Fantasy owners lined up their tight end plays for Week 13 with a ton of wishing and hoping. For the most part, those dreams and wishes didn’t come true.
Nine tight ends scored in Week 13. Fantasy owners had their faith in Antonio Gates was rewarded with a second-half touchdown reception. Vernon Davis also found the end zone. Otherwise, you saw such luminaries as Brandon Manumaleuna, John Gilmore and Leonard Pope score.
Will things return to form in Week 14? And, what is “form” in this wild 2010 season?
Top Tight Ends
(Other than Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis)
Jason Witten vs. Philadelphia
Witten ended a confusing drive with a touchdown reception in Week 13, his first since Week 8. However, he’s been a huge option for Jon Kitna in the past three weeks, racking up a total of 19 receptions for 189 yards. I’m calling for a shootout this week in Dallas.
Tony Gonzalez at Carolina
Gonzalez did hurt his ankle in Week 13 against the Buccaneers, thereby limiting his production to three receptions and 38 yards. We’ll be watching his status as kickoff approaches, but early indications are that the future Hall of Famer will be ready to take the field. He’s caught three or more passes in eight games since season (multiple receptions in each game). The Falcons will ground-and-pound with Michael Turner, but his early success will afford Gonzalez ample space over the middle.
Chris Cooley vs. Tampa Bay
Cooley hasn’t been world-beating this season, but he’s been a consistent target for Donovan McNabb. He’s caught three or more passes in 11 games this season with 60 or more receiving yards in five contests. Take the strong matchup against the banged-up Tampa Bay secondary.
Ben Watson at Buffalo
Watson was a huge Week 13 hero against the Dolphins with a ridiculous 10-reception, 100-yard performance. He’s been on the radar for fantasy owners in PPR leagues this season, having caught three or more passes in nine games. Watson stands as the top option for Jake Delhomme this week against Buffalo (1.8 touchdowns allowed per game).
Brent Celek at Dallas
Celek has certainly not delivered for fantasy owners as we’d anticipated during the draft season. However, he’s been targeted 15 times in the past two weeks, amassing seven receptions for 105 yards. As such, he’s on the radar here for a huge spot in a divisional matchup against the Cowboys. I expect this to be a high-scoring contest, thereby creating opportunities downfield.
Ed Dickson at Houston
With Todd Heap sidelined early because of a hamstring injury against the Steelers, Dickson became a frequent target for Joe Flacco. He was targeted seven times and finished the game with three receptions for 21 yards. Dickson represents a sneak play on Monday night against the sieve-like Houston pass defense.
Owen Daniels vs. Baltimore
Daniels was on the practice field earlier this week, and the Texans hold out hope that he’ll be able to finish out the final four weeks well. Joel Dreessen has performed well, but doesn’t represent the same threat and matchup problem down the seams. Obviously, he’s a risky play on numerous levels. If Daniels is unavailable, let’s slide Dreessen back into this slot.
Tony Moeaki at San Diego
With Matt Cassel likely sidelined this week, Brodie Croyle slides back into the starter’s role. That portends to a huge opportunity for Moeaki this week. He’s healthier than he’s been in some time and stood as one of few bright spots in what was an otherwise lackluster 10-6 game against the Broncos. He caught four passes for 54 yards in Week 13 and should assume a large role here.
Pettigrew is virtually an “unbenchable” (it’s a word in the fantasy realm) player, having caught multiple passes in 11 consecutive games. He’s caught four or more passes in nine different games this season. However, Pettigrew’s end zone romps have been infrequent (three) and Drew Stanton faces a daunting task against the Packers. Pettigrew did catch eight passes for 91 yards in the first meeting, and we can reasonably expect frequent targets. That makes him a play, but I’m cautious about his ceiling.
Dustin Keller vs. Miami
Keller was unable to replicate his Week 2 heroics against the Patriots in the Monday night debacle, generating just three catches for 27 yards. For be fair, he’s recorded multiple receptions in every game this season, but that’s little comfort to disappointed fantasy owners. He’s topped 60 receiving yards only once since Week 3 and hasn’t scored since Week 4.
That is what makes his placement here so difficult. He logged six receptions for 98 yards in Week 3 against this Miami unit and scored twice. However, it’s clear that Keller is a lower priority in the passing game right now and that Mark Sanchez is looking elsewhere. Keller may break through for the first time in seemingly forever, but I’m not banking on it.
Visanthe Shiancoe vs. New York Giants
We keep waiting for Shiancoe to break through and become a consistent performer for the Vikings. It’s time to acknowledge that the ship has sailed. Shiancoe has recorded multiple receptions in seven consecutive games, but has scored only once since the opener. He’s a risky play down the stretch, as Shiancoe was a non-factor in Week 13 with Tarvaris Jackson under center (two receptions for 17 yards).