Tight End Outlook: NFC South

The NFC South features two of the league’s best at quarterback, and a third who is a rising star. As for the fourth, they have some work to do. Its a little ironic that the team with the “worst” quarterback has the tight end who should have the best year statistically; however, all 4 have good tight ends. Let’s take a look:

Atlanta Falcons– Matt Ryan is a stud, no doubt about that. Tony Gonzalez is a good tight end, but he is slowly declining. He did put up decent numbers last season (70 REC/756 YDS/6 TD), but they are not the same. The Falcons just went out and grabbed Julio Jones to give Matt Ryan more support. This move could help out Gonzalez, but I think it will ulimtately hurt him. Gonzalez’s value has dropped to being a back-up, but he can still produce numbers worthy of a fantasy starter.

Carolina Panthers– Will Carolina go with Clausen or Newton? To start the season, it will probably be Clausen, but the future belongs to Newton. No matter the quarterback, Greg Olsen will see the ball often. These two young quarterbacks will rely on their tight end as a safety option (4 targets in 1st game). The OC, Chudzinski, is also a big fan of the TE, so the position will be used heavily in the offense. Look for Olsen to be at least a top-10 TE because he will have a big year.

New Orleans Saints– Jimmy Graham has emerged as the starting tight end for the Saints. The only downside to Graham is that he plays for the Saints, an offense that really knows how to spread the ball around. He finished the season strong, replacing Shockey and posting a line of 31 REC/356 YDS/5 TD as a rookie. He definitely has the potential to be a consistent fantasy starter, especially in deeper leagues. Graham is a top-10 TE as long as he stays healthy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Josh Freeman is an up and coming star for Tampa Bay. Freeman relies on Winslow, as seen by Winslow’s 66 catches last year. Winslow only had 5 TD, a small total for this popular target. The only hope here is that Winslow remains healthy and does not lose catches to young Mike Williams. It does seem like Freeman will rely upon him more as he continues to grow, so Winslow is a top-10 TE option until he proves otherwise.

Next up will be the tight ends of the NFC North.

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