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Matt Ball | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Dynasty Rankings
Tight Ends

The top two tiers at the TE position have held steady in the last couple of months. Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Aaron Hernandez continue to be the cream of the crop at the position. Gronkowski may be earning a reputation as a guy that plays hard and parties hard, but he is only 23 years old and plays for a quality organization in New England. I like his odds of eventually becoming smarter about his off-field antics. Following closely behind the top trio is the one-man tier consisting of Jason Witten. The veteran Cowboy may have lost a step with his advancing age, but he is still finding a way to put up very good numbers. The fact that heíll turn 31 years old before the 2013 season starts is the primary reason he isnít firmly planted in the first tier.

 Tight Ends
Chg Rk Player Team
1 Rob Gronkowski NE
2 Jimmy Graham NO
3 Aaron Hernandez NE
Tier 2
4 Jason Witten DAL
Tier 3
5 Greg Olsen CAR
6 Kyle Rudolph MIN
7 Jermaine Gresham CIN
8 Vernon Davis SF
9 Coby Fleener IND
10 Jermichael Finley GB
11 Owen Daniels HOU
Tier 4
12 Dennis Pitta BAL
13 Martellus Bennett NYG
14 Heath Miller PIT
15 Brandon Myers OAK
16 Antonio Gates SD
17 Brandon Pettigrew DET
18 Jared Cook TEN
19 Fred Davis WAS
20 Tony Gonzalez ATL
21 Brent Celek PHI
22 Dustin Keller NYJ
23 Dwayne Allen IND
Tier 5
24 Robert Housler ARI
25 Jordan Cameron CLE
26 Lance Kendricks STL
27 Tony Moeaki KC
28 Scott Chandler BUF
29 Jacob Tamme DEN
30 Marcedes Lewis JAX
Tier 6
31 Ladarius Green SD
32 Zach Miller SEA
33 Ed Dickson BAL
34 Julius Thomas DEN
35 D.J. Williams GB
36 Garrett Graham HOU
37 Ben Watson CLE
38 Tony Scheffler DET
39 Orson Charles CIN
40 Kellen Davis CHI

The third grouping of TEs is somewhat of a hodgepodge of players, many of whom have high ceilings. Kyle Rudolph and Jermaine Gresham have both been impressive in stretches, but have not yet realized their fullest potential. If they do take their game to the next level, they have an outside shot of eventually climbing into the first tier, but Iím not holding my breath. With a relatively strong finish to the 2012 season, Jermichael Finley could end up staying with Green Bay, and remains situated in the third tier for the time being. He hasnít lived up to the crazy hype from a couple of years ago, but Finley isnít a total fantasy bust.

Moving onto the next tier, Martellus Bennett is ranked as the 13th TE. He was effective for New York in 2012 and whether he stays with his current squad or signs with a team such as Tampa Bay, Bennett appears likely be a solid producer over the next couple of years. Antonio Gates was very disappointing last season, despite the fact he was able to play in 15 games. The San Diego air attack isnít what it used to be, and probably not coincidentally, neither is Gates. Sticking on the topic of veteran TEs, Tony Gonzalez was excellent in what could be his last season in the league. If Atlanta can convince him to make one last run at a ring, he should once again put up big numbers, but itís a big if at this point.

The fifth and sixth tiers are largely comprised of merely serviceable players and deep sleepers. Jordan Cameron could emerge this season with a bigger role in Cleveland, particularly if the team sees better QB play. To the surprise of many, including me, Jacob Tamme didnít pan out in Denver this past season, posting only 555 receiving yards and 2 TDs. He wasnít able to recreate the magic he had with Manning back in 2010. However, his teammate in Denver, Julius Thomas, is a guy to keep a close eye on. Thomasí size and athleticism paired with Manningís savvy and football IQ has a lot of potential.

Next: Running Backs