Fantasy Football Playoffs: Finding That Hidden TE Gem

1 of 6

Top Tight End Pickups For Week 15

gronk
Joe Toth-US Presswire

After the 2011 season, the fantasy football world was raving about the emergence of the tight end position. The fact that Rob Gronkowski has been on the shelf for the past three weeks, but still remains the #1 ranked tight end shows what an analogy the position has in 2012. In all likelihood, at least six of the top-10 drafted tight ends will fail to live up to their production from last season. In addition, four of the likely top-10 finishers will be players who frequently went undrafted.

The average draft position at the tight end position was significantly lower before it skyrocketed to record heights in 2012. The trend was justified when last season’s tight end production rivaled that of many high-end wide receivers. This may prove to be a one year wonder with the exception of Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, as nobody has been able to make the jump to their elite status. I anticipate next season’s draft position to return to what we have come to expect from the tight end position.

With fantasy owners struggling to find any consistency, I have compiled a list of candidates that will likely produce for you in Week 15. These tight ends may prove to be valuable down the stretch in the fantasy playoffs. When they best of the best meet in the final weeks of the season, the outcome regularly comes down to just a few points. All of these players are available in 60% or more of ESPN leagues.

2 of 6

Brandon Myers, Oakland Radiers

BrandonMyers
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Myers (35.1% owned): Myers has been the most targeted tight end over the past three weeks and has the fourth most receptions of anyone at the position this season. Somehow, he is still available in nearly two-thirds of leagues. He has alternated solid performances with disappearing acts every week since Week 8. Last week, he was shut out of the fantasy scoreboard, as he managed just one catch and seven yards. The Oakland Raiders will take on the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, a team that Myers caught four passes for 49 yards against earlier in the season. Myers has emerged as the second best target in the Oakland offense since then and can expect moderate success on an elevated number of targets compared to their last meeting. Kansas City has allowed touchdowns to the last two heavily-involved tight ends that they faced (Jacob Tamme and Greg Olsen). All four of Myers touchdowns have come during his seven home contests this year.

Week 15 projection: 8-80-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12+ team leagues; TE1

3 of 6

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

DennisPitta
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Pitta (29.5% owned): Pitta has begun to reemerge in a Baltimore Ravens offense that will feature a new offensive coordinator next week. This may cause Pitta’s role in the offense going forward to be unknown and make him a somewhat risky play this week, I have faith. The team is in prime playoff position and would not have made a switch unless they were comfortable doing so. Baltimore’s offense is much more dynamic at home this week and they will welcome in the Denver Broncos this week. Pitta is consistent with that trend and has caught more touchdowns at home this season despite having played fewer games at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore will be without Ed Dickson so there will be plenty of opportunities for Pitta in what should be a relatively high-scoring game.

Week 15 projection: 5-55-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12+ team leagues; low-end TE1

4 of 6

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars

MarcedesLewis
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Marcedes Lewis (20.5% owned): Lewis has been one of the top targeted and top scoring fantasy tight ends over recent weeks but is still generally available. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was stifled by a New York Jets defense that knows the team’s playoff hopes rest squarely on their shoulders. The Miami Dolphins defense has not been particularly generous to opposing tight ends and is stingy about letting them into the end zone. Lewis has been more effective on the road this season and his recent success does warrant your consideration.

Week 15 projection: 6-60-0

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12+ team leagues; high-end TE2

5 of 6

Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dallas Clark
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Clark (5.2% owned): In Week 15, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a New Orleans Saints defense that Clark already beat for five catches, 51 yards and a TD this season and that ranks last against tight ends over the past five weeks. New Orleans is allowing 13.1 points per game over that span, totaling 30 catches, 353 yards and five touchdowns. Clark could be a solid candidate for a spot start if you are in need or have become frustrated with the inconsistency of the tight end position this season. He has found the end zone three times in his last five games, and may do so again on Sunday in what should be a high-scoring affair.

Week 15 projection: 6-45-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 14+ team leagues or TE2

6 of 6

Garrett Graham, Houston Texans

graham
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Garrett Graham (0.2% owned): Jon Gruden may hand out exaggerated compliments like it’s his job, but he paid one Graham on Monday night. The broadcaster could have easily ignored the inactive Graham, but Gruden called him “extremely talented.” There is some truth behind it and there is a possibility that it may be on display in Week 15. The Houston Texans, who just took a very public beating on Monday, will face the Indianapolis Colts who rank last in the NFL at defending tight ends. Over the last five weeks, the Colts have surrendered 342 yards and five touchdowns to opposing tight ends. The way that the Texans and Colts defenses have been playing, this game could end up with a point total in the 60’s. Graham practiced all week before his concussion forced him into inactivity last week. Another week removed from his injury, Graham can expect to see at least five balls thrown his way next week. All three of Graham’s touchdowns have come at home this season.

