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Tight End Player Rankings – Week 15
Tight Ends (Updated: Sunday, Dec. 16 - 11:06AM CT)
1. Jimmy Graham (vs. TB) – Jimmy Graham has been kept out of the end zone for three straight games now, his longest stretch since Weeks 11-14 of 2010. I don’t expect there to be a fourth. This week he takes on a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed the tenth most fantasy points to tight ends this season, including a six-catch, 52-yard effort with a touchdown to Clay Harbor last weekend. If Graham doesn’t put up monster numbers in a rematch game that saw nearly 1,000 total yards put up between these two teams in their first go around, I’ll eat my dog.
2. Aaron Hernandez (vs. SF, Sunday night) – Aaron Hernandez has been an absolute fantasy monster these last two weeks catching 16 balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns combined. He has a tough as nails matchup this Sunday night going up against the vaunted 49ers defense, but with Rob Gronkowski looking like he’ll be out for at least another week, Hernandez should see a ton of targets yet again and put up TE1 fantasy stats with the action.
3. Tony Gonzalez (vs. NYG) – I think it’s fair to say at this point that Tony Gonzalez is not a normal man. Most people slow down a bit in life when they reach the 36 years old threshold—especially professional athletes—but not Tony G. All Gonzalez has done this season is catch 81 passes (sixth most in his 16-year career) for 831 yards and seven touchdowns (tied for fifth most in his career), numbers most tight ends in the league would kill to have. This week he faces New York Giants defense that has done well against tight ends this season, but in a game I expect to be relatively high scoring, there’s no way Gonzo doesn’t have a TE1 type of day.
4. Dennis Pitta (vs. Den) –Dennis Pitta started the season out hot catching 18 balls and two touchdowns through the Ravens first three games. After a major lull between weeks four and nine, Pitta has gotten hot again nabbing three TDs in his last five games. This week might be a little strange with Baltimore firing their offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, but I believe this will actually be a good thing for Mr. Pitta. The team’s new OC, Jim Caldwell, has vowed to go back to the no-huddle offense which is precisely the scheme that put Dennis on the map early in the first place. He also happens to be going against a Broncos squad that has allowed the most touchdowns and second most fantasy points to tight ends this season, so things are looking pretty good for the Ravens’ TE in Week 15.
5. Martellus Bennett (at Atl) – I’m stating this one for the record right now: As Eli Manning goes, so go his tight ends. Whether it’s something he learned from his older brother throughout the years or something he developed on his own, Eli has made his tight end an integral part of the New York Giants offense over the years and it’s shown in Martellus Bennett’s stats this season. Bennett now has touchdowns in two straight games and the third most fantasy points in the league over the last three weeks. Considering the Falcons allow the seventh most fantasy points per game this season, Martellus looks to be a prime play for your Week 15 fantasy playoff matchup.
6. Owen Daniels (vs. Ind) – Can Owen Daniels rebound from his lackluster effort last week when he put up just two catches for 24 yards against the Patriots? I believe he can, though it won’t be easy in an inner-division matchup with the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. The Colts were one of the best at defending the tight end for most of the season, but have recently had some serious problems as they’ve allowed a touchdown to a tight end in four straight games now. Daniels may not put up a ton of yards in this one, but once the Texans establish the run game (which they will), I expect Owen to see a bunch of play-action passes come his way, including one near the goal line for a touchdown.
7. Vernon Davis (at NE, Sunday night) – I know it’s strange to see his name up here since he’s been nearly invisible in the stat column for almost a month now, but things change quickly in this crazy game we call fantasy football. The tight end position has been the most fickle of them all this season seeing anyone from Brandon Myers to Garrett Graham go off in any given week. At this point, all you can do is play the matchup game, and Vernon Davis certainly has a good one to look at here in Week 15. The New England Patriots have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends this season, with the best fantasy scores coming to tight ends on teams with a great running game. Obviously, the 49ers are included in that category, so even though it might be hard to trust Davis at this point, this might be the time to take a chance on him again.
8. Brandon Myers (vs. KC) – I would venture to say that Brandon Myers is the biggest surprise of this 2012 fantasy season. He’s at least in the top five, seeing how he only had 32 catches for 250 yards and zero touchdowns during his first three years in the league. Last week was certainly his worst fantasy performance of the season catching just one ball for a measly seven yards against the Broncos, but I don’t expect something like that to happen again this weekend. The Chiefs are in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed this season, but they haven’t fared well lately allowing two TDs and the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends over the last three weeks.
9. Jermaine Gresham (at Phi, Thursday night) – Jermaine Gresham has established himself as a top ten fantasy tight end this season and though he was held to just 43 yards without a TD last week, he’s still found himself in the end zone three times in his five games. He’s also been one of the few consistent guys at his position this season and finds himself with a good matchup for fantasy owners this Thursday night. The Philadelphia Eagles have been atrocious on defense for quite awhile now and I highly doubt the trend ends here against the Bengals. I wouldn’t expect a 100-yard game because that’s not really his thing, but he should be able break 60 yards and has a good chance for a TD as well. FINAL STATISTICS: 6 catches - 63 yards - 0 TDs
10. Jason Witten (vs. Pit) – Jason Witten caught less than six passes last week for the first time since Week 3, but four catches for 62 yards isn’t really all that bad. This week will be one of his toughest tests of the season going up against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed more than four catches to a tight end just once all season long (five to Jacob Tamme in Week 1), but I think he pulls through just fine. I have no doubt he’ll be the second player to catch five or more passes against these guys this weekend and could maybe even snag his second TD of the season, seeing how the Steelers have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends thus far (eighth most in the league).
Tight Ends 11-32
11. Heath Miller (at Dal)
12. Greg Olsen (at SD)
13. Dallas Clark (at NO)
14. Tony Scheffler (at Ari)
15. Kyle Rudolph (at StL)
16. Antonio Gates (vs. Car)
17. Jermichael Finley (at Chi)
18. Ben Watson (vs. Was)
19. Jacob Tamme (at Bal)
20. Coby Fleener (at Hou)
21. Marcedes Lewis (at Mia)
22. Craig Stevens (vs. NYJ)
23. Clay Harbor (vs. Cin, Thursday night) – FINAL STATISTICS: 3 catches - 30 yards - 0 TDs
24. Scott Chandler (vs. Sea)
25. Joel Dreessen (at Bal)
26. Tony Moeaki (at Oak)
27. Jeff Cumberland (at Ten, Monday night)
28. Delanie Walker (at NE, Sunday night)
29. Dwayne Allen (at Hou)
30. Lance Kendricks (vs. Min)
31. Zach Miller (at Buf)
32. Kellen Davis (vs. GB)
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