Last year, we saw New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski emerge as not only one of the best players in all of football, but as one of the best fantasy football players. Gronk managed to haul in 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and an astounding 17 touchdowns, carrying both the Patriots and fantasy teams alike.
This year, you can expect players like Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez, Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis to go fairly early in your fantasy draft. Graham and Gronkowski are projected by Yahoo! to be taken in the early part of the second round -- which might be too early for a tight end in your book.
If you're going to wait on a tight end, there's nothing wrong with Jason Witten. Witten is a fairly safe pick, provided Tony Romo is healthy. In 2011, Witten caught 79 passes, tied for fifth among tight ends, for 942 yards, which was third among tight ends. Witten's fantasy problem last year was that he only caught five touchdowns, which puts him in the middle of the pack fantasy wise.
This year, Yahoo! has Witten ranked as the eighth best tight end, and as the No. 70 fantasy player. He's solid value, but he's probably not going to be somebody who can carry your team. If you're going to stock up on talent in the first five or six rounds and Witten is still there for you, then yes, he's a solid choice.
If you're looking for an upside pick, though, somebody like Jermichael Finley provides better value. He has a better quarterback in a more efficient offense, and is entering his age 25 season, whereas Witten will be 30.
Again, Witten is a fine pick, with a really nice fantasy floor. He's just not somebody I'd draft hoping to hit fantasy gold.