Fantasy Football

Week 17 lineup calls: Tight ends

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Michael Harmon

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

We’re in the final throes of the 2010 regular season, the glorious finale to what has been one of the more confusing and topsy-turvy in recent memory.

Changes to rules and their enforcement, multi-back systems, quarterback carousels and coaches on the hot seat are a few stories that have captured our attention.

Top Tight Ends

(Other than Jason Witten, Marcedes Lewis, Vernon Davis)

Owen Daniels vs. Jacksonville

Daniels did not practice Wednesday (knee), so we’ll need to monitor his progress as the weekend approaches. However, he stands as a top option this week if available. Daniels has caught a total of 17 passes for 209 yards in the past three weeks with a touchdown. Teammate Andre Johnson’s ankle may limit him (or keep him out altogether), thereby putting Daniels in line for a huge target count.

Should Daniels be forced out of this game, make the pickup of Joel Dreessen, who has filled in admirably for Daniels in the past.

Jacob Tamme vs. Tennessee

Tamme has played through myriad injuries in recent weeks while retaining a sizable role in the offense. He’s caught four or more passes in each of the past nine games. Tamme’s yardage totals leaves you wanting, as he’s averaged only 37.4 yards per game. However, his target count means everything, as the Colts rate third in scoring offense at 27.5 points per game.

Zach Miller at Kansas City

Miller is finally healthy, and his target count and output have returned to normal levels. He’s caught 17 passes in the past three weeks for 173 yards and a touchdown. Miller is on the board as a prime play against the 20th-ranked Kansas City pass defense (225.6 yards and 1.5 touchdowns allowed per game). Kansas City may sit a number of starters this week, while the Raiders are hungry to finish at .500 and sweep the division.

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Kevin Boss at Washington

Boss was shut out last week and contributed to one of the turnovers against Green Bay. He’s on the board this week with Hakeem Nicks sidelined because of a toe injury. Boss has caught touchdown passes in five of the past eight games and remains one of Eli Manning’s most trusted targets in the red zone.

Tony Gonzalez vs. Carolina

Gonzalez remains a solid PPR option for fantasy owners, having caught multiple passes in every game this season (4.3 per game). Unfortunately, he’s averaged only 40.2 receiving yards per game with five touchdowns. One of those touchdown receptions came in Week 14 against these Panthers (four receptions for 28 yards). With a defense of the top seed and the division title on the line, I anticipate a strong effort from the Atlanta offense this weekend. The future Hall of Famer will be involved.


Jimmy Graham vs. Tampa Bay

Graham has emerged as a red zone beast for the Saints in the past two weeks (three touchdowns). He’s caught multiple passes in six of the past seven games while averaging 31.4 receiving yards. The Saints still have a shot at winning the NFC South, so look for the high-octane offense to rev it up at home against the Buccaneers. New Orleans scored 31 points in the first meeting.

Rob Gronkowski vs. Miami

Fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez is still banged up, and the starting wideouts may be limited in their reps, if they play at all. Enter “Big” Rob Gronkowski and his red zone dominance. He’s caught multiple passes in only seven games this season, but his role expands here. Gronkowski caught three passes for 43 yards with a touchdown in the first meeting with the Bills.

Randy McMichael at Denver

McMichael has piled up nine receptions in the past three weeks, including a strong five-reception, 55-yard effort against the 49ers in Week 15. With Antonio Gates still sidelined (as is Malcom Floyd), McMichael retains a sizable role in the offense for the finale. Philip Rivers threw four touchdowns in the first meeting with the Broncos.


Kellen Winslow at New Orleans

Winslow has scored four touchdowns in his past four games and had one taken off the board following an errant pass interference call (the NFL’s apology rings hollow). He’s also caught multiple passes in all but one game this season, so he’s definitely a low-end TE1 start.

However, this is a tough spot. The Saints have surrendered only 11 passing touchdowns all season and have limited opposing passers to 191.3 yards per game. Start him for the high target count (seven receptions for 43 yards in the first meeting), but temper your expectations.

Chris Cooley vs. New York Giants

Cooley made a case for Rex Grossman as the 2011 starter in Washington. That should get him a bunch of pass targets this weekend in the finale and perhaps an opportunity to atone for his dropping a sure touchdown last week. Cooley is a strong option in PPR leagues, and his target count certainly rates a play in standard set-ups. However, he’s topped 60 receiving yards just six times this season and his red zone opportunities have been few (three touchdowns).

Ben Watson vs. Pittsburgh

Watson remains a top option for Colt McCoy, thereby keeping him in line for a potential TE1 slot this week. He caught six passes for 88 yards with a touchdown in the first meeting, a 28-10 loss on the road. Watson rolled his ankle in Week 16 against the Ravens and finished with three receptions for 22 yards. I’m not so much concerned about the ankle. I’m just anticipating heat on McCoy to force the ball out. So, while he may amass a decent reception total, I don’t anticipate sizable yardage output.

Tagged: 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, Josh Reed, Clinton Portis, Antonio Bryant, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Matt Bryant, Shaun Hill, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Fargas, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, 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, Willie Parker, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Brandon Jones, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Troy Williamson, Joel Dreessen, Dave Rayner, 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, Owen Daniels, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, Hank Baskett, 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, Gijon Robinson, 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, Ryan Torain, Jacob Tamme, 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, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Albert Young, Garrett Hartley, Rashad Jennings, James Casey, 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, Kahlil Bell, 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, Brody Eldridge, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, Boobie Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster, Max Hall, Lance Ball

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