Fantasy Football Preview 2012: Tight ends should now be a priority

Tight ends like New Orleans' Jimmy Graham have become go-to targets for quarterbacks and big fantasy point leaders.
by Michael Baldwin Published: August 13, 2012

Overall analysis: Tight ends used to be mid- to late-round picks. Not anymore. Make it a priority to grab one of the top eight tight ends.

High risk/high reward: Antonio Gates is a superstar when healthy. The problem is he's always battling injuries. Draft a quality backup if you select Gates.

Under the radar: Tennessee's Jared Cook never has compiled big stats but could have a breakout season.

Sleeper: Jacob Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four TDs from Peyton Manning two years ago in Indianapolis. Manning and Tamme are reunited in Denver. The Vikings might go with a two tight end look. Kyle Rudolph might be worth a flyer as your backup.

Red flag: Don't expect Aaron Hernandez to match his 2011 stats. Keep in mind the Patriots have added Brandon Lloyd to join Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. Running back Stevan Ridley also will be involved in the passing game.

Rookie watch: Stanford's Coby Fleener, joining Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, is the only rookie worthy of a late-round flyer.

Top Okies: Brandon Pettigrew (OSU) is a top 10 fantasy tight end who moves up the list if he can produce more TDs. Jermaine Gresham (OU) is a borderline fantasy starter but a quality backup, especially in rounds 12 or 13.

by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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