It has been a very eventful past few days in the NFL with training camps everywhere beginning. That has showed here at Pride of Detroit as we haven't seen part V of the fantasy football previews yet. That's about to change as we shift gears from training camp updates back to fantasy football. During this next part POD will take a look at the best tight ends in the league.
The tight end position in fantasy football is a very broad spot in your starting lineup. There's only a few TEs that can score a lot of points on a consistent basis each week. If you get one of those players then you basically have a bonus wide receiver. If you're not lucky enough to grab one of the best then you can pickup one that will get you a few points and go bananas every now and then.
BEST OF THE REST - These tight ends aren't just there for blocking.
**Antonio Gates (Chargers) By far the best tight end in 2005, Gates had statistical marks that rivaled some of the best receivers in the league. With 89 catches, 1,101 yards, and 10 TDs, Gates created a huge gap between himself and any other tight ends in the league. It'll be very hard to match those numbers again this season, especially with the departure of a great quarterback like Drew Brees. Gates will be one of the top TEs again in 2006, but the deciding point that sets him from an average TE to numbers like last year is all depending on how successful Phillip Rivers can be.
**Tony Gonzalez (Chiefs) Gonzalez didn't quite live up to his potential last year. He was in a slump for much of the season and anybody that had him on their fantasy team (myself included) had a minimal output from that spot on the roster. You know you're a good player when a near 1,000 yards is a down-year. Expect Gonzalez to shake off the slump this season and go back to his normal-self. Antonio Gates took his title as best TE and he will undoubtedly try to get that back again.
**Jeremy Shockey (Giants) As long as he doesn't get downgraded for celebrating too early on field goals, then don't pass on Jeremy Shockey. Shockey plays like a receiver, but is built like a tight end. If Eli Manning can come into his own then Shockey will benefit greatly. Shockey is one of the premier targets in a very balanced Giants offense.
**Todd Heap (Ravens) Career numbers were what Todd Heap achieved in 2005, and that was without an experienced quarterback. With Steve McNair joining the Raven's offense, Heap will probably increase his numbers from last season. He and Derrick Mason will most likely become the go to targets for Air McNair in an offense that will be leaning towards passing it more.
**Alge Crumpler (Falcons) Many have said that Mike Vick has worked on becoming a better passer over the offseason, nobody hopes more then Alge Crumpler that that is true. The Falcons' group of wide receivers isn't one of the best as there isn't anybody that really sticks out in your head. Although many of the WRs are young and are improving greatly, there's no doubt that Crumpler is the best target for Vick to throw at. A possession guy that can bring in a lot of yards after the catch is a great addition to any fantasy team.
SLEEPERS - May not bring in huge numbers, but are solid players.
**Heath Miller (Steelers) As a rookie in 2005, Heath Miller put up great numbers for a tight end that was new to the league. He brought in 6 TDs and nearly 500 yards. For a Steelers tight end that's a very hard thing to accomplish. The Steelers thought run first for most of the season due in part to some injuries at the quarterback position. Counterpart Jerame Tuman may take some of the catches away, but if you have trouble finding a good TE, then Heath Miller is a great player to add to your team.
**Kellen Winslow (Browns) Before Big Ben's famous motorcycle accident happened this past June, a different NFL player experienced the same thing before the 2005 season. Kellen Winslow didn't even get to start the 2005 season as the motorcycle accident left him out for the entire year. If he can stay healthy and away from motorcycles, then Winslow could become a force in a Browns offense that needs a star.
**Vernon Davis (49ers) The sixth overall pick of the draft was selected by the 49ers because they needed to add someone for former number one overall draft pick Alex Smith to throw to. They got their man in Vernon Davis, a great tight end out of Maryland. Although he's a rookie playing for the 49ers and has Alex Smith as his quarterback, Davis would be a very good TE if your team is need of one. Davis is very strong, which will allow him to not only block, but also bring down those errant Alex Smith passes.
During your Monday afternoon look for a 2-for-1 special as both the kickers and defense/special teams preview will be posted. As I said before, I have my first draft tomorrow and would like to get all of the previews done in time for it.