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Tight End Player Rankings – Week 8
Bye Week Teams
Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans
Tight Ends (Updated: Friday, Oct. 26 - 9:48PM CT)
1. Jimmy Graham (@ Den - Sunday Night) – I know, Graham has been having issues with his ankle the past couple of weeks and will be a game-time decision this Sunday night, but I’m not going to buy into all this stuff about it limiting his play. The kid is as tough as it gets and if he ends up throwing on the cleats—which I believe he will—then he’s going to kick some serious ass after putting up a less than mediocre three games in a row. For what it’s worth, Graham says he’s good to go and for me, that’s good enough to get him in my lineup. He also tends to play really well against AFC teams as he averaged 6.3 receptions, 85.3 yards and one TD against them last year, so in a game that looks to be the biggest shootout of the week, I’d ignore all the hoopla about his ankle and start him over whoever else you have. You should definitely check to make sure that he’s active on Sunday night, but if he plays, believe me, he’s going to dominate.
2. Rob Gronkowski (@ StL) – Gronk has started to make a dent on the fantasy totem pole as he currently sits in second place for TE fantasy points per game. It took a little while, but for those of you who drafted him high, it must have been worth the wait. This week the Patriots travel across the pond to play the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium in London, England. What sort of toll a trip like this takes on the big guy, I have no idea. But what’s considerably more worth wondering about is how the absence of Aaron Hernandez (ankle; didn’t travel, out for the game) will affect his game as it’s already been a factor in three games this season. You would THINK Gronkowski would do better not having to share targets, but in the four weeks Hernandez played in this year, Gronk actually put up three of his best four fantasy games with the other one coming against the defensively inept Buffalo Bills. Still, with the Patriots needing a win to stay atop the division, you’d have to think Bill Belichick would lean on the guys who helped them to a 13-3 record last season. Gronk was undoubtedly one of those guys.
3. Heath Miller (vs. Was) – Big Ben Roethlisberger continues to dote on tight end Heath Miller, with his most recent editorial stating that Miller is the “best all-around tight end in the league… no doubt about it.” To those of us who live in a fantasy world, it doesn’t really matter whether he’s right or wrong. What matters is that Roethlisberger continues to target him like a top-tier tight end, particularly in the red-zone where Miller is at his best scoring five TDs in the Steelers six games this season. Heath currently ranks third in fantasy points per game and I have no doubt he’ll stay at LEAST that high after playing a Redskins defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this weekend.
4. Tony Gonzalez (@ Phi) – Despite enjoying a Week 7 bye, Gonzo still leads all tight ends in both targets (54) and receptions (43) this year and trails Rob Gronkowski by just four yards for the league lead in that category as well. He’s the oldest tight end in the league (36) with at least one reception beating out Dallas Clark (33) by three and a quarter years. Absolutely amazing! Yes, this new, up-tempo Falcons offense certainly has something to do with his resurgence, but who cares! This week he’ll take on an Eagles defense that has been very good in containing tight ends, but Tony G hasn’t had a problem with beating teams like this in the past as he’s put up double-digit fantasy points against a couple of different top-ten defenses against TEs already this season.
5. Brent Celek (vs. Atl) – Celek isn’t having quite the year I thought he would, but he STILL ranks seventh in the league in fantasy points per game for tight ends. He’s getting the targets as well coming in at over seven per game, so you know the Eagles and Michael Vick know his worth to this offense. Still, a few more TDs and big-yardage games would be nice. This week he’ll take on a Falcons team that has allowed at least five receptions to a tight end in each of their last three games, with none of them being quite of Celek’s caliber (Greg Olsen, Fred Davis and Brandon Myers). The Eagles need a win in a big way here, so you can bet they’ll go to the players they know they can trust in this one. Brent is one of those guys and coincidentally, he also happens to be a much better fantasy player at home so if you’re an owner who’s been down on Celek lately, know that this is the week he turns it around for you.
