Top five fantasy tight ends for 2009

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With the fantasy football season over (unless you signed up for our Playoff Challenge, of course), it’s time to start looking ahead to 2009.

I’ve already run through the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, so here’s a look at the tight ends:

1. Jason Witten, Dallas — Witten was the top fantasy tight end to start the season, but injuries mounted and hurt his production down the stretch. He still finished with solid reception and yardage totals, however, and Witten will improve on his touchdown totals in 2009.

2. Antonio Gates, San Diego — Gates did see his numbers fall across the board, but don’t forget that he dealt with foot and ankle issues throughout most of the season. If he’s 100 percent to start 2009, I still see Gates as the second-best fantasy player at the position.

3. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City — Gonzalez was a true superstar down the stretch, scoring seven touchdowns in his last eight games. Will he put up such immense numbers again? I don’t think so. He’ll be solid without question, but I still like Witten and Gates more.

4. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis –Clark posted career bests in receptions (77) and yards (848 ) this season, and his six touchdowns tied for the fifth most at his position. He’s become one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets in the Colts’ prolific passing attack.

5. Chris Cooley, Washington –It’s true that Cooley scored just one touchdown in 2008, but he also finished with career bests in receptions (83) and yards (849). He’ll find the end zone much more often next season and remains a valuable fantasy tight end.

On the edge: Kellen Winslow, Cleveland; Owen Daniels, Houston.

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