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Trends for Fantasy Football Keeper Tight Ends

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) catches a pass against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Everything is different now, even more than yesterday.

Fewer sure bets remain at the tight end position than did six months ago. The apparent tight end renaissance we had enjoyed may have come to a close. But maybe it just turned a page, opening the door for more fresh blood.

You should buy a lottery ticket if you have come out unscathed by the recent bevy of mid-summer injuries in the NFL. The new CBA offseason rules arguably have caused a spike in season-ending injuries, leading keeper leagues everywhere into major ongoing power upheavals. The value for 2013 tight ends has less to do with statistics than it does the chips continuing to fall around them.

If you don’t know about the summer of Aaron Hernandez, are you sure you should be playing fantasy football? His unfortunate situation could have drastically helped the future of Rob Gronkowski. But the Gronk is staring down the reality as an oversized athlete in professional sports. If you know your basketball history, look no further than the shortened careers of Manute Bol, Shaun Bradley, Yao Ming, and Greg Oden. Gronkowski may not have fallen far from the tree, but maybe that’s because he sprained his ankle on the way down. He’s just completed his sixth career surgery, and second on his back. He may begin the season on the Patriots’ PUP list. But the real question is whether you can afford the valuable roster space for this continued risk.

Vernon Davis potentially has become another injury benefactor, following the torn achilles of Michael Crabtree. Davis has even been lining up at wide receiver, due to the team’s apparent dearth on the outside. Why the team doesn’t sign one of the league’s notable free agent wide receivers is anyone’s guess. They were willing to give Randy Moss a go in 2012. But the one who stands most to gain is without a doubt. Watch Davis’ value continue to spike as more fantasy re-drafts light up the ADP board.

Brent Celek is on an exciting new Chip Kelly offense. But what we’ll get this year is still unknown. This is especially true, as Dean Blandino and NFL officials warn that they are the ones who dictate the speed of play, not the up-tempo offense of Kelly and Michael Vick. Celek is coming off a season with 87 targets for 57 catches and 684 yards. The 6-foot-4 tight end is second in the NFL in red zone targets since 2009, only behind our next subject.

Tony Gonzalez finished 2012 with 93 catches and eight touchdowns. The only tight end with more receptions was Jason Witten, who set the new record at 110. While there doesn’t seem to be a major injury impacting either’s season, these two veterans remain two of the best. Brandon Myers finished fourth in tight end targets in 2012 with 105, for 79 receptions. Who? Myers switched uniforms this offseason, from the silver and black to whatever that drab color is the New York Giants wear. Eli Manning is certainly an improvement over Carson Palmer, positioning Myers for a breakout 2013 season.

Stats courtesy of footballguys.com, pro-football-reference.com, and espn.com

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