Fantasy Football

Stay away from Miller, Celek

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Michael Harmon

Mike is a fantasy contributor for>>

Harmon Rankings: QB, RB, WR, TE/DEF

As you awoke from your tryptophan-induced comas late on Thursday night, you saw that a large number of points were scored in the three NFL games. Once you watched the highlight packages, you probably sought out someone to confirm that the events showcased therein were real.

Have you seen any more improbable the fumbles from Shonn Greene and Mark Sanchez?

The Patriots scored 21 points in a span of 52 seconds, including two defense/special teams touchdowns.

Could you believe how many balls Brandon Pettigrew failed to corral and how valuable Tony Scheffler was to that Detroit effort?

Is there a worse rule than that which kept Jim Schwartz from challenging the Justin Forsett touchdown run?

Why was Tim Tebow active with broken ribs?

Fantasy owners celebrated the touchdowns scored by tight ends Dustin Keller and Owen Daniels while marveling at the pinball-like numbers put up by the quarterbacks (even Sanchez had 301 passing yards). Let’s put the Thursday games in the rear view mirror and crack open another edition of “Lineup Calls.”


(Exclude Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, Aaron Hernandez)

Vernon Davis at NO
Davis finally returned to the end zone in Week 11 following a lengthy absence. He caught six of his eight targets for 83 yards, his highest yardage total since Week 5. Look for a strong follow-up performance this week against the New Orleans defense, a unit that has surrendered the most fantasy points to quarterbacks (10th-most points allowed to tight ends). I expect big things from Colin Kaepernick in his second start against this defense. The Saints will gamble to try to disrupt him, and that will afford opportunities for big plays downfield. Kaepernick’s ability to get to the edge and extend plays will allow Davis to scrape off his blocks and find space in the secondary.

Antonio Gates vs. BAL
Gates failed in a big spot during the Week 11 loss to Denver, the most generous defense to tight ends this season. He caught just two of his four targets for 17 yards, thus ending his brief two-game scoring streak.

The Ravens have allowed the 13th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends and a single touchdown pass. Therefore, it’s hardly a slam dunk in this tough home game against the Ravens. However, Philip Rivers is going to need his big tight end involved if the Chargers are to hold serve.

Jermaine Gresham vs. OAK
The Bengals play the Raiders this week, do I need to write any supporting material? Gresham has caught three or more passes in every game this season, including two six-reception efforts in the past three weeks. The Raiders have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends, ceding an average of 5.3 receptions, 50.8 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game.

Brandon Myers at CIN
The Raiders keep throwing the ball. They can’t run consistently and they can’t play defense. Myers have been targeted an average of 6.7 times per game by Carson Palmer, producing five receptions and 55.4 yards per game. He’s also scored three touchdown passes in the past two weeks.

Cincinnati has been strong against opposing passing games overall, but have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends (five receptions and 57.2 yards allowed per game, on average).

Greg Olsen at PHI
Olsen was held in check by the Buccaneers last week, producing two receptions on six targets for 42 yards. He’s caught multiple passes in eight straight games and remains a top option for Cam Newton (6.9 targets per game).

Tight ends have had little success this season against the Eagles, generating just 25 receptions. However, those receptions averaged 18.8 yards with three touchdowns.

Martellus Bennett vs. GB
Bennett’s has been virtually invisible in the New York offense since his hot start to open the season. He hasn’t scored in seven games and has topped 40 receiving yards just once during that period. However, Bennett’s still a heavy-targeted option by Eli Manning, having registered 26 targets in the past four weeks.

Like the Eagles chronicled above, the Packers don’t surrender a ton of receptions to tight ends (just 24 to date). Tight ends have, however, averaged 49 receiving yards per game. The Bye week allowed Bennett, Hakeem Nicks and other vital members of the New York passing attack to get healthy. We may be treated to a shootout on Sunday night.


Scott Chandler at IND
Chandler has been more involved in the Buffalo offense of late. He’s produced 30 receiving yards or more in three consecutive games (10 receptions). Chandler’s averaged 5.3 targets and 38 receiving yards per game (five touchdowns).

It’s certainly not an easy spot, as the Colts have surrendered just the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends (3.2 receptions and 38.4 yard per game with three touchdowns).

Kyle Rudolph at CHI
Rudolph finally got back on the board for fantasy owners in Week 11. He caught 7-of-9 targets for 64 yards and scored his sixth touchdown of the season against the Lions. Obviously, his inconsistency makes him a difficult play against the Chicago defense, but the Bears have actually been pretty generous to tight ends. And, I’m not just referring to Vernon Davis’ reemergence in Week 11. Opposing tight ends have averaged six receptions and 55.3 receiving yards per game.

Tony Moeaki vs. DEN
I tabbed Moeaki as a “sleeper” before the season. He’s finally awakened in the Chiefs’ past three games. The third-year tight end from Iowa registered 57, 68 and 73 receiving yards against the Raiders, Steelers and Bengals, respectively.

