Tony Gonzalez



Hope you have been enjoying this series, predicting who will be starting at each position in 2013.  Of course there will be many changes based on the results of the draft in April, as well as other happenings during the off season, so I’ll re-visit each column later in the summer.  But for those of us in dynasty and keeper leagues, some shrewd moves early in the off season based on forward thinking can really pay off.  I’ll provide a list of the 2012 Tight Ends and the percentage of the total receptions they had in 2012, along with a percentage prediction for 2013.




Arizona Cardinals


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Rob Housler: 15%

Jeff King: 5%

Todd Heap: 3%

Jim Dray: 1%

Kory Sperry: 0%


Housler had a very good season considering he had nobody to throw him the ball.  He’ll be the man this coming season.  King is primarily a blocker who gets to catch a few balls now and then.  Heap was waived and is probably out of football since he can’t stay healthy.  Dray is a blocker and Sperry is a receiver who’s never amounted to much.  The Cards didn’t feature tight ends much under the previous regime so I expect Housler to benefit from the change.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Rob Housler: 20%

Jeff King: 5%



Atlanta Falcons


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Tony Gonzalez: 23%

Michael Palmer: 1%

Chase Coffman: 0%

Tommy Gallarda: 0%

Adam Nissley: 0%

Andrew Szczerba: 0%


It should come as no surprise that Gonzalez is coming back given his continued high level of play.  Personally I had little doubt he’d be back.  Palmer is an RFA, he has a bit of potential as Gonzalez’ backup but unless he shows more will not be the heir apparent.  Coffman is in the same boat as Palmer; my money is on Coffman out of the two.  Gallarda is a special teamer.  Nissley has nice size and caught a decent amount of balls in college so he’s a bit of a wildcard at this point.  Szczerba has good hands and could eventually develop into a solid NFL’er.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Tony Gonzalez: 21%

Chase Coffman: 1%



Carolina Panthers


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Greg Olsen: 25%

Gary Barnidge: 2%

Ben Hartsock: 1%

Nelson Rosario: 0%


Olsen had a great season in 2012; expect more of the same this coming year.  Barnidge signed with the Browns as a free agent.  Hartsock is a blocker.  Rosario is a project but he should be a lock to be Olsen’s backup and I like his chances of becoming a good one if the Panthers develop him properly.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Greg Olsen: 25%

Nelson Rosario: 2%



Chicago Bears


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Kellen Davis: 7%

Matt Spaeth: 2%

Kyle Adams: 1%

Brody Eldridge: 0%

Gabe Miller: 0%

Fendi Onobun: 0%


The Bears signed Martellus Bennett as a free agent to be their number one guy.  Bennett had a pretty good year with the Giants last year and with the new coaching staff in Chicago he should be able to at least come close to matching last year’s numbers.  Davis was signed by the Browns as a free agent.  Spaeth was released recently and signed with the Steelers.  Adams and Eldridge are blockers.  Miller played multiple positions in college and in NFL workouts so it’s tough to predict anything for him until someone figures out where he should play.  Onobun has probably peaked and won’t become a viable NFL tight end.  Last year’s draft pick Evan Rodriguez was converted to fullback, only caught a few balls, and was recently arrested.  So yeah, probably not a future pass catching tight end prospect anymore.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Martellus Bennett: 15%



Dallas Cowboys


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Jason Witten: 27%

James Hanna: 2%

John Phillips: 2%

Andre Smith: 0%

Colin Cochart: 0%


Witten caught more than 100 passes last year and will be an elite fantasy tight end for at least another season.  Hanna is a top TE prospect and will see more action if the Cowboys try and lower Witten’s workload a bit or if he gets hurt.  Phillips signed as a free agent with the Chargers.  Smith is a blocker.  Cochart was waived last season but signed to a two year deal in January.  He’s a pass catcher but not a very good one, at least so far.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Jason Witten: 25%

