by Ray Kuhn
At this point in the season, there essentially is Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham and then everyone else. Of course some options are better than others and are secure as TE1’s, but the tight end position has been volatile in 2014. The main problem, is that some of the young options we expected to break out have not had the success we projected for them.
Let’s take a look at how the tight ends rank for this week as we close out the bye weeks.
- Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints – vs. Baltimore
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Detroit
- Julius Thomas – Denver Broncos – vs. Miami
- Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears – vs. Tampa Bay
- Charles Clay – Miami Dolphins – at Denver
- Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – vs. St. Louis
- Larry Donnell – New York Giants – vs. Dallas
- Coby Fleener – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Jacksonville
- Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – at Philadelphia
- Owen Daniels – Baltimore Ravens – at New Orleans
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – at Oakland
- Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – at New York Giants
- Jared Cook – St. Louis Rams – at San Diego
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Chicago
- Injuries really are the main thing we need to be concerned about with these rankings. Delanie Walker was sidelined last week with a concussion, and while all signs point to him being cleared, it is not a certainty. Walker has been solid this season, averaging just over four catches per game, but not spectacular. The Titans’ offense has looked better with Zach Mettenberger at the controls and fellow tight end Chase Coffman did catch a touchdown Monday night; Walker has four on the season. If Walker does play, then I would use him as a TE1 without issue, but if he doesn’t, I would look elsewhere before going with Coffman.
- Julius Thomas is battling an ankle injury, and while it is possible he will play, the tight end did not practice on Wednesday. If he does play, then I would still consider him a top option as he has 10 touchdowns on the season. Jacob Tamme is worth a look in deeper leagues if Thomas doesn’t play, but there will likely be better options available.
- Yes, Jimmy Graham only caught three passes for 29 yards this past week, but he is still a stud. Graham was on the field for 76% of the snaps, which was the most since Week 4, so health should not be a concern. The Saints play at home again this week, and I would use Graham without hesitation.
- For the past two years, Dwayne Allen has been regarded as the superior pass catching option to Coby Fleener. I did these rankings under the presumption that Allen will be sidelined this week, and Fleener has begun to emerge as a TE1 option. Fleener has just 29 catches for 439 yards on the season, but 221 of those yards and 11 catches have come in the last two weeks. The second year tight end also has four touchdowns on the season, and I would look for him to continue his positive momentum against the Jaguars this week.