Fantasy football sleepers: Tight ends

by Cory J. Bonini on September 7, 2011 @ 10:40:36 PDT's analysis of fantasy football sleepers will help you identify the characteristics that go into making up a sleeper. These gems can be fairly well-known players or the lesser heralded guys you may not know much about. Fear not, since no one likes doing the dirty work, has done it for you!

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Note: All average draft position (ADP) figures are based on 12-team, non-PPR leagues unless specified otherwise.

Greg Olsen | Carolina Panthers | ADP: 11th round

2011 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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We aren't particularly high on Olsen, but he has to be noted due to his athleticism and the Panthers' expected heavy involvement of the position. Even though Jeremy Shockey is in town, he isn't much of a threat to take touches from Olsen on a consistent basis. Plus, Shockey is always injured.

Cam Newton should rely on Olsen a fair amount, and outside of a very mediocre Steve Smith, the Panthers have little at wide receiver to speak of. Rob Chudzinski, the offensive coordinator, helped develop Antonio Gates and Kellen Winslow.

Olsen is a No. 2 fantasy tight who could have moments of glory but disappear altogether many weeks.

Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans
Hass should help

Jared Cook | Tennessee Titans | ADP: 16th round

2011 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Cook's 2010 slight emergence gives promise for a bright future at the position. He started only one game (3-42-0) last season but snagged a total of 29 passes for 361 yards and scored once. He averaged a respectable 12.4 yards per reception and finished the year with a 12-154-1 line over the last two contests.

Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer's offenses have generally utilized the tight end position to enough of a degree to warrant fantasy consideration; outside of Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson, Tennessee's receiving options are suspect. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck enters the fray as Tennessee's top option.

Cook is an enticing second tight end in deep leagues and has potential to post low-end No. 1 stats by season's end.

Kevin Boss | Oakland Raiders | ADP: 18th round

2011 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Zach Miller out, Kevin Boss in. Miller led the team in receiving the past few years and will be sorely missed, but the less athletic Boss can come close to filling the void. Quarterback Jason Campbell has relied heavily on the position his entire career. Boss is dealing with a minor knee injury that shouldn't be of much concern.

Kevin Boss, TE, Oakland Raiders
New Boss in town

Boss, 6-foot-6, 253 pounds, makes for an excellent red zone target. The Raiders' receiving corps is the who's who of unproven talent, and this veteran pass catcher that knows the ropes may have instant chemistry with Campbell.

We don't think Boss will set the fantasy world ablaze in 2011, but the looks will be there for him. He should be the target of at least 85 passes and is a low-end No. 1 or an excellent backup in this year's extremely deep tight end pool.

Jermaine Gresham | Cincinnati Bengals | ADP: 18th round

2011 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Gresham is tough to call a sleeper since he enjoyed a strong rookie campaign in 2010 (52-471-4), but he could explode this year for a multitude of reasons.

The Bengals relieved offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski of his duties and hired Jay Gruden to replace him. The latter brings a tight end-friendly West Coast system to Cincinnati. Carson Palmer ceding to rookie Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback appears all but finalized at this point; the rookie is likely to look toward Gresham to get out of trouble. Dalton's game favors short and intermediate receiving targets.

Gresham is two years removed from a knee surgery to repair torn cartilage that cost him the entire 2009 season at Oklahoma. His lowly 9.1 yards-per-reception average in 2010 can likely be attributed, at least to a reasonable degree, to shaking off the rust.

Fantasy footballers can target Gresham as a strong No. 2, who has the upside for midrange No. 1 production. Give him a slight bump in point-per-reception scoring formats.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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