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1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Outlook: If Graham were a receiver, he would come in at No. 5 overall. Only he and Rob Gronkowski project to exceed 190 points among tight ends. In fact, only Graham projects to exceed 200 points, with a projection of 212.30. That’s how dominate he is. With his contract situation resolved, fantasy players can look to Graham as one of fantasy’s top players.
Projections: 1,303 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Outlook: More than 20 points separates Gronkowski from the No. 3 projected tight end, and that’s taking in account Gronkowski's durability red flags. He’s the only tight end capable of challenging Graham for the top spot.
Projections: 1,160 receiving yards & 13 touchdowns
3. Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
Outlook: The eventual suspension of Josh Gordon, which will be for all of 2014, opens the door for Cameron to emerge as the undisputed No. 1 receiving target in Cleveland’s offense. Cameron possesses immense talent as a receiver, so he shouldn’t have much of a problem filling Gordon’s void. 1,000 yards is definitely obtainable.
Projections: 1,192 receiving yards & 9 touchdowns
4. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Outlook: Another year playing with Peyton Manning makes Thomas one of the elite tight ends in all of fantasy football. He’s just one of three tight ends who projects to score at least 10 touchdowns this year.
Projections: 805 receiving yards & 11 touchdowns
5. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Outlook: Carolina’s porous receiving corps opens the door for Olsen to emerge as Cam Newton’s go-to target. In fact, the veteran tight end projects to set a career-high in receiving yardage.
Projections: 971 receiving yards & 6 touchdowns
6. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Outlook: Witten is the model of consistency. He has at least 800 receiving yards in seven straight seasons. He’ll make it eight in '14.
Projections: 875 receiving yards & 5 touchdowns
7. Jordan Reed, Washington
Outlook: A promising rookie season was cut short after nine games, but Reed nonetheless managed to make a profound impact. Locked in as a TE1, Reed’s upside is as great as any top 10 tight end.
Projections: 852 receiving yards, 39 rushing yards, & 4 touchdowns
8. Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
Outlook: With Sam Bradford back, Cook’s fantasy stock is on the rise. The young tight end possesses immense ability, as he is capable of moving around the formation. Look for the Rams to feature him and Tavon Austin in their passing game.
Projections: 829 receiving yards & 5 touchdowns
9. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
Outlook: New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak once coached Owen Daniels to a TE1 season. He should have no problems turning Pitta (now healthy) into a top 10 fantasy tight end.
Projections: 766 receiving yards & 5 touchdowns
10. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Outlook: Davis remains a TE1, but a large portion of his impact in San Francisco’s offense comes as a run blocker. In addition, the 49ers feature arguably their best receiving corps since the veteran tight end arrived in '06, so targets will be hard to come by.
Projections: 700 receiving yards & 6 touchdowns
11. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Outlook: All indications are that Ertz will play a more significant role in Philadelphia’s passing offense this year. Look for the second-year tight to settle in as a TE1.
Projections: 692 receiving yards & 6 touchdowns
12. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
Outlook: Based on reports out of San Diego, Green has overtaken Antonio Gates as San Diego’s No. 2 receiving option. He’s prime for a breakout year, as result.
Projections: 760 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
13. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Outlook: Rookie tight ends don’t normally make an immediate impact, but Ebron is ultra-talented, and playing in a pass-happy scheme. Monitor him throughout August, but his fantasy trajectory looks good for a rookie.
Projections: 722 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
14. Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
Outlook: Despite the change at offensive coordinator, Clay will continue to play a prominent role in Miami’s offense. He is coming off career highs in receptions, receiving yardage, and touchdowns.
Projections: 637 receiving yards, 19 rushing yards, & 5 touchdowns
15. Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
Outlook: Don’t expect the Texans to have as much success with their tight ends as New England does, despite the similarities with the offensive scheme. Graham, while pretty good, isn’t on the level of what O’Brien worked with in New England.
Projections: 597 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
16. Jace Amaro, N.Y. Jets
Outlook: A horrendous quarterback situation does limit Amaro, but the rookie tight end is very good at making plays on underneath routes, which is a staple part of Marty Mornhinweg's offense.
Projections: 672 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
17. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Outlook: The Bears are using their tight ends more under Marc Trestman than they did in the previous regime. With that said, receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are so good in the red zone that Bennett doesn’t receive as many opportunities as maybe he normally would.
Projections: 677 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
18. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Outlook: Expect Walker to produce numbers similar to last year’s, as the Titans transition to Ken Whisenhunt’s system.
Projections: 581 receiving yards & 5 touchdowns
19. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
Outlook: Despite missing nearly all of last season, Allen (not Coby Fleener) is the tight end to own in Indianapolis.
Projections: 619 receiving yards & 4 touchdowns
20. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Outlook: Miller is fully entrenched as Ben Roethlisberger’s No. 2 target in the passing game. The veteran tight end played remarkably well in '14, considering he was coming off a nasty knee injury the year prior.
Projections: 669 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
21. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Outlook: The Vikings are happy to have Rudolph back in the fold this year, after he missed eight games in '13. However, Minnesota’s quarterback situation leaves Rudolph with shoddy fantasy stock.
Projections: 509 receiving yards & 5 touchdowns
22. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Outlook: It’s unlikely Eifert will breakaway in year two. Jermaine Gresham will eat away opportunities, and the Bengals intend to run the ball more under Hue Jackson than they did under Jay Gruden.
Projections: 593 receiving yards & 3 touchdowns
23. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Outlook: Age and durability red flags are just two of many factors that knock Gates out of the top 20 for the first time in a decade. Most notably is the emergence of Green and Keenan Allen in the Chargers’ passing attack. The latter two are clearly ahead of the former Pro Bowl tight end in San Diego’s pecking order.
Projections: 563 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
24. Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
Outlook: Never much of a fantasy threat, Chandler will continue to be a TE2, as E.J. Manuel continues his development in year two under Doug Marrone.
Projections: 556 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
25. Levine Toilolo, Atlanta Falcons
Outlook: Toilolo has the difficult task of replacing Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta. While he is a decent red zone target for Matt Ryan, the young tight end won’t come close to filling Gonzalez’s cleats.
Projections: 416 receiving yards & 5 touchdowns
1 point per 10 yards receiving
1 point per 10 yards rushing
6 points per touchdown
-2 points per fumble