Tight ends are like Cris Carter: All they do is catch touchdowns. Former coach Buddy Ryan was -- and still is -- ridiculed for saying that about a future Hall of Fame pass-catcher he let go back in the day with the Eagles.
But there was actually some logic to that seemingly asinine statement. Tight ends really don't make a big difference. Usually they are just a serendipitous beneficiary of circumstance near the goal line, snagging a one-yard TD because everyone on the defense geared up to stop the quarterback, running back or wide receivers.
The same holds true for fantasy -- for the most part. Don't waste your time drafting talent at arguably the weakest position. At least with your last-round kicker you are pretty sure to get something in the way of consistency out of the pick.
Sure, there are the exceptions in the form of Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Dallas Clark, but mostly drafting a tight end is surely just going to distract you from getting a real fantasy game-changer at quarterback, running back or wide receiver. Remember, those are the ones defenses usually focused on. Fantasy owners should follow suit, certainly in the early rounds.
Tight end is easily the position you should spend the least amount of time agonizing over on draft day. After the aforementioned elite three go off the board -- almost certainly before they actually should in your league -- you can just pick up a lineup-filler in the latter rounds and be all right.
You can be more than all right sometimes, too, especially if you made the best of the meaningful picks before that with a passer and a trio of running backs and wide receivers. That is at least seven spots on your roster you should fill before you draft your tight end.
Even the best of the tight ends shouldn't start to go off the board until you have your top two running backs and wide receivers. That makes Round 5 the place to start picking from the position.
And, since the current draft averages of the top trio have them going off the board from as early as late Round 3 through Round 4, you probably should just wait much longer and hope to catch lightning in a bottle, er, a late-round pick.
So, let's try to outline some value guys for you:
How in the world did we get away with validating Ryan's stupidity on Carter ... multiple times no less?
Now on to the complete tiering of the bore-you-to-tears (half kidding, again) position ...