A review of the Top 20 Tight Ends for 2012 fantasy football always feels like a lie to me.  It really only takes a few good games to get in the top 10 of this position, as you’ll no doubt notice.  Some of these players went missing for weeks on end; just ask the owners who put their faces on the backs of milk cartons across the US in the hopes that someone had spotted them recently.  Outside of the third player of this tight end group, there was very little consistency to be had and even said player dropped the ball on his team during the championship week.  As stated previously – that is if this isn’t the first top insert position here that I put up…which it might be…but I don’t think it will be – we’re relying on the yahoo PPR rankings to date through week 16 for our review system.  But enough about that, let’s get down to brass knuckle tacks and review the top 20 tight ends from the 2012 fantasy football season…

Rankings based on receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns

1. Jimmy Graham – If only he had stayed healthy.  Now copy and paste that to the next person on the list and it explains a lot about how some teams were boned by their second round pick this year.  First it was the ankle that kept him out for week 7.  Then he put up some bad Graham-er near the end of the season which lead to the revelation he’s had an unreported wrist injury all year.  Despite all this, here he sits.  I think that says more about the status of Tight End than it does about Jimmy.  Preseason Rank #2, 2012 Projections:  95/1250/11/0/0, Final Numbers: 85/982/9/0/0

2. Rob Gronkowski – He only played in 11 games this year and still led his position in touchdowns.  I’ll refer back to the last sentence on Graham and simply replace ‘Jimmy’ with ‘Gronk’.  Preseason Rank #1, 2012 Projections:  85/1200/12/0/0, Final Numbers: 55/790/11/0/0

3. Tony Gonzalez – Raise your hand if you thought Tony was going to be a top three tight end coming into the 2012 season.  Anyone?  Hello?  There are 36 year old punters who are retired so seeing a future hall of famer playing at the top of a physical position like tight end is really quite magical.  There were plenty of value plays at TE this year but Tony was easily the steal of the draft for not only the points but the consistency that came with it all.  Preseason Rank #7, 2012 Projections:  75/775/6/0/0, Final Numbers: 93/930/8/0/0

4. Heath Miller – The second surprise top 5 player at the TE position, the revamped Pittsburgh offense really created a great season for Heath when I thought it was going to help their wide receivers more.  Of course, I conceded this pretty early in the year – like right after week 1 – in a buy/sell article.  If it weren’t for Big Ben’s injury, Miller could’ve finished even higher.  Scary thought when you’re talking about the 4th best guy.  Scarier thought is where he’s going to go in drafts next year.  Preseason Rank #20, 2012 Projections:  50/575/3/0/0, Final Numbers: 71/816/8/0/0

5. Jason WittenJust think if his wife let him play more with a slightly lacerated spleen to start the year?  Hrm, he’d probably be dead so it’s hard to project what if’s off of that.  Let’s just say he started out weak and then after week 3, only had two games with under 6 catches while setting a career high for receptions.  His career consistency is why you drafted him as high as you did and considering all the injuries above him and volatility below him on this list, you made the right choice if he was your TE this year.  Preseason Rank #5, 2012 Projections:  85/950/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 110/1039/3/0/0

6. Greg OlsenIf you started Olsen every week this year, you probably did ok but during Olsen’s week 5 clunker against the Seahawks, he was outscored by the likes of Joel Dreessen, Lance Kendricks and Jeff Cumberland to name a few names that are usually guys you don’t know the names of.  Greg was fairly consistent but I do feel he’s the cutoff point to where these rankings start feeling like the lies I talked about earlier.  That said, for his draft position he was worth the price unless you do auction and people make you pay extra for people who look like former 80’s cartoon characters.  Preseason Rank #17, 2012 Projections:  55/650/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 69/843/5/0/0

7. Dennis PittaI really thought this was going to be Ed Dickson and my projections for ED are fairly close to what Dennis did.  The pitta patter of Dennis’ feet were heard early on in the year.  Then after three strong games to start the year, he joined Boehner and Obama in driving his owners off the fiscal tight end cliff.  Yeah, my political humor is pretty lame but so are politics so…hey!  In the end, Dennis proves you can be successful for half the year and still be a top 10 TE.   There’s probably a political joke in that last sentence too but I’m not gonna waste my time with it.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 61/669/7/0/0

8. Owen Daniels – There’s a strong correlation between Owen’s slip from the top 5 TE earlier in the year and Andre Johnson’s arrival on the scene during week 11 against the Jags.  He only scored one more touchdown on the year and never tallied more than 43 yards in a single game the rest of the way after that week.  All this to say, Daniels is still Owen his owners an explanation for why he killed them in the fantasy playoffs.  Preseason Rank #13, 2012 Projections:  60/720/4/0/0, Final Numbers: 62/716/6/0/0

