Publish date:

Tight Ends

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

SI PLAYER RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 stats

RECEPTIONS

RECEIVING YARDS

RECEIVING YDS. PER GAME

100-YD. GAMES

TOUCHDOWNS

BYE WEEK

1. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons

96

1,058

66.1

3

10

4

2. Antonio Gates, Chargers

60

704

44.0

0

8

5

3. Jason Witten, Cowboys

81

952

59.5

2

4

6

4. Chris Cooley, Redskins

83

849

53.1

1

1

8

5. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins

34

454

28.4

0

7

6

6. Dallas Clark, Colts

77

848

56.5

2

6

6

7. John Carlson, Seahawks

55

627

39.2

1

5

7

8. Kevin Boss, Giants

33

384

25.6

0

6

10

9. Greg Olsen, Bears

54

574

35.9

0

5

5

10. Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers

43

428

42.8

1

3

8

11. Owen Daniels, Texans

70

862

53.9

2

2

10

12. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings

42

596

37.3

1

7

9

13. Brent Celek, Eagles

27

318

19.9

1

1

4

14. Vernon Davis, 49ers

31

358

22.4

0

2

6

15. Zach Miller, Raiders

56

778

48.6

0

1

9

16. Tony Scheffler, Broncos

40

645

49.6

0

3

7

17. Donald Lee, Packers

39

303

18.9

0

5

5

18. Heath Miller, Steelers

48

514

36.7

0

3

8

19. Bo Scaife, Titans

58

561

35.1

1

2

7

20. Dustin Keller, Jets

48

535

33.4

1

3

9

21. Desmond Clark, Bears

41

367

22.9

0

1

5

22. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars

41

489

30.6

0

2

7

23. L.J. Smith, Ravens

37

298

22.9

0

3

7

24. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions*

42

472

47.2

0

0

7

25. Billy Miller, Saints

45

579

38.6

0

1

5

26. Jeremy Shockey, Saints

50

483

40.3

0

0

5

27. Randy McMichael, Rams

11

139

34.8

0

0

9

28. David Martin, Dolphins

31

450

28.1

0

3

6

29. Robert Royal, Browns

33

351

23.4

0

1

9

30. Ben Watson, Patriots

22

209

14.9

0

2

8

31. Daniel Graham, Broncos

32

389

24.3

0

4

7

32. Todd Heap, Ravens

35

403

25.2

0

3

7

*Rookie (collegestatistics)

TalkingPoints

• Tony Gonzalezis still the NFL's best receiving tight end. He may not duplicate last year'snumbers, but he'll still deliver more consistently than anyone else on theboard.

• The Cowboys aregoing to run more, and Jason Witten will see tougher coverage with TerrellOwens gone. That's why he's a clear third among the big three at thisposition.

ON THE RISE

• I love AnthonyFasano. Only Antonio Gates and Gonzalez had more TDs among tight ends lastyear, and I expect him to do even better this season. Though this is Fasano'sfourth year in the league, it's just his second season as Miami's primetarget.

• As a rookielast year John Carlson led Seattle receivers in catches, yards and TDs. Theclub's pass-catching unit will be stronger this season, but he's still anattractive option at a thin position.

• With theturnover in the Giants' receiving corps, Kevin Boss is a trusted hand at TE. Hedidn't have big reception numbers last year, but no tight end caught a higherpercentage of his passes inside the 20.

• Maybe KellenWinslow has disappointed in years past, but it's not a bad idea to grab a tightend on a team such as the Bucs, whose offense is in transition and whose QBwill be looking to his safety valve.

• Dustin Kellerlooked great as a rookie, but expect his production to drop this year. BrettFavre, who loves tight ends, is gone, and the Jets are going to run more.

ON THEDECLINE

• Jeremy Shockeyis a big name—to avoid. The former Pro Bowl player didn't catch a TD pass lastyear, in part because the Saints have so many better receivingoptions—including their other tight end, Billy Miller.

PHOTO

DAVID DECOTEAU/COURTESY OF MIAMI DOLPHINS (FASANO)

PHOTO

BOB ROSATO (SHOCKEY)