Fantasy Rankings: NFC East TE’s in 2009

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The NFC East features talented tight ends across the board, and it all starts with Jason Witten down in Big D.

1. Jason Witten

Witten might be the best all-around tight end in the game today, and he and Romo have developed an awesome rapport over the past two and a half years.

In 2008, Witten finished with 81 catches for over 900 yards and 4 TDs.

And this year, T.O. is gone. True, the extra attention given to Owens will probably shift over to Witten, but the Cowboys have enough weapons to isolate Witten on linebackers and safeties, and he’ll still find ways to produce.

Expect a 1,000-yard season with between eight and 10 touchdowns.

2. Chris Cooley

Cooley is a very talented tight end who appears to be a notch below the top fantasy tight ends in the game today.

Last year, he finished with over 80 catches for 849 yards, but only managed one touchdown as the team had to learn Jim Zorn’s offense, which wasn’t the smoothest process.

In year two, expect things to get smoother for Cooley and quarterback Jason Campbell. Over 800 yards receiving and between six and eight touchdowns certainly seems within reach.

3. Kevin Boss

By the end of the season, it could be Boss who sits in the second spot on the list.

The rapidly improving third-year tight end could have a much larger role in the Giants’ offense with the offseason departures of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.

In just his second year in the league, he more than filled the hole left by Jeremy Shockey by hauling in six touchdowns on just 33 catches.

This year, expect him to be more involved and finish with between 50-60 catches and six to eight touchdowns.

4. Brent Celek

Rookie Cornelius Ingram might end up being the starting tight end in Philly, but we think it’ll be Celek, who was a force late and caught 10 balls for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game.

In just his second year in the league, Celek showed that he was able to exploit mismatches over the middle of the field and make the tough catch in traffic.

And as he and McNabb developed a nice chemistry in the postseason, look for it to carry over in 2009 with 600 yards and at least five touchdowns.

Draft Tip

Witten, Cooley and Boss are all starters on fantasy teams, and look for Witten to come off the board as early as round three. Cooley and Boss should be around after round six, and Celek will be there for the pickings towards the end of the draft.

One potential fantasy sleeper, who was not mentioned in this edition is Dallas tight end Martellus Bennett. The talented second-year player could make some noise, so make sure to remember him late on draft day.

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