Only three tight ends averaged more than 10 points per game in non-PPRs in 2009. All three averaged more than 11 points.
One of those guys, Vernon Davis, is an unexpected addition to the top of the tight end charts.
For the other two it was business as usual. But will they do it again in 2010? How many of these Top-10ers will return in 2010? Let’s get to it:
The top 10 tight ends from 2009
Dallas Clark — He put up a 2.5-point game and had a couple 5-pointers, but he had three 20-point games and averaged 11.73 points per contest. Why all the stats and the no talking? Because Clark is good, playing in a good offense. He’ll be back here at the top again in 2010.
Vernon Davis — Like Clark, Davis had three 20-point games and left a couple stinkers on the field, but when it comes to value there were few better values in 2009 than Davis. People have been touting the 49ers TE’s talent for years. He finally capitalized. There’s no reason to think he won’t return to the top 3 in 2009.
Antonio Gates — Guess what? Gates had three games with 20 points or more and had a couple stinkers — these are tight ends, after all — and he’ll be back here again in 2009. Sound familiar? These three guys represent the elite at the position. Their quarterbacks find them often enough that they score like wide receivers.
Brent Celek — A surprising member to the top four. While we were touting him here in the preseason, we suggested Top 10, but didn’t expect this. He won more games than he lost for fantasy owners in 2009.
Tony Gonzalez — Can a regression be both surprising and expected? That’s what we got with Gonzalez. The former Chiefs star puts the vet in veteran, he’ll turn 34 next month. But Matt Ryan was supposed to find him enough, specifically in the end zone, to make him a viable play. A top-5 performance is great, but his 8 points per game was not what a lot of fantasy owners expected. He should be drafted in a spot that better represents his value in 2010.
Jason Witten — Oh, Jason, how you teased us with your previous performances. This was your chance to shine — no Terrell Owens, just you and Tony Romo. An army of folks selected you as the top tight end expecting you to pick up the slack. You were good, you just weren’t Dallas Clark good. Is that a fair assessment? No. You see, Witten had 94 catches and 1,030 yards, he scored only two touchdowns, five less than he had last year. TDs can be a fluky thing, but the fact he was still targeted 124 times and caught most of them leads me to believe Witten will be back to form in 2010.
Kellen Winslow — When Winslow transferred out of the staph-infested junior college that is the Browns, some people weren’t sure how he’d fare. After all, he went from the Browns to the Buccaneers which is sort of a wash except for the whole staph thing. Winslow rewarded the fantasy owners who drafted him by scoring eight points per game. The Buccaneers have a developing quarterback so Winslow will be back.
Visanthe Shiancoe — That is a fun name to type because it doesn’t type like any other name … Where was I? Right: Dude scored 11 touchdowns and was targeted 79 times by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time in an offense that also features Adrian Peterson, Sydney Rice and Percy Harvin.
Heath Miller — Heath, thanks for the memories (7.62 points per game, five games with six or more catches, a 100-yard receiving game, and a Platinum Shuriken nomination). You won’t be back next year. JerMichael Finley or one of the Zach Millers will kick you out. You’ll still be a viable play in deep and bye-week leagues. But we won’t be talking about you here. There are some parting gifts in the back.
Greg Olsen — I’ve been waiting all post for this. Jay Cutler’s favorite target? This guy was going to catch EVERYTHING according to some pundits in the preseason. But jzak pegged him just about right in his preseason top 10. Olsen wasn’t bad, but take away his 3-TD game against Arizona in Week 9 and we’re talking about Zach Miller (OAK) in this spot.