by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Is there a position that’s more frustrating than tight end? Every week it seems that there’s an unheralded player come out of nowhere to produce gaudy numbers, while the bigger names tend to disappoint. We do have a class of elite, that you want to use regardless, but after the first few names you never know what you’re going to get… Then again, are the “elite” really can’t miss plays (look at what Zack Ertz did in Week 11, or Rob Gronkowski many weeks)? It’s a tough field to maneuver, but let’s take a look and see how the landscape appears heading into Week 12:
- Evan Engram – New York Giants – at Washington
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Buffalo
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
- Zack Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Chicago
- Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
- Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
- Vernon Davis – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
- Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tennessee
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins – New York Jets – vs. Carolina
- Tyler Kroft – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – at New York Jets
- Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
- Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – vs. Minnesota
- Benjamin Watson – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Houston
- Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Atlanta
- Julius Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at New England
- Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Los Angeles Chargers
- Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers – at Dallas
- Generally Rob Gronkowski has been the constant for the New England offense. While we never know on a weekly basis who the other usable pieces will be, Gronkowski was supposed to be the locked in elite. Obviously no one is going to say that he’s not a usable option at this point, but his numbers are falling short of expectations in ’17. As the others around him prove themselves it’s possible his usage remains decreased, likely in an effort to keep him healthy. Given the matchup this week he’s a no brainer Top 5 option, but would it be surprising to see Martellus Bennett or Dwayne Allen ultimately reap the reward? This should be a week where he’s the undisputed #1, but instead there are questions that keep him from there.
- The knock against Delanie Walker has been the lack of TD (he’s yet to score), because he has 49 receptions and 550 yards on the season. Over his past four games he’s averaged 6 receptions and 72.25 yards and there’s every reason to believe it’s going to continue against a Colts defense that’s allowed 500 yards and 5 TD to opposing tight ends. Fire him up as a Top 5 option and borderline Tier 1 player.
- Will Jordan Reed be able to return this week? It’s a quick turnaround, so the fact that he missed Week 11 is worrisome. He’d be a Top 10 option if he were to play, but for now we’re leaving him off the list because of the uncertainty. That means Vernon Davis, in his absence, becomes a can’t miss play.
- Week 11 was a down day for Jared Cook (2 catches for 36 yards), but the entire passing offense had its issues. Cook has a favorable matchup (and actually back-to-back great matchups, with the Giants on the horizon), and he also had been producing well prior to the bye week. Those two things together make him a solid play in all formats.
- Greg Olsen is expected to return, which is going to be a welcome sight. That said it wouldn’t be surprising to see him eased back into the offense, so the numbers will likely be suppressed. There’s upside, but we’d consider him more of a TE2 for this one game.
- One of the popular picks heading into Week 11 was Tyler Kroft, though he picked up 2 receptions and 12 yards on 3 targets. This coming week the matchup with the Browns is a favorable one, and one that he torched for 68 yards and 2 TD earlier in the season, and that’s going to keep him as a borderline TE1 once again. He’s risky, with 3 targets or less in two of his past three games, but the upside is undeniable.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: