It is well-known among fantasy football circles that the running back position is the most scarce almost every year. But what about the tight end position?
The 2011 season ushered in a new generation of tight ends, a group that was more athletically gifted and fit for a more hybrid tight end/wide receiver role than ever before. No longer did we view the position as a smaller blocker yet bigger receiver that occasionally peeled out for a passing route. These Rob Gronkowski‘s and Jimmy Graham‘s of the NFL were valued as receivers, and certainly drafted higher than most.
In 2012, Gronkowski had an average draft position (ADP) of 15. That’s borderline first-round status, ahead of players such as Adrian Peterson (18), Marshawn Lynch (19) and Andre Johnson (20). Jimmy Graham had an ADP of 14.
That said, it’s evident that the younger generation of tight ends were highly sought after because a) these guys produce like a number-one wideout, and b) because after Gronkowski, Graham, Aaron Hernandez and Jason Witten, the tight end class takes a huge dip into the bottom tier players.
But one tight end that was surely overlooked in 2012 was Atlanta Falcons 36-year-old stud Tony Gonzalez, who finished third at his position in total fantasy points (only behind Graham and Gronkowski), after having an ADP of 82 and being the tenth tight end drafted in a majority of leagues.
Gonzalez wrapped up the season with 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns, besting his numbers since joining the Falcons in 2009.
Not only did Gonzalez shock the fantasy football universe by having one of his best seasons of his career at his current age, but he also spoke openly about retirement following the 2012 season, stating that he’s “95 percent” certain that he’ll retire.
Gonzalez is currently No. 2 all-time in receptions, No. 7 in receiving yards and No. 6 in receiving touchdowns. He’s definitely shown us that the old guys can still get it done and that he still has plenty left in the tank. But if he does walk away, the future Hall of Fame tight end will surely be missed among fantasy football owners 2013, as he will leave the tight end position more scarce than ever.