Week 11 lineup calls: Tight ends

BY foxsports • November 19, 2010

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

The tight end position has been absolutely maddening this season.

Fantasy owners banking on huge efforts from Jermichael Finley and Dallas Clark watched those heroes shelved because of injuries. Brent Celek has all but disappeared from the Philadelphia passing attack.

Of the preseason heroes, only Antonio Gates has delivered huge numbers, and he’s currently dealing with a foot injury. Your top touchdown scorers at the position include Marcedes Lewis, Rob Gronkowski and Dustin Keller. Four players are then tied with four touchdowns, including Vernon Davis.

Lewis and Keller have tremendous opportunities in Week 11. Who joins them among the leaders?

Top Tight Ends

(Other than Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis and Jacob Tamme)

Dustin Keller vs. Houston

Unfortunately, fantasy owners don’t receive bonus points under the category of “big catches to extend drives on third down.” Keller has been quieted in recent weeks, producing just one game with more than 60 receiving yards in his past six starts. He last scored in Week 4 against Buffalo when he snagged two touchdown grabs.

This is obviously a tremendous spot in Week 11 against a Houston defense that has been gashed on a weekly basis. To his credit, Keller has caught multiple passes in every game this season (52.4 receiving yards per game).

Brandon Pettigrew at Dallas

Pettigrew didn’t extend his scoring streak to three games in Week 10, but he did register four receptions for 50 yards. He’s recorded multiple receptions in eight consecutive games and has topped 40 receiving yards on five occasions. The Dallas pass defense has surrendered 20 passing touchdowns this season.

Marcedes Lewis vs. Cleveland

Lewis remains a trusted option for David Garrard. He’s caught multiple passes in every game this season, including four games with at least 50 receiving yards. He’s a great option this weekend against the Browns, a defensive unit that surrenders 245.3 passing yards and 1.9 passing touchdowns per game.
 

Todd Heap at Carolina

The Ravens possess a glorious opportunity against Carolina. Joe Flacco has been dominant in recent weeks, and this offense is certain to receive several short-field opportunities off the defensive effort against Brian St. Pierre.

Heap has caught multiple passes in eight of nine games, including seven games of at least three receptions. He’s topped 40 receiving yards on five occasions with four touchdowns in the past four weeks.

Zach Miller at Pittsburgh

Miller returns from his foot injury against the banged-up Pittsburgh pass defense. The Raiders have seemingly found a deep threat in rookie Jacoby Ford, and Louis Murphy is also ready to get back into the starting lineup. With the Pittsburgh defensive front banged up, the linebacking corps will need to cinch up to slow Darren McFadden. As such, Miller should have opportunity to operate over the middle. He’s a borderline “must-start” option when healthy.

Sleepers

Benjamin Watson at Jacksonville

Watson rebounded from back-to-back feeble weeks with a five-reception, 74-yard effort in the overtime loss to the Jets. That performance gives me more confidence to take a shot with Watson against the Jacksonville pass defense (272.3 passing yards and 2.1 passing touchdowns allowed per game). Watson has caught four or more passes in seven of nine games this season.

Jermaine Gresham vs. Buffalo

Gresham posted a huge game for the Bengals in their Week 9 loss to Indianapolis. He caught nine passes for 85 yards and scored for the first time since Week 5. I’ll put him on the radar for owners seeking a substitute for Antonio Gates (see below). Gresham has caught multiple passes in every game this season (with six games of at least four receptions). He hasn’t dominated on a weekly basis, but this is a nice spot against a Buffalo defense that has allowed 18 passing touchdowns.

Randy McMichael vs. Denver

McMichael substituted for an injured Gates in Week 9 and scored two touchdowns in a great matchup against the Texans. He’s on the radar this weekend with Gates still ailing from his foot injury. Given that this is a Monday night matchup, McMichael warrants a pickup as an insurance card. The Broncos have allowed 16 passing touchdowns.

Flops

Jason Witten vs. Detroit

Witten was expected to be a huge target in Week 10 against the Giants. Instead, he was held back as a blocker and caught only one pass for seven yards. I’m not so sure that the formula doesn’t stay the same this week against the Lions and Ndamukong Suh. It’s a great matchup on paper, and he warrants a lower-end TE1 consideration. Just don’t be surprised if you receive smallish returns.

Tony Gonzalez at St. Louis

Gonzalez continues to roll up receptions (multiple receptions in every game this season), but his yardage totals have been smallish in most weeks with infrequent red zone opportunities. He’s recorded more than 41 receiving yards twice this season with three touchdowns.

Chris Cooley at Tennessee

Cooley caught three passes in Week 10 against the Eagles, but he couldn’t grab a huge share of Donovan McNabb’s frantic efforts in garbage time. He’s topped 60 receiving yards only once since Week 2. I question whether Cooley will need to help support the offensive line to slow the Tennessee pass rush (27 sacks).


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