Secret Weapon: 5 Tight Ends Who Will Dominate Fantasy Football

by Julie Gilkison

Aside from March Madness and college bowl games, it's time for one of the best times of the year in sports: fantasy football.

It's what drives you through the season when your team starts 0-5, allows trash-talking between friends to go months-long across the country and forces you to get up on a Sunday morning, despite whatever shenanigans happened the night before.

Draft days are coming up any day now, and it's time to take a good hard look at your potential roster. \Forego your allegiance to your favorite college QB-turned-pro, and toss aside your hatred for that goofy, semi-douchey TE everyone loves to hate.

Speaking of that goofy, semi-douchey TE everyone loves to hate (unless you're a Pats fan), here are the top five tight ends to look out for come draft day.

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

It's a fairly new trend in the past few years that a quality tight end be an important investment for your team, and it may have started with the Gronk.

In 2011, he averaged more than 14 fantasy points per game, and has just gone up from there.

Expect a big season from the party-hardying star, even without his QB bro of choice for the first four games.

Last season, he led all tight ends in receiving yards, receiving TDs and targets; expect no less from him this season.

He's hands down, the most valuable TE you can get. Don't discount him as a quality early pick.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

G-Reg is an underrated player on an understated team.

He's one of Cam Newton's favorite targets, and the both of them are only going up from their season last year.

Olsen is about to be in his ultimate prime, and after inking a three-year, $22.5 million extension, expect big things from him.

He caught at least 69 passes in the last three seasons, and hit career highs in receptions and yards last year. He's a low-risk for injury and a sure-thing TE for anyone lucky to nab him.

Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears

Bennett was the second most targeted TE in the league last season, with just one less than Gronk.

Almost one-fourth of his targets were in the red zone, so expect to see his TD numbers increase this season, especially with newly-minted Kevin White out for the season.

Even with the Bears' dismal 2014 season, Bennett finished with over 900 receiving yards and six TDs.

Hopefully, Chicago can turn it around this year with the help of new coach John Fox, and Bennett will be the number one tight end getting touches via the ever love/hated Jay Cutler.

Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks

Though he may be the assumed shoo-in for the number two tight end in the league, Graham has left the Big Easy for a run-heavy Seahawks team in the northwest.

After a disappointing season last year, still look for Gronk's nemesis to bounce back with his new team.

But, if Pete Carroll has learned anything from his infamous Super Bowl call last year, there will be more action in the run-game, and all eyes will be on Marshawn Lynch, leaving fewer opportunities for Graham.

It should be a run first, pass second kind of season for the Seahawks. It will be full of touches by the former college hoops star, just not in such numbers your fantasy team may be looking for.

Tie: Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars and Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

While some may turn up their noses at Julius Thomas leaving Peyton Manning and the Broncos for a big contract and … Blake Bortles, he has raw talent and athleticism no one can ignore.

Even with a broken hand (he's expected to start in Week One), Thomas will be a shining star on a team that will be anything but glowing.

Kelce, on the other hand, was a break-out star last year, and fans and fantasy owners alike are hoping he rides the high all the way through the next season.

It's a matter of choosing the raw athleticism of Thomas over the pressure for achieving (potential) greatness for Kelce.

If you want a consistent, highly-talented player who might be held back by a minor injury and a minor league team, go for Thomas. If you want a player with potential for greatness, but potential not to make it as big as everyone may hope, gamble with Kelce.

But, in the end, either of the two will make a great tight end addition to any team.