In years past, the tight end position was very scarce. It was either draft Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski or be stuck with and semi-producing tight end. However, that is not the case heading into the 2014 season.
Granted, there is still a big production gap between Graham and Gronk and the rest of the pack, but that gap is closing. Julius Thomas made a huge impact last season with his 788 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Jason Witten is still a consistent tight end and Vernon Davis will still produce with the lack of receivers on the San Francisco 49ers roster.
After those five, the pool gets even deeper with the likes of Greg Olsen, Dennis Pitta, Jordan Cameron, Kyle Rudolph, Charles Clay and Jordan Reed. Clay had 69 receptions and Cameron finished with 80. Olsen had his second-most touchdowns with six. Pitta may split time with Owen Daniels, but can still be a fantasy star considering he is Joe Flacco‘s favorite target.
You can still find valuable tight ends in the third tier. Guys like Zach Ertz, Tyler Eifert, Ladarius Green and Garrett Graham are so close to taking over the starting job for their respective teams. They contributing greatly in the 2013 and their roles will increase in 2014. Even Dustin Keller will have some value in deep leagues if he signs with the New England Patriots.
Even if you miss out on the top five or six tight ends, there are plenty of effective players to be found late in drafts. You can focus on drafting other skill players while your opponents waste an early-round pick on Davis or Witten. Then, you strike with sleeper picks of Ertz and G. Graham and laugh all the way to a championship.