There were three inherent dangers that came with making these rankings. First, the obvious reader disagreement with my rankings and the subsequent cries of “You’re a moron” and “This child is yours” that come with it. Second, the distraction of the themes and the argument that I’ve neglected this girl or that. With that, I feel true regret for some omissions, but I’m not Bill Simmons and I can’t assign a different female to every player listed, nor can I fellate myself. And third, I’ve exposed myself to my own
neighbors leagues and now my fellow fantasy owners know my draft strategies and the players that I’m targeting. Oh well, it’s their funeral, because I’m wrong 9 times out of 8.
But the show must go on, and today we are examining the endangered species of the worthwhile tight end. Through no obvious relation or even basic reasoning other than my newfound adoration of the WWE’s Maryse Ouellet, and with the help of Senor Stroud, I’ve chosen to compare tight ends to the ladies of professional wrestling. Perhaps in another season I’ll even go as far as to use the Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling. Until then, the standard tight end rules apply:
– Don’t draft one too early.
– Don’t draft one too late.
– Don’t get sucked into the “run.”
– Don’t draft Jeremy Shockey. When will you learn?
Now let’s start the controversy.
The Maryse Ouellets
I should point out that when it comes to drafting tight ends, I hate the idea of drafting one in the third round. I’m not fond of drafting one in the fourth either. The only scenario that I could envision doing so is if I pull a top tier QB, RB and WR coup and want to solidify my core with a top TE. But that means that every domino has to fall just right. Regardless, someone always takes a tight end early, so these are the hottest of the bunch.
1) Antonio Gates – Through all of the years and all of the teams I’ve drafted, I’ve had Gates on my roster once. It was his breakout season and I grabbed him off waivers. I have never seen the point in drafting him in the late second or third round like everyone does when there are other WRs and RBs still available.
2) Jason Witten – Mr. Dependable, I guess. My league awards .5 points per reception so Witten is usually solid, even when he peels off a run of 7-catch, 61-yard game. But he’s also getting older and he has Martellus Bennett and John Phillips looking scrappy behind him.
3) Jermichael Finley – If he stayed healthy last season, Finley would have probably had a better season than most wide receivers. He’s talking some big game now that he’s healthy, and if he hadn’t been injured he would be my No. 1.
4) Dallas Clark – Before last season, Clark had never been a concern for injury. Two years ago he had a phenomenal season, too, but he’s also 32 now. Can he get back to an elite level this season or will last season’s wrist injury and surgery affect him enough that you’ll pass over him and take Jacob Tamme later on as a backup… *whispers* foreshadowing.
The Trish Stratuses
Don’t get me wrong, I would drive a Trish Stratus *rim shot, bicycle horn*. She was always great eye candy, and boy could she wrestle (and pillow fight), but she was always the overrated second fiddle to Torrie Wilson (and some could even argue Stacy Keibler, but I would turn up my nose at such a notion). These guys certainly have (and in one case had) the potential, but they’re just not at the top level.
5) Jimmy Graham – Big reach, right? I don’t care. I want to put Graham at No. 1 since he helped me win my lone fantasy title last season. He wasn’t a yard monster, but he had 4 TDs in his last 3 games, so he looks like he might have become a big end zone target for Drew Brees. If your TE gets you 6 or 7 points per week, then he’s doing his job.
6) Vernon Davis – Even with Braylon Edwards in town, Davis is still the best receiving option in San Francisco, but Alex Smith is terrible and Colin Kaepernick can’t be trusted. This is typically the guy that you’ll be forced to take if you get sucked into the TE run.
7) Tony Gonzalez – I still love T-Gon, but Atlanta has so many options on offense now that his TDs will be limited. His reception total last season was his lowest since 1998, and his YPG was under 10 for the first time in his career. Swan song draft pick.
8) Zach Miller – For two years I’ve drafted Zach Miller while thinking, “This guy could be so good” and for two years I’ve ended the season thinking, “Get this guy on another team ASAP.” Well, he’s on another team now and my thoughts won’t change.
The Kelly Kellys
I’m not too familiar with the modern WWE Divas, so I’m going to use Brandon’s perfectly stated analysis for this case: “Not great or even good, but popular so they get drafted all the time.” That heinie looks mighty popular.
9) Kellen Winslow – I don’t want to hear about two seasons ago. I took this turkey last season and suffered the whole way with 1 and 2 point performances. I got more success out of scouring the waiver wire each week, at least until late in the season when he came alive a little. Of course I say that now, but I’ll check back in after I take him in the 6th round.
10) Owen Daniels – Daniels looked really good during the last 4 games of last season, despite missing 5 games with an injury and sucking for the first 6 games of the season. I’m just not ready to believe that the guy who has missed 13 games over the last 2 seasons is not going to give me menstrual cramps this year.
