Get Ready for Fantasy Football 2014 (TEs)

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings

The value of the tight end position depends on your league. Some leagues lump them in with all the wide receivers, which limits those with any value to just a handful. However, in one of my leagues, bonus points are awarded for tight end yards, which put them on par with the other positions.

footballThe position is changing though. More NFL teams are using the tight end like a tall wide receiver. Not only are they used as red zone weapons, but more and more are stretching defenses like Vernon Davis. Even Jimmy Graham is looking to be paid as a top WR. The days of the pure run-blocking tight end are long gone. TEs have to run and catch. I wouldn’t even be surprised if WR Mike Evans from Texas A & M works into a TE-like role.

No matter how you look at it, there are only a few tight ends that can be considered elite today, but this could change as the position evolves. Here are the fantasy football 2014 rankings for the tight end position. Enjoy!

TE

  1. Jimmy Graham-NO. Until further notice, Graham is far and above the best TE in the game today. He’s big, tall, fast and has great hands. 2013 lowered Graham’s numbers a bit due to injury, but he should be back to form again in 2014. He’s the most consistent pass catching tight end around. Keep an eye on his contract negotiations, which could lead to a preseason holdout if a deal isn’t reached this summer.
  2. Julius Thomas-Den. This young stud scored 12 times in just 14 games in 2014. As long as Peyton manning is running the Broncos ship, Thomas will produce consistently. Coming from relative obscurity, Thomas finished the season as one of the best in the league. Look for even bigger numbers this year.
  3. Rob Gronkowski-NE. Many will shy away from Gronk in 2014, but don’t let the injuries scare you. Brady is still a top QB and looks for Gronk more than any other Patriot. Lots of targets = lots of fantasy points. There’s no better red zone threat than Gronk either. Keep in mind, he’s still young and posted 38 touchdowns just in his first three seasons as a pro. He’s a risk to stay healthy, but that’s why he’ll be a steal in your draft.
  4. Jordan Cameron-Cle. Is Cameron a great tight end or a product of Norv Turner’s system? We still think he’s solid, but benefited from Turner’s high utilization. Cameron did most of his damage in the first half of the season, finishing with just one TD in the final four games. 2014 should be a good year for Cameron if the Browns can just get consistent play from the quarterback position. Watch to see who the Brown’s draft at QB and remember he had good chemistry with Brian Hoyer, if Cleveland sticks with the vet.
  5. Kyle Rudolph-Min. Although marred by injuries last season, Rudolph is just a year removed from near double digit TD production and should flourish in Norv Turner’s offensive scheme.
  6. Jordan Reed-Was. –Wow, if you saw Jordan Reed play last year, you saw a player with the ability to be the next great TE. He started the season as a backup to Fred Davis, but eventually emerged as a real playmaker. He runs very well after the catch. Unfortunately, Reed’s season was cut short due to a concussion. Reed could be a big time sleeper heading into 2014 due to lower season totals, but possesses all the skills to be elite.
  7. Dennis Pitta-Bal. Pitta played just 4 games last year due to injury, but was emerging as a top TE until that point. The Ravens aren’t a heavy pass team, but Flacco likes to target the TE. Look for Pitta to bounce back well. Will be a TE1 in all leagues.
  8. Zach Ertz-Phi. First year TE, Zach Ertz came on strong toward the end of last season, developing a decent chemistry with Nick Foles. While he’ll split some time with Brent Celek, we think he will emerge as the primary TE in Philly this year.
  9. Vernon Davis-SF. While Davis might not beat his 13 TDs of last year, he’s no question the faster TE in the league. Look for Kaepernick to mature and Crabtree to take some coverage away from Davis.  Harbaugh likes to run the ball more than most coaches, which hurts Davis’ numbers a bit. Look for 9 or 10 TDs and 700 yards receiving this year from Davis. (An excellent book, loaded with fantastic draft strategies, is Fantasy Football Tips By Sam Hendricks. Read my review here.)Fantasy Football 2014
  10. Jason Witten-Dal. Witten is mister consistent at the tight end position. He’s not particularly fats, but Romo still looks for him on third down and in the red zone. Just when you think he’s slowing down, he finishes in the top 5 yet again. While it was his lowest catch total in seven seasons, he still managed 111 targets.
  11. Greg Olsen-Car.
  12. Travis Kelce – KC
  13. Antonio Gates-SD. 2013 marked the welcome back party for Antonio Gates. He caught his highest number of receptions (77) since 2009. The fact that his often injured foot was healthy was the biggest factor. Age is catching up to Gates quickly. He still has great hands, but can’t separate quite as well. The wildcard is the emergence of Ladarius Green who could eat into Gates’ numbers in 2014. Still a TE1.
  14. Martellus Bennett-Chi. MartyB finished 2013 with 5 TDs and 759 yards, good enough to rank in the top 10. Look for yardage numbers to stay about the same and TDs to increase in 2014 with a healthy Jay Cutler throwing him the rock.
  15. Heath Miller-Pit.
  16. Delanie Walker-Ten.
  17. Ladarius Green-SD.
  18. Allen – Ind
  19. Charles Clay-Mia.
  20. Graham – Hou
  21. Coby Fleener-Ind. Fleener could be poised for a mini-breakout in 2014. He came on strong toward the latter half of 2013 with Reggie Wayne sidelined. Perhaps, the 3rd year for this TE will be similar to many breakout WRs in their third season. It helps that he has his old Stanford coach, Pep Hamilton, and Andrew Luck throwing him the ball. Many won’t even list Fleener in the top 20, but opportunities will outweigh his lack of speed, strength and stone hands.
  22. Tim Wright-NE Wright flashed signs of promise last year and with a rookie signal caller. While the numbers weren’t fantastic, he could be a decent sleeper in 2014.
  23. Eric Ebron-Det
  24. Jared Cook-StL.

Fantast Football Advice

The position is extremely inconsistent and top heavy. Look for tight ends that can run like wide receivers (Jordan Reed) and get plenty of targets in high scoring offenses (Jimmy graham). Some tight ends flourish due to the system, such as Cameron in Norv Turner’s Cleveland offense of 2013. With Turner moving to Minnesota, keep an eye on the starting TE for the Vikings. Turner likes to feature the TE in his offense. It looks like Rudolph will retain the starting position and if the Vikes draft a rookie QB, Rudolph might see increase opportunities.

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If you’re unable to draft a top three tight end, target one who garners plenty of red zone targets (Gronkowski).

I hope you’ve enjoyed our 2014 fantasy football rankings. For more Fantasy Football Rankings 2014, please check out our previous three posts in this four part series.

For a complete list of the top 32 TEs, click here.