Profiling the Tight Ends
Athlon continues its release of the 2010 college fantasy draft kit with a look at the top 50 tight ends. NCAA Fantasy Tight End Rankings and Profiles
Fantasy points based upon standard scoring system – passing touchdowns = 4 pts, rushing touchdowns = 6 pts, 25 passing yards = 1 point, 10 rush/receiving yards = 1 point, receptions = 0.5 points, 2 point conversions = 2 points
1. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin (SR) – Bye Week – 9
Kendricks is the next star in a line of solid tight ends at Wisconsin. As a backup to Garrett Graham last season, Kendricks caught 29 passes and three scores. One of his best performances came in the bowl win against Miami, collecting 128 yards and a career-high seven receptions. The senior also showed off his versatility against Purdue, rushing four times for 91 yards.
Athlon’s Take: The Badgers have one of the top offensive lines in the nation returning and steady Scott Tolzien returning under center. With Garrett Graham out of eligibility, a solid supporting offense around him and the tradition of Wisconsin tight ends, Kendricks is one of this season’s safest picks at tight end.
2009 stats: 58 fantasy points
Receiving: 29 rec., 356 yds., 3 TDs
Rushing: 102 yds.
2. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame (JR) – Bye Week – 10
Replacing Jimmy Clausen won’t be easy, but finding quarterbacks never seems to be an issue for new coach Brian Kelly. Dayne Crist is expected to be the new starting quarterback in South Bend and while he is largely unproven, there are few concerns about his talent. Rudolph posted career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns last season, despite missing two games due to injury.
Athlon’s Take: Although Kelly’s offenses at Central Michigan and Cincinnati were explosive, neither team featured a tight end prominently in the attack. Ben Guidugli caught 27 passes for 364 yards and three scores at Cincinnati last season, while Connor Barwin caught 31 passes in 2007. The track record for successful fantasy tight ends isn’t there under Kelly, but Rudolph is simply too talented of a weapon to ignore. Look for Rudolph to approach 50 yards and five scores this season.
2009 stats: 70.9 fantasy points
Receiving: 33 rec., 364 yds., 3 TDs
3. Ladarius Green, UL Lafayette (JR) – Bye Week – 3
It’s a little unusual for a tight end to lead the team in receiving yards, but that’s exactly what Green accomplished last season. Green averaged 16.6 yards per catch, snagging 32 receptions for 533 yards and two scores. The junior missed three games due to a neck injury last year, but finished 2009 on a high note, catching 12 passes for 250 yards and two scores in the final two contests.
Athlon’s Take: Fantasy owners would like to see Green reach paydirt a few more times in 2010, but catching at least 50 passes for 600 yards is within reach. The Ragin’ Cajuns won’t have a prolific passing attack, but there’s enough returning talent to ensure this offense won’t fall much from the production last year. Green is a solid option at tight end and should be one of the first five off the board.
2009 stats: 81.3 fantasy points
Receiving: 32 rec., 533 yds., 2 TDs
4. D.J. Williams, Arkansas (SR) – Bye Week – 5
The Razorbacks boasted one of the nation’s best passing attacks last year, but Williams watched his numbers drop from 2008 - despite having a better quarterback (Ryan Mallett). The drop in statistics was largely due to a crowded group of receivers and Williams spending more time as a blocker last season. Williams went without a catch in four games and posted only one 100-yard effort.
Athlon’s Take: There are few sure options at tight ends this year, but Williams should certainly be one of the first five off the board. Williams caught 61 passes in 2008, which seems like a longshot this year. There are too many options in the Arkansas’ receiving corps to expect a huge jump in numbers, but reaching 40-50 catches seems reasonable.
2009 stats: 73.4 fantasy points
Receiving: 32 rec., 411 yds., 3 TDs
5. Orson Charles, Georgia (SO) – Bye Week – 12
The Georgia passing attack was mediocre last season, but received a boost from Charles in his freshman year. Charles managed to finish third on the team in receptions and caught a pass in every game but one. Charles’ best game came against Kentucky, catching four passes for 73 yards and one score.
Athlon’s Take: Familiarity should help Charles in 2010. Not only will is he a sophomore, Charles will also catch passes from his high school quarterback – Aaron Murray. A young quarterback’s best friend is certainly a good tight end that can be the safety valve. Charles should surpass his numbers from last year, but Murray will need some time to develop.
2009 stats: 65.1 fantasy points
Receiving: 23 rec., 374 yds., 3 TDs
6. George Bryan, NC State (JR) – Bye Week – 8
Bryan entered the 2009 season with 18 receptions to his credit, but emerged as a steady fantasy option throughout the year. Bryan’s breakout game came against Murray State, catching six passes for 89 yards and two scores. He followed that up with back-to-back games with scores against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. With the exception of the season finale against North Carolina, Bryan caught at least one pass in every game.
Athlon’s Take: This is not one of the most memorable seasons for fantasy options at tight end, so there will be a lot of inconsistent options on the board. Bryan has a great quarterback in Russell Wilson returning, but the Wolfpack has a deep group of receivers. Expect another similar statistical season from Bryan, but there could be a few weeks where the junior is relatively quiet on the stat sheet.
