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Five-minute guide to tight ends


For those who don't have time to consume every word of the expansive Fantasy Football Preview, we'd like to present the 5-Minute Guide to Fantasy Football, in five parts. Think of it as a Reader's Digest approach to fantasy domination. Herewith, a quick look at tight ends.

• Jermichael Finley, Packers

After taking over the starting duties late last year, he never looked back with nearly 40 catches, 416 yards and four TDs in his last seven games. In only his third season, the ceiling is massive for Finley, who is a legitimate top-five talent at the position and plays in a pass-happy offense with Aaron Rodgers.

• Brent Celek, Eagles

Entering his second season as the Eagles' starter, Celek had a breakout 2009 campaign with eight TDs, 16 catches of 20 yards or more and nearly 1,000 yards total. Celek should only get better while he and new starter Kevin Kolb already have chemistry, hooking up for eight passes and 104 yards in each of his two starts last year.

• Zach Miller, Raiders

Marooned on the one of the worst fantasy outposts in the league, Miller provided one of the few Raiders' bright spots last year as his numbers still went up despite the team's quarterback conundrum. Steady (if unspectacular) new addition Jason Campbell should provide the offense more stability, and the underrated Miller should hit the 1000-yard mark.

• Tony Gonzalez, Falcons

He's been the gold standard at the position for years but last season failed to hit the 900-yard mark for the first time since 2002. At 34, Gonzalez is still a solid pick, but on the decline as the days of 1,000 yards and sniffing double-digit TDs are over.

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• Chris Cooley, Redskins

Cooley has scored three touchdowns the past two seasons combined and is coming off a broken ankle that limited him to seven games. Young up-and-comer Fred Davis shined in his place late last fall and could relegate him to a tight end timeshare, reducing his catches and snaps.

• Jeremy Shockey, Saints

Always a fantasy tease, Shockey's potential never seemed to get tapped for long thanks to inconsistency, maturity issues or worst of all, injuries. Despite playing in a funhouse offense in the Big Easy, Shockey (who's never once made it through a whole season healthy) is bound to disappoint one way or another, yet again.

• John Carlson, Seahawks

Entering his third year, Carlson is coming off a seven-TD sophomore campaign. With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and new OC Jeremey Bates, who helped make Tony Scheffler a star in 2008 with Denver, Carlson will have every chance to impress, especially surrounded by so-so receivers.

• Greg Olsen, Bears

Far from a sleeper, the most accomplished receiver in Chicago is being treated this preseason as if he's radioactive. Don't panic -- new OC Mike Martz may not always utilize his tight ends, but Jay Cutler does, having targeted him more than 100 times last year and connecting for seven of Olsen's eight TDs from inside the red zone. Olsen will still be a fantasy factor, and will come dirt cheap on draft day while other GMs run for the hills.

• Tony Scheffler, Lions

It was just 2008 when Scheffler was one of fantasy's breakout stars, averaging 16 yards a catch and 13 TDs playing with a young gun-slinging QB in Jay Cutler. After being left behind in Denver's 2009 "extreme makeover" he comes to a Detroit team with a young QB in Matthew Stafford with similar potential. Plus, his only other competition for the position (Brandon Pettigrew) is coming off an ACL injury suffered late last year.