Fantasy Player Projections

Tight Ends
1saintsJimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham

6 rec, 88 yards, rec TD

The Redskins will do all they can to stop New Orleans’ elite tight end on Sunday -- they will try and they will fail, series after series.

2patriotsRob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

5 rec, 65 yards, rec TD

The Patriots like to keep defenses guessing, but there’s no point in using Gronkowski as a decoy. Tom Brady will frustrate the Titans’ rebuilt pass defense by throwing plenty of balls to his All Pro tight end.

3chargersAntonio Gates

Antonio Gates

5 rec, 65 yards, rec TD

The future Hall-of-Fame tight end has 10 touchdowns in 18 career games against the Raiders. They rank 27th against the pass, and he should do well again in Week 1.

4falconsTony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez

5 rec, 59 yards, rec TD

It seems only appropriate that Gonzalez get to face his former team in what he has already called his final NFL season. Don’t think the future Hall of Famer isn’t motivated to make the most of this matchup.

5redskinsFred Davis

Fred Davis

5 rec, 55 yards, rec TD

As most rookie quarterbacks do, Robert Griffin III will rely on Davis early on this season to bail him out of trouble. It’s part of every quarterback’s transition to the NFL. Davis no longer needs to contend with Chris Cooley, and should exploit a Saints linebacking corps full of concerns.

649ersVernon Davis

Vernon Davis

5 rec, 50 yards, rec TD

Alex Smith has been relatively conservative throughout his career, helping Davis turn into a superstar. The tight end is still one of the best targets in San Francisco and is coming off a solid preseason.

7jaguarsMarcedes Lewis

Marcedes Lewis

4 rec, 43 yards, rec TD

Lewis will appreciate not having to be his team’s leading receiver, especially when Jacksonville gets within scoring range. And there’s a strong chance he can find the end zone this week against a Minnesota club which led the league in touchdown passes allowed last year (34).

8jetsDustin Keller

Dustin Keller

4 rec, 41 yards, rec TD

Keller has missed a lot of practice with a bum hamstring but is expected to suit up on Sunday (after watching Jason Witten play with a lacerated spleen, how can any tight end sit with a hamstring?). He remains the Jets’ best weapon near the goal, which helps him keep some relevance in fantasy circles.

9panthersGreg Olsen

Greg Olsen

5 rec, 40 yards, rec TD

With Jeremy Shockey no longer with the Panthers, the former Bear is expected to make some noise this season. He had five catches for 62 yards in the preseason. The Bucs also have a rookie at strong safety in Mark Barron.

10billsScott Chandler

Scott Chandler

4 rec, 35 yards, rec TD

Chandler has become a favorite of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s near the goal line, and could get lost there this week with New York giving its attention to Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson.

11giantsMartellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett

3 rec, 32 yards, rec TD

This offseason Bennett joined a Giants club with a reputation for taking unwanted tight ends and turning them into stars. He'd love nothing more than to shine against his former team in the season opener. He'll get his wish (sort of).

12lionsBrandon Pettigrew

Brandon Pettigrew

3 rec, 31 yards, rec TD

Last season, Pettigrew’s catch and yardage totals were considerably better when he was playing on the road, but all five of his touchdowns came at Ford Field.

13titansJared Cook

Jared Cook

4 rec, 61 yards

The Patriots defense sees Gronkowski and Hernandez in practice each week -- you’d think they’d shut down opposing tight ends with ease, but that isn’t always the case. Cook is Jake Locker’s best (and safest) weapon this week.

14vikingsKyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph

4 rec, 53 yards

Christian Ponder favored Rudolph this preseason, and it appears the former Notre Dame standout is ready for a breakout season. Good thing, too, because Minnesota sorely needs weapons on offense. Expect Ponder to rely on his tight end early and often in Week 1.

15packersJermichael Finley

Jermichael Finley

5 rec, 50 yards

One of the most physically gifted athletes in the NFL, Finley is coming off his best season and he's now two years removed from a knee injury. He's Rodgers' third favorite target.

16bengalsJermaine Gresham

Jermaine Gresham

5 rec, 45 yards

Gresham came into the league with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but he hasn't had the same breakout. A knee injury limited him in the preseason.

