Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Scott Free

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Tight Ends

Randy McMichael, Chargers - Torn scar tissue is wreaking havoc with Antonio Gates’ oft-injured foot, leaving his status up in the air on a weekly basis. Gates is now contemplating 3-5 weeks of rest, so he can come back healthy for the second half of the season. At this point in his career, McMichael’s after-the-catch ability is essentially non-existent. With solid hands and an outstanding quarterback, though, he has Tony Gonzalez-like potential as a red-zone stalwart.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

James Casey, Texans - A former minor league baseball player, Casey was obscenely productive at Rice as an H-back/slot receiver/QB. Before his 137-yard breakout game, the athletic Casey’s previous season high was 98 yards. It’s interesting to note that the Texans have three tight ends, including Casey, among their top-five in skill-position player snaps this year. Even with the trend toward two-tight end offenses, though, my instincts tell me Casey’s increased role was a game-plan adjustment with Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones both clearly hindered by injuries in Week 3. The odds are in favor of “point chasing” with a Casey addition this week, but his upside in a high-scoring offense is worth a flier.   Recommendation: Worth a flier in 12-team leagues.
Jermaine Gresham, Bengals - The good news is that Gresham’s 21 targets are seventh among NFL tight ends. The bad news is that the Bengals offense provides scant scoring opportunities. Gresham is best utilized in PPR formats until Andy Dalton proves his Week 2 performance wasn’t a fluke.

Recommendation: Should be owned in PPR leagues.

Ed Dickson, Ravens - Dickson’s 20 targets are tied with Ray Rice for second on the Ravens and 10th among NFL tight ends (as are his 12 receptions). Dickson isn’t finding the end-zone with regularity, but he’s certainly a viable PPR-league option. The next two weeks bring a tough matchup against the Jets followed by the bye week.

Recommendation: Should be owned in PPR leagues.

Chris Cooley, Redskins - Mike Shanahan used to get his jollies off messing with the backfields of fantasy owners. Now he’s messing with their tight ends after Cooley proclaimed that his burst was back heading into Week 3. Cooley was featured heavily in the game plan while offensive MVP Fred Davis drew extra defensive attention against the Cowboys. Davis is still the tight end to own in Washington, but Cooley is worth a look in deeper leagues.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Cut Bait: Brent Celek, Zach Miller, Lance Kendricks

Celek and Miller are playing plenty of snaps, only to find themselves blocking all game. … Kendricks’ hands have failed him through three weeks.

Watch List: Jared Cook, Todd Heap, Ben Watson, Jeremy Shockey, Kyle Rudolph

Despite full-time snaps, Cook is seeing just 2-3 targets per week. His role is expected to grow with Kenny Britt out, so be prepared to pick him up next week. … Heap was heavily targeted in the second half with Seattle bracketing Larry Fitzgerald. He’s going to have to prove it again. … Watson is seeing plenty of targets between the 20’s, but Evan Moore takes over in the red zone. … Rudolph is playing more snaps than any second tight end in the league.

Defense/Special Teams

Buccaneers - Tampa’s young defensive line is coming alive. Brian Price and Adrian Clayborn were dominant against the Falcons last week, leading a defense that recovered a pair of red-zone fumbles from Matt Ryan. They have the best matchup in the league this week at home, possibly in Curtis Painter’s first career start.  

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play.

Saints - Over the next three weeks, the Saints get two rookie quarterbacks (Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton) and a struggling offense (Buccaneers). Gabbert, in particular, looked overmatched against a bottom-tier Panthers defense in Week 3.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leaugues.

Vikings - Minnesota’s defensive front owned the line of scrimmage in Week 3, sacking Matthew Stafford for the first four times this season. They travel to Kansas City this week to take on a Chiefs offense that hasn’t moved the ball since Charlie Weis absconded with the playbook.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play.

Texans - Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were in Ben Roethlisberger’s grill all game Sunday night, knocking both Steelers tackles out with injuries. The strength of Houston’s defense is the pass rush, and they could be teeing off against replacement tackles this week. Big Ben will get his yards and points, but the Texans defense should rack up a handful of sacks and turnovers.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter.



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.
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