San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates finished the 2011 season with 64 receptions, 778 yards and seven touchdown receptions in 13 games. Gates was tied for fourth in TD receptions among tight ends and fifth in receiving yards per game. This is following up a 2010 season in which Gates was tied for the NFL lead in TD receptions among tight ends with 10 and led tight ends in receiving yards per game while he played in 10 of his team’s 16 games.
Gates is currently ranked sixth in yahoo fantasy football among tight ends. New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is first, Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew is ranked second, Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley is ranked third, New England TE Aaron Hernandez is ranked fourth and Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez is ranked fifth. Gronkowski led all tight ends in yards per game and touchdown receptions in 2011. Gronk also led the NFL in touchdown receptions and was seventh among all players in receiving yards per game while his teammate was fourth in yards per game and TD receptions among tight ends. Gonzalez, Pettigrew and Finley were seventh, 11th and 12th in yards per game among tight ends. Finley, Gonzalez and Pettigrew were third, fourth and tied for 12th in TD receptions among tight ends.
Pettigrew played on the same team as Calvin Johnson who led the NFL in receiving yards per game, Gonzalez played with Roddy White who was 10th in yards per game and Finley played with Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings who were 12th and 16th in yards per game. However, Gronkowski and Hernandez played on the same team as Wes Welker who was second among all players in yards per game, so people who are fans of Finley, Pettigrew and Gonzalez over Gates have to consider this as well. The yahoo rankings had to be done last week when the contract status of quarterback Drew Brees was still up in the air because Jimmy Graham is ranked ninth. Graham led all tight ends in receptions, was second among tight ends in yards per game as well as TD receptions, was tied for fourth among all players in TD receptions and was eight in the NFL with 82 receiving yards per game.
Gates should be ranked fourth among tight ends behind Gronkowski, Graham and Hernandez. Vincent Jackson is no longer a Charger, so this should mean more targets for Gates in 2012.