Whether you need a tight end because a guy is hurt, on bye this week, or simply hasn’t been playing well, there are plenty of reasons why owners may be turning to the free agent pool for their Week 12 starter. Below are the three guys who are available in at least 50 percent of fantasy leagues that I believe can help owners in Week 12.
John Carlson, Minnesota Vikings
Carlson has played well in two games since taking over the starting tight end job for injured Kyle Rudolph. In two games as Minnesota’s TE1, the Notre Dame product has caught 12 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. Carlson has been targeted seven times in each of the last two games, and he’s averaging just under 14 yards per catch over that span as well. The Green Bay Packers have been pretty good against tight ends recently, allowing just 11 total fantasy points to tight ends in the last four weeks, but the Vikings are running low on receiving options (Greg Jennings is still questionable with a hamstring, Jerome Simpson is in the dog-house, and the Vikings can’t figure out how to use Cordarrelle Patterson), and it should be another busy game for Carlson. Carlson is available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues and in 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
The Titans tight end has caught a touchdown pass in three of his last four games, and is fifth among all tight ends with five scores this season. Walker had 14 catches and 153 yards in the Titans last two games, and is now 10th among tight ends in total fantasy points. The Oakland Raiders have given up the sixth most receiving touchdowns to tight ends, and they were absolutely victimized last week by Garrett Graham to the tune of seven catches, 136 yards and a touchdown. Walker is available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues and in 58 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and is in the same tier as guys like Martellus Bennett, Coby Fleener and Charles Clay, who are all owned in way more leagues than Walker is.
Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
Graham finally had the breakout game we’ve all been waiting for last week; he caught seven passes for 136 yards and a touchdown and scored 17 fantasy points against the Raiders. He got off to a hot start this season, catching three touchdown passes in the first four games of the season, and many people believed that he would keep the production coming after Owen Daniels went down with a season ending injury. Instead, he hit a wall; Graham scored just 11 points total in the five games between last week and week four.
However, Graham emerged last week as a focal point in the Texans offense — he was targeted 12 times in the game including nine times by Case Keenum before he was pulled in the third quarter — and he has a great chance at keeping the momentum rolling this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Graham is available in 72 percent of ESPN leagues and in 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues and is the No. 1 tight end available in at least 50 percent of leagues.