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Fantasy Football: Elite TEs can be the difference makers

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots Credit: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots (Getty Images)

While the tight end position is easy to overlook, one of the best ways to gain an advantage on an opponent is to get elite production from the spot while your opponents are stuck with middle rung guys.

This year, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham didn't quite live up to expectations after being hampered by injuries, but have nonetheless stood out from the rest of the crowd. Only Tony Gonzalez ,36, who apparently found the fountain of youth in the offseason, has emerged as a consistent performer alongside them.

So, what should you do the rest of the way if you missed out on one of those three players? Despite injuries earlier in the year, Jason Witten and Aaron Hernandez are still no brainer starters and should return to form down the stretch. And despite inconsistency, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates and Owen Daniels are still too vital to their team's passing attack to sit on your bench.

Meanwhile, despite flashes of talent earlier in the year, Martellus Bennett, Brent Celek and Brandon Pettigrew should no longer be relied upon. Coby Fleener and Jacob Tamme have been busts and can be cut loose. Give up on Jermichael Finley and Jared Cook, too.

Among the rest of the TEs, Heath Miller, Dustin Keller or Dennis Pitta could provide low- level consistency if you are in a pinch. However, if you missed out on a top tier TE, I would prefer to look for Kyle Rudolph, Scott Chandler, Brandon Myers, Jermaine Gresham or Greg Olsen, all of whom have been earning more opportunities as the season has gone along.

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