6. Antonio Gates (@ Cle) – Gates is being targeted enough at this point to have made more of a fantasy dent than he has. With his talent, seven passes thrown your way each game should equate to a top-5 fantasy status—which he isn’t at right now coming in with the ninth-most fantasy points per game this week. However, after a nice bye week to rejuvenate his bones, I believe we’ll see a different player from here on out. His last game against Denver was clearly his best of the year catching six passes for 81 yards and two TDs but more importantly, he looked REAL good doing it. Cleveland is normally real good against tight ends, but if both Brent Celek and Jermaine Gresham can do well against them (as they did earlier in the season), then I like Antonio to go a bit off in this one.
7. Vernon Davis (@ Ari - Monday Night) – Even though Vernon has been held in check two of the last three weeks, he’s still too talented and too big a factor in the 49ers offense to deny him this top-10 slot. The Arizona Cardinals have been outstanding against opposing tight ends this year allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to them through seven weeks of the season, but Davis will undoubtedly be more involved than usual this week with the Cardinals rush D likely to force Alex Smith to pass a bit this Monday. When the 49ers beat the Cards last year, Davis caught five balls on 10 targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. In their loss, Davis only caught one of his three targets for 32 yards. Do you really think Jim Harbaugh and the ‘Niners coaching staff don’t know this?
8. Coby Fleener (@ Ten) – Fleener was predicted to be one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets this season after being drafted out of the same school (Stanford) as him during the offseason, but he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations just yet. If there is one game on the schedule where he can finally fulfill the prophecy, this is it. The Titans have allowed not only the most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season, but also the most REAL points as well giving up almost a full five touchdowns per week (34 points/game). There’s not a lot to go on here besides the statistics in front of you, but the numbers sure do say a lot. His first touchdown of the year could be forthcoming.
9. Greg Olsen (@ Chi) – There’s a lot to say for players going up against a team that either traded them away or flat out dumped their ass. Olsen was never worthy of a pink slip, but a couple of years ago, the Bears OC Mike Martz felt like Olsen’s set of skills didn’t quite fit their offense so he decided to trade him away to the Carolina Panthers. OH MY do the Bears wish they had that one back. Not that Olsen is a top-tier tight end in the league, but he’s certainly better than what they have right now (no offense to Kellen Davis). Last year when Carolina visited Chicago, Olsen took a little revenge on his former team by catching five passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. However awesome the Bears defense is this year, they still have trouble with the tight end position allowing the second-most receptions (6.8) and twelfth-most fantasy points to them per game. With a bunch of things working in his favor, Olsen seems worth a chance this week.
10. Kyle Rudolph (vs. TB - Thursday Night) – Wow! I’m having a bit of trouble trying to figure this kid out and how he fits into the Vikings offense, especially after his zero-catch/zero-fantasy points day this past Sunday. I realize the Vikings didn’t need to pass the ball at all in order to win the game, but a season-low four targets can’t make fantasy owners feel very optimistic. This week he’ll face off against a Bucs pass D that is merely so-so against tight ends, so we’ll see if Kyle can have himself a bounce-back game. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings were talking about getting their big, sure-handed tight end more involved in the offense, so I’m going to choose to believe their sentiment still holds water and say that Rudolph is worth playing this week against the Bucs, but I’m not exactly confident that he’ll put up anything more than high-end TE2 numbers. With his prowess in the red-zone, however, he definitely has the upside of a TE1. Final Numbers: 2 catches - 17 yards - 0 TDs Ugggh!
Tight Ends 11-25
11. Jason Witten (vs. NYG)
12. Martellus Bennett (@ Dal)
13. Dustin Keller (vs. Mia)
14. Joel Dreessen (vs. NO - Sunday Night)
15. Brandon Pettigrew (vs. Sea)
16. Jared Cook (vs. Ind)
17. Dwayne Allen (@ Ten)
18. Jacob Tamme (vs. NO - Sunday Night)
19. Anthony Fasano (@ NYJ)
20. Brandon Myers (@ KC)
21. Jermichael Finley (vs. Jax)
22. Rob Housler (vs. SF - Monday Night)
23. Lance Kendricks (vs. NE)
24. Logan Paulsen (@ Pit)
25. Ben Watson (vs. SD)
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