17eaglesBrent Celek

Brent Celek

3 rec, 41 yards

Fully healthy, Celek hopes to have the kind of bounce-back season that Mike Vick is aiming for. The Browns allowed Celek a touchdown in the preseason meeting last month, but will do a better job of defending the middle of the field in this contest.

18ramsLance Kendricks

Lance Kendricks

3 rec, 41 yards

The Rams offense is under new leadership, which many have suggested will bode well for second-year Kendricks. Fantasy owners should believe it when they see it.

19coltsCoby Fleener

Coby Fleener

4 rec, 40 yards

The rookie out of Stanford was supposed to make an instant connection with former college teammate Andrew Luck this preseason, but it has yet to develop. Give these guys some time. For now, start another tight end.

20patriotsAaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

2 rec, 39 yards

Hernandez will have big days this season, but as was true of 2011 sometimes he’ll have to take a back seat to Gronk.

21broncosJacob Tamme

Jacob Tamme

4 rec, 35 yards

Peyton Manning's former teammate with the Colts caught four passes for 43 yards in the preseason. It's very possible we'll be talking about Tamme as a top-five fantasy tight end by Week 17.

22buccaneersDallas Clark

Dallas Clark

3 rec, 35 yards

The 33-year-old's best days are behind him, but for head coach Greg Schiano's conservative offense to have a chance it'll need Clark to produce in Tampa Bay.

23texansOwen Daniels

Owen Daniels

4 rec, 35 yards

In 2009, Daniels was having a huge season, with five touchdowns in eight games -- and then he hurt his knee. He still hasn't bounced back to that level, but he's a serviceable fantasy option, especially against the Dolphins.

24seahawksZach Miller

Zach Miller

3 rec, 30 yards

The release of Kellen Winslow made Miller fantasy-worthy once again. Unfortunately, his Raiders' days are behind him, and this offense is not built to get the ball his way. However, a rookie quarterback might look his way more often than a veteran, as he escapes pressure.

25brownsBenjamin Watson

Benjamin Watson

2 rec, 28 yards

Watson is expected to play after missing much of camp (leg muscle). While he’s gotten off to a hot start in recent years, fantasy owners can’t expect that trend to continue. Watson will be slow to return to action, and doesn’t figure prominently in Cleveland’s long-term plans.

26dolphinsAnthony Fasano

Anthony Fasano

3 rec, 25 yards

Fasano caught five balls for 82 yards in last season's opener, but he's not expected to be a big factor for this offense. But a rookie quarterback tends to look for his tight ends to get bailed out.

27steelersHeath Miller

Heath Miller

3 rec, 25 yards

Miller was battling an ankle injury this preseason, but he'll be ready to go. He's someone you end up with more than someone you want to start.

28cowboysJohn Phillips

John Phillips

2 rec, 23 yards

Jason Witten does not appear ready to suit up for Big D, leaving the door open for Phillips to rise to the occasion. One stat for fantasy owners to chew on: Phillips' only career touchdown came against the Giants in Week 14 last season.

29chiefsTony Moeaki

Tony Moeaki

2 rec, 22 yards

Same as Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles, Moeaki is returning to the Chiefs offense after missing significant time. Kansas City may pass the ball in this contest as much as in any game this year, but the presence of TE Kevin Boss makes Moeaki unattractive to fantasy owners.

30bearsKellen Davis

Kellen Davis

3 rec, 20 yards

The Bears don't run many plays for their tight ends, and there are just too many good players at the position to consider a roster spot for Davis.

31ravensEd Dickson

Ed Dickson

2 rec, 20 yards

Dickson has been dealing with a shoulder injury this summer, but he should be fine for Monday night's game against the Bengals. He's not a great fantasy option.

32cardinalsRob Housler

Rob Housler

2 rec, 15 yards

A quiet rookie season sets up Housler to really come out of nowhere in 2012. Unfortunately, there are just too many fantasy options at the position to make him worth a look.

33raidersBrandon Myers

Brandon Myers

2 rec, 10 yards

Myers had a shoulder injury this preseason, but he proved that was behind him with a five-catch game in the third preseason contest. He's not expected to have a big season in fantasy.

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