Special to FV by Harley Schultz- LeagueSafePost.com
1. Rob Gronkowski @ HOU
Rob Gronkowski scored last week giving him three straight with a touchdown. He also bumped his abbreviated season average up to 6-86.5. This game also marked the first time all season where Gronk has played every snap. Houston has allowed six tight end touchdowns, including two in the last three games. Those went to Rob Housler and Mychal Rivera, Gronk is light-years better than both of them combined. I'd be really surprised if this game didn't make four in a row.
2. Jimmy Graham @ SEA
Jimmy Graham scored last week, and in the process of dunking the football, managed to bend the goalposts completely out of whack. For him, the goalposts were about as easy to bend out of shape as the defense he abused repeatedly. This week he faces a much tougher opponent (and hopefully reinforced goalposts) in Seattle. Graham has topped 100 yards six times this year. Seattle has not allowed a single tight end to top 72 yards, and only three have topped 60 yards. They also have only allowed three tight end touchdowns. Seattle has had an extra week to plan for New Orleans. I would think they would have probably watched some of the footage of how the Patriots shut him down with Aqib Talib. Kam Chancellor has the size and height to defend, and perhaps more importantly tackle, Graham, but don't be surprised if Richard Sherman spends a fair amount of time covering him as well. Obviously you are not benching Graham but perhaps keep your expectations slightly in check.
3. Jason Witten vs. OAK
Oakland gave up tight end touchdowns in each of their first three games. Then they turned things around and kept four straight tight ends out of the end zone. Since then, they have allowed three different tight ends to cross the stripe once again, over their last four games. Despite allowing these six scores they have only faced three upper-tier tight ends all year. Antonio Gates, Garrett Graham, and Julius Thomas combined to average 6-82 against them. Those three accounted for two of those six scores allowed. Witten has scored in two of his last three, while being targeted 23 times. I just don't see how Oakland will be able to contain him.
4. Jordan Cameron vs. JAX
Remember eight weeks ago when Jordan Cameron was everyone's favorite emerging young tight end? Through his first four games, Cameron had 30 catches, 360 yards, and five touchdowns. In the seven games since he has only 29 catches, 301 yards, and one score. A lot of this can be attributed to a lack of being in tune with Jason Campbell. Yet even more can be attributed to teams actually paying attention to him, especially in the red zone. In those first four games he was targeted ten times in the red zone. Since then he has been targeted six times in the red zone, including only once in the last four games. Jacksonville is beatable by tight ends. Only two teams have allowed more touchdowns to the position. They are also allowing an average of 6-68 to the position. I think Cameron gets back on track, especially if Brandon Weeden gets the start. In the six games where Weeden has played significant minutes, Cameron has two touchdowns and he has averaged eight targets, five catches, and 65 yards.
5. Jordan Reed vs. NYG
Of course this ranking is depending on Jordan Reed getting fully healthy. Reed missed Monday night's game due to a concussion. The Giants are allowing 5-55 to the tight end position. They also have given up seven tight end touchdowns. This includes two last week to Jason Witten. Those two were the first two they had allowed since Week 5 versus Philadelphia. So they may not be as bad as these numbers indicate. Reed has been on fire when he has been healthy. If he can go he should produce some good yardage even if he doesn't get into the end zone.
6. Julius Thomas @ KC
Speaking of injured tight ends with high upside for this week…I present for you r enjoyment, Julius Thomas. Thomas scored and hauled in three passes for 43 yards two weeks ago versus Kansas City. This was one of only two tight end scores Kansas City has allowed this season. Thomas has ten touchdowns in ten games played. If he is healthy, he needs to be in your starting lineup even against a tough defense. If he misses another game, consider Jacob Tamme a top ten play with less upside in his stead.
7. Martellus Bennett @ MIN
Minnesota is allowing 5-56 to opposing tight ends. They also have allowed the second most tight end touchdowns (nine). Martellus Bennett scored last week, marking only the second time since Week 2 that he has scored. Of course that Week 2 matchup was against these very same Vikings. In that game he posted 7-76-2 on a Minnesota squad that had a much healthier secondary than they have today.
8. John Carlson vs. CHI
Chicago has allowed 6-76 to opposing tight ends. This is the third most yards allowed by any defense to the tight end position. The Bears have only given up three scores to opposing tight ends, but the yards alone make Carlson a decent play. Carlson has 25 targets over the last four weeks. He also has 19 catches, 226 yards, and a touchdown during that span.
9. Delanie Walker @ IND
Erik Walden was suspended for last week's game after head-butting Delanie Walker two weeks ago. Perhaps he was frustrated with the fact that Delanie had lit up the Colts for 10-91-1 on ten targets. Well his suspension is up, and he will be back on the field to face that same Titans offense once again. Ryan Fitzpatrick really seems to have found a special weapon in Walker. Over the last three weeks, Fitzpatrick has targeted him 27 times. This has allowed him to post an impressive 6-66 average over that span. He also has scored twice during this three week fling.
10. Brent Celek vs. ARI
This is the required start-whichever-tight-end-you-can-pick-up-as-a-free-agent-versus-the-Cardinals play-of-the-week. Brent Celek has scored in Week 1, Week 5, and Week 9. I'm noticing a trend. Week 13 would be the next in that series if Celek keeps up the every four week scoring run. Arizona has allowed the most receptions, the most yards (by nearly 100 yards), and the most touchdowns (by four) to the tight end position. For those looking to stream tight ends the rest of the way; Arizona faces St. Louis (Jared Cook), Tennessee (Delanie Walker), and Seattle (Zach Miller) the next three weeks. There is a halfway decent chance all four of these guys are on your waiver wire.
1. Anthony Fasano vs. DEN
Fasano has scored in two straight. This week he gets to lock horns with a Denver defense which has allowed the second most yards to opposing tight ends. If Champ Bailey locks up with Dwayne Bowe as expected, then expect Alex Smith to target Fasano even more frequently this week.
2. Vernon Davis vs. STL
St. Louis just allowed a touchdown to Martellus Bennett last week. In Week 4, Vernon Davis scored against St. Louis. Unfortunately, he only had two catches in that game. St. Louis has only allowed two tight end touchdowns all year. The Rams have also held all but two opposing tight ends under 50 yards. Considering all the touchdowns that he has posted already this season, you probably aren't going to bench Davis, but rest assured the yardage might be hard to come by.