Eric Mack
Friday December 23rd, 2011

Antonio Gates did more than just frustrate his fantasy owners this season -- especially that two-catch, 31-yard performance last week in crunch time. He has also given away the No. 1 ranking at the tight-end position.

To be fair to Gates, it would not have mattered if he had stayed healthy this season. Rob Gronkowski has taken over the position with an emphatic angry spike.

In the Year of Tebowing, it has been the Gronking (spiking things in celebration) that deserves the attention at the changing tight-end position.

Gates was a disappointment last week and for parts of the year -- keep him active this weekend, though, for a potential Calvin Johnson-like retribution. Dallas Clark has been completely laid to waste, thanks to Peyton Manning's loss. Jason Witten hasn't quite been as good. Among the veterans at the position, at least Tony Gonzalez has not yet acted his age.

But it is Gronk and another pair of sophomores in Jimmy Graham and Aaron Hernandez that put the tight-end position in very capable hands for the next five years.

We complete our Weekend Watch List series for the year with early ranking of the tight-end position for keeper decisions. There is a lot to look forward to with the new blood at the notoriously thin position.

Note: We leave out out the 2012 draft rookies, because they rarely impact the position like Gronk and Hernandez did a year ago and because rookies don't affect keeper decisions anyway.

If you're out of your fantasy playoffs and still have the itch, you can play a one-week fantasy matchup at 365fantasysports.com. Sign up and try it out for free. Use promo code: Emack.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com, including the Start 'Em, Sit 'Em, the Weekend Fantasy Watch List and his Sunday night staple: Fantasy Football Fast Forward. If you need a further clarification on lineups this week hit him up on Twitter. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.

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