Week 15 projection: 3-35-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 14+ team leagues or TE2

1 of 6

Top Tight End Pickups For Week 15

gronk
Joe Toth-US Presswire

After the 2011 season, the fantasy football world was raving about the emergence of the tight end position. The fact that Rob Gronkowski has been on the shelf for the past three weeks, but still remains the #1 ranked tight end shows what an analogy the position has in 2012. In all likelihood, at least six of the top-10 drafted tight ends will fail to live up to their production from last season. In addition, four of the likely top-10 finishers will be players who frequently went undrafted.

The average draft position at the tight end position was significantly lower before it skyrocketed to record heights in 2012. The trend was justified when last season’s tight end production rivaled that of many high-end wide receivers. This may prove to be a one year wonder with the exception of Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, as nobody has been able to make the jump to their elite status. I anticipate next season’s draft position to return to what we have come to expect from the tight end position.

With fantasy owners struggling to find any consistency, I have compiled a list of candidates that will likely produce for you in Week 15. These tight ends may prove to be valuable down the stretch in the fantasy playoffs. When they best of the best meet in the final weeks of the season, the outcome regularly comes down to just a few points. All of these players are available in 60% or more of ESPN leagues.

2 of 6

Brandon Myers, Oakland Radiers

BrandonMyers
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Myers (35.1% owned): Myers has been the most targeted tight end over the past three weeks and has the fourth most receptions of anyone at the position this season. Somehow, he is still available in nearly two-thirds of leagues. He has alternated solid performances with disappearing acts every week since Week 8. Last week, he was shut out of the fantasy scoreboard, as he managed just one catch and seven yards. The Oakland Raiders will take on the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, a team that Myers caught four passes for 49 yards against earlier in the season. Myers has emerged as the second best target in the Oakland offense since then and can expect moderate success on an elevated number of targets compared to their last meeting. Kansas City has allowed touchdowns to the last two heavily-involved tight ends that they faced (Jacob Tamme and Greg Olsen). All four of Myers touchdowns have come during his seven home contests this year.

Week 15 projection: 8-80-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12+ team leagues; TE1

3 of 6

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

DennisPitta
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Pitta (29.5% owned): Pitta has begun to reemerge in a Baltimore Ravens offense that will feature a new offensive coordinator next week. This may cause Pitta’s role in the offense going forward to be unknown and make him a somewhat risky play this week, I have faith. The team is in prime playoff position and would not have made a switch unless they were comfortable doing so. Baltimore’s offense is much more dynamic at home this week and they will welcome in the Denver Broncos this week. Pitta is consistent with that trend and has caught more touchdowns at home this season despite having played fewer games at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore will be without Ed Dickson so there will be plenty of opportunities for Pitta in what should be a relatively high-scoring game.

Week 15 projection: 5-55-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12+ team leagues; low-end TE1

4 of 6

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars

MarcedesLewis
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Marcedes Lewis (20.5% owned): Lewis has been one of the top targeted and top scoring fantasy tight ends over recent weeks but is still generally available. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was stifled by a New York Jets defense that knows the team’s playoff hopes rest squarely on their shoulders. The Miami Dolphins defense has not been particularly generous to opposing tight ends and is stingy about letting them into the end zone. Lewis has been more effective on the road this season and his recent success does warrant your consideration.

Week 15 projection: 6-60-0

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12+ team leagues; high-end TE2

5 of 6

Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dallas Clark
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Clark (5.2% owned): In Week 15, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a New Orleans Saints defense that Clark already beat for five catches, 51 yards and a TD this season and that ranks last against tight ends over the past five weeks. New Orleans is allowing 13.1 points per game over that span, totaling 30 catches, 353 yards and five touchdowns. Clark could be a solid candidate for a spot start if you are in need or have become frustrated with the inconsistency of the tight end position this season. He has found the end zone three times in his last five games, and may do so again on Sunday in what should be a high-scoring affair.

Week 15 projection: 6-45-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 14+ team leagues or TE2

6 of 6

Garrett Graham, Houston Texans

graham
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Garrett Graham (0.2% owned): Jon Gruden may hand out exaggerated compliments like it’s his job, but he paid one Graham on Monday night. The broadcaster could have easily ignored the inactive Graham, but Gruden called him “extremely talented.” There is some truth behind it and there is a possibility that it may be on display in Week 15. The Houston Texans, who just took a very public beating on Monday, will face the Indianapolis Colts who rank last in the NFL at defending tight ends. Over the last five weeks, the Colts have surrendered 342 yards and five touchdowns to opposing tight ends. The way that the Texans and Colts defenses have been playing, this game could end up with a point total in the 60’s. Graham practiced all week before his concussion forced him into inactivity last week. Another week removed from his injury, Graham can expect to see at least five balls thrown his way next week. All three of Graham’s touchdowns have come at home this season.

Week 15 projection: 3-35-1

Recommendation: Worth a look in 14+ team leagues or TE2


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