Fantasy Football

Week 12 lineup calls: Tight ends

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Michael Harmon

Mike is a fantasy contributor for FOXSports.com.MORE>>
 
   
 

Lineup calls: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | D/ST

The tight end position has been a disappointment this season.

Other than Antonio Gates (when healthy) and the touchdown heroics of Marcedes Lewis, fantasy owners have been left to play the matchup game, plug-and-play options on the wire and try to determine whether target counts are enough to warrant a starting slot.

Injuries decimated the upper-tier of the predraft list, while several other would-be heroes have disappeared from the radar.

Top Tight Ends

(Other than Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis, Jacob Tamme and Marcedes Lewis)

Brandon Pettigrew vs. New England

Pettigrew hasn’t become the dominant red zone option that we anticipated, but he continues to pile up high target counts in the pass-happy Detroit offense. He’s caught three or more passes in eight of his past nine games (48.7 yards per game overall). Look for more opportunities as Detroit seeks to keep pace with Tom Brady. Kevin Boss vs. Jacksonville

Boss’ two-game mini-scoring streak ended last week with a two-catch, 22-yard effort against the Eagles. I expect Boss to figure more prominently this week against the bottom-tier Jacksonville pass defense given the myriad of injuries affecting the receiving corps. You have Mario Manningham, Boss and several brand-new options. As such, I anticipate a big run from the tight end.

Todd Heap vs. Tampa Bay

He’s not overwhelming, but he’s consistent. Heap has caught three or more passes in eight of 10 games this week, including six games with at least 40 receiving yards. He remains Joe Flacco’s most trusted target and will be in line for another big effort this week.

Chris Cooley vs. Minnesota

Cooley caught seven passes for 91 yards against the Titans, his fifth game this season with at least five receptions. He’s averaged 55.4 receiving yards per game and, although his red zone opportunities have been infrequent, Cooley’s high weekly target count makes him a fantasy starter.
 

Zach Miller vs. Miami

Miller returned to action in Week 10 and was quieted by the Steelers (two receptions for nine yards). He was affected by his foot injury in the second half, so we’ll need to monitor his status until kickoff. Still, if available, he warrants consideration against a struggling Miami defense.

Sleepers

Rob Gronkowski at Detroit

Put the red zone beast on the radar against the Lions. He’ll split the workload with Aaron Hernandez, as always, but we can certainly anticipate multiple red zone possessions for the Patriots in this one. Gronkowski ranks second third among tight ends with six touchdown receptions and will figure prominently in this game.

Michael Hoomanawanui at Denver

Hoomanawanui has recorded multiple receptions in four consecutive games. He’s also scored twice during this period and has become a top target for Sam Bradford. Hoomanawanui represents a strong plug-in option against a struggling Denver pass defense.

Bo Scaife at Houston

Scaife caught four passes in each of the Titans’ past two games and has recorded multiple receptions in nine of 10 games. I’ll throw him on the radar with Rusty Smith under center, as the check-down options at running back and tight end figure prominently into the offense with an inexperienced quarterback.

Flops

Jason Witten vs. New Orleans

Witten caught four passes for 48 yards in Week 11, a nice up-tick from his one-catch, seven-yard performance of Week 10. Still, I can’t rate him as anything more than a low-end TE1 option against the aggressive New Orleans pass defense. The Saints have performed well against the pass, particularly in the red zone, and are getting healthy at the right time. New Orleans will work to make Jon Kitna move in the pocket, and that might mean more work in pass protection for Witten.

Tony Gonzalez vs. Green Bay

Gonzalez is a solid and safe play for fantasy owners, having caught four or more passes in three straight games (six overall). However, he’s scored just three touchdowns this season and has topped 60 receiving yards twice. Gonzalez might see a few opportunities over the middle as the Packers attack Matt Ryan, but I’m not expecting huge production here.

Kellen Winslow at Baltimore

As with Gonzalez, you can anticipate a decent target total and a few receptions from Winslow each week. You can also expect few red zone targets and low receiving yardage totals. Winslow has finished three games with more than 60 receiving yards and has scored once. Take the sure points in a PPR league. Leave him by the wayside in standard formats.

