A Very Early Look at Tight End ADP

Despite the latest new that has obviously turned the tight end position completely upside down, we’re going to finish off the skill positions in this early ADP look series and check it out anyway. As I’ve said in the first few pieces, we’re more looking at the ADP numbers than we are the names, so our focus remains primarily on when exactly players at a particular position go in a specific draft. Still, with everything that’s happened, this early look is very much in flux, a work in progress, headed for change – tack on whatever phrase you like. So let’s just get to it.



Player Team ADP
Player Team ADP
1 Rob Gronkowski NE 23.00
Jimmy Graham NO 26.56
2 Jimmy Graham NO 34.00
Rob Gronkowski NE 26.78
3 Aaron Hernandez NE 52.00
Antonio Gates SD 63.74
4 Tony Gonzalez ATL 80.00
Aaron Hernandez NE 68.23
5 Dennis Pitta BAL 82.00
Jason Witten DAL 75.63
6 Jason Witten DAL 84.00
Vernon Davis SF 77.21
7 Kyle Rudolph MIN 88.00
Jermichael Finley GB 82.88
8 Vernon Davis SF 99.00
Fred Davis WAS 83.23
9 Greg Olsen CAR 108.00
Brandon Pettigrew DET 100.54
10 Jermichael Finley GB 109.00
Jermaine Gresham CIN 102.89
11 Martellus Bennett CHI 116.00
Jared Cook TEN 107.64
12 Brandon Myers NYG 130.00
Brent Celek PHI 116.16
13 Jermaine Gresham CIN 131.00
Tony Gonzalez ATL 117.92
14 Jared Cook STL 140.00
Owen Daniels HOU 121.58
15 Owen Daniels HOU 144.00
Dustin Keller NYJ 127.09
16 Brandon Pettigrew DET 147.00
Kellen Winslow SEA 131.28
17 Rob Housler ARI 150.00
Coby Fleener IND 138.57
18 Antonio Gates SD 152.00
Greg Olsen CAR 145.38
19 Jordan Cameron CLE 284.00
Jacob Tamme DEN 151.06
20 Dustin Keller MIA 308.00
Martellus Bennett NYG 173.04

OK, so maybe you’re so focused on baseball that you haven’t even heard the news. If that’s the case, then here you go, in a nutshell: Aaron Hernandez – murder investigation, arrested, released by Patriots, bail denied. Apparently the judge said that while the case was circumstantial, it is still very strong. You can follow all the gory details here.

So now, between this and the fact that Rob Gronkowski had both back and arm surgery and will open camp on the PUP list, two of the top three tight ends are already gone. The position was definitely taking a turn for the better over the last few seasons, but without two of the top playmakers at the position, it’s going to be very difficult to justify taking anyone but Jimmy Graham within the top 50 overall. It’s not like two are gone and two others are going to step up. Sure, they’ll be ranked higher amongst their fellow tight ends, but their ADP is unlikely to improve. And as you can see by the above numbers in the differential column, none but two of the top three are being taken earlier this year than they were last.

Until we start seeing how the public responds in the mock draft circuit, it’s going to be difficult to see exactly where we should be taking some of these less-exciting tight ends. Obviously, without much in the way of big playmakers, the appeal of this position is taking a nosedive. In fact, unless we start seeing a few guys step up more in camp, the position could end up a throw-away as it was before guys like Antonio Gates showed up on the scene.

Food for Thought:

There’s been plenty of chatter in the Bay Area regarding Vernon Davis and the role he needs to take with the team this year now that Michael Crabtree is gone until at least December with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Many still have him locked in his usual role as he is as strong a blocker as he is a pass-catcher, but there is also growing speculation that the team could start lining him up more as a wide receiver. It could just be conjecture from the Niner-hopefuls out there, but it also might be something the team considers worth watching. Should he start seeing added opportunities as a wideout, he should have a nice increase in overall value.

Last season, Jason Witten and Greg Olsen had the two highest target percentages of all tight ends. But with so much focus turning towards Dez Bryant, how much will the usually solid relationship between Tony Romo and Witten suffer? And will Olsen continue to get the looks he saw last year? The Panthers still have Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell, but they also brought in Domenik Hixon and Tedd Ginn.

In Minnesota, going from Percy Harvin to Greg Jennings is probably considered a step down. Will that turn out to be an increase in work for Kyle Rudolph? He was a favorite target, particularly in the red zone, for Christian Ponder early on in the season. Could this be the year he breaks out even more?

Some old faces in new places here – Brandon Myers heads to New York where he hopes to be a viable alternative when defenses start keying in on Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz; Jared Cook is still a bit of a sleeper and now that Sam Bradford doesn’t have Danny Amendola to focus on, he could become a primary target for the young quarterback; Martellus Bennett heads to Chicago as the team was in need of a better pass-catcher ; Dustin Keller leaves the pitiful Jets and heads south to Miami where Ryan Tannehill swears he can throw better than Mark Sanchez.

Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at


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