2012 Fantasy Football: Top Tight End Sleepers
Jimmy Graham was a big-time fantasy sleeper heading into the 2011 season. If you gave into the hype, you were a happy fantasy owner. I’m not sure there is any tight end with that kind of breakout potential this year, but if he exists, he’s probably on this list.
It’s mid-June and I can’t mock enough. Why not punch out our tight end sleepers to cap our offensive breakdown in the sleeper genre? Yeah, I thought it was a good idea, too. Here are my favorite hush-hush tight ends going into 2012:
Jacob Tamme (Denver Broncos)
Tamme isn’t a secret, but he went from a guy on the rise after Dallas Clark went down in 2010 to a guy no one cared about when Peyton Manning was gone last year. He’s reunited with Manning in Denver, and he projects as the starting tight end there from day one.
Tamme piled on 60+ receptions, 600+ yards and four scores back in 2010, and that wasn’t even in a full season. Everyone knows Peyton loves high tight end, so Tamme could be very active early and often.
Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings)
Rudolph had some people thinking of Rob Gronkowski at times last year. He’s just as tall as The Gronk at 6’6”, and is arguably even more athletic. Christian Ponder and the Vikings coaching staff have been raving about him all summer, and I have a feeling the addition of fellow tight end John Carlson won’t rob him of as much value as some people think. Rudolph has the size, athleticism and ball skills to be a beast. Draft him as a solid TE2 with a real shot at TE1 status.
Coby Fleener (Indianapolis Colts)
Fleener is a rook, so there could be a learning curve to fear here. However, playing with the same quarterback (Andrew Luck) he did in college might help bridge the gap. Fleener will have chemistry with Luck from the get go, and he’ll start from day one, as well. He’ll struggle as a blocker and may not be the most consistent weapon, but he’ll continue his red-zone success (17 TD in last two years at Stanford), while his size and speed offer potential for a heck of a lot more.
Luke Stocker (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The big waves were made when Tampa Bay traded Kellen Winslow away and signed Dallas Clark, but Stocker is the name you’ll want to be paying attention to. I loved the selection when they drafted him out of Tennessee last year, and simply felt bad that his talent would be wasted in year one behind Winslow. That’s all in the past now, as the balanced Stocker has the starting job and will see more time on the field than Clark due to his ability to block.
I love Stocker’s size and role, but the Bucs are turning into a run-heavy team, and he has to contend with Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and obviously Dallas Clark for targets. I’m not as high on him as I’d be if he had a bigger role, but he still has sleeper potential.
Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens)
I’m a Pitta fan, and I think it’s only a matter of time before he passes Ed Dickson on the depth chart and becomes Baltimore’s top tight end. He’s arguably just as athletic, while his route-running and hands are much more reliable. He’s in a time-share and shouldn’t be counted on for TE1 production, but if he edges out Dickson, he could really take off in 2012.
Rob Housler (Arizona Cardinals)
Housler is still behind Todd Heap on the depth chart, but Heap is a shell of his former self, and did nothing worth mentioning last year. Kevin Kolb has a history of using his tight ends well (see: Brent Celek), and Arizona has been talking about using the tight end more this season. Housler is raw, but he has excellent size and speed for the position and could be on the verge of becoming a special player.
*photo credit – thevikingden.com