What an amazing season turned in by Saints TE Jimmy Graham!?! He caught a position-high 99 passes for 1,310 yards, with 11 touchdowns, and an incredible 197 points! He scored more Fantasy points than any other tight end in NFL history, and he has to rank as the best at his position in the 2012 Fantasy Tight End Rankings!
Oh, well, he was better than everyone in 2011 except for Rob Gronkowski, who outscored him in Fantasy by about 25 percent!
That’s right, the best Fantasy season by a tight end ever was outdone by an even better effort – within the very same season! That would be like Priest Holmes scoring 27 TDs in 2003 – only to be bested by LaDainian Tomlinson’s 28 TDs in the same year.
That already has people reacting in crazy ways, with both tight ends getting selected in Fantasy drafts in the first two rounds. Looking at MyFantasyLeague.com’s ADP history, there hasn’t even been ONE tight end regularly taken in the first two rounds over the past 12 years.
I’ve already stated my case that Gronk should NOT be a second-round pick this season. Between the fact he is coming off the greatest season by a TE ever and can’t possibly duplicate it, to the fact that the Patriots added a stud wide receiver in Brandon Lloyd to their stable, you won’t get the value you need in the top 24 overall. However, I still consider Gronk to be the best TE in the 2012 Fantasy Tight End Rankings.
Tight Ends Starting With G’s, Please
Is life so bad if you end up with a Gates or even later on with a Gonzalez or Gresham, or a Gettigrew? (OK, I made that last one up for alliteration.)
Even the Patriots’ second tight end, Aaron Hernandez, is a solid starter in Fantasy. (Another first in Fantasy, having two tight ends in the top five in scoring last year or in the top five in the 2012 Fantasy Tight End Rankings.)
You want to draft tight ends later that give you better value later on. For me, I’m still a big fan of Brandon Pettigrew, who was targeted 32 times over the final three weeks of the 2011 regular season. Or someone like Jermaine Gresham, whose quarterback turned in one of the 10 best seasons by a rookie QB ever last year, and should be part of an even better passing game in 2012.
The Decade of the Tight End
There are just too many good tight ends this season to waste an early pick that could be a top 15 RB or a top five WR. In the wide receiver rankings, I discussed how the passing game explosion is actually benefitting tight ends more than wide receivers. And since you only need ONE tight end in your starting lineup, there’s no reason to reach early for one of the BEST ones – just get a very good one.
Last year, 11 different tight ends scored at least 100 Fantasy points, compared to the eight TEs that scored 100 in 2010. But in the 2000s, there was an average of 5.2 tight ends to hit the century mark, which is still up from the average of 2.7 tight ends that scored 100 points in the ‘90s.
2012 Rookies: Top 30 Overall | QB | RB | WR | TE
2012 Fantasy Tight End Rankings
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.