Zach Miller made huge strides in his second year hauling in 56 passes for 778 yards.  Unfortunately he only crossed the goal line once, but he’s still a serviceable TE.  He was consistently inconsistent with eight games with fewer than 50 yards and eight games with 50+.  Unfortunately he did score the occasional TD to buoy some of the low yardage games.  He’s clearly JaMarcus Russell’s top target though as the next closest Raider was Darren McFadden with 29 receptions.  Breakout candidate Chaz Schilens is out with a broken foot so Miller will continue to get a lot of looks.  He is an adequate TE1, but only because you’ll be getting him around the 13th round.  He should be good for 65 catches for 850 yards and 3 TDs.

John Carlson would be higher on my list after a 55 catch, 627 yard, 5 TD rookie season, but with the additional of T.J. Houshmandzadeh at WR, I’m afraid he won’t get as many targets.  Plus with Walter Jones sidelined following knee surgery, Carlson’s blocking duties could increase.  He’s still a big, talented target though, so he should be productive.  Just don’t expect him to make the leap into the top five fantasy TEs this year.  Although for a guy going in the 10th round of fantasy drafts, you shouldn’t really expect that much of a leap.  He should be good for 60 catches for 700 yards and 4 TDs.

Kellen Winslow is not short on talent or determination, that’s for sure.  However, his volatile behavior can be detrimental to a team.  His ability to control his emotions leaves plenty to be desired.  He is injury-prone, but for the most part guts them out.  He should be in a better situation in Tampa where he can better keep his emotions in check, but new Coach will not allow Winslow’s antics to make him lose control of the team.  He will get plenty of targets because the WRs outside of Antonio Bryant don’t pose a threat, but that will also mean he garners more attention from the opposing defense.  He’s going around the 7th round of fantasy drafts, and while he could finish with better numbers than Zach Miller of John Carlson, he’s a riskier proposition.  If he stays healthy he should catch 70 passes for 850 yards and 5 TDs.  I just wouldn’t bank on him playing a full season.

This is my preseason top ten. Totally didn’t see Vernon Davis coming.

Click here for my Midseason revised rankings.

Click here for my Second Half rankings.

#1  Antonio Gates
Gates dealt with nagging injuries last year, but still managed 704 yards and 8 TDs.  Those numbers, which are solid by any Tight End’s standards were the lowest for Gates since his Rookie season back in 2003.  As long as he’s healthy I see know reason Gates won’t be the #1 fantasy Tight End in 2009.
#2 Tony Gonzalez
Gonzo reclaimed the top Tight End spot last year, and despited turning 33 recently he should be able to stay in the top two.  He has a new Offensive-minded Coach in Todd Haley and a new QB in Matt Cassel, both of which should be upgrades from years past.  You can pretty much pencil him in for 1000 yards and 7+ TDs.

#3  Jason Witten
T.O.’s departure could actually hurt Witten a bit.  No, not emotionally, but T.O. did draw the opposing Defenses’ attention.  With T.O. gone Defenses will be able to key in on Witten more. He’s still going to produce, but I think his numbers will look more like last year than 2007.

#4 Dallas Clark
Clark is also losing a WR from the 1996 NFL Draft as a teammate as Marvin Harrison won’t be back.  For Clark I think that works in his favor.  The Colts have a variety of weapons to keep Defenses honest, but Peyton Manning will have one less mouth to feed.
#5 Chris Cooley
Cooley had a great year for the Redskins with 83 catches for 849 yards.  He only managed to score once though.  He had averaged around 7 TDs in his first four years.  They’ will come back in 2009, along with his ranking.

#6  Owen Daniels
Owen finished as the sixth highest scoring Tight End despite having just two TDs.  He hasn’t exactly shown the ability to reach paydirt consistently yet, but I could see him improve in that area in 2009.  If he can score five or six TDs and maintain the 800 yard average he has the past two years, he could possibly crack the top five.

#7 John Carlson
John had a very impressive Rookie season catching 55 passes for 627 yards and 5 TDs.  With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on board, Carlson should be able to avoid a Sophomore slump.

#8  Zach Miller
Zach nearly doubled his yardage last year going from 444 as a rookie to 778 in his second year.  He only scored one TD last year, which was down from three in his rookie season.  As he and JaMarcus Russell continue to build their rapport, I see that TD number going up next year.  800 yards and 4 or 5 TDs isn’t out of the question.

#9 Greg Olsen
Greg was one of the Bears’ top targets in the passing game.  He should be utilized even more next year as he continues to develop into one of the game’s best pass-catching Tight Ends.  I see him leading the Bears in receptions next year.  He should rack up at least 700 yards and four scores.

#10 Dustin Keller
With Kellen Clemens likely taking over the starting Quarterback job, Dustin Keller is going to be a big security blanket.  He caught 48 passes for 535 yards and 3 TDs as a rookie.  He had 388 yards in the second half last year.  He should build upon that success in his second year.

There were some unusual heroes on Sunday.  There always are.  Let’s take a look at them and see if they are worthy of your fantasy rosters.

Matt Schaub -  Schaub finally had a decent game, although I’m miffed Andre Johnson didn’t factor in more.  The Good News for Schaub is he had his bye week and has soft matchups vs. Miami, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Minnesota coming up in Weeks 6-9.  If your QB goes on bye that week, he could be a nice plug-and-play.  The Bad News is the Texans aren’t doing so hot and he could find himself out of a job.  Until that happens though, he has some value.
Ruling:  Get ‘em


Deuce McAllister - With the start Reggie Bush is having and the emergence of Pierre Thomas, many put Deuce out to pasture.  It appears that may have been premature.  There is still some fight left in Deuce.  The Saints are a better team when he they have Deuce going so look for them to continue to give him work.
Ruling:  Get ‘em.

Fred Jackson – Fred ran for 46 yards on 7 carries (6.6 ypc) and a score while adding three receptions for 9 yards.  The bulk of his yardage came on his 22 yard TD run.  While his numbers look decent in the boxscore, I don’t see him as much of a threat to Lynch.
Ruling: Get ‘em.

Lance Moore – I expected Robert Meachem to get more work with Colston and Shockey out, which he did, but Lance Moore was truly the biggest beneficiary.  He snagged 7 passes for 101 yards and 2 TDs. 
Ruling: Get ‘em.

Steve Breaston – Credit Cage Matcher Awesome for calling Breaston early.  He exploded for 9 catches for 122 yards.  While he may have a hold on the #3 WR spot in the desert, this game is the exception and not the norm.
Ruling: Don’t Sweat ‘em.

Zach Miller – He got off to a slow start with 58 yards through three weeks.  He exploded for 95 and a score vs. the Chargers.  He finished strong last year with JaMarcus (8 catches for 84 yards in Week 17).  Perhaps they are finally on the same page.  With bye week season in full swing, he makes an interesting selection.  The beauty is with Oakland going on bye next week, you probably won’t have any competition for him if he’s available and you can make due without him.
Ruling:  Don’t Sweat ‘em.

There you have it.  I hope I provided you some good info while you make your fantasy team waiver wire adjustments.

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