I’m turning to Brandon again here, because all I know about AJ is that I want to carry her around in my pocket and occasionally feed her candy, and that just sounds incredibly perverted. As per Mr. Stroud: “Promising young talent, not really there yet but worth investing in.” Value is the key here, as any one of these guys, while a risk for goose eggs, could become a star.
11) Jermaine Gresham – With Chad Ochocinco shopping for roommates in Foxboro, Gresham is probably Cinnci’s best receiving option now. Hell, he probably would be even if Ocho stayed. But will Andy Dalton have the time and fortitude to throw to him enough? My Magic 8 Ball says to ask again later.
12) Rob Gronkowski – With the New England Patriots, you have to choose between Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Gronk has been hitting on Kate Upton via Twitter, which means that he doesn’t give a f*ck, thinks he’s awesome and I like those two reasons enough. Meanwhile, Hernandez is a Gator and that’s good for no one.
13) Brent Celek – Every season, Celek seems like he should be an elite tight end. But he also has to share catches with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy maclin, Jason Avant, and LeSean McCoy. The guy is feast or famine.
14) Brandon Pettigrew – I really like Pettigrew this year. I have nothing to back that up with other than my gut, and my gut hasn’t been able to choose what I want for lunch today, so take that for what it’s worth.
15) Dustin Keller – Between weeks 2 and 4 last season, Keller was an all-time fantasy god. Outside of that? Worthless.
16) Tony Moeaki – One of my waiver wire picks to replace Winslow, Moeaki had a decent enough rookie year. People have been comparing him to Tony Gonzalez, based on nothing more than the Chiefs uniform, and mainly because people are stupid. However, in his second year and with a maturing offense, he could be good for some steady numbers, with some big games mixed in.
17) Jacob Tamme – If you’ve filled your starting spots and you’re at that point that you want to start grabbing sleepers in the later rounds, then Tamme is a good backup TE option. I wouldn’t take him as a starter, but he has great replacement value.
The Tammy Lynn Sytches
Years ago when I was a handsome but brash college sophomore, some friends and I took a trip to Kissimmee to check out the ECW in its early days. After the show, which included me throwing a bicycle pump into the ring for Sandman, we sat next to Sunny and Chris Candido at a Waffle House. She seemed pretty cool. I guess if there’s a point here, it’s that we probably remember her as being more attractive than she was, so we still carry a torch. Like these guys as late round picks. I know, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to.
18) Heath Miller – He’s apparently going to be mixing it up as a wide receiver this season. I have no clue what that means other than he’s not a dependable TE.
19) Marcedes Lewis – The Jags’ offense is a mess, otherwise I would probably have him higher. But even if Garrard was healthy, I still wouldn’t draft him.
20) Greg Olsen – He was ousted from Mike Martz’s “I hate Tight Ends” offense and landed in Carolina’s TE-happy schemes. Could be an interesting development. It also could be a surefire way to get 0 points each week. Either way, it’s giving me great material for NotJayCutler this season.
21) Anthony Fasano – I really wanted the Dolphins to get Zach Miller, since “Check Down” Chad Henne loves throwing to the Plan B receivers. Fasano gets some looks but I don’t really want any Dolphin not named Brandon Marshall in my starting lineup. And even then…
22) Aaron Hernandez – I said earlier that I prefer Gronk, but Hernandez will get his touches, too. The Pats love mixing their TE’s in, but they’re both going to be inconsistent in fantasy scoring.
The Mae Youngs
In their day, these guys could have been top talents. But while they’re not as old and wrinkled as Mae Young, they’ve still got about as much chance of performing at a top level as she does. And that’s not a knock on their talents as much as it is their teams.
23) Todd Heap – In all fairness, Heap could be an excellent fit in Arizona. Kolb had a good relationship on the field with Celek, so maybe if Heap is completely healthy he could recapture some of his glory from Baltimore this season.
24) Ben Watson – I don’t like a thing about Cleveland right now. I’ve been arguing with my friend about Peyton Hillis for two weeks, and I told him if he takes him in the second round he deserves to lose. That’s how little faith I have in the Browns.
25) Chris Cooley – It’s a shame. I really like Cooley. But his QB is Rex Grossman, who apparently ate Kirstie Alley during the offseason.
26) Kevin Boss – I like Boss, too. Oakland also seemed to really like passing to Miller so it could be a good fit… until someone mentions Jason Campbell and I cross every Raider off my list twice.
27) Visanthe Shiancoe – He’s already injured and his 2009 season was a fluke. He’s also being replaced by Kyle Rudolph while he’s out, so let’s just say it’s safe to exclude Shiancoe from your draft day planning.
Stay tuned for the next installment, The Sexy Muppets Guide to Drafting Kickers.