Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Even with a wrist injury that would require surgery after the season, Graham had 85 receptions (third-best among tight ends) for 982 yards (second-best) and nine TDs (tied for second-best). With his wrist healed and Sean Payton back as Saints’ head coach, Graham could approach his great 2011 numbers.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
When you have 38 TD receptions in three seasons, a record 17 for TEs in 2011 and 11 in 11 games in 2012, you still make the top two TE even if you might begin the season on the physically unable to perform list after arm and back surgeries. But Gronkowski’s health issues do make him more of a risk-reward pick.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Gonzalez is 37 and almost retired after the season, but enters 2013 as a safer pick than Gronkowski. Over the last 13 seasons, Gonzales has started all but two games. In four seasons with the Falcons, Gonzalez has averaged over 800 yards per season and has at least six TDs each season. In 2012, his 93 receptions were second-highest among TEs, his 930 yards third-highest and his eight TDs tied for fourth-highest.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten topped all TEs with 110 receptions and 1,039 yards. He was targeted more than any tight end and more than any Dallas receiver. Witten has started every game for six straight years. But he is not a big scorer – just three TDs in 2012 and 44 over his 10-year career.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Davis disappointed with 41 catches for 548 yards and five TDs, his lowest number s since 2008. His stats went down once Colin Kaepernick took over at QB. But Davis did well with Kaepernick in the conference final and Super Bowl, gaining over 100 yards in each game and making a total of 11 receptions.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph caught nine TD passes, tied for second-highest among TEs and tops on the Vikings. He had 53 receptions for 493 yards, both second-best on the team. Rudolph was drafted in the second round in 2011.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen had career highs in receptions (69 – sixth-highest among TEs) and yardage (853 – fourth-highest). His five TDs gave him at least that many for the fifth straight year.
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Daniels had 62 catches for 716 yards, his best numbers since 2008, along with a career-high six TDs.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Gates had just 49 receptions for 538 yards, his lowest numbers since he was a rookie in 2003. But he had seven TDs, his ninth straight year with at least that many.
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
Finley had a career-high 61 receptions, but for 667 yards and a career-low 10.9 yards per reception. He had just two TDs, down from eight in 2011.
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