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Fantasy Football 2011: Week 1 Tight End Rankings

In the majority of most leagues, drafting a Tight End is a must. This was the equivalent of drafting a catcher in fantasy baseball; if you wanted a premiere TE, you had to reach to draft him (Tony Gonzalez = Mike Piazza). Otherwise you may as well just wait until the end of the draft and "punt," per se.

Luckily for us nerds, this is no longer the case. 2010 saw the Tight End Position having one of the deepest crop of players of all-time as 8 players accumulated 700 yards receiving or more with 3 Tight Ends going for 10 TD's. As hard as it is to believe, 2011 may even be bigger. If there was ever a year to wait on drafting a TE, 2011 is it.

I'll rank the top 20 TE's although you're probably only worried about the top 12 or so. Again I will try not to stray from my pre-season rankings.

Players I Love More Than You Do:

Jared Cook, Titans - His new coach loves him. New QB Matt Hasselbeck loves him. Former HC Steve Spurrier loves him. The local writers love him. It's about time you love him too. The uber-athletic TE that drew comparisons to Calvin Johnson in college is a guy currently outside of the top 12 that has the best chance of finishing in the top 10 at the end of the year. He's a must-start against the leaky Jacksonville secondary.

Lance Kendricks, Rams - Kendricks has seen his stock rise significantly since the start of pre-season. His QB couldn't stop feeding him the ball as the rookie led the Rams in receiving and targets. I understand new OC Josh McDaniels' offense does not favor the TE, but I can see Kendricks lining up wide as a mis-match for the Eagles linebackers and safeties. Bradford may also look his way often since the Eagles have 3 legitimate starting cornerbacks on defense.

Players I Hate More Than You Do:

Dallas Clark, Colts - Clark will feel the Peyton Manning effect more than the rest of the team. Manning loved going to Clark as his right-hand man. I don't think Clark has a poor game; I just think his production won't come close to his lofty draft status.

Rankings are below, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with the list. You can follow me on Twitter or ask any questions there.

For all other rankings, head on over to our friends at Fantasy Rundown.

Player Team Opponent
1. Jermichel Finley Packers Saints
2. Antonio Gates Chargers Vikings
3. Vernon Davis 49ers Seahawks
4. Jason Witten Cowboys Jets
5. Jimmy Graham Saints Packers
6. Owen Daniels Texans Colts
7. Jared Cook Titans Jaguars
8. Dallas Clark Colts Texans
9. Kellen Winslow Bucs Lions
10. Aaron Hernandez Patriots Dolphins
11. Lance Kendricks Rams Eagles
12. Dustin Keller Jets Cowboys
13. Rob Gronkowski Patriots Dolphins
14. Mercedes Lewis Jaguars Texans
15. Greg Olsen Panthers Cardinals
16. Zach Miller Seahawks 49ers
17. Brandon Pettigrew Lions Bucs
18. Tony Gonzalez Falcons Bears
19. Evan Moore Browns Bengals
20. Brent Celek Eagles Rams