James Hanna: 6%



Detroit Lions


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Brandon Pettigrew: 14%

Tony Scheffler: 10%

Will Heller: 4%

Shaun Chapas: 0%

Nathan Overbay: 0%


Pettigrew had an okay year in 2012 but after two consecutive 700 plus yard seasons he regressed a bit, but it was partly due to injury.  He’s going into the last year of his rookie deal and will need to be better if he wants to really cash in.  Scheffler also did alright but he should be a backup as opposed to a 1a.  Heller is a blocker who gets to catch the odd pass since Stafford will throw to anyone and everyone.  Chapas is a combination fullback / tight end and not much of a receiver.  Overbay is not an option.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Brandon Pettigrew: 18%

Tony Scheffler: 7%

Will Heller: 2%



Green Bay Packers


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Jermichael Finley: 17%

Tom Crabtree: 2%

DJ Williams: 2%

Ryan Taylor: 0%

Andrew Quarless: 0%

Brandon Bostick: 0%


The jury is still out on Finley remaining with the Pack.  From all I’ve read and heard I’m not getting a strong feeling one way or another.  So for the purpose of this column I’m going to assume he stays.  Crabtree was signed by the Buccaneers as a free agent.  Williams becomes the #2 tight end, and does have talent.  If you’re of the opinion Finley will be gone then Williams is a nice buy low candidate.  Taylor is a hybrid tight end / fullback and mostly a special teamer.  Quarless is also a candidate to replace Finley if need be, but I prefer Williams.  Bostick may or may not have a future in the NFL, time will tell.  If Finley does go, I can only predict a 50/50 split with Williams and Quarless at this point.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Jermichael Finley: 16%

DJ Williams: 5%

Andrew Quarless: 0%



Minnesota Vikings


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Kyle Rudolph: 19%

John Carlson: 3%

Rhett Ellison: 1%

Allen Reisner: 0%

LaMark Brown: 0%

Chase Ford: 0%


Rudolph almost doubled his rookie production but nevertheless it was somewhat underwhelming.  Certainly plenty of blame lies at the quarterback position.  With Harvin gone 2013 could be Rudolph’s real chance to shine.  Carlson really had no choice but to restructure his deal or he would have been axed.  He’s nothing more than a backup for Rudolph.  Ellison is more of a fullback than a tight end and is primarily a blocker.  Reisner was waived back in December.  Brown and Ford are purely depth at this point in their young careers.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Kyle Rudolph: 25%

John Carlson: 2%



New Orleans Saints


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Jimmy Graham: 21%

David Thomas: 3%

Michael Higgins: 0%


Graham continues to be one of the best values in the NFL under the last year of his rookie contract.  He’ll be hugely productive again in 2013.  Thomas was released in February.  Higgins is pretty much a depth player.  The Saints signed Ben Watson this month who will step into the number one backup role.  Look for the Saints to add to their tight end depth in the offseason and they may even draft a tight end early in the draft to protect themselves if for any reason they can’t sign Graham for 2014.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Jimmy Graham: 23%

Benjamin Watson: 2%



New York Giants


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Martellus Bennett: 17%

Bear Pascoe: 1%

Travis Beckum: 0%

Adrien Robinson: 0%

Larry Donnell: 0%


Bennett was signed by the Bears as a free agent.  The Giants then went out and signed Brandon Myers formerly of the Raiders to be the number one guy.  If fully healthy he could have a big year.  Pascoe is a blocker.  Beckum has never been much of a receiving threat but now is probably the odds on favorite to be the #2 pass catcher.  Robinson is expected to be a blocking tight end and Donnell isn’t expected to amount to much.  Newly signed Jamie Childers is purely depth.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Brandon Myers: 20%

Travis Beckum: 2%



Philadelphia Eagles


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Brent Celek: 16%

Clay Harbor: 7%

Evan Moore: 0%

Emil Igwenagu: 0%

Derek Carrier: 0%


Celek is the #1 guy, and with Chip Kelly expected to involve the tight end more Celek should be in for a real nice season.  The same could be said for backup Harbor although he has yet to produce much in his short career so far.  Moore is an affordable depth guy who does have some pass catching skill.  Igwenagu is maybe more suited to be a fullback than a tight end but could develop into a serviceable player.  Carrier played receiver in college and I think has a bright future but he’s at least a couple of years away.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Brent Celek: 20%

