TE Player Rankings – Week 2
1. Antonio Gates (@ NE) – No explanation necessary. Do you really need me to tell you that Anthony Fasano went off for 82 yards on five catches last week against the Patriots, and that Fasano has never had more than 530 yards or 40 catches in his career? Didn’t think so. Gates is a no-brainer until his foot acts up on him again. Period.
2. Jermichael Finley (@ Car) – If you watch a Packers game close enough, you’ll notice that Finley is actually a wide receiver out there on the field running around in a tight end’s body. He’s that athletically gifted. Against a Carolina defense that was sixth worst in the league in allowing tight end fantasy points last season and gave up 101 yards and a TD to the Cardinals tight ends last week, it’s easy to see how Jermichael could actually put up WR1-type numbers this weekend.
3. Owen Daniels (@ Mia) – I’m actually in a league right now where someone completely dropped Owen Daniels off their squad. Do NOT be that guy, especially after a week where the Texans clearly didn’t need him to beat the hapless Colts. Daniels is a great tight end with tremendous upside in a Texans offense that looks like it could be one of best in the league. Miami wasn’t that hot defending tight ends in 2010 and looks even worse this season after Hernandez and Gronkowski carved them up for 189 yards and two TDs in Week One. Start him at all costs.
4. Vernon Davis (vs Dal) – This new 49ers offensive scheme may take a little bit to get going but once it does, it will be one of the more TE-friendly offenses in the league. Dallas could barely contain a semi-good tight end in Dustin Keller last week, so Vernon might be able to live up to his billing sooner than later in Week Two.
5. Aaron Hernandez (vs SD) – It’s tough to deny the effectiveness of these New England tight ends, but it might be even tougher to figure out which one of them will have a better fantasy day from week to week. Despite their shutout of the Vikings tight ends last Sunday, if the Chargers have a weak spot on defense, it’s against the tight end. That being the case, which one will get the fantasy love against them this weekend, Hernandez or Gronkowski? I had to go back to last season to see if there were any trends that would tell me the answer. What I found is that the smaller tight ends usually had the best fantasy weeks, but it was likely because the bigger tight ends would be held in to protect their QB. Such was the case in the game between the Patriots and Chargers last year when Hernandez had eight targets, five catches and 54 yards compared to Gronk’s two targets, two catches and 10 yards. Gronk, however, caught a 1-yard TD, but that can happen against anyone. Basically, I think Aaron is your guy this week over Gronk, but either one is always a good play in this offense.
6. Jimmy Graham (vs Chi) – Jimmy Graham, welcome to stardom buddy! Chicago actually plays tight ends pretty well, especially in the red zone, but there are still plenty of receptions to be had. Last week Tony Gonzalez had five catches on seven targets for 72 yards, numbers I think Graham could surpass in the game this weekend. He might not get in the endzone as the Bears are pretty tightfisted in that area (gave up only three to TEs last season), but he’ll definitely get you some fantasy points in one way or another.
7. Fred Davis (vs Ari) – Anyone who watched Freddy play last weekend against the Giants could see how good this guy is and believe me, it wasn’t a fluke. Due to both age and injuries, Chris Cooley is on the downside of his career… and the Redskins know it. They didn’t draft the 6’4”, 257-pound Davis in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft for nothing. This week he plays against an Arizona team who not only was terrible at guarding tight ends last year, but who also gave up seven catches for 129 yards to Carolina TEs last weekend. This Sunday could be Freddy’s coming out party, folks.
8. Brandon Pettigrew (vs KC) – Tony Scheffler may have stolen the fantasy glory last weekend using his lone catch to snag an 11-yard TD, but Pettigrew is still the goods on this Lions team. He may have had an average line of four catches on six targets for 57 yards in Week One, but there are better days to come for this beast of a tight end, starting with this weekend. The Chiefs gave up two TDs to a complete nobody TE (Scott Chandler) last Sunday—and that was with their stud safety, Eric Berry, still in the lineup. Berry, however, is now out for the year and I fully expect Stafford to take advantage using Pettigrew over the middle of the field.
