go.

  6. TEstink says:
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    I’m a big believer in drafting top-level TE, especially when you can get Graham. I took Graham in the first round whenever I could, as high as 6. Given the RB turnover and the fact that Graham produces like a top WR that you could take in that draft slot…I just think it makes perfect sense. There’s a few leagues where I was forced to wait on a TE, given how the draft unfolded…and it was a hole all year, causing me to blow multiple roster spots on mediocre TEs. Streaming isn’t always easy because many teams hold two TE, some idiots hoarding more. IMO, it’s worth taking a good TE early and trying to fix the WR/RB problem later on, than loading up at those positions and trying to fill the TE void. Plus, TE are less volatile than RB so if you draft Graham…he’s going to do what you expect him to. If you take a RB, he very well may not. Yes Gronk got hurt, but he was always an injury risk. Even if you had a guy like clay or M.Bennett (I had both as matchup plays in two leagues) I more often than not had the wrong guy on my bench. It’s just a headache.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Streaming is hard as is riding the hot hand but its better than taking someone who isn’t Graham in the early rounds.

      • TEsSTINK says:
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        @Sky: Respectfully, I’m not sure I agree. Next year I’d take J.Thomas late third/early-mid fourth (I’m guessing that’ll be his adp) or V.Davis early to mid 5 over the other RB/WR/QB options available at that stage of the draft. Having a TE that doesn’t need a backup or that you don’t have to think about is a nice advantage. Yes, a guy like V.Davis has his stinkers, but he can blow up too and win a game for you. Greg Olsen isn’t blowing up. You’re just hoping he scores. I think it’s easier to find the Stacy/Moreno/Allen/Lacy/Benard/Jeffrey/Gotfon/Brown’s than the J.Thomas/J.Reed types. Often times that RB taken late 3-late 5 fails, and the WR taken isn’t terribly better than the inked going 5-6, but the TE drop off is big. This of course depends on the size of your starting lineup. If you start something like 2RB/3WR/2FX then I agree in trying to wait a little after Graham. But if you’re starting 5 or fewer RB/WR combinations, TE early is the way to go.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          No worries. I’m sure it’s nice ‘not to worry about it’ but you can say that about plenty of positions. The fact that the third best TE in Julius Thomas matched Anquan Boldin’s FPPG in PPR leagues makes me not agree with that statement. Fighting to get ‘the next best thing’ at TE in those early rounds doesn’t really pay off if you look at it from that perspective. You’re fighting to win a lesser fantasy position in terms of production. That’s a positional scarcity argument that doesn’t play well unless you’re in an 8 maybe 10 team league. And here’s the real problem with where this stance is starting: 40% of your top 5 were drafted late and one of your main guys you’re drafting next year early is one of those. You can’t call both sides of a flipped coin. Rewind this argument to preseason 2013 and we’re talking about Jason Witten or perhaps Tony G in the same light. It just seems very reactionary and not really reflective of where there was actual TE value in not going after a guy who wasn’t Graham this year.

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