1. Jimmy Graham vs. DAL
It is safe to say that Jimmy Graham has cemented himself as the clear overall number one tight end. Despite playing with a damaged plantar fascia tendon in his foot, he has posted back-to-back two touchdown games. He even managed to haul in nine passes for 116 yards this past weekend. Only seven teams have allowed more tight end touchdowns than Dallas and only two teams have allowed more yards per game to the position. If you ignore his Week 6 abomination, when he was hurt and held without a catch; Graham is averaging 7-107-1.4.
2. Vernon Davis vs. CAR
Carolina's defense has been an absolute beast. Only Kansas City has allowed fewer points on the season. Not to mention, that no team (including KC), has allowed as few of points over their last three games. This week they visit Vernon Davis, who has scored in five of seven starts. Carolina has allowed a minuscule seven passing touchdowns, but four of those have gone to tight ends. This suggests that as usual, Davis will be the best threat for the 49ers through the air. The 49ers will also get a boost to their receiving options as Marion Manning ham returns this week. This should help open up the middle of the field for Davis.
3. Antonio Gates vs. DEN
Denver has allowed only two tight end touchdowns on the season, but they have allowed the second-most yards to the position. Over his last three games versus the Broncos, Gates has averaged 5-49-1. Gates is currently averaging 6-69, but he has scored only twice. This will be a high scoring game. Denver and their opponents are combining to score an average of 70 points per game. With this many points in play, I would not bet against Gates crossing the stripe.
4. Jordan Reed @ MIN
Only Arizona has allowed more tight end scores than Minnesota. Of course, six of those seven touchdowns did come over the first three weeks. Jordan Reed has been a find for both the Redskins and the fantasy community, scoring and/or topping 50 combo yards in every game he has played in since Week 2.
5. Julius Thomas @ SD
San Diego held Jordan Reed in check last week, limiting him to 4-37. This is becoming the trend for the Chargers. Since allowing three tight end touchdowns to Houston Week 1, they have allowed an average of 3.4-35 to the position. Thomas on the other hand has been absolutely automatic, scoring in six of eight games. He left the Week 8 game with an ankle injury, but the MRI came back negative. Early reports have him practicing this week, so he should be ready for this game. I must be honest though, against this defense, if he is limited you are hoping for the score, because he might not play a full complement of snaps. Plus, Denver has so many weapons on offense that they won't have to worry about putting Thomas into too much harms' way.
6. Tony Gonzalez vs. SEA
Seattle has dominated against opposing wide receivers, thanks in part to their dominant cornerbacks. This has led opponents to throw more to their tight ends. Seattle has allowed 52 tight end receptions, which ranks third most in the league. This strategy can work, as last week Tim Wright posted 4-58-1 against them. Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas remain the last men standing in Atlanta. This has equated to an average of 6.6-77 on nine targets per game for Gonzo over his last five. Atlanta will have no chance of stopping Russell Wilson's offense. Since Atlanta will be behind early, they will need to throw the ball. This should mean lots of opportunities for Gonzalez.
7. Heath Miller vs. BUF
As god awful as Buffalo has been against opposing wide receivers, they have actually been tough against tight ends. Only one tight end has recorded more than four receptions against them. He was also the only one to top 38 receiving yards against them. So why am I ranking Heath Miller so high? Well first off, two of the top five tight ends in the league are on bye this week. Secondly, Miller has actually been getting targeted by Ben Roethlisberger (six times per game). Lastly, the last three weeks, Buffalo has allowed three tight end touchdowns. Miller is not going to rack up a lot of yards, but he has always been a red zone threat. In 96 career games he has 90 red zone targets.
8. Garrett Graham @ ARI
Arizona is light years worse than the next team when it comes to covering opposing tight ends. They've allowed an unfathomable average of 8-102, and ten touchdowns to the position thus far. Case Keenum is proving adept at throwing the ball deep, but he also has found Garrett Graham. In his two starts (coinciding with Graham taking over for Owen Daniels), Keenum has targeted Graham 14 times. He has racked up a total of only 7-84 over those two starts, but he is being targeted. Against this pansy defense the targets will equal success.
9. Jason Witten @ NO
Last week, Jason Witten got to face one of the worst teams in the league in covering tight ends. This week he faces one of the toughest. In what seems like an every year occurrence, Witten remains top five amongst tight ends in receptions, yards, and targets. He also has secured four touchdowns. This isn't going to be an easy game for him, but you aren't benching him under any circumstances. Tony Romo is going to need to utilize Witten if he wants to keep his team in the game. That alone is reason to trust the veteran.
10. Tim Wright vs. MIA
The former wide receiver has scored in back-to-back games and he has averaged 4.6-49 over his last five games. With no legitimate secondary receiving option behind Vincent Jackson, Mike Glennon has fixated on the 6'4" rookie tight end. Miami has allowed six tight end scores this year. They are also allowing an average of 4.8-61 to the position.
1. Coby Fleener vs. STL
Well someone woke up the Rams' secondary. After starting the season as a laughingstock, they have turned it around. Over their last three games, no team has allowed fewer passing yards. This makes up only slightly for their getting beat like a gong the first six games. Fleener has received ten targets over the last two games, as he assumes some of the slack from the loss of Reggie Wayne. Over those games he also has eight catches, 102 yards, and a touchdown. St. Louis has allowed only two tight ends to score a touchdown, and only one has topped 50 yards. So temper your expectations here, but with Darrius Heyward-Bey also questionable for this week someone has to catch Andrew Luck's passes.
2. Zach Miller @ ATL
The Atlanta Falcons are atrocious against the pass. On a weekly basis, the tight end position doesn't get ignored in the systematic dismantling of this secondary. They have faced only two premium pass catching tight ends this year and they both scored against them. Of course, even the non-premium tight ends are scoring against them, six in total. Miller has 15 targets over the last three weeks, catching ten of them. If he continues to be active in Russell Wilson's progression he could be a nice sleeper this week.