9. Kyle RudolphJoining Pitta as another pre-season unranked to grace our top 10, Kyle had himself a solid second year in the league.  Unlike Pitta, however, I told you he was a strong sleeper pick so there is that.  If Ponder ever figures out how not be Jason Campbell, Rudolph is going to have a shot to be something special.  Preseason Unranked, 2012 Projections: 50/600/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 53/493/9/0/0

10. Brandon Myers Carson Palmer’s junktime receptacle, Myers always surprised me when I went to do the Sunday write-up.  Namely because I’d start before the second wave of games were over and he’d have 15 yards on 2 catches but by the time the game was over, he’d have 6 for 60 and a touchdown.  Of course, his owners probably don’t like he didn’t even reach that total during the fantasy playoffs combined.  Like I said, it all feels like lies.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 79/806/4/0/0

11. Jermaine GreshamI’ll be honest, I kinda checked out on Gresham at one point this year.  He wasn’t flashy and he had the same consistency issues as most of the other guys in this top 10.  He was easy to ignore.  Yet now I’m looking at his numbers from game 1 to game 16 and have to ask…how did he not finish the year ranked higher?  Preseason Rank #14, 2012 Projections:  65/650/6/0/0, Final Numbers: 64/737/5/0/0

12. Antonio GatesPeople who read my preseason rankings for tight ends were surprised I ranked him 9th.  To quote myself on the why of it, I simply said ‘He’s lower on my rankings than most places because I can project him for these numbers but we can’t count on him playing enough to get them.’.  The fact that the best game by a Charger TE came week 2 of the season when Dante Rosario scored 3 touchdowns because Gates was hurt helps me solidify my statement.  Preseason Rank #9, 2012 Projections: 70/910/7/0/0, Final Numbers: 49/538/7/0/0

13. Martellus BennettThough he didn’t make my top 20 for TE on the year, I did do some projections which were based more on his attitude and ‘latitude’ than it was his talent.  Looks like the talent won out but the reality is you still couldn’t rely on him on a weekly basis any more than Gates so…meh.  Preseason Unranked, 2012 Projections: 35/450/4/0/0, Final Numbers: 55/626/5/0/0

12. Scott Chandler – Other than one round of weekly rankings, I neither remember thinking nor caring about Chandler during 2012.  As I mentioned in that post, he was under 50% owned in both ESPN and yahoo leagues.  He ended the year owned in 34% of yahoo leagues.  And he was startable in 14 team leagues.  The world of the tight end is weird.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 43/571/6/0/0

15. Vernon DavisIt started off so well…After totalling 4 touchdowns on 13 receptions and 169 yards in the first 3 weeks, Davis went dormant.  Then hope was restored week 10 when Kaepernick took over and led him to a 6 catch, 83 yard effort week 11.  And then silence again before getting knocked out of the Seahawks game with a concussion.  Given where he got drafted, I’m sure his owners are feeling a tad concussed themselves with how this season went.  Preseason Rank #7, 2012 Projections: 70/850/6/0/0, Final Numbers: 41/548/5/0/0

16. Aaron Hernandez – If Aaron were a student in my class, I’d tell him he gets an incomplete and can make up the work in the off-season.  Pretty much only played 50% of the year and usually played well when he did.  Injuries are always a part of the game but with Hernandez it feels like he should be getting the Gates treatment when we rank next year.  Preseason Rank #4, 2012 Projections: 75/825/7/50/0, Final Numbers: 51/483/5/5/0

17. Marcedes LewisThe next two on this list are just funny.  Funny for percentage owned reasons.  Marcedes topped out in yahoo leagues at 18% and is proof that just a couple of good games can land you in the top 20 for TE any given year.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 52/540/4/0/0

18. Lance Kendricks – The 18th best tight end on the season is 2% owned in yahoo leagues.  That says a lot more than I can ever say in a three sentence blurb about the 18th best TE on the year so I’ll just leave it at that.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 42/519/4/0/0

19. Jermichael Finley – If I ever draft him again, it will be in secret and to the army.  Preseason Rank #3, 2012 Projections: 65/910/8/0/0, Final Numbers: 61/667/2/0/0

20. Jared Cook You tell me if/when you knew Cook would be good any given week and I’ll call you a bigger liar than what these rankings feel like.  Finished the year with Locker at QB who’s more inconsistent than half the TEs on this list.  Ask any owner this year and they’d tell you just when things seemed to start Cookin, Jared would burn the souffle.  Yeah, that pun sums it up.  Preseason Rank #15, 2012 Projections: 60/780/4/0/0, Final Numbers: 44/523/4/0/0