Clay Harbor: 6%



St. Louis Rams


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Lance Kendricks: 13%

Matthew Mulligan: 2%

Mike McNeill: 1%

Cory Harkey: 0%

Cameron Graham: 0%


Although Kendricks improved marginally over his disappointing rookie season, the Rams signed free agent Jared Cook from the Titans.  So the best Kendricks can hope for is a 1/1a scenario, but given the money the Rams invested in Cook I don’t see that happening.  Then again since Cook lined up so much in the slot and is being paid like a receiver, could he be the new Rams slot receiver and Kendricks continues to be the starting tight end?  Stranger things have happened.  Mulligan was released a few days ago.  McNeill is a special teamer, Harkey is a future prospect and Graham is just depth.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Jared Cook: 16%

Lance Kendricks: 10%



San Francisco 49ers


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Vernon Davis: 15%

Delanie Walker: 8%

Garrett Celek: 1%


Despite Davis having elite skills he had a pretty disappointing year.  But he will again be the number one guy in 2013.  Walker was signed as a free agent by the Titans.  Celek is now the one and only backup to Davis and could become the heir to Davis’ #1 role.  I expect the two to more or less split Walker’s catches.  Demarcus Dobbs plays defensive end and special teams along with being a depth tight end.  San Fran needs to acquire at least one more tight end, either via the draft or free agency.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Vernon Davis: 19%

Garrett Celek: 5%



Seattle Seahawks


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Zach Miller: 15%

Anthony McCoy: 7%

Evan Moore: 0%

Cameron Morrah: 0%

Sean McGrath: 0%

Cooper Helfet: 0%


Miller suffered a second straight poor season and with the size of his contract could potentially be released.  My feeling is he’ll be kept for at least one more season and a decision will be made then.  McCoy has a lot of potential and if Miller struggles again this year McCoy could get a significant bump in playing time.  Moore was waived back in December.  Morrah is a free agent and I doubt very much if he’ll be back.  McGrath is around for depth and Helfet is a raw project who may develop in a few years.  Seattle recently signed Darren Fells after working him out.  Not sure the appeal here but at least he’ll provide some more depth.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Zach Miller: 13%

Anthony McCoy: 9%



Tampa Bay Buccaneers


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Dallas Clark: 15%

Luke Stocker: 5%

Nate Byham: 1%

Danny Noble: 0%

Drake Dunsmore: 0%

Zach Miller: 0%


Clark is a free agent who remains unsigned.  Tampa apparently indicated they wanted him back but the fact he’s not signed tells me maybe he wants too much cake.  At 33 I don’t think he’ll be back.  Another sign is Tampa signed Tom Crabtree as a free agent from the Packers.  The Bucs will let Crabtree and Stocker battle it out in camp for the number one spot.  I may be in the minority but I think Stockers wins it.  Byham is a blocker.  Noble is too but apparently just may have some potential as a receiver down the road.  Can’t say the same for Dunsmore, he’s purely depth.  The other Zach Miller is also on the roster and will likely slot into the #3 slot.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Luke Stocker: 13%

Tom Crabtree: 7%



Washington Redskins


2012 Tight Ends with percentage of team receptions

Fred Davis: 9%

Logan Paulsen: 9%

Niles Paul: 3%

Chris Cooley: 0%

Deangelo Peterson: 0%


Davis is a free agent and although reportedly Washington wants him back, I don’t see it happening.  Paulsen was resigned but is not seen as number 1 material, at least not as a receiving tight end.  Paul is a converted wide receiver who apparently can’t catch very well.  At this point he could end up at tight end, back to receiver or switched to fullback, a real wild card.  Cooley is a free agent and if he is resigned it’s purely for depth.  Peterson is also depth at this point.  If Davis isn’t resigned they’ll need to get somebody else to shore up the position.


2013 Tight End forecast:

Logan Paulsen: 10%

New Guy: 8%

Niles Paul: 3%


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