Last season Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski were two tight ends selected mainly late in drafts or even on the waiver wire who went on to put up fantasy numbers more in line with a WR1. These two have taken the fantasy world by storm and are being considered by some to be worthy of a late 1st round selection. There is almost no chance either of these players will make it past the 3rd round this year in drafts but are these two worth such a high draft selection?
- Rob Gronkowski set the TE single season record with 17 touchdowns as well as catching 90 receptions for 1,327 yards. Gronkowski’s efforts earned him a 6th place finish in fantasy points (not including QB’s) with 233. Gronk outscored fantasy studs such as Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Adrian Peterson and many others. Gronk would have had a 2nd place finish among wide-outs behind Calvin Johnson.
- Jimmy Graham was the go to man in the New Orleans offense last season and was a huge part in Drew Brees’ record setting year. Graham went off last year for 99 receptions, 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns beating out New Orleans’ WR1 Marques Colston in every single category. Graham’s 187 points earned him a 12th place finish among non QB’s. Graham would have placed 6th among WR’s.
Based on 2011 totals these two TE’s would garner a 2nd or 3rd round selection, but I am still very wary of selecting either that high. For starters both had career years last season and are therefore likely to see statistical declines across the board. It is going to be extremely difficult for Gronkowski to have a repeat performance because of the addition of Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney. Both of these players are capable red zone targets who will take looks away from Gronk. On the same note these two additions give Brady yet another set of mouths to feed so all Patriots will see less targets than the previous season. I see Gronk still having a tremendous year easily above 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, but that is a huge difference in production. Jimmy Graham will see additional coverage but may see some additional targets as Robert Meachem has left for San Diego. I could see Jimmy Graham having a season similar to what he did in 2011 but I also would not be surprised if he had 3oo less yards and 3-4 less touchdowns. I like Graham ahead of Gronkowski this season because he should have additional opportunities whereas Gronkowski should see less.
Because of the reasons above I do not see a scenario in which I will get either of these players on my roster this fantasy season. I feel that even a 3rd round draft pick on a TE is way too high as it will be extremely difficult for either to repeat their respective performances. I would much rather take a QB in round 2 or stud WR/RB in round 3 than stretch for a TE. There will be plenty of quality TE’s in later rounds so I see no reason to reach too far. If you have your heart set just know what you are forgoing to get your TE. And if both are available go for Graham.