Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Tight Ends & Tumbleweeds

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


As Adam Levitan pointed out in Tuesday's Daily Dose, a healthy Owen Daniels "was everywhere" Monday night against the Ravens. Though Daniels showed obvious rust with three drops, he produced season highs in targets (11), receptions (5), and yards (91) in his first game in over a month.

Slow to recover from a third ACL surgery, Daniels was arguably the biggest fantasy disappointment at tight end in the first month of the season. By mid-October, though, he was showing encouraging signs of regaining 2007-2009 form. I recommended Daniels as the top tight end pickup in Weeks 6 and 7 before an aggravated hamstring injury sent him to the sidelines.

In the five weeks that Owens missed, a far less talented Joel Dreessen performed as a top-10 fantasy tight end. It's reasonable, then, to expect Daniels to threaten top-five numbers after his strong Monday night performance against the second-toughest defense versus tight ends. With the fantasy playoffs in high gear, Daniels squares off against the Titans (eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends), Broncos (fifth-most), and Jaguars (sixth-most) in Weeks 15-17.

In a week with tumbleweeds rolling through the waiver wire at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver, Daniels is the No. 1 pickup. For those who miss out, Rob Gronkowski is a fine consolation prize. Underwhelming to this point, Kevin Boss and Bo Scaife also have dream matchups in Week 15.

On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players available at each position as we head into Week 15. Full writeups of each player are below.

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Tight Ends
1. Owen Daniels
2. Rob Gronkowski
3. Kevin Boss
4. Bo Scaife
5. Randy McMichael
6. Andrew Quarless

Quarterbacks
1. Jason Campbell
2. Kerry Collins
3. Matt Hasselbeck
4. Tarvaris Jackson
5. Alex Smith
6. Matt Flynn
7. John Skelton

Running Backs
1. Javarris James
2. Mike Hart
3. Anthony Dixon
4. Rashad Jennings
5. Bernard Scott
6. Lance Ball
7. Dimitri Nance

Wide Receivers
1. Louis Murphy
2. Nate Washington
3. Anthony Armstrong
4. Earl Bennett
5. Ruvell Martin
6. Brandon Gibson
7. Arrelious Benn
8. Jacoby Jones
9. Donald Jones

Defense/Special Teams
1. Cowboys
2. Buccaneers
3. Cardinals
4. Browns

Tight Ends

Owen Daniels, Texans - Though Daniels did show rust, it's a good sign that the majority of those targets came well before the Texans entered pass-heavy comeback mode in the fourth quarter. With the Ravens out of the way, Daniels has fantasy-friendly matchups against the Titans, Broncos, and Jaguars over the final three weeks. He's a legit top-five option for Week 15.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots - Only Mike Ditka and Junior Miller have scored more touchdowns as a rookie tight end. Only Antonio Gates and Marcedes Lewis have found the end zone more in 2010. Gronkowski is up to 10th in tight end fantasy points on the season, and no tight end has scored more points over the past five weeks. Now an every-down player, Gronk is well worth TE1 consideration against the Packers.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Kevin Boss, Giants - The Giants receivers just can't stay healthy. Mario Manningham left Monday night's game with a hip flexor strain and Steve Smith followed him to the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Boss benefited with nine targets, four receptions, and a touchdown. His role should continue to grow in Week 15. No defense in the league surrenders more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than Philly's.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play

Bo Scaife, Titans - It's not the pair of goal-line touchdowns that landed Scaife on this list. Those points are long gone. Scaife does have a great matchup in Week 15, however, against a Texans defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. He's a borderline top-15 option this week.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play

Randy McMichael, Chargers - The Antonio Gates reports went from possibly shutting it down from the season to vowing to get back on the field. Gates will be a game-time decision for Thursday night against the 49ers. McMichael hasn't been a great bet for yards as a fill-in, but he's worth a look in TD-heavy leagues if Gates ends up sitting out again.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play

Andrew Quarless, Packers - The rookie is only worth a look if Matt Flynn stays under center for one more week. Quarless led the team with five receptions and 62 yards last week, doing almost all of his damage in the final two quarters as Flynn's go-to target. The risk is such that Quarless is only an option in deeper leagues.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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