He’s in a good spot for a high target count this week against the Denver defense. The Broncos have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends (5.9 receptions, 66.7 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game). Injuries to Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin put Moeaki on the board for another sizable target count here as the Chiefs try to keep pace with Peyton Manning.


Heath Miller at CLE
Miller was a red zone beast early in the season, but he brings a three-game scoreless streak into this week’s game. His two-reception, 22-yard performance in Week 11 was his lowest yardage output since Week 2. Miller remains a solid red zone performer, but owners must question how effectively Charlie Batch will be able to lead this squad. Additionally, the Browns have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

Brent Celek vs. CAR
The Panthers have been strong against opposing passing games overall, but have been fairly generous to tight ends (11th-most fantasy points allowed). However, Celek has hardly been the model of consistency in the Philadelphia offense. He’s scored a single touchdown this season and has not eclipsed 50 receiving yards since Week 4. Fans in need of a back-TE1 can take some solace in his five-game run of performances during which he produced between 31 and 47 receiving yards (33 yards or fewer in three of those games). I’d look for upside elsewhere.

Jared Cook vs. JAC
Cook scored his first touchdown since Week 5 in the Titans’ 37-3 drubbing of the Dolphins. The 26-yard touchdown grab was his only reception of the day. Cook’s been targeted four or more times in 9-of-10 games this season, but has topped 60 receiving yards only twice.

The Jaguars have allowed the 18th-most fantasy point to tight ends (5.9 receptions and 56.2 yards per game). There’s a chance that this game opens up with Jake Locker and Chad Henne flinging the ball around. If that happens, Cook holds some value and a bit of upside. He’s still no better than a mid-TE2 on my board.

Kicker Plug-Ins

Mike Nugent vs. OAK
The Raiders rank dead-last in points allowed, surrendering an eye-popping average of 32.2 points per game. It’s been positively painful to watch at times. Opposing kickers are averaging 3.7 PATs and 2.1 field goal conversions per game to lead the NFL.

Cincinnati is ranked 12th in scoring entering Week 12. Kicking behind Andy Dalton’s offense, Nugent has been a consistent, albeit unspectacular, fantasy option. He’s converted multiple PATs in 8-of-10 games, but has converted multiple field goals in only five contests.

Adam Vinatieri vs. BUF
Vinatieri has quietly posted fantastic fantasy numbers this season. He’s converted multiple field goals in three of his past four games (six overall) and multiple PATs on seven occasions. This reads as a high-scoring affair in Indianapolis with frequent Vinatieri appearances. Opposing kickers have converted only 11 field goals against the Bills, but have slammed through 38 PATs. Take the strong point base.

Robbie Gould vs. MIN
Gould was shut out of the field goal column for the first time this season by the 49ers. He’d converted multiple field goals in seven of the Bears’ first nine games. Obviously, Gould’s value is tied directly to the status of Jay Cutler.

The Vikings have allowed the 19th-most fantasy points to kickers, including 16 field goals. Look for a better defensive effort from Chicago against Christian Ponder, thereby tilting field position and giving Gould multiple field goal tries.

Defense Plug-Ins

Denver at KC
Following an inspired effort against the Steelers in Week 10, the Chiefs were throttled by the Bengals last week. Kansas City has surrendered 31 turnovers and 23 sacks this season to yield the most fantasy points to opposing D/ST units. The Broncos lead the NFL with 35 sacks and should be able to get after the quarterback here.

Cincinnati vs. OAK
Carson Palmer returns to Cincinnati for a date with the Bengals, winners of two straight games. The Bengals rank third in the NFL in sacks (31) and have been effective against opposing passing games. We can reasonably expect Andy Dalton and the Bengals to put up points against the porous Oakland defense, thereby allowing the Cincinnati pass rush to go to work. Palmer has averaged two turnovers per game in the past six weeks.

St. Louis at ARI
The upper-tier St. Louis pass rush takes aim on rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley and the low-scoring Arizona offense (16.3 points scored per game) this week. The Rams rank fourth in sacks with 29, while the beleaguered Arizona offensive line has surrendered a league-leading total of 44 sacks.

Most recently, Arizona did little to capitalize on the handful of interceptions thrown by Matt Ryan in Week 11. Unfortunately, the Cardinals have been unable to get the ball into Larry Fitzgerald’s hands consistently. This week, he’ll draw coverage from Cortland Finnegan.

Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Lions, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Vikings, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Panthers, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Tony Gonzalez, Adam Vinatieri, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Heath Miller, Robbie Gould, Vernon Davis, Tony Scheffler, Scott Chandler, Martellus Bennett, Brandon Myers, Jared Cook, Tony Moeaki, Tim Tebow, Andy Dalton

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