Scouting the Tight Ends

1. Jason Witten - Cowboys (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
1. Jason Witten - Cowboys (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (AP)
Posted: August 25, 2011

SCOUTING REPORT

Kevin Boss, Oakland: Knee injury knocks him off the fantasy radar for now.

Brent Celek, Eagles: Michael Vick invoked the name of former teammate Alge Crumpler when talking about his hopes for Celek this season. Celek had nearly half as many catches last year with Vick/Kolb (42) as he did in 2009 with Donovan McNabb (76).

Dallas Clark, Indianapolis: The wrist injury that knocked him out for the year in Week 6 opened the door for Jacob Tamme to register 67 catches. The Colts plan to use both guys in various packages, so Clark's days of 100 catches might be over.

Owen Daniels, Houston: He's missed nearly half the Texans games in the last two years. Nothing worse than an injury-prone tight end.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco: Loves new coach Jim Harbaugh (for now). He'd be a top-3 tight end if quarterback Alex Smith ever gets his act together.

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay: This is a huge year for Finley, who is an unrestricted free agent after the season. With any luck, he'll stay healthy long enough to be invited to this year's team photo.

Antonio Gates, San Diego: Was having a monster season last year (nine TDs in 10 games) until he was plagued by foot problems.

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans: Will be Drew Brees' primary tight-end target now that Jeremy Shockey is in Carolina.

Rob Gronkowski, New England: Has reportedly been a beast in camp. But as long as Aaron Hernandez is part of the rotation, starting a Patriots' tight end is like playing roulette.

Lance Kendricks, St. Louis: The rookie out of Wisconsin has developed a strong rapport with Sam Bradford.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville: Signed a five-year, $35 million contract after scoring 10 touchdowns last season. That kind of money can buy a lot of Marcedeses, as well as Fards and Laxises.

Zach Miller, Seattle: A second-tier tight end with third-tier quarterbacks (Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehust) throwing to him.

Greg Olsen, Carolina: He's bound to be a favorite regardless of which youngster (Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen) is back there running for his life.

Jason Witten, Dallas: Steadiest guy on the board. Had 94 catches, 1,030 yards and two TDs in 2009 and 94 catches, 1,002 yards and nine TDs last year.

QUICK HITTERS

On the way up: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

On the way down: Owen Daniels, Houston

Riskiest pick: Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit

Sleeper: Greg Olsen, Carolina

Late-round look: Kevin Boss, Oakland

Please avoid: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh

Top rookie: Lance Kendricks, St. Louis

THE TOP 20 (With Bye Week)

1. Jason Witten, Dallas, 5

2. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay, 8

3. Antonio Gates, San Diego, 6

4. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis, 11

5. Vernon Davis, San Francisco, 7

6. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, 11

7. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit, 9

8. Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets, 8

9. Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay, 8

10. Greg Olsen, Carolina, 9

11. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta, 8

12. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville, 9

13. Rob Gronkowski, New England, 7

14. Lance Kendricks, St. Louis, 5

15. Brent Celek, Eagles, 7

16. Owen Daniels, Houston, 11

17. Jared Cook, Tennessee, 6

18. Kevin Boss, Oakland, 8

19. Zach Miller, Seattle, 6

20. Tony Moeaki, Kansas City, 6

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