2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 15 Tight Ends

Tight end is one of the toughest positions for fantasy football owners to draft.  To you use an early pick on one of the elite options?  Do you wait until the end of your draft to try and get the player on the rise (and there always seems to be a breakout option)?  While draft day strategy is a story for another day, let’s take a look at how we currently rank the tight ends:

  1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
  2. Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints
  3. Aaron Hernandez – New England Patriots
  4. Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys
  5. Jermichael Finley – Green Bay Packers
  6. Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers
  7. Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers
  8. Brandon Pettigrew – Detroit Lions
  9. Fred Davis – Washington Redskins
  10. Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons
  11. Brent Celek – Philadelphia Eagles
  12. Jared Cook – Tennessee Titans
  13. Dustin Keller – New York Jets
  14. Owen Daniels – Houston Texans
  15. Jacob Tamme – Denver Broncos


  • Is there any question on who the top two tight end options in the league are?  Rob Gronkowski gets the slight edge over Jimmy Graham, solely because of the advantage in TD (17 to 11 in 2011).  It really should be considered 1 and 1a, as they are that close and at year’s end it could go either way.
  • Vernon Davis really turned things on in Week 17 (8 catches for 118 yards) and the 49ers two playoff games (10 catches for 292 yards and 4 TD).  We all know the talent that he has, but can he carry that type of performance from Week 1 through the entire season?  Keep in mind that, in 2011, prior to that stretch he had just one game of over 100 yards and no other game over 72.  He has the talent, but he needs to find consistency.  Don’t over draft him based on his playoff success because it is not a definite indication of what lays ahead for 2012.
  • While other players may have a little bit more upside than Jason Witten, there’s something to be said about consistency.  He’s had 940+ yards each of the past five seasons, including three years of over 1,000.  In 2011 there were only four tight ends to pick up over 900 yards receiving, so that alone gives him an edge.  If he can consistently find the end zone (he’s scored as many as 9 TD), he’s going to be among the best in the league.  There’s just no question about it.
  • Brandon Pettigrew has gotten better every season, reaching 83 receptions for 777 yards and 5 TD in his third season in the NFL.  If he can take yet another step forward in 2012, he’s going to be an elite option.  Considering where you can get him, he’s definitely a player that I would be looking to target.
  • Robert Griffen III is going to need a safety valve, and that should be Fred Davis.  He’s proven the talent that he has and, entering the year as the Redskins’ starter and working with Griffen, he should flourish this season.  What is holding him back is his TD potential, as we all know Griffen may just run a lot of short plays into the end zone as opposed to throwing it.
  • With Jacob Tamme reuniting with Peyton Manning in Denver, he is going to be a popular TE sleeper for the 2012 season.  While I definitely wouldn’t draft him as my TE1, he is a player worth keeping a close eye on.  We all know what the combination is capable of and we know the Broncos are going to be throwing the ball around the field as long as Manning is healthy.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

2012 IDP Rankings: Top 15 Defensive Linemen
2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 5 Rookie Quarterbacks


  1. Alex says:

    Don’t understand how Gates isn’t #3. Will be Rivers’ top option and seems to be over his injury issues (according to reports). Would def take over Witten/Davis and probably Finley.

    • These rankings are old at this point (and have been updated). That said, Gates is not the player that he once was and I don’t think it’s a give that he will be the top target in San Diego. I would definitely prefer to go wo a younger option with the same, if not more upside. Davis and Finley definitely fall into that category. If healthy, Witten absolutely would as well.

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