2008 TE Bargains and Busts

Tony Gonzalez was 59 points better than the second-best TE
with a group of quarterbacks who won't make you think of Joe Montana.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In this year's preseason, I did a study of tight ends in the early 1990s versus the current era of tight ends in a piece named "The changing of the tight end position."

It explained how San Francisco tight end Brent Jones led all tight ends that season with 56 catches for 747 yards and three scores. That the difference between Jones and the 10th-best tight end was just two points per week which was typical for that era.

It also explained how with the more wide open offenses currently in vogue and the athletic tight ends like Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates the gap had widened between the best and the worse.

But even I couldn't have foreseen how good Gonzalez would be in 2008 compared to the rest of the league. The future Hall-of-Famer (2008 - 1,058 yards, 10 TDs) was 123 points better than the 10th-best TE, 96 points better than the "average" TE and 59 points better than the second-best TE. He did this with a group of quarterbacks who won't make you think of Joe Montana (Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle and Quinn Gray).


Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels, Visanthe Shiancoe, John Carlson

While Gonzalez was a great value as the fourth overall tight end selected in your draft, Shiancoe (42-596-7) and Carlson (55-627-5) both finished way up this list despite barely being on anyone's radar.

How could you have picked a Vikings tight end to succeed given that his quarterback was going to be Tarvaris Jackson and the team had brought in Bernard Berrian to be the primary target? Shiancoe's seven-catch, 136-yard and two scores effort during Championship Week might have been the difference in a title for some owners. Carlson showed his stuff when the opportunity to be the Seattle Seahawks' main receiver presented itself due to injuries at their wideout position.

Fair Market Value

Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Chris Cooley

The surprising points gap between Gonzalez and Witten was less so when you consider that Witten had just eight catches for 52 yards and no scores when Brad Johnson took over as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback for games No.7-9. Still, the four touchdowns for the entire season was a little disappointing even if the yards total (952) was acceptable. Dallas Clark is the best "security blanket" a quarterback could have, but his TD total did drop from 11 in 2007 to six in 2008.


Tony Scheffler, Greg Olsen, Heath Miller, Kevin Boss

Olsen was being touted as the next "star-in-the-making," but it never materialized. At 6'5" 252 pounds he has the physical tools, but his best day all season was a six-catch, 74-yard and one score afternoon against Minnesota. Miller also has the talent, but the Steelers always under-utilize their tight ends.


Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, Vernon Davis, Todd Heap

Winslow probably has as much talent as his Hall-of-Fame father, but he certainly didn't play like him in 2008. He seemed to be fighting the Browns' management more than the opposition. Injuries, quarterback problems and attitude left fantasy owners in tears as his numbers dropped from 82 catches, 1,106 yards, 5 TDs in 2007 to 43-428-3 this season. Shockey and Heap were hampered by injuries all season and Davis was hampered by a bad attitude.

Player Team POS PTS ADP
Tony Gonzalez KC TE 212 63.37
Jason Witten DAL TE 153 41.33
Dallas Clark IND TE 145 64.91
Antonio Gates SD TE 121 45
Owen Daniels HOU TE 117 109.18
Chris Cooley WAS TE 115 71.81
Visanthe Shiancoe MIN TE 104 *
John Carlson SEA TE 104 207.27
Zach Miller OAK TE 94 150.56
Tony Scheffler DEN TE 89 118.39
Greg Olsen CHI TE 89 145.92
Anthony Fasano MIA TE 83 205.37
Dustin Keller NYJ TE 79 *
Bo Scaife TEN TE 77 *
Kellen Winslow CLE TE 76 51.54
Kevin Boss NYG TE 75 160.87
Heath Miller PIT TE 71 105.07
Billy Miller NO TE 65 *
David Martin MIA TE 62 *
Jeremy Shockey NO TE 60 74.82
Daniel Graham DEN TE 60 *
Donald Lee GB TE 59 155.48
Marcedes Lewis JAC TE 57 193.42
Jerramy Stevens TB TE 56 *
Todd Heap BAL TE 52 100.16
LJ Smith PHI TE 51 150.32
Martellus Bennett DAL TE 47 *
Vernon Davis SF TE 45 102.5
Desmond Clark CHI TE 41 *
Alex Smith TB TE 41 237.15
Brent Celek PHI TE 38 *
Robert Royal BUF TE 37 *
Benjamin Watson NE TE 30 140.72
Delanie Walker SF TE 27 *
Alge Crumpler TEN TE 26 128.03
Michael Gaines DET TE 26 *
Dante Rosario CAR TE 26 *
Steve Heiden CLE TE 23 *
Justin Peelle ATL TE 22 *
Mark Campbell NO TE 20 *

* - were drafted in less than 5% of all leagues

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.
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