According to Scott Bair of the North County Tmes (click here for the article) in regards to playing in last nights preseason game:
“Given that Gates is as healthy as he’s ever been, the risk of changing that was too great, especially when so many Vikings starters will be playing for an extended period.”
It makes sense to hold him out as a precaution, especially given all of the injury issues that he has dealt with in the past. The Chargers obviously need him healthy, especially with the offseason departure of Vincent Jackson leaving a void in the receiving corps.
A healthy Gates is one of the elite tight ends in the game, but can we say for certain that he is going to be able to remain healthy? Now 32-years old, he has missed chunks of time each of the past two seasons.
Granted, he has remained a constant threat in the red zone, with at least 7 TD every season since 2004, a trend that I don’t believe will be snapped this season. That only keeps him as a must use option, but the fact is that tight end is littered with potential this season.
We all know about the top options (Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham) and guys like Vernon Davis or Jermichael Finley who could easily out produce Gates in 2012. You also have the next class of guys, like Kyle Rudolph or Brandon Pettigrew in the mix who have the potential to emerge into must use TE1 options.
The problem with Gates this season is that the risk outweighs the reward. There are more than enough usable options with tremendous upside available to select. While Gates should continue to produce injuries are a major concern, especially at his age.
I ranked Gates sixth among tight ends in our recent rankings, and I actually would have him seventh if Jason Witten was healthy. We all love hearing that a player is healthy, but it also is common preseason rhetoric. What else do we expect them to actually say?
What are your thoughts on Gates? Where would you rank him among tight ends? Is he a player you are targeting?
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: