Once upon a time, the tight end was basically like a sixth offensive lineman, there for blocking duties only. As the passing game became more and more prominent in the NFL, the pass-catching tight end evolved. Now, there are plenty of pass-catching tight ends to choose from for fantasy football.
You may not think of the position as one that sells NFL tickets, but having a stable presence at the tight end position can make your fantasy season a lot easier. Here are the 10 tight ends I think will have the best fantasy seasons in 2009, in order.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: Tony Gonzalez was tops among tight ends last season, but changing teams can be a bit rocky, so I’ll go with Witten in the top spot. He’s as reliable as they come at the position, as Tony Romo loves to call his number. With Terrell Owens out of Dallas, Witten could become the main target of the passing attack. He plays in a good offense and should be in line for a ton of targets.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: If Gates is healthy, he’s the most dangerous tight end in the NFL. His ability to use his body in traffic and his glue-like hands make for a deadly combination. The wide receiver situation in San Diego has not improved much and Gates should still be Philip Rivers’ target of choice.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: Gonzalez had a fantastic season in 2008, but he’s getting up there in age and he’s got a new team for the first time in over a decade. Matt Ryan is a good, young quarterback, and will likely welcome the new target, but it’s bound to take some time to develop chemistry. I expect Gonzalez to have a good year, but still take a step back from last season’s performance.
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts: Clarks is one of the most underrated tight ends in the league, but he’s finally starting to get some attention. He plays in one of the best offenses in the league and with a quarterback who loves to go to his tight ends. Expect another solid, consistent season.
Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears: Olsen has always had a ton of talent, and he started to show it last season with 82 catches. He should have a career year with Jay Cutler on board. Cutler loves having a go-to guy and Olsen looks like the one who will benefit most. The Bears don’t have the strongest receiving corps and Cutler will likely latch on to Olsen. The pair has reportedly already developed a solid bond off the field and I think things will follow suit on it as well.
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans: Daniels is as underrated as they come, as he’s a central weapon in the budding Houston offense. He’s going to get solid yardage and score five or six times. I’ll take that any year.
Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins: Cooley was almost nonexistent in Jim Zorn’s offense in the early part of last season, but he came on as time progressed. I’d look for a solid season out of him in 2009.
Zach Millers, Oakland Raiders: His performance all depends on how much progress JaMarcus Russell makes, but he’s a decent fantasy option regardless.
Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Winslow needed a change of scenery and he got it. I’d have him ranked higher if the quarterback situation in Tampa was a bit clearer. Still, he’s a pick with upside.
John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks: Carlson had a good rookie campaign and could be in line for a big season if Matt Hasselbeck stays healthy.
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