Fantasy Football 2012: Tight End Rankings

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 6: Tight end Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers catches the ball for a touchdown as Steve Gregory #28 and Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers look on, on November 6, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

SB Nation Fantasy takes a look at the top Fantasy Tight Ends for 2012 fantasy drafts. There are a few sleepers in this list that could outperform their current ADP, so check it out.

The tight end position used to be one where the Mark Bavarros of the world were used as an extra blocker to open up lanes for running backs, and the help block on passing plays. No more. The last few years, and especially last season, the tight end has become a big part of the passing game in the NFL, and this season, I think we could see several tight ends with 10 or more touchdowns.

Who are they? Let's take a look at our Tight End Rankings for 2012:

Rank

Player Name

Team

1

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

2

Rob Gronkowski

New England

3

Antonio Gates

San Diego

4

Jermichael Finley

Green Bay

5

Jason Witten

Dallas

6

Vernon Davis

San Francisco

7

Aaron Hernandez

New England

8

Brandon Pettigrew

Detroit

9

Fred Davis

Washington

10

Jacob Tamme

Denver

11

Tony Gonzalez

Atlanta

12

Kyle Rudolph

Minnesota

13

Owen Daniels

Houston

14

Jared Cook

Tennessee

15

Kellen Winslow

Seattle

16

Brent Celek

Philadelphia

17

Coby Fleener

Indianapolis

18

Mercedes Lewis

Jacksonville

19

Martellus Bennett

New York Giants

20

Jermaine Gresham

Cincinnati


Rob Gronkowski
caught 90 balls for over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns, but I don't see him duplicating that in 2012. The Patriots have brought in WR Brandon Lloyd, so Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker will more than likely see less targets, and therefore, less catches and touchdowns this season.

One guy who could lead all tight ends in touchdowns this season, as long as he can stay healthy, is Chargers TE Antonio Gates. Gates battled through injuries last season, but still hauled in 64 passes and scored seven times. With Vincent Jackson moving on to Tampa, Gates should see more targets in the red zone this season.

Packers TE Jermichael Finley is another guy who could step up his game in 2012. The Packers are still trying to figure out who will run the ball for them this season, so Aaron Rodgers may look to Finley in more short yardage situations, and around the goal line this season, especially if WR Greg Jennings misses time due to his concussion.

One sleeper in the bunch is Viking TE Kyle Rudolph. I don't think there has been any tight end who has received more praise this offseason than Rudolph. Rudolph has gained the confidence of QB Christian Ponder, and some think he could lead the team in targets this season.

Another sleeper on this list is Broncos TE Jacob Tamme. With QB Peyton Manning struggling to throw the long ball, and complaining that he has lost some arm strength due to his neck surgeries, Tamme may be Mannings favorite target to begin the season.

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