Every year it seems like we say tight end is the deepest ever. This year it hasn't quite lived up to the billing with Antonio Gates being out of the picture (for now) and the inconsistent play of a numerous amount of young tight ends. Despite the lack of monster production, the fact that there is more passing going in this season more than any other, bodes extremely well for tight ends. No team last year averaged 300-yard passing games (Colts led with 288) and this year a whopping seven teams have an average over 300 yards. Those teams are the Patriots, Saints, Panthers, Cowboys, Packers, Chargers and Lions. It's no coincidence that all of those teams have tight ends that would be considered as must-start options (when healthy).
Could you make the case that the offense is ahead of the defense because of the lockout? Sure. Makes sense. The fact of the matter is though that there are some really good quarterbacks that are just picking apart defenses. That trend should continue.
Antonio Gates- The San Diego Tribune reported that Gates will get as long as he needs to heal from his foot injury and the Chargers won't be placing him on IR. The Chargers really have no other options since plantar fasciitis can be remedied with two approaches: surgery or rest. Of course the down side is that the Chargers will have to include him on their 53-man roster, so if they get hit with the injury bug, it will be a much tougher decision to keep him on IR with a bleak outlook. However, the Chargers are overwhelming favorites to win the AFC West and they will want their star tight end for a Super Bowl run. Gates is not really a buy-low guy. If we had a draft today, he would barely be worthy of a pick in the top 100. Let him be another owner's problem or try to trade him for any sort of fantasy starter at this point.
Zack Miller- The former Sun Devil is dealing with knee and ankle injuries. He is probably and should be good to go for Sunday at Met Life Stadium. He's not someone that should be owned and Tarvaris Jackson has yet to lean on him even when he is under duress.
Aaron Hernandez- Tim Tebow's former favorite target is questionable with a knee injury for Sunday's tilt with the arch-rival Jets. All signs to him playing since he has been proceeding without a limp. He needs to be owned in all formats.
Todd Heap- Heap is dealing with a hamstring injury and is questionable against the Vikings. The Vikings pass defense is looking a bit vulnerable with Antoine Winfield looking doubtful, so Heap actually has an advantageous opportunity on his hands. As nice as this sounds, Heap is quite a gamble and should be left on the benches in the vast majority of leagues.
Aaron Hernandez- He's almost ready to be unleashed and needs to be owned. He has a higher upside than Gronk since Brady looks to him downfield. The longer pass attempts could lead to more 100-yard games, but of course Gronk gets a ton of red-zone targets.
Jared Cook- While it's easy to say, "Cook wouldn't have done anything without that 80-yard TD on Sunday." Cook lead the team in targets with six last week. The way Matt Hasselbeck has found the Fountain of Youth, Cook has inherited enormous upside as the best option in the red zone and lining up in the slot, at the X and Y, and as the tight end in motion in I formations. He has a bad matchup here though.
Owen Daniels- If someone wanted to make a case that Daniels is going to be the top tight end for the next two weeks, it would probably be a solid case. That someone will be me. The Texans are without their main man in Andre Johnson and are left with Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter. Jones isn't polished enough to have go-to routes in the red zone and Walter isn't likely to be Schaub's primary read on big plays. The Texans have a very good offense and teams will have to eight in the box in non-passing situations. Daniels should get a ton of one-on-one coverages with a safety or Sam or Will linebacker and the vast majority of those players can't cover Daniels. Owners can expect close to double-digit targets and plenty of fantasy points until 'Dre returns.
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