I’m going to break down who I think the most undervalued and overvalued Tight Ends are for this year, along with one sleeper pick.
1. Vernon Davis- Currently ranked as a top 5 Tight End. There is no doubt that Vernon Davis belongs in the top 10 of Tight Ends and is a staple of the second tier of Tight Ends in fantasy football(the good Tight Ends behind Jimmy Graham and a healthy Gronk). However I think there is going to be some drop-off from 2013, especially his 13 touchdowns. The 49ers have a lot of weapons in the passing game all of a sudden besides Vernon Davis. They have Michael Crabtree(who missed the first 11 games of 2013), Anquan Boldin and newly acquired Stevie Johnson from Buffalo. The 49ers also have a plethora of running backs and should still be a run first team. I am not saying to stay clear of Vernon Davis but I do think that the 13 touchdowns is unlikely to happen again with presumably less targets going his way.
2. Julius Thomas- Currently being ranked as a top 3 Tight End- I think its a similar situation to Vernon Davis here. He had 12 touchdowns last year and was one of the main benefactors of Peyton Manning’s record breaking year. There is probably going to be a drop-off in the touchdowns. The new weapons Denver brought in don’t concern me as much as what the 49ers have because the Broncos did lose Eric Decker in the offseason, so its possible that Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer will just use those targets. I think Peyton Manning is going to come back to earth a little bit this year and I think that means that the players around him should be expected to have some drop-of as well.
Most Undervalued Tight Ends
1. Greg Olsen- Currently being ranked around the top 7 Tight Ends. I see him as being a to 5 play this year. I know its kinda nitpicky, but this is the Tight End position and a lot of these guys are the same. I think he becomes the primary pass catcher for the Panthers after the departure of Steve Smith. He has been really consistent the last two years, putting up 69 catches for 843 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2012 and 73 catches for 816 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. If he has a touchdown spike this year he vaults into the top 5 easy.
2. Jordan Reed- Currently being ranked as a top 10 Tight End. I’m a little high on the Redskins offense for this year and that includes Reed. Before he got hurt last year he had put together a nice 5 game stretch of play with this stat line: 43 targets, 31 catches, 381 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. I will have to see that level of production throughout a season but I think Washington is going to throw a ton next year and he should be in line to benefit from it.
3. Dennis Pitta- Currently being ranked as a top 8 Tight End. Similar to Jordan Reed, a guy who was injured last year who I expect to have a strong comeback year. Pitta put together a solid stat line when he came back for the last 4 games last year, but what stood out at me was the 33 targets in 4 games! Joe Flacco clearly looks for Pitta and now that Gary Kubiak is the offensive coordinator in Baltimore I fully expect Pitta to remain that heavily involved in the offense. Kubiak utilized Owen Daniels a lot during his time in Houston(ironically Daniels is on the Ravens now) and I see him doing the same with Pitta. As I have also written I expect Flacco to bounce back from his lousy 2013 and I think Pitta will have a good deal to do with that.
1. Green Bay’s Starting Tight End- I don’t know who it is going to be right now, one of the many things that will be cleared up by the time the season starts. I don’t think it would be Jermichael Finley after he suffered a gruesome neck injury which could be career ending. There have been a few rankings of Andrew Quarless, all of them putting him outside the top 20 Tight Ends. Whoever gets the starting job as Aaron Rodger’s tight end will have value its that simple.
2. Kyle Rudolph- Currently being ranked as a top 12 Tight End. He is a feast or famine kind of player, with no consistent middle ground displayed in his career. I think if Teddy Bridgewater starts sooner rather than later he could find his way back into the endzone a lot and be fantasy relevant again.