2009 stats: 98.2 fantasy points
Receiving: 40 rec., 422 yds., 6 TDs
7. Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern (JR) – Bye Week – 7
After missing all of 2008 with an ankle injury, Dunsmore quickly asserted himself as one of the top tight ends in the Big Ten last season. Dunsmore caught a pass in every game last year, including a nine catch effort for 81 yards against Syracuse. The junior came up big in Northwestern’s narrow bowl loss to Auburn, grabbing nine receptions for 120 yards and a score. The only downside to Dunsmore’s 2009 season was only three scores – a number that he needs to increase if he wants to reach elite status among fantasy tight ends.
Athlon’s Take: With the top two receivers from last season gone, Dunsmore should be featured more in the passing attack. The Wildcats will have a new quarterback taking over, but Dan Persa has shown ability in limited work. Expect Dunsmore to be a steady option throughout the season.
2009 stats: 74.7 fantasy points
Receiving: 47 rec., 523 yds., 3 TDs
8. Zack Pianalto, North Carolina (SR) – Bye Week – 2
Injuries have plagued Pianalto throughout his collegiate career, but if he can stay healthy, he could finish among the top five for fantasy tight ends in 2010. Pianalto was injured while celebrating a touchdown in North Carolina’s 12-10 win over Connecticut – a game he caught seven passes for 87 yards and a score. After missing five games, Pianalto returned to the lineup and caught 25 passes over the final six contests.
Athlon’s Take: The big question for Pianalto is staying healthy. If he avoids the injury bug, catching 50 passes is a reasonable expectation. The senior needs to find paydirt more in 2010 to make a step towards elite fantasy status, but remains a solid top-10 option this year.
2009 stats: 52.3 fantasy points
Receiving: 33 rec., 334 yds., 1 TD
9. Weslye Saunders, South Carolina (SR) – Bye Week – 5
Saunders began last season as one of the top additions off the waiver wire for fantasy owners. The North Carolina native caught 12 passes for 146 yards in the first two weeks of 2009, but caught only two passes and missed one game due to injury over the next three contests.
Athlon’s Take: Saunders has the talent to be a solid week-to-week fantasy option, but needs a little help from quarterback Stephen Garcia. If Garcia plays with more consistency, Saunders should see a jump in catches and receiving touchdowns. The senior is a starting option in 120 leagues, but be sure to grab a good backup to ride out the low points of his season.
2009 stats: 69.0 fantasy points
Receiving: 32 rec., 353 yds., 3 TDs
10. Joe Halahuni, Oregon State (JR) – Bye Weeks – 2, 8
Halahuni got off to a slow start last year, but emerged as a solid option for fantasy owners down the stretch. Halahuni caught nine passes for 127 yards against USC and posted 128 yards on six catches against California two weeks later. The junior also nabbed three scores over the final four contests.
Athlon’s Take: Halahuni is more of a H-back than tight end, but should be a valuable weapon for new quarterback Ryan Katz. The junior’s fantasy value likely hinges on how quickly Katz gets comfortable in the starting role, but a line similar to last season is certainly a reasonable expectation.
2009 stats: 80.7 fantasy points
Receiving: 35 rec., 486 yds., 3 TDs
11. Rob Housler, Florida Atlantic (SR)
12. Lee Smith, Marshall (SR)
13. Vance McDonald, Rice (SO)
14. Kyle Efaw, Boise State (JR)
15. Ryan Griffin, Connecticut (SO)
16. Virgil Green, Nevada (SR)
17. Jeffery Anderson, UAB (SR)
18. Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky (SO)
19. Allen Reisner, Iowa (SR)
20. Jordan Reed, Florida (FR)
21. Andrew Jones, Missouri (JR)
22. Mike Muehlmann, BYU (FR)
23. Brandon Williams, Oregon (JR)
24. Ben Guidugli, Cincinnati (SR)
25. Coby Fleener, Stanford (JR)
26. Charlie Gantt, Michigan State (SR)
27. Luke Stocker, Tennessee (SR)
28. Marcus Green, Mississippi State (JR)
29. Bo Reliford, Florida State (JR)
30. Kyle Adams, Purdue (SR)
31. Brian Linthicum, Michigan State (SR)
32. Anthony Miller, California (JR)
33. Brandon Barden, Vanderbilt (JR)
34. Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State (SO)
35. Dwayne Allen, Clemson (SO)
36. Tim Biere, Kansas (JR)
37. Cameron Graham, Louisville (SR)
38. Alston Umuolo, San Diego State (SR)
39. Austin Holt, BYU (FR)
40. Kyle Nelson, New Mexico State (SR)
41. D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers (SO)
42. Blake Ayles, USC (JR)
43. Barrett Matthews, Texas (SO)
44. DeAngelo Peterson, LSU (JR)
45. Lucas Reed, New Mexico (SO)
46. Jonathan Massey, Southern Miss (SR)
47. Kevin Koger, Michigan (JR)
48. Richard Gordon, Miami (SR)
49. Cory Harkey, UCLA (JR)
50. Blake Hammond, Western Michigan (SO)
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