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2013 Fantasy Football Keeper Rankings – Tight Ends

The top tight ends to draft for the 2013 fantasy football season in keeper/dynasty leagues.

By Position:





1. Jimmy Graham (NO)   Age: 27

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2013 Projections View Jimmy Graham's 2013 projected stats.

While Graham failed to live up to 2011's lofty expectations, he still had an impressive season. He nearly topped 1,000 yards receiving in 15 games, and his nine touchowns were only two off his previous season's pace. His 135 targets ranked second among tight ends, though his per-target average dipped 1.5 yards last season. While part of his regression from 2011 was probably due to missing coach and offensive mastermind Sean Payton, a bigger factor was a nagging wrist injury during the second half of the season; after scoring eight touchdowns in his first nine games, he scored only once more – in Week 17. The wrist also contributed to an NFL-high 14 dropped passes. Graham underwent wrist surgery in January and should be ready for the start of the season. An athletic player, Graham uses his 6-7 frame to go up and get the ball in traffic. He also has enough speed to outrun opposing defenses as evidenced by his 32 catches of 20-plus yards the last two seasons. It also helps to have an accurate passer in Drew Brees, who for the second consecutive season attempted more passes to Graham than anyone else on the team.

2. Rob Gronkowski (NE)   Age: 24

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2013 Projections View Rob Gronkowski's 2013 projected stats.

Gronkowski was putting up historically good numbers for the second year in a row when a broken forearm derailed him in Week 11. He missed the next five games before returning Week 17 only to break his arm again in the divisional round of the playoffs. He ultimately required four arm surgeries, as an infection complicated matters. When healthy Gronkowski was easily the league's best tight end. He averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game in standard formats, tops among tight ends and third among all receivers, and his 11 receiving touchdowns ranked fourth among all receivers – this despite playing only 11 games. At 6-6, 265, Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Using his size, Gronkowski can cut inside or out, shielding the defender from making a legal play on the ball. As a result he's made several highlight-reel diving catches in the end zone of which few tight ends are capable. Gronkowski's 17 red-zone targets last year were second among tight ends to Heath Miller, who had only three more despite playing four more games. The bottom line: Gronkowski's health is the only thing capable of slowing him down, and it just might as he also had back surgery in mid-June that typically requires a 12-week recovery, putting his return date sometime in September. As a result, there's a decent chance Gronkowski misses a game or two, and it's even possible the team places him on the PUP list, forcing him to sit out the season's first six weeks.

3. Vernon Davis (SF)   Age: 30

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2013 Projections View Vernon Davis's 2013 projected stats.

Davis is not only one of the league's most athletic tight ends – he's one of its most athletic players. Davis has the speed (4.38 40) of an elite wide receiver, yet he's as big and strong as a linebacker. The size and speed combination makes him an almost impossible matchup – Davis averaged 9.0 YPT, second highest among starting tight ends. Coach Jim Harbaugh's explanation for Davis' criminal underuse during the last two regular seasons is that Davis is the primary focus for opponents. That will especially be the case this year after Michael Crabtree suffered what could be a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury in minicamp. Without Crabtree, Davis likely will see more targets, but unless defenses sell out to stop Colin Kaepernick’s read-option, Davis figures to be blanketed most games. Keep in mind, however, that Kaepernick has the arm strength to get the ball to Davis further down the field and in tighter spaces than the more conservative Alex Smith ever did.

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