Around Fantasyland: Tight ends

Posted May 25, 2012 @ 2:16 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

The obvious big news was Kellen Winslow being traded by the Buccaneers to the Seahawks and the Bucs signing ex-Colt Dallas Clark. However, there was more good news out of San Diego and it appears the fantasy TE class is as deep as it has been in recent years.

Studs and starters

Hidden value?
The Buccaneers sent Kellen Winslow to the Seahawks after the new regime determined he was not the kind of veteran they wanted around. With their offense not geared toward a tight end as a primary offensive weapon they believed they could afford to make the move. Winslow goes to Seattle and will play with Zach Miller but he will be the pass-receiving end. In larger leagues, Winslow has value as a No. 2 with limited upside. Age and injury have not been kind to his oft-injured knee and he is now entering his eighth season and will struggle to separate. His knee kept him from ever becoming the playmaker we thought he could be and Winslow has greater value for the Seahawks than fantasy owners. Don’t overvalue him.

Any gas left?
Once Winslow was traded to the Seahawks, fantasy owners began to look at his replacement in Tampa Bay, Dallas Clark. A quality veteran, Clark will help the transition to a new staff with leadership on the field and in the locker room. The Bucs will pattern themselves after the Giants' offense, which is not fantasy TE-friendly. The previous regime was also high on Luke Stocker, a second-year player, but how he fits in with the new coaching staff remains to be seen. He is supposedly talented so right now, look at training camp and the preseason to discover any value here. Until then, look elsewhere for tight ends. 

1-2 punch
The Broncos decided to give QB Peyton Manning two big targets in Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, with Tamme being the pass-receiving option. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said the position will be Manning’s first and second reads at times. Don’t forget, the team is deep at the position with Julius Thomas and Virgil Green being two second-year players they like. Tamme has No. 1 upside but should be taken as a No. 2 and Dreessen will see his opportunities as a touchdown vulture. His value is in larger leagues as a matchup, bye-week and injury fill-in.

Playing for a roster spot and playing for a contract
Chris Cooley
’s (knee) has to earn a roster spot but he reported to Redskins OTAs weighing 237 pounds (18 pounds lighter than his listed weight) and says his knee feels great. Cooley is set to make $3.8 million and will count $6.23 million against the cap. That’s not chump change. Teammate Fred Davis is the starter and a potential value pick tight end with elite talent. Davis said he has learned his lesson after a four-game suspension late last season for violating the league's drug policy. He has signed his franchise tender worth $5.446 million, so he is playing for a long-term deal.

Quick Hits

Injury updates

He will be ready to go
Stud TE Rob Gronkowski is not practicing in Patriots OTAs, as he continues to recover from February ankle surgery. The injured left ankle that left him at less than 100 percent and possibly cost the Patriots the Super Bowl is not yet fully healed. The team does expect him back by training camp and is using the offseason to let him get back to 100 percent without pushing him too hard. No worries here.

Back to elite form
Logic would dictate that Antonio Gates is primed for a big season now that he’s a full year removed from his foot issues of the past two seasons. Chargers head coach Norv Turner agreed, and said that Gates is back to pre-injury form. The only bad news is that this information is now public whereas savvy owners saw a great value pick before Turner spoke. Gates is still a No. 1 tight end, and if you miss out on getting Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham he’s the player to target.

Tony Moeaki had some upside entering 2011 but an ACL tear kept the Chiefs’ second-year player out all season. He should be 100 percent by training camp but will share two-TE duties with Kevin Boss. The Chiefs hope to have a mini-version of the Patriots' TE duo but neither player has the talent of Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. Moeaki offers late-round flier potential at best, as offensive coordinator Brian Daboll worked wonders with Ben Watson in Cleveland. Watson’s career year was with Daboll in 2010 when he caught 68-763-3 on 102 targets.

Injury quick hits

Rookie quick hits

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