by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We already know that two of the top tight ends, Jordan Reed and Rob Gronkowski, are going to be sidelined for Week 13 (and in Gronkowski’s case he’s been lost for the season). While you would think that their understudies will be worth utilizing, things aren’t quite that simple. Let’s take a look:
Martellus Bennett – New England Patriots
Maybe a 100% Bennett would be extremely appealing, but he’s not as he’s battling through injuries to his ankle and shoulder. That’s going to limit him, and it’s not like he’s been highly productive in recent weeks:
- November 20 at San Francisco – 1 reception for 14 yards
- November 27 at New York Jets – 3 receptions for 22 yards
That alone would give us cause for concern, but he also isn’t guaranteed to get targets. He isn’t going to pick up the entire workload that Gronkowski would, with Julian Edelman Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis and James White all playing a role.
As Lewis regains his health it is easy to argue that he will be the biggest benefactor. Mitchell has also seen his role spike over the past two weeks (9 receptions, 140 yards, 3 TD) and it’s easy to imagine the opportunities growing more and more as he earns the trust of Tom Brady.
While Bennett is easy to like, thanks to a few big games, he’s hardly a locked in TE1. The potential is there, but don’t feel obligated to force him into your lineup.
Vernon Davis – Washington Redskins
This isn’t going to be the first game that Reed has missed, and when he was previously out Davis stepped up and produced:
- October 16 vs. Philadelphia – 2 receptions for 50 yards and 1 TD
- October 23 at Detroit – 6 receptions for 79 yards
In fact Davis has 50+ yards in five of the past six games (including 65+ in four games) though that doesn’t mean much. The matchup with the Cardinals, who have allowed the second fewest receiving yards to opposing tight ends over the past four weeks (86) and has yet to allow a TD to a TE this season, don’t give as much optimism.
In different circumstances Davis would be an easy play, but this doesn’t seem like the right one. He’s a borderline TE1, but much like Bennett isn’t a must start for Week 13 by any stretch.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 rankings: