1. Heath Miller, PIT at NYG
Heath Miller leads the league in red zone targets and completions, so it's no wonder that he leads these rankings on a week where Rob Gronkowski is on a beach in Mexico with a few Playboy Bunnies. Must be rough, Gronk. Back to Miller, who also has scored in five of seven games. The new Todd Haley offense is benefitting no one more than Miller who is only one touchdown away from tying his career high. This week they travel by submarine to New York to take on the Giants. New York seems to have a bit of trouble covering the tight end as Jason Witten hauled in 18 catches for 167 yards last week against them.
2. Jermaine Gresham, CIN vs. DEN
Jermaine Gresham is really a matchup play in most weeks as he's yet to top 68 yards in a game this season and has only scored twice. This week happens to be one of those good matchups. Denver is the opponent, and the Broncos seem to have an issue covering the tight end. Every tight end with a pulse (Heath Miller, Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham) has scored on them. I guess we get to figure out if Gresham has a pulse this week.
3. Owen Daniels, HOU vs. BUF
Very quietly, Owen Daniels has scored a touchdown in four of his last five games, including his Week 7 matchup against the Ravens. After a much deserved bye week on the beaches of Mexico with some of Rob Gronkowski's friends, the Texans will host the Bills this weekend. Buffalo has had a tough time deciphering how to cover the tight end since sometime in the Reagan administration. Both Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis each topped 100 yards on the Bills in the last four games.
4. Jason Witten, DAL at ATL
As you may have read above, Jason Witten caught an amazing 18 balls for 167 yards last week against the Giants, cementing himself as a PPR legend. But that wasn't the first great game for Witten this season. Only three weeks prior to that, Witten grabbed 13 catches for 112 and a touchdown against the Bears. Witten seems to be Tony Romo's main target when the going gets tough, which it will likely do again this weekend when the Cowboys face the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. As you can imagine, the Falcons have been pretty good at defending just about everything, including the tight end. But the glimmer of hope is the fact that Greg Olsen had 89 yards and a touchdown only a few weeks ago. Let's see how elite Witten can be.
5. Tony Gonzalez, ATL vs. DAL
Has age swiftly and suddenly caught up with Tony Gonzalez? In the last two weeks Gonzalez has totaled only seven catches and 71 yards. Could it be the cold hand of the NFL's version of the Grim Reaper telling Gonzo it's all over? Not likely. This week he's back in prime time to show the Dallas Cowboys how it is done. Dallas had allowed a touchdown to a tight end in each of their first three games, but has not allowed one since. Gonzo has a great chance to change that.
6. Kyle Rudolph, MIN at SEA
The struggles of Christian Ponder have mirrored the struggles of Kyle Rudolph, which is not really a surprise. In the last two weeks Rudolph has only been targeted six times, had only two catches and 17 yards. The fact that he faces a 12-man defense in Seattle this week seems unfair, but Rudolph still has a chance to get back on the right track. The Seahawks have allowed a tight end to top 70 yards or score in each of the last three weeks. Let's face it, Ponder needs to get Rudolph the ball, since Optimus Prime will be covering the wide receivers like a blanket.
7. Jared Cook, TEN vs. CHI
While we don't think Jared Cook will get a response to his trade demand, the message may have been sent to the Titans. Cook has a reason to be upset too. In the last six games he has been targeted five or less times in five contests, and he hasn't topped 55 yards since Week 3. You got to think that the Titans feed him the ball a bit more this week, especially against a Bears team that seems to have a slight weakness against the tight end. Only the Titans have allowed more receptions to tight ends per game than the Bears, which is close to seven per game. I could see Cook catching about that many on Sunday.
8. Antonio Gates, SD vs. KC
We're chalking up last week to weird weather conditions. No one was completing passes in Cleveland last week, so Gates' two catches for 14 yards should not concern you. This week Gates faces off against division foe Kansas City. The Chiefs allowed Gates to catch all three targets for 59 yards in their Week 4 meeting, and that was his lowest amount of targets this season. The Chiefs haven't allowed a tight end to top Gates' 59 yards this season, but have allowed three tight ends to score so far this year.
9. Jimmy Graham, NO vs. PHI
Stop. Jimmy time! Jimmy Graham, who many left on the bench last week because of his questionable health leading into the Sunday night game, found himself doing his fourth touchdown dance in six games. He was not the decoy that he was in the San Diego game either. Graham was targeted 10 times and grabbed five of those balls for 63 yards. This week the Saints host an interesting Eagles team on Monday night, and you can feel confident in starting him. Philly has only allowed one touchdown to a tight end this season and has held many quality TEs out of the end zone, including Tony Gonzalez, Brandon Pettigrew, Heath Miller and Martellus Bennett.
10. Greg Olsen, CAR at WAS
Greg Olsen has been either great or completely boring this season. He's had two games in which he's topped 89 yards, but in four of the remaining five games he's been held to fewer than 38 yards and not scored. Why do we think he's going to have one of the great weeks this time around against Washington? It's mostly because the Redskins give up tight end scores by the bucket load. A tight has scored against the Redskins in seven of eight games this season, including both Heath Miller and Leonard Pope each grabbing a TD last week.