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Tight End Player Rankings – Week 7
Bye Week Teams
Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs,
Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers
Tight Ends (Updated: Friday, Oct. 19 - 7:04PM CT)
1. Rob Gronkowski (vs. NYJ) – Gronk hasn’t been the same tyrannical force out there that he was last year, which is likely part of the reason why the Patriots haven’t been as unstoppable as most thought they would be. Sitting at 3-3, you know Bill Belichick wants to turn this thing around as quickly as possible which means in my eyes, getting his tight ends back involved in the game-plan BIG time. Both Gronkowski and Hernandez will be looked at frequently this weekend, especially after the offense first establishes their run game (which they will). Gronk’s first game against the Jets last season was underwhelming with four catches for 31 yards, but his second one was closer to what I expect this week when he put up eight catches for 113 yards and two TDs.
2. Aaron Hernandez (vs. NYJ) – Hernandez didn’t look like he was playing at full speed/health last weekend against the Seahawks, but Seattle’s defense has a tendency to do that to people. He says he felt good after his first game back and then practiced a couple of times this week, so I expect to see a much quicker player running around out there against the Jets. As I stated with Gronk, Belichick should be going back to what works for the Patriots this week in an effort to right the ship, which means plenty of actions for their star tight ends. With that in mind, I can easily see both guys putting up TE1 fantasy numbers in this one, though I believe the big guy slightly edges out the small guy in points.
3. Kyle Rudolph (vs. Ari) – Another week, another touchdown for red-zone magnet and now league-leader in TDs for tight ends, Kyle Rudolph. He also set career highs in both targets and receptions in Week 6, so it seems all the talk about getting the sticky-handed tight end more involved wasn’t just coach-speak. This week the Vikings take on a pretty tough Arizona defense, but with their attention likely to be more on Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, Rudolph should be able to sneak around out there and put up his normal fantasy damage.
4. Owen Daniels (vs. Bal) – Daniels has re-emerged as one of the league’s top tight ends again this season after a nice little three-year, injury-filled hiatus. I still don’t believe he’s taken over for Andre Johnson as the top target in the Texans passing game yet, but he’s doing a phenomenal job as the second option with Houston neglecting to upgrade their WR2 position this last off-season. This Sunday he’ll take on an unlucky, though not unexpectedly injury-riddled Baltimore Ravens defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown to a tight end yet this season, but they HAVE allowed the third-most yards to the position over the first six games. With Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb out and unable to help with pass coverage, I expect Daniels to be targeted quite a bit, especially with play-action passes considering the Ravens will likely being paying more attention to the Texans running game and Andre Johnson than quick hitches over the middle.
5. Jason Witten (@ Car) – After a slow start to the season due to a scary injury with a lacerated spleen, Jason Witten has come on hard as of late with 19 receptions, 200 yards and a touchdown over his last two games. In fact, he has the most fantasy points per game for tight ends since Week 4. With workhorse RB DeMarco Murray out for their Sunday game against the Panthers, the ‘Boys will turn to Fragile Felix Jones as their starter, a move which should lead Dallas into passing the ball more in order to limit Jones’ carries. The Panthers aren’t bad against the tight end, but they’re not very good either so there’s no reason to believe Witten won’t continue his recent surge.
6. Vernon Davis (vs. Sea - Thursday Night) – 0 catches - 0 yards - 0 TDs
7. Martellus Bennett (vs. Was) – Strange seeing the “Black Unicorn” up here in the top-10? Yeah, for me too. However, with Bennett super-close to being back at full health, there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to put up TE1 type numbers again. In fact, even though he’s put up three stinkers in a row now (five catches for 41 yards the last three games combined), Bennett still remains just outside the top-10 fantasy scorers on the year. This week he’ll be taking on a team he knows well from his days in Dallas, the Washington Redskins, who also happen to have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. With Hakeem Nicks back to near-full health, the Giants receivers will draw most of the secondary’s attention so Bennett should be open for some nice plays throughout the game.
8. Jared Cook (@ Buf) – Cook is a beast of a man and downright scary specimen to face as a tight end. He’s a lot like Vernon Davis in that he can run like a wide receiver, yet is far stronger and harder to bring down than any WR you’ll ever see. He needs to be used more in this offense and if Matt Hasselbeck loves him as much as he says he does, he will be. This week he faces a Buffalo squad that has been atrocious against wide receivers, but actually not too shabby against the tight end. Well, they HAVE given up two 100-yard games to tight ends this season (Gronk & Vernon Davis), but they’ve only allowed one TD (Gronk) as well. With this game looking like a 100 points could be scored before the final whistle, I’m liking Cook’s chances of pulling through with some top-10 numbers.
9. Greg Olsen (vs. Dal) – Olsen was coming on strong in weeks three and four before running into that buzzsaw of a defense in week five; the Seattle Seahawks. Before that game, Olsen was the leading target in the offense (above WR Steve Smith) and still has the most receptions, but fell back a bit right before the Panthers bye. This week he’ll go up a stout Dallas pass defense that locks down receivers with the best of them, but has been a little more forgiving with tight ends as they’ve found themselves in the endzone just as much as WRs have this season. Olsen is going to be targeted quite a bit in this one and could do some damage with his WR-like speed.
10. Heath Miller (@ Cin - Sunday Night) – Heath Miller currently puts up the third-most fantasy points per game—more than Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Kyle Rudolph and well, basically everybody not named Tony Gonzalez or Vernon Davis. This week he faces a Bengals defense that allows the eighth-most fantasy points per game, but really, they haven’t even been that good. The best tight end they’ve faced thus far was Dennis Pitta, who had no problem grabbing five balls for 73 yards and a touchdown against them. In fact, going back to last season, pretty much every better-than-average tight end has been able to do well playing Cincinnati, so there’s no reason to think Miller won’t be able to get in on the fun.
Tight Ends 11-25
11. Scott Chandler (vs. Ten)
12. Dennis Pitta (@ Hou)
13. Fred Davis (@ NYG)
14. Brandon Pettigrew (@ Chi - Monday Night)
15. David Thomas (@ TB)
16. Jermaine Gresham (vs. Pit - Sunday Night)
17. Rob Housler (@ Min)
18. Dustin Keller (@ NE)
19. Brandon Myers (vs. Jax)
20. Marcedes Lewis (@ Oak)
21. Coby Fleener (vs. Cle)
22. Jermichael Finley (@ StL)
23. Dwayne Allen (vs. Cle)
24. Lance Kendricks (vs. GB)
25. Kellen Davis (vs. Det - Monday Night)
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