[caption id="attachment_17376" align="aligncenter" width="462"] Rich Lipski / AP Photos[/caption] This is a guest post from Charles Greenslade. Enjoy! In 2011 it was the year of the tight end. Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham lit up score boards and record books. Both of them broke Kellen Winslow’s 22 year old record for yards totalled in a single season by a tight end. Once upon a time tight ends were primarily used in the blocking game, now they’re running up the seams with your team’s best cover safety lagging behind. They’re also revolutionizing how we approach the tight end position in fantasy drafts. Do you draft an elite tight end or do you sweat on getting lucky each week? Sure, some weeks the likes of Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, Brandon Pettigrew and Jason Witten can have big performances, but they’re largely inconsistent when compared to Graham and Gronk. Rob Gronkowski finished with a whopping 240.90 fantasy points last year, which broke yet another record for the best score from a tight end in fantasy history. There was only one other receiver to score more points than Gronk. Furthermore, only four running backs outscored him. His 17 touchdown receptions are nothing short of incredible. Jimmy Graham was no slouch either. He racked up 195 fantasy points, finishing almost identical in yards, but only hauled in 11 touchdowns. In comparison to those two, the next highest scoring tight end was Aaron Hernandez with 135.50 points. That's a 59.5 difference between elite to ‘mid-tier’, which is huge. I’m of the opinion that it is extremely important to secure one of these tight ends if you’re drafting towards the back end of a 10 or 12 team league. If you draft one of these tight ends, you’re virtually guaranteeing that you’re winning at your tight end slot each week. [caption id="attachment_17379" align="aligncenter" width="416"] Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images[/caption] So there you are, 4pm on Sunday afternoon ready to draft for the US Sports Down Under fantasy league. You have the 10th, 11th, or 12th pick and you’ve decided the RB’s left on the board have too many question marks hanging over their heads to gamble on. You’re going to take a tight end… But which one do you take? Bottom line is either way you pick, you can’t go wrong. They’re safe, both in high power offenses and should put up 180+ points this year. For me however, Jimmy Graham is the safer way to go. Here’s why.
- Graham was fifth amongst all players in the NFL with 149 targets last season, compared to Gronkowski’s 124.
- Graham tied second amongst all players for red zone targets.
- Graham was third in the league for total receptions.