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Week 7 lineup calls: Tight ends
As we approach Week 7, fantasy owners are auditioning new options at the tight end position.
Longtime fantasy hero Dallas Clark (Week 7 bye) is out for the season because of a hand/wrist injury. Visanthe Shiancoe has disappeared in recent weeks (see the "Flops" section below), and several other tenured options have been wildly inconsistent this season.
Unfortunately, fantasy owners don’t have the luxury of plugging in Owen Daniels, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler or Dustin Keller this week, as the Texans, Lions and Jets also take their bye week.
That leaves the fantasy community digging a little bit deeper while hoping for redemption for heroes past.
Top 5 Tight Ends
(other than Antonio Gates or Vernon Davis)
Zach Miller at Denver
Miller’s scoring streak ended at three games last week against the 49ers, finishing the loss with two receptions for 48 yards. I won’t bank on an appearance in the painted grass this week, but I’m anticipating that he see a very heavy workload. Kyle Boller (if he plays) will check down with great regularity.
Brent Celek at Tennessee
The Titans rank first in terms of sacks administered to opposing quarterbacks. The Eagles’ offensive line has struggled markedly this season. With DeSean Jackson sidelined, I believe we see additional releases and check-downs to Celek. He hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but this appears to be a decent spot against an aggressive defensive front.
Chris Cooley at Chicago
Cooley is expected to play this weekend against the Bears after sustaining a concussion against the Colts. He’s resumed his typical PPR production for fantasy owners, having caught three or more passes with two touchdownsin five of six games. The Bears don’t give an inch in the red zone (three passing touchdowns allowed), but opponents do have success moving the ball between the 20s.
Jeremy Shockey vs. Cleveland
Is he a weekly fantasy hero? No. But Shockey is worth a look-see this weekend against Cleveland. He caught three or more passes in each of the Saints’ first five games (two for 21 yards last week). Shockey has averaged 41.2 receiving yards per game with two touchdowns. Cleveland allows 228.8 passing yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game.
Aaron Hernandez at San Diego
As expected, the Patriots worked to get the ball into Hernandez’s hands in the post-Moss era. He caught four passes for 61 yards, adding one carry for 18 yards against the Ravens. Hernandez has caught four or more passes in four consecutive games. The Chargers rank first in passing defense, allowing 163.7 yards per game with 21 sacks. The pressure up front will force Tom Brady to get the ball out quickly, and that portends to a big day for Hernandez.
Tight End Sleepers
Ben Watson at New Orleans
Watson caught Colt McCoy’s first touchdown pass last week against Pittsburgh. He finished the game with six catches for 88 yards. Watson represents a solid pickup for fantasy owners (perhaps those Dallas Clark owners will turn in this direction), as the veteran tight end has caught three or more passes in every game this season (53 yards per game). Look for the rookie quarterback to connect frequently with his trusted tight end frequently again this week.
Tony Moeaki vs. Jacksonville
Moeaki didn’t offer much in the shootout loss to Houston (two catches for 21 yards), but he did run his streak of multi-reception games to five. The Jacksonville pass defense has been abysmal this season, thereby putting Matt Cassel and his receivers on the radar for a big day.
Todd Heap vs. Buffalo
Heap scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 6 while posting his fifth game with at least three receptions. He returned to practice on Thursday, so early concern about his neck following the big hit from Brandon Meriweather has subsided (check back Sunday morning). Heap is worthy of a start this week against Buffalo. He’s been targeted four times in the red zone (a respectable number) and 36 times overall. Joe Flacco has his three-man rotation in the passing game, so we can reasonably expect that Heap piles up another 6-8 looks this week.
Tight End Flops
Visanthe Shiancoe at Green Bay
Shiancoe started the 2010 season with a flurry. He’s been virtually invisible in recent weeks, as the red zone behemoth has been forced to serve as a blocker. In fact, Shiancoe wasn’t targeted at all in Week 6. Taken further, Shiancoe has been targeted only once in the red zone all season.
Kellen Winslow vs. St. Louis
Winslow has been much more involved in the offense since the Buccaneers’ Week 4 bye. He’s caught 13 passes in the past two weeks for a total of 118 yards. However, I don’t know how much he factors into the mix this week for fantasy owners in non-PPR leagues. Winslow has a tweaked knee (he missed practice Wednesday). I’m looking at the fact that he’s seen only two red zone targets to date as the reason for dropping him down here.