I actually think it changes a lot. Jimmy Graham was good last year, but if you were one of the teams that took him in the second round he wasn't THAT good. Gronkowski didn't play most of the season. Aaron Hernandez didn't help you much in most of the games. With all the recent talk about super athletic tight ends changing the way the game is played, there just haven't been many examples of back-to-back great seasons from anyone at the position. So, I'm starting to think my approach this year will be to allow someone else to invest that high pick on Graham, then even let the herd snap up all the second tier tight ends in rounds 5-7, then get mine later.
So, what earth-shattering deep sleepers do I have that make me confident holding out on a tight end will be the best tactic this year?
I don't think there is a sure bet to have a breakout season in the third tier of tight ends. I just don't believe ANY tight end is guaranteed to catch 8-10 touchdowns, and amass 1000 yards, and those are the numbers I need to pay special attention to the position. Because you're not going to beat me with your tight end unless he's putting up those kind of numbers.
Without more adieu, here are a few tight ends I feel you'll be able to get in rounds 8 and later of a 12 team draft and have a pretty fair chance of lucking into a good season. First of all, I want to say i think you have to draft two of these to cover yourself. Any two of these... (using Dennis Pitta as the cut off for 2nd tier tight ends. If you can get him using this method I think you're disco, but don't plan on it).
Brandon Pettigrew. Lions
Brandon Myers. Giants.
Coby Fleener. Colts.
Fred Davis. Redskins
Greg Olsen. Panthers.
Owen Daniels. Texans.
Tight ends you didn't see on this list.
I just don't believe in any of them. Could they also have ten touchdown seasons and make you miserable if you ignore them? Of course. That's the point. My personal opinion is Vernon Davis is the number one tight end this year, but he's beaten me by drafting him as many times as he's helped my team so take that chance at your own peril, but I have a good feeling if I draft Brandon Myers and Coby Fleener I have just a good of chance of getting production at tight end as you do.