1. Rob Gronkowski, NE vs. DEN
Two 100-yard games out of four makes for a very triumphant return from injury for Rob Gronkowski. He has scored in back-to-back weeks and is already fourth on the team in redzone targets. Denver has held opposing tight ends to only three touchdowns but no team has allowed more yards to the position this season. Gronk is running up the league stat charts at an alarming pace and retakes his place at the top of the tight end rankings for week 12.
2. Jimmy Graham, NO @ ATL
Injuries are starting to catch up with Jimmy Graham as he's dealing with both foot and elbow issues but nothing cures what ails you like a game against the surprisingly terrible Atlanta Falcons. Graham has played well against the Falcons with six scores in seven career games including 45 yards and a score in their week one matchup this season. Only five teams have allowed more touchdowns to opposing tight ends than the Falcons so even if Graham is mildly hobbled he is still a great play for his abilities in the red zone.
3. Vernon Davis, SF @ WAS
Vernon Davis's yardage totals have been a bit of a roller coaster ride this season with five games under 55 yards. He's made up for it nicely by being a beast in the redzone with a team leading 13 targets and five touchdowns. He has a great matchup this week against a weak Redskins defense that has allowed the third most scores to opposing tight ends this season. His nose for the endzone this season makes him a must start each week no matter what his yardage totals end up being at the end of the game.
4. Jordan Cameron, CLE vs. PIT
Pittsburgh has been a tough opponent for opposing tight ends this season as they only allowed one score through the first eight weeks and no 100 yard games. Since week nine that story has changed as they've allowed two scores in the last three weeks and a 143-yard game to Rob Gronkowski. Jordan Cameron has struggled a bit under Jason Campbell the last two weeks but is still the number two receiving target with 12 targets in the last two weeks. If he takes another step back after this week we might have to re-evaluate but he's still too talented to bench at this point.
5. Antonio Gates, SD @ KC
Antonio Gates got back on the scoreboard last week against the Dolphins and was targeted six times in the loss. His numbers have come back to earth for the past few weeks and he hadn't set foot in the endzone since week four against Dallas. This week he faces a tough Kansas City defense but Gates has continually made the Chiefs look foolish with 13 touchdowns in 16 career games against them. No team has allowed fewer scores or allowed fewer yards to opposing tight ends this season but the way Gates has been rejuvenated this season he is still a TE1 this week despite the tough matchup.
6. Tony Gonzalez, ATL vs. NO
Everyday Tony Gonzalez has to wake up and say to himself, "I delayed retirement for this?" The Falcons have lost four games in a row now and were blown out by an equally as terrible Buccaneers team. This week they face a gritty New Orleans defense that has only allowed three tight end scores all season and only six teams have allowed fewer yards to the position. Gonzo is still far and away Matt Ryan's top redzone target with 16 targets, eight more than Harry Douglas and the now Julio Jones. Ryan will be flinging the ball a lot in this game as the Falcons try to keep up with the Saints so expect Gonzo to get plenty of looks.
7. Jason Witten, DAL @ NYG
Jason Witten soldiers on as a year in year out consistent performer as a fantasy tight end and this season is no different. Through 10 games he has four scores and two 100-yard games including three games of 10 targets. The Giants have been very good against opposing tight ends only allowed four scores and two games of over 65 yards. Fortunately for Witten he played well in their week one matchup with eight receptions for 70 yards and two scores. Wiiten is only two redzone targets behind team leader Dez Bryant and is the clear number two receiving option with 72 targets, 22 two more than Terrance Williams.
8. Greg Olsen, CAR @ MIA
Greg Olsen has stepped up his game over the last couple weeks especially in the red zone as he's reached pay-dirt three times in four weeks. The Dolphins struggle to cover opposing tight ends as only three teams have allowed more scores to the position. Six different tight ends have scored against them this season and they have allowed three games of 81 yards or more receiving. Olsen is one redzone target behind team leader Steve Smith, is tied with him with six receptions but leads the Panthers with four redzone scores. As the Panthers try to push their win streak to seven games look for Olsen to continue to be heavily involved in the offensive zone.
9. Charles Clay, MIA vs. CAR
Miami isn't fooling anyone as their offense is far from prolific but Charles Clay has carved out a nice little niche for himself as the Dolphins top red zone target in the passing game with nine targets, seven receptions and three scores. The Panthers pass defense has been very tough this season especially against tight ends as they've only allowed two games of over 80 yards and no games over 100 yards to the position. They have allowed five scores which is puts them in the middle of the pack for scores against which feeds right into Clay's strengths. This isn't going to be a high scoring game but if there is a fantasy starter in the Dolphins passing game it's Clay because of his prowess near the goal line.
10. Julius Thomas, DEN @ NE
Julius Thomas is a bonafide fantasy starter but he drops significantly in the rankings this week because of the knee injury he suffered against the Chiefs. His status is top secret and if he doesn't suit up on Sunday night your options will be limited. (Hint, see the sleeper section below). If he starts due to the action coming his way from Peyton Manning he's an obvious start with touchdowns in eight of 10 games and two 100-yard outings so far this season. The Patriots haven't been pushovers against opposing tight ends and outside of a 149 game by Tony Gonzalez they haven't allowed anyone to go for more than 61 yards. Plan to start Thomas but have a plan in place.
Joel Dreessen, DEN @ NE
Good news first, Joel Dreessen has a 100% completion record in the redzone with a touchdown. That's one reception but damn he caught it and it counts. Joel doesn't go near anyones starting roster unless Julius Thomas sits because of his knee injury. If that happens since the game is on Sunday night your options are severely limited so you best bet is to rely on the guy who hopefully can get some of Thomas's normal touches. Dreessen isn't a sure-fire bet as all three backup tight ends for Denver have seen about the same amount of action which is nearly nothing but in a small capacity he's shown Peyton that he can be trusted, especially near the end zone. Start praying now to Rumpel-Pigskin, the god of fantasy football that Thomas plays, but have Dreessen in the wings if necessary.
Coby Fleener, IND @ ARI
Since they played together at Stanford the hope was that Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener would pick right back up where they left off but that sadly hasn't been the case. But in the last two weeks Fleener has started to pick up more chunks of the offense and has 20 targets in those two games including 107 receiving yards last week against Tennessee. This week he goes up against Arizona who is tied with the Vikings for the most touchdowns allowed to tight ends and second highest receiving yards to the position behind the Broncos. With his increased workload and an weak opponent he makes a very good sleeper pick for this week and could even extend that into solid fantasy numbers for the rest of the season.