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Fantasy Football 2011: Tight Ends

One of the more overlooked fantasy football positions is tight end.  Other than a couple of elite players like Antonio Gates before he started dealing with injuries, or maybe Jason WItten, they're just not guys that produce a lot of points.  Unless they're in an offense that will run a lot of two tight end sets and will heavily feature the position in their offense, like the Vikings will.  And in that regards, the Vikings have two tight ends that might offer a late round draft pick, as they're not really on anyone's radar right now.

Tight ends are a position that owners just pick a guy for once Witten and Gates are gone, and I'm going to tell you about two guys that are going to put up more points than your average tight end, and one just might get back to elite status.

Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph are guys that look like they could put up decent numbers for the Vikings, and if Shiancoe continues to struggle with injuries, it could be a breakout rookie year for Rudolph.

As little as two years ago, Shiancoe was one of the more evaluable tight ends in fantasy football.  After struggling for a couple of seasons after signing with the Vikings, Shiancoe emerged as the 5th and 6th best TE in fantasy football in 2008 and 2009, respectively.  He was a primary red zone target, and in '09, Brett Favre hooked up with him 11 times for a TD pass.  Last year, he struggled, just like the rest of the team, but if he's healthy you would think that he might be in the top 10 for tight ends, considering his past production and the new offense the Vikings are running.

You would be wrong.

Shiancoe is at the bottom of ESPN's fantasy cheat sheet, coming in at 27th out of 30.  Rudolph is 29th.  Now, with Shiancoe still struggling with his hamstring, he might be a slight risk.  But Rudolph has looked very good this pre-season, and one of these two guys, if not both, can be a solid addition to any fantasy team.

They're far enough down on the depth chart that unless you're playing in a league that's nothing but Vikings fans, they probably won't be drafted until very late, if at all, so keep an eye on these guys and grab one of them late.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.