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Week 3 lineup calls: Tight ends
I don’t know that I’ve seen the waiver wire roll over at such a frequent pace in the past.
Myriad NFL coaches are already switching up the quarterback position of their respective teams, thereby making potential fantasy heroes out of new receivers and tight ends. Some fantasy owners are already cutting bait on sluggish, would-be stars after only two weeks.
Patience is a virtue, so they say, but owners aren’t buying it. They’re seeking the next diamond in the rough or looking for a quick-fix to a depth or injury issue. Mike Vick, Mike Tolbert and Brandon Jackson stand as the top three waiver heroes thus far.
The tight end position is also undergoing change, as owners try to determine the long-term value of their draft-day “sleepers” and late-roster fillers. Do you swap it up, or stay the course?
Let’s see which of the 2010 risers crack this week’s “Lineup Calls.”
Top 5 Tight Ends
(other than Antonio Gates, Jermichael Finley, Vernon Davis, Dallas Clark, Visanthe Shiancoe, Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez)
Chris Cooley at St. Louis
Cooley has returned from his 2009 season-ending injury in a big way. He’s already amassed nine receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown. Cooley caught each of the three passes for which he was intended in Week 2 against the Texans (including the touchdown strike). He’s a strong play this week against the Rams.
Celek has been quiet through the first two weeks, putting up just five receptions for 57 yards thus far. I’m expecting to see more of Celek in the weeks ahead, starting with this week’s trip to Jacksonville. He was targeted five times by Michael Vick in Week 2 against the Lions, and I suspect that he equals or betters that target total this weekend. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin will be able to stretch the field against the Jacksonville secondary, thereby creating space for Celek over the middle.
Dustin Keller at Miami
Keller rebounded from a rough Week 1 to produce a huge effort in the Jets’ Week 2 win over New England. He caught seven passes for 115 yards in the victory, and clearly stands as Mark Sanchez’s top option.
He’ll be active again this weekend against the strong Dolphins in the short game. Keller caught eight passes for 76 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 of the 2009 season.
Owen Daniels vs. Dallas
Daniels has been quiet in the first two weeks (three receptions for 33 yards), but his workload has been increasing. He’s running more routes and should see more opportunities downfield against the Cowboys. Dallas surrendered 80 receiving yards to Chris Cooley in Week 1, and we watched Greg Olsen sprint 39 yards to paydirt in Week 2. Daniels will be active in what promises to be a high-scoring and highly-entertaining game.
Zach Miller at Arizona
Welcome to the starting role, Mr. Gradkowski. Your downfield receivers, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey, welcome your willingness to stretch the field. Miller was targeted four times in Sunday’s narrow win over St. Louis, hauling down three catches for 49 yards. I don’t anticipate a huge scoring blast out of the Oakland offense this weekend, but I do expect Gradkowski to move the ball.
Tight End Sleepers
Tony Moeaki vs. San Francisco
Moeaki has emerged as the top option for Matt Cassel early this season. He’s amassed eight receptions for 79 yards and scored in the opener against the Chargers. Moeaki is on the radar this weekend in the short passing game against the aggressive San Francisco defense that comes into Kansas City hungry for a win. He was targeted 10 times last week. I anticipate another high target count this weekend.
Aaron Hernandez vs. Buffalo
Hernandez has become a favorite underneath target for Tom Brady. He caught a 45-yard pass in the opener, and then racked up 101 receiving yards on six receptions in the Week 2 loss to the Jets (including a 46-yard reception). Look for Brady and company to open the passing game up this weekend in front of the home crowd.
Tight End Flops
Kellen Winslow vs. Pittsburgh
Winslow has caught four passes from Josh Freeman in back-to-back games, and I suspect that he remains a highly-targeted option this weekend against Pittsburgh. As such, Winslow remains worthy of a look-see in PPR leagues. However, I’m not anticipating a big game from anyone on the Buccaneers this weekend (except perhaps Connor Barth). Start him, but don’t expect big returns.
Heath Miller at Tampa Bay
Miller caught two passes for just three yards in Week 2 against the Titans. I expect him to be somewhat more active this weekend against the Buccaneers, but he’s a difficult play until Ben Roethlisberger gets back under center. I still anticipate that we see a huge workload from Rashard Mendenhall and that the passing game leaves us wanting. Charlie Batch may surprise us and work the ball downfield, but I can’t anticipate a big effort here, and depth at the tight end position puts Miller on the outs this week.
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