Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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The Blunt Truth on Tight Ends

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


The NFL has yet to confirm an SI.com report that TE Fred Davis will miss the final four games of the season for violating the substance abuse policy for a third time over the summer. It’s coming, though. Coach Mike Shanahan expects to receive notice from the league office on Tuesday.

“We’ll find out here shortly what their status is,” Shanahan said via CSN Washington. “I’m just going from past history. Normally if they wait until Wednesday, that player plays through the week. It’s been that way in the past. If somebody is suspended, you would know today or tomorrow.”

“Fred has had an opportunity since Chris has been down to take over the tight end position and has really taken advantage of the opportunity,” Shanahan added. “He has big play ability, he has practiced hard, he has played hard. Now we wait and see what the situation is.”

Davis leads the Redskins with 59 catches and 796 yards in a breakout season, sitting behind only Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, and Jason Witten among fantasy tight ends. The impending free agent will be a priority for the Redskins this offseason, but he’s cost himself a chunk of guaranteed money. If he’s caught smoking weed again, the next suspension could be for a full year. Teammates have been critical rather than supportive since hearing the news.

“It’s disappointing because everyone is aware of the rules,” LB Lorenzo Alexander told CSN Washington. “More than just yourself is at stake if you get caught.”

“When we sign on that dotted line to be a part of the NFL, it’s a privilege to be a part of it and we have to act accordingly,” safety Reed Doughty opined. Former Redskins DE Phillip Daniels took to Twitter to speak out: “If true and you get caught 3 times, you have a problem. #CharacterIssues.”

Fantasy owners casting a wide net for a Davis replacement are faced with a blunt truth about the tight-end market: At this point in the season, viable alternatives are scarce. Owen Daniels (QB questions, run-heavy offense), Greg Olsen (banged up, offense leaning on the run), Brandon Pettigrew (hit-or-miss), and Vernon Davis (spotty at best) have fallen from the ranks of the legit TE1 options. Borderline fantasy tight ends such as Jermaine Gresham, Heath Miller and Jake Ballard have seen a drain on their production of late while Scott Chandler is questionable to play with an ankle injury. As unappetizing as these options are, they're still owned in the majority of fantasy leagues because there are no superior tight ends available for free. 

To go a step further, note the matchups for Week 14. The most generous tight-end defense in the league, Chicago’s, draws fantasy persona non grata Daniel Fells. The second-most generous tight-end defense in the league, Green Bay’s, faces Kevin Boss, who is splitting snaps and production with some creature named Brandon Myers.

Just how bleak is it at tight end? Over the past five weeks, Anthony Freaking Fasano is No. 7 in fantasy points. Over the past three weeks, Bears TE Kellen Davis (really?) is the No. 12 fantasy tight end. Not so unequivocally, the good news is that Fasano is available in most leagues as a last-ditch option. Jacob Tamme is certainly worth a sniff in PPR formats, though I’d point out that the Colts are facing a Ravens defense this week that has been death to tight ends all season.

On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players at each position as we head into Week 13. Full writeups of each player are below.

Editor’s Note: Join subscriber only chats, get weekly rankings before anyone else, plus exclusive weekly projections, stat tools, dynasty ranks, columns, and much more including the Rotoworld Oracle in our Season Pass.

 
 
Tight Ends

Anthony Fasano, Dolphins - I’m having a hard time mustering up excitement for Fasano, but he is fantasy’s No. 7 tight end over the past five weeks. While he was an afterthought with Chad Henne, Fasano has emerged as one of Matt Moore’s favorite targets. This week, he draws an Eagles defense in the middle of the pack in tight-end defense. If you play Fasano, you’re still banking on him to find the end zone. 

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Jacob Tamme, Colts - The good news is that Tamme has reached five catches in both of the games in which Dan Orlovsky has made an appearance. The bad news is two-fold: The Colts square off against a Ravens defense that has allowest the 31st-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and Dallas Clark (fibula) began working in individual drills last week. Tamme’s window is closing fast.

Recommendation: Worth a look in PPR formats. 

Jared Cook, Titans - Desperation alert: Cook was shut out in Week 13, so there’s going to be plenty of risk associated with running him out there against a Saints defense that allows the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Cook was averaging 40 yards in the previous five games, so it’s not a major stretch to suggest he could break out while trying to keep up with New Orleans’ offense. 

Recommendation: Worth a look as a desperation matchup play.

Ed Dickson, Ravens - Dickson’s matchup looks decent on the surface against a Colts defense that allowed three touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately, Dickson is no Gronk. While Indy allows the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, the Ravens figure to continue to ride the hot hand of Ray Rice and Ricky Williams against a 30th-ranked run defense. 

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues. 

Watch List: Dallas Clark

Clark (fibula) had graduated from the treadmill to field workouts last week. There’s a chance he could return to practice this week. Keep an eye on the Colts tight ends for plus matchups against the Titans and Jaguars in Weeks 15 and 17.

Cut Bait: Fred Davis?, Scott Chandler

It’s not official yet, but Davis’ suspension is expected to be announced on Tuesday. … Coach Chan Gailey is giving Chandler (ankle) only a “slight chance” to play at San Diego this week. 
 

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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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