Tagged: Joel Dreessen, James Casey, Jacob Tamme, Brody Eldridge, Gijon Robinson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Albert Young, Garrett Hartley, Rashad Jennings, David Buehler, Javon Ringer, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Julian Edelman, Sammie Stroughter, Shonn Greene, Brandon Tate, Mike Wallace, Jared Cook, Deon Butler, Mike Thomas, Brian Hartline, Louis Murphy Jr., Austin Collie, Johnny Knox, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Knowshon Moreno, Josh Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Donald Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Beanie Wells, Mohamed Massaquoi, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Michael Bennett, Kareem Huggins, Jimmy Clausen, Rob Gronkowski, Arrelious Benn, Dez Bryant, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Aaron Hernandez, Jahvid Best, Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham, Ed Dickson, Garrett Graham, Montario Hardesty, Dennis Pitta, Brandon LaFell, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, Anthony Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster, Max Hall, Josh Reed, Antonio Bryant, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Justin Fargas, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Brandon Jones, Troy Williamson, Dave Rayner, Hank Baskett, Ryan Torain, Kahlil Bell, Lance Ball, Michael Vick, Jay Feely, Sammy Morris, Neil Rackers, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sellers, Phil Dawson, Joey Galloway, Charlie Batch, Jason Hanson, Donald Driver, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell, Joe Nedney, Derrick Mason, Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Sebastian Janikowski, Marc Bulger, Olindo Mare, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk, Adam Vinatieri, Jake Delhomme, Ricky Williams, Kerry Collins, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, David Akers, Correll Buckhalter, Thomas Jones, Kris Brown, Hines Ward, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Terrell Owens, Rian Lindell, Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Smith Sr., John Kasay, Fred Taylor, Todd Heap, Brandon Stokley, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Maurice Morris, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Matt Bryant, Shaun Hill, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Kevin Walter, Josh Brown, Justin Gage, Seneca Wallace, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Clifton Smith, Matt Schaub, Julius Jones, Devery Henderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Lee Evans, Steven Jackson, Michael Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Nate Kaeding, Bernard Berrian, Chris Cooley, Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Patrick Crayton, Jerricho Cotchery, Mewelde Moore, Michael Turner, Lawrence Tynes, Wes Welker, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Alvin Pearman, Darren Sproles, Roydell Williams, Bo Scaife, Rob Bironas, Josh Cribbs, Leonard Weaver, Nate Washington, Robbie Gould, Lance Moore, Ryan Grant, Greg Camarillo, Tarvaris Jackson, Jerious Norwood, Maurice Stovall, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Vernon Davis, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Laurence Maroney, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Joseph Addai, Kellen Clemens, Greg Jennings, Anthony Fasano, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Scheffler, Marques Colston, Jeff King, Bruce Gradkowski, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, Miles Austin, Fred Jackson, Chansi Stuckey, Kenneth Darby, Ahmad Bradshaw, Le'Ron McClain, Steve Breaston, Kevin Boss, Dante Rosario, Brent Celek, Legedu Naanee, Troy Smith, Nick Folk, Mason Crosby, Steve Smith, Brian Leonard, Jacoby Jones, Laurent Robinson, James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Trent Edwards, Michael Bush, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshawn Lynch, Brady Quinn, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Greg Olsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Kolb, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Dwayne Jarrett, D.J. Ware, Matt Prater, Matt Moore, Pierre Thomas, Eldra Buckley, Jackie Battle, Jonathan Stewart, Joe Flacco, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Dustin Keller, Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas, Jordy Nelson, John Carlson, James Hardy, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Fred Davis, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, Ray Rice, Chad Henne, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Lex Hilliard, Pierre Garcon, Chaz Schilens, Justin Forsett, Adrian Arrington, Tashard Choice, Keenan Burton, Tim Hightower, Jalen Parmele, Jacob Hester, Earl Bennett, Jamaal Charles, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas, Steve Slaton, Jermichael Finley, Mario Manningham, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter

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