9. Rob Gronkowski (vs SD) – (This is simply a repeat of Aaron Hernandez's write-up as it explain the overall New England TE situation) It’s tough to deny the effectiveness of these New England tight ends, but it might be even tougher to figure out which one of them will have a better fantasy day from week to week. Despite their shutout of the Vikings tight ends last Sunday, if the Chargers have a weak spot on defense, it’s against the tight end. That being the case, which one will get the fantasy love against them this weekend, Hernandez or Gronkowski? I had to go back to last season to see if there were any trends that would tell me the answer. What I found is that the smaller tight ends usually had the best fantasy weeks, but it was likely because the bigger tight ends would be held in to protect their QB. Such was the case in the game between the Patriots and Chargers last year when Hernandez had eight targets, five catches and 54 yards compared to Gronk’s two targets, two catches and 10 yards. Gronk, however, caught a 1-yard TD, but that can happen against anyone. Basically, I think Aaron is your guy this week over Gronk, but either one is always a good play in this offense.
10. Jason Witten (@ SF) – Strange seeing Witten all the way down here in the 10-slot? Yes it is, but there’s also good reason for it. First off, the 49ers were tops in the league last year holding opposing tight ends to the least amount of fantasy points over the season. Second, San Fran can get after the QB and will be looking to do so again this Sunday, so Witten will likely be asked to do a little more blocking than normal. That’s not to say he won’t get his due out there, because he will, but even the best players don’t always have the best days.
11. Dallas Clark (vs Cle) – My basic reason for having Clark ranked this low is my lack of faith in Kerry Collins. He obviously hasn’t learned how to run this offense yet and quite frankly, I don’t think he ever will. Dallas is far too talented to start putting him down in the 20-25 range, but until I see a good game out of him and/or Collins, he simply doesn’t have the same value as he did in the past.
12. Dustin Keller (vs Jax) – Keller has a ton of potential, but it doesn’t always show out on the field. I like the way the Jets targeted him eight times last Sunday night, but how often is he going to receive that sort of attention and turn it into five catches for 61 yards and a TD? So far in his career, it’s been a rarity, but I think that could change in 2011. With Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery gone, Sanchez may look to Keller a bit more than he has in the past. Against a Jags team that gave up the third most fantasy points to tight ends last year, Keller should have a chance to show his stuff once again.
13. Greg Olsen (vs GB) – Olsen began his new career in Carolina nicely turning in four catches on six targets for 78 yards. As a receiving tight end, he’s one of the best in the league and it looks like Cam Newton figured that out pretty quickly. Despite his incredible Week One performance, I’m expecting a TON more check-downs out of Newton going forward with a bunch of those targets headed Olsen’s way. My guess is Green Bay keeps him out of the endzone, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a nice fantasy day regardless.
14. Lance Kendricks (@ NYG) – For being the fantasy darling of the 2011 preseason, Kendricks regular season debut was plain awful. Five targets, one catch and two drops for 18 yards is NOT the way to start a career, but it could have been worse. He could have been amongst the slew of Rams players who went down to injury in Week One but instead, he’ll be one of the guys they’ll depend on to pick up the slack against the Giants this Monday night. I expect a much better second game out of Lance this week.
15. Kellen Winslow Jr. (@ Min) – Looks like it’s going to be the same old story for Winslow this season. Sure, his Week One production of six receptions on eight targets for 66 yards is nice (even better in a PPR league), but as usual, Kellen can’t seem to find the endzone. Minnesota gave up 11 receptions to Chargers tight ends last weekend, but they should be commended for holding Gates without a TD. If Gates can’t score against them, Winslow won’t either. Expect the norm from Junior again this Sunday.
Rounding out the Top-25...
16. Jermaine Gresham (@ Den)
17. Ed Dickson (@ Ten)
18. Todd Heap (@ Was)
19. Evan Moore (@ Ind)
20. Tony Gonzalez (vs Phi)
21. Ben Watson (@ Ind)
22. Anthony Fasano (vs Hou)
23. Scott Chandler (vs Oak)
24. Chris Cooley (vs Ari)
25. Jared Cook (vs Bal)