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Week 3 Tight End Rankings - Standard Leagues

Heath drops some Week 3 tight end knowledge.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Typically I aim to get tight end rankings up each week prior to the Thursday game, but this week it did not happen. Sometimes real life takes precedence over fake life, and that had to happen this week. I did, however, offer my thoughts on Gronk via Twitter on Thursday evening. So you can follow along there at @HeathCapps if you are ever curious about my take prior to a game. I stay pretty active but I don’t send eleventy billion tweets in a day. It’s a "win-win scenario," gents.

1. Jordan Reed

2. Delanie Walker

3. Greg Olsen

4. Dennis Pitta

5. Jacob Tamme

Greg Olsen is the yardage leader among tight ends with 195 and ranks 11th in the entire NFL in that category. Since touchdowns are such random events, yardage is vital in your head-to-head matchups each week. Despite the tough matchup against Minnesota, Olsen is still a safe option due to volume.

Dennis Pitta (141), Julius Thomas (135), and Jordan Reed (134) are all also in the Top 35 in the NFL in yardage. Pitta had a whopping 12 targets against the Browns last week. He is firmly in the TE1 conversation at this juncture of the season.

6. Dwayne Allen

7. Eric Ebron

8. Travis Kelce

9. Jared Cook

10. Julius Thomas

11. Rob Gronkowski

12. Jason Witten

Jared Cook had six targets in Week 2, so the added involvement into Green Bay's offense is nice to see, especially knowing how poorly the Lions have defended tight ends this season. Cook is locked into my lineups anywhere I can get him this week.

My conservative nature would not allow me to start Rob Gronkowski in my seasonal leagues this week, even though I supposedly learned my lesson about "starting your studs" last season. The Patriots starting their third-string rookie quarterback and the tough matchup against the Texans were contributing factors. I did rank Gronkowski 11th due to his immense scoring upside. But I could not rank him #1 (or close to that) like some others. I’m not dogging anyone ranking the best tight end in the game as the #1 play—I’m just acknowledging my own conservative nature in these scenarios. Generally I treat return from injury with kiddie gloves. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Jason Witten leads all tight ends in targets this season with 18, followed closely by Greg Olsen (17) and Jordan Reed (17). Dennis Pitta, Jacob Tamme, and Kyle Rudolph all have 16 targets each, representing some potential value—especially Tamme in a juicy matchup against New Orleans this week.

13. Martellus Bennett

14. Gary Barnidge

15. Coby Fleener

16. Antonio Gates

17. Jimmy Graham

18. Vance McDonald

Fleener managed to attract 8 targets from Drew Brees last week, but finished with a paltry two receptions and 29 yards. He and Brees are clearly not on the same page (probably not even reading the same book) but 8 targets is nothing to laugh at when the opponent this week is the Atlanta Falcons. I couldn’t go any lower on Fleener, even though I wanted to do so.

I am slightly higher than the expert consensus on Jimmy Graham due to his increased snap count in Week Two (55 of 67 plays) and the injuries to Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin. I anticipate this being a Christine Michael sort of Sunday, but someone in Seattle has to catch a few passes...right?

On only five targets this year, Vance McDonald is your scoring leader at tight end with a pair of touchdowns. Jack Doyle is the only other tight end with multiple scores (2) and both of those came in the same game (looking at you, Detroit).

19. Zach Miller

20. Clive Walford

21. Kyle Rudolph

22. Jesse James

23. Trey Burton

24. Jack Doyle

25. Hunter Henry

Antonio Gates has missed a couple of practices this week with a hamstring injury and is considered "uncertain" by beat guy Michael Gehlken. If Gates goes, I think you treat Henry as a low-end TE2. If Gates sits, I think I’d bump Henry up to 17th and bump Graham up to Gates’ spot. It’s such a cheese matchup and tight end is such a thin position—the easy matchup counts for a lot.

26. Richard Rodgers

27. Charles Clay

28. Virgil Green

29. Austin Seferian-Jenkins

30. Jordan Cameron

Jordan Cameron has an elite matchup against the Browns, but I still don’t trust him. He has been unreliable for over a calendar year now. If that’s your kind of thing, go right ahead and roster him. Outside of a large GPP on FanDuel, I am not interested. Not even if someone else pays the entry fee...

My honorable mention goes to C.J. Uzomah, who I like as a player. I dread his matchup against the Denver Broncos, however. I'm sure we'll see more Uzomah in Week 4. Until then, good luck in your matchups, folks!