2013 Outlook: The Browns let TEs Ben Watson and Alex Smith walk this winter, and only signed blocker Kellen Davis to replace them, which is a pretty good indication that Cameron has an inside track to start in 2013. That could go very well. He's a 6-foot-5, 245-pound athlete who runs a 4.59 40-yard dash. But it would take a leap of faith to believe he's ready, because Cameron has caught 26 total passes in two pro seasons. The fact that Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner are designing Cleveland's offense is a good thing, because they historically emphasize the tight end. (See: Gates, Antonio.) But are Cameron and QB Brandon Weeden advanced enough to implement such a game plan?
2013 Outlook: The rookie Colts tight end we were supposed to look for in 2012 was Coby Fleener. But Allen proved to be the more complete and durable player. He's already an elite blocker, and while that can be a mixed blessing for a TE's fantasy value, it ensures that he stays on the field; last year, Allen caught 45 passes to Fleener's 26. But Indy does run a plethora of two-TE formations, and new coordinator Pep Hamilton knows that Fleener needs to operate in space much more this year to be effective. We're worried these TEs will cannibalize each other's value.
2013 Outlook: Fleener missed a month with a shoulder injury last year, but was marginalized in the Colts' offense before that: He averaged fewer than four targets per game even when healthy. As Indy's offensive line improves and its play calling grows more West Coast-oriented, expect to see Fleener running out of the slot more. Allen proved NFL-readier in 2012, but each guy will play and their target totals should get closer. Despite Andrew Luck's potential, we're still miles from considering Fleener and Allen an elite fantasy tandem.
2013 Outlook: We're not sure the breathtaking playmaker we remember from Oklahoma will ever return. Gresham tore up his right knee during his senior season, and while he's supposedly long since recovered from that injury, we've never seen him get consistent separation as a Bengal. Last year, he finished 31st among TEs in average yards at the catch, and considering he's a terrible blocker and Cincy drafted Tyler Eifert as a first-round pick in April, Gresham is on notice. As long as he stays on the roster, we'd expect Gresham to keep the starting job in 2013, but Eifert will eat into his production.
2013 Outlook: Thomas was active for only four games last season, and has battled injuries throughout his two-year NFL career. But as a converted hoops player out of Portland State, he was always a developmental prospect, and his development might finally be paying off. As Joel Dreessen has struggled with a knee injury and Jacob Tamme has been unimpressive, Thomas has become a legit threat to start as Peyton Manning's No. 1 TE. A hulking athlete in the Antonio Gates mold, Thomas has as much upside as any lower-ranked TE around.
2013 Outlook: Sudfeld is an undrafted rookie out of Nevada, a hulking 6-foot-7 mountain of a man who's impressed the Patriots so much that he looks like the team's top pass-catching tight end until Rob Gronkowski returns from back surgery. It's always difficult to trust that a
rookie TE's impressive camp will translate to regular-season excellence. Still, there's a not-insignificant chance that Sudfeld could remain a fantasy factor through the entire year. Realize, however, that his health was often a problem in college, so he might be as much of an injury risk as Gronk.
2013 Outlook: Eifert is a first-round pick from April's draft, a freak leaper and a scary downfield threat, but he landed in a tough spot for immediate fantasy value. Jermaine Gresham is a former first-round pick himself and caught 64 passes last season. And lest you imagine the Bengals could feature many formations with both TEs, the problem is that neither one can block. Maybe Cincy makes a habit of sending both men into pass patterns. We consider it likelier that Eifert and Gresham cannibalize one another's production. If Gresham were to get released, however, Eifert would be worth top 12 consideration.
2013 Outlook: Under Todd Haley's quick-fire offensive system in 2012, Miller put together the best statistical season of his eight-year career. But he badly injured his right knee in Week 16, tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL. Incredibly, he won't begin the forthcoming season on the PUP list, meaning the Steelers anticipate him being able to contribute in the first six games of the year. Clearly, you need to see Miller out there before you can consider starting him in your fantasy league, but his impressive recovery makes him a factor, which we wouldn't have believed just nine months ago.
2013 Outlook: Last season, despite playing a full 16 games, Miller finished 33rd in targets among tight ends. Simply put, Seattle featured a run-heavy game plan, and Miller is a strong blocker. Frustratingly, Anthony McCoy stole 22 targets and three TDs last season, often when Miller was stuck in pass protection. But last year's playoffs gave a glimpse of what a more wide-open Seahawks offense could mean for Miller, as he grabbed eight passes for 142 yards and a TD in the NFC semis. Who knows? If things really shift in Seattle, maybe Miller becomes a big-time threat again.
2013 Outlook: Celek finished among the top 20 in TE targets last season, but found the end zone only once, and in five of his six pro seasons he's been relatively TD-starved. Last year, Celek saw only 11 targets in an opponent's red zone, and only three targets in the end zone. Now Chip Kelly appears ready to use a whole raft of different tight ends, having signed James Casey as a free agent and drafted Zach Ertz in the second round this April. Celek is probably the best fantasy bet for the moment, but it's tough to imagine any of these guys submits a consistently dominant fantasy season.
2013 Outlook: Chandler tore his left ACL in Week 16 last season, but reportedly has a decent chance to start for the Bills Week 1. At 6-foot-7 and 263 pounds, he doesn't run by anyone even with two good knees, but he's scored six TDs in each of the past two seasons mostly by boxing out defenders. (All six of his scores last season came on passes he caught in the end zone.) Assuming it turns out he can go in September, he's still probably nothing more than a fantasy backup, because he's an extraordinarily TD-dependent player.
2013 Outlook: Clark latched on with the Ravens in August after Dennis Pitta suffered a season-ending hip injury. He'll team with Ed Dickson to try to replace Pitta and the departed Anquan Boldin, but we're not optimistic about his chances. While it's true he's familiar with Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell from their days together with the Colts, Clark looked tapped out last year in Tampa, averaging a career-low 9.3 yards per catch. It would take a few weeks of consistent production for us to be excited about adding Clark.
2013 Outlook: The Eagles already had Brent Celek and James Casey, but spent the No. 35 overall pick in April's draft on Ertz. Chip Kelly clearly wants to use all kinds of exotic formations; during the preseason, the Eagles have on occasion used four TEs at one time. Still, for as much as we're bullish on Ertz's career prospects -- he has fine downfield skills and runs a mean out route -- if you're using a whole bunch of tight ends, it really means you're focusing on none of them. As such, Ertz is difficult to get behind in redraft leagues.
2013 Outlook: Housler fits the mold of so many young tight ends these days: He's big, athletic and he hasn't done nearly enough on an NFL gridiron to prove he's ready to be a fantasy asset. That could change. The Cardinals will seek to improve their QB play in 2013, relying on a late-career Carson Palmer to stir the echoes, but their offensive line is such a work in progress that it's foolish to make promises. After all, Housler has yet to score a professional TD, plus he suffered an ankle sprain during the preseason that could limit him to begin the regular year. Tread lightly.
2013 Outlook: Dennis Pitta suffered a dislocated hip early in this summer's training camp and is out for the 2013 season, meaning the Ravens have a big vacancy at the TE position. But apparently the Ravens don't believe Dickson is ready to inherit their "move" role, because they signed Dallas Clark. That probably means Dickson will do what he did in 2013: block. It also doesn't help that he suffered a hamstring injury in training camp that was serious enough to keep him out of the entire preseason.