Fantasy Football 2012: Breakout Tight Ends

Contributed by: Marques Webber
Last Updated: Aug 16, 2012 12:52 PM

Ok, now we know that super tight ends Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski won’t be available in the later rounds of your draft so here are five tight ends that should help your team big time.

Over the past week, I've been campaigning for "The Next 5." These are the guys after the most productive/popular players at their positions have been drafted in your league already. Today I'll focus on tight ends.

The tight end position has been transitioning for years. No more do we have these big bulky guys who just block for their quarterback or running back. The NFL is flooded with dynamic tight ends now that can run and catch like wide receivers.

The first guy on my list can do exactly that. Tennessee's Jared Cook in his fourth year should have a great season. With 49 catches for 759 yards last season, Cook had his best year yet.

Though the Titans aren’t sure who their starting quarterback is going to be on opening day, Cook will be a great weapon for either veteran Matt Hasslebeck or second-year QB Jake Locker.  Jared should also see a boost in touchdowns and led the league last year in yards per catch amongst TEs with a 15.5 average.

At No. 2 on my board is Brent Celek. We all know that quarterbacks love their tight ends and Celek is one of Michael Vick’s favorite targets. Shorter quarterbacks love to use that TE because he’s usually in the middle of the field and is easy for him to see. Celek caught just over 800 yards with 62 catches and five touchdowns last year. With Michael Vick coming into the season with a chip on his shoulder, don’t be surprised if Celek exceeds his 2011 numbers.

Brandon Pettigrew of Detroit comes in third on my board. A huge target at 6’5” and 265 pounds, Matthew Stafford loves him. With Stafford’s amazing 5,038 passing yards he threw for last season, Pettigrew became a consistent target for him throughout the season. Brandon caught 83 balls (third in the league amongst TEs) for 777 yards and five TDs. I expect Stafford to continue his ascension to greatness, which should mean a better season for Pettigrew.

Washington’s Fred Davis has been a savior for the franchise at the tight end position over the last few years. With their starting tight end, Chris Cooley, always banged up and unable to get on the field, Davis has quietly made a name for himself. He should be a great option for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. If Davis could pull off 59 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns with a few bums at the quarterback position for the Redskins last season, I’m expecting him to have an even better season with a better quarterback at the helm.

Last on my list is Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals have been waiting on the talented third-year pro to explode and I think this could be the year. He should be the healthiest he’s been since his arrival to the NFL, which should help him accumulate better numbers from last season. Jermaine caught 56 catches for 596 yards and six touchdowns in 2011 and has all the talent and ability in the world to be a top five tight end this season.

Check back for team defenses later.

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