Fantasy Football Draft Day Dilemma: Tight Ends

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park on November 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Drafting a tight end after Rob Gronkowsi, Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates isn't for the faint of heart. The temptation to draft a name loaded with potential is very strong. However, swinging big and missing could leave you lacking at what is becoming one of fantasy's most difficult positions to address in later rounds.

This week, I play the part of a scorned girlfriend crossing out the names of failed flings of the past. The flings in this scenario are tight ends who may potentially lead you on for a tumultuous fantasy relationship. Fear not, as I will also provide alternatives to the gamble.

I will also predict Vernon Davis' fantasy value for the 2012 season. Will the additions of Manningham and Moss hinder or help Vernon's numbers? My answer awaits you after the jump.

We all have something we aren't quite good at. My list includes: talking to women, saying no to pizza and drafting tight ends. It's the bane of my fantasy existence. Maybe I have poor luck with the position, but I know what I don't like. Here are a few tight ends I want nothing to do with this year.

Jermichael Finley

That foul odor you're noticing is the smell of a burning the bridge between Jermichael Finely and myself. I've drafted him two years in a row and I haven't exactly dominated my league. He finished as the 8th best tight end in 2011 and if you don't count his 3 TD week 3 performance he would drop out of the top 10. He has the size and speed to brutalize any defense, but the drops drastically decrease his value. Last year, Finley led all tight ends with 14 drops including a few in the end zone. It's not like Rodgers is starving for receivers and perhaps this is the reason his numbers declined as the year went on. This may be the year he finally stays healthy and produces on an elite level, but I'm tired of waiting for potential to become results with this guy.

I'll wait and go with Brandon Pettigrew this year who is ranked 2-3 spots behind Finely. He isn't the flashy name, but I like his consistency in PPR formats.

Jared Cook

I'm going to coin a term; a "Fantasy Manute Bol" is someone who looks the part, but it never comes together. I've heard the experts pump this guy up the last two years and he only has 78 receptions and 4 touchdowns to show over that period. Jake Locker will likely get the nod at QB and with Jeff Fischer now combing his moustache in St. Louis, Tennessee's offense could be more pass oriented. If these stars align to create Cook's breakout season then I will be a year late.

The good news is that Cook won't cost you too much as he is currently going around round 12. If I'm waiting to draft a tight end that late I'll pick up Brent Celek. The Eagle tight end proved to be a waiver wire gem last year and if Vick can stay healthy Celek should have his best year yet.

Fred Davis

While Mike Shanahan is more known for his maddening running back philosophy you might not have noticed the Redskins had the 10th most passing attempts in the league last year. This is one of the reasons Davis had a career year in 2011. RG3 may be the future of the team, but I imagine those passing attempts go down this year. To compound off the field troubles, Davis is reportedly having a "quiet camp". I tend to draft cautiously so I will leave Davis to the managers who prefer the high risk/reward picks.

Davis is currently going around the 7th round. At this point you may have filled most of your other positions, but I would rather take a stab at another receiver. You can find Jacob Tamme a few rounds later and he has a proven chemistry with Peyton Manning.

Vernon Davis

You know you are a special talent when 67 receptions and 6 touchdowns is considered a "down year". Vernon struggled with the offense early in the year and was asked to block more. The plot thickens in 2012 as he will have a better grip on the offense, but will be competing for targets along side a much improved receiving squad.

The argument could be made that with more mouths to feed Davis' numbers are set to decline. I do not subscribe to that theory. Davis is Alex Smith's favorite target and I expect Playoff Vernon to carry over into the 2012 season. He may lose red zone targets to Moss, but you shouldn't be surprised if his receptions and receiving yards increase from 2011. San Francisco's 2012 schedule is a list of a defensive coordinator's worst nightmares. The Patriots, Packers, Lions, Saints and to an extent Bears and Bills will put the 49er's tough defense/ball control philosophy to the test. There will be more passing attempts this year and the upgraded receiving corps is will draw coverage away from Davis. Crabtree will once again be the team's leading receiver, but I'm forecasting a 75 reception, 850 yard, 7 TD season for Vernon.

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