Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: San Diego Chargers Tight End Antonio Gates

The argument can be made that the 2011 NFL season was one to forget for Antonio Gates considering he only recorded 704 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games for the San Diego Chargers. What’s even more disappointing is the tight end only recorded 74 receiving yards over the first five games of the season, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be considered one of the top pass-catching tight ends for the fantasy football 2012 season.

Throughout his nine-year career with the Chargers, Gates has always been considered one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL who would rack up big numbers for fantasy owners each season. In fact, the argument can be made that no tight end made a bigger impact in the passing game from 2004-10 than Gates and he looks to return to that high level once again in 2012.

Over the years, Gates would always be considered the top tight end in fantasy leagues, but the last couple of seasons have dropped him to No. 6 on this list. If he can stay healthy, there’s every reason to believe Gates can return to his dominant self in the Chargers’ passing game–especially with Vincent Jackson out of the picture.

Even if he is coming off of a disappointing 2011 season, Gates hasn’t recorded less than seven touchdowns in a single season since he was a rookie in 2003–so he’s obviously a tight end fantasy owners would love to have on their squad. If he’s available in the fourth-to-sixth round, it would be wise to snag him while he’s available.