Fantasy Football: The Tight End Shuffle
Injuries have hampered some of the top tight ends in fantasy football this season, and this week has been no different with Aaron Hernandez (ankle) not traveling with the New England Patriots to London for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams and Fred Davis of the Washington Redskins being out for the season with an Achilles’ injury he suffered in Week 7.
Jimmy Graham (ankle) of the New Orleans Saints is again a game-time decision for this week against the Denver Broncos after missing last week’s game. That is an even bigger headache for his fantasy owners this week since he does not play until Sunday night, and those that lack another option would be wise to find one and strongly consider using it regardless of Graham’s status.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been dealing with a hip injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. He does not appear to be in any danger of missing any action and he is the highest scoring tight end in most (I’m hesitant to say all) fantasy leagues right now, so at least his fantasy owners can still fairly confidently use him each week.
But owners that are left without Hernandez, Davis or potentially Graham have to be seeking a backup option if they don’t already have one. The Patriots have a bye in Week 9, so Hernandez should be able to at least get closer to 100 percent and be ready to roll down the stretch for his fantasy owners. Graham seems much more iffy for down the road at this point, especially since New Orleans has had their bye week, and certainly playing at less than 100 percent healthy may lead to his role being reduced or his injury being re-aggravated.
So who can fantasy owners that have seen their tight end depth altered by injuries like I have mentioned or poor production in plenty of other cases turn to at this point? Here is my list of the top options likely to be available in most leagues, followed by current ownership percentage for each guy in Yahoo! leagues.
1. Joel Dreessen, Denver Broncos- (24%)
2. Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- (11%)
3. Anthony Fasano, Miami Dolphins- (7%)
4. Ben Watson, Cleveland Browns- (2%)
5. Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos- (44%)
6. Lance Kendricks, St. Louis Rams- (2%)
7. Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills- (36%)
8. Logan Paulsen, Washington Redskins- (3%)
9. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts- (3%)
10. David Thomas, New Orleans Saints (2%)
The appeal of any of these guys as potential waiver wire additions is tied to league size and to what a fantasy owner has on their roster for other tight ends. Owners in deep leagues that own Graham or owned Davis may find some value in Thomas and Paulsen as backup options, but most others are probably ok to not give them a second look right now.
It’s also possibly there is someone available in your league that has slipped through the cracks due to a prior injury or a bye week, so be sure to be aware of those if you have to add a tight end over the next few weeks. Most of the 10 I have listed have already had their bye week, with Watson, Kendricks and Paulsen as the exceptions.
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