1. Jimmy Graham vs. SF
If you're in to touchdowns (and really who isn't?), then you should check out this Jimmy Graham character. He's scored eight of those touchdowns in only nine football contests this season. In fact, he's now caught a pass for a touchdown in four straight games. The Niners defense poses a rather large challenge for any team, but tight ends have had a rough go of it lately. In their last seven games, no tight end has scored against the 49ers and no tight end has topped 48 yards. If anyone can change that, it's Graham.
2. Jason Witten vs. WAS
It may not surprise any of you that Jason Witten leads all tight ends with 73 receptions. It may surprise you that that number is good enough for second-most among wide receivers. It surprises me that he's only caught one touchdown pass this season. Kellen Davis, Dwayne Allen and Dante Rosario each have more touchdowns than Witten individually, but need to combine to have as many catches as Witten. I'm feeling a turnaround this Thanksgiving though. The Redskins have allowed seven different TEs to score this season.
3. Owen Daniels at DET
Last week Daniels returned from a back injury that caused him to miss Week 10. A solid output of six receptions and 57 yards indicate that he's no worse for the wear. Granted, that performance wasn't as glamorous as the five out of his previous six games where he had scored a touchdown, but we'll give him a pass since it was his first game back. This week he looks to feast on the Lions defense. A tight end has topped 60 yards and scored against the Lions in each of their last two games and four times over the course of the season.
4. Tony Gonzalez at TB
Tony Gonzalez followed up his monster Week 10 game against the Saints with a three catch, 33 yard clunker against the Cardinals last week. We can't blame Gonzalez that Matt Ryan threw more completed balls to the Cardinals than Gonzalez, but we can expect a whole lot more this week against the Bucs. Tampa has allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends in just the last three weeks and has allowed five different TEs to top 55 yards this season.
5. Vernon Davis at NO
Was it a game plan or was it Colin Kaepernick who single-handedly revived the season of Vernon Davis. Davis had a customary Vernon Davis evening of six catches, 83 yards and a score against the Bears on Monday night. It was his first score since Week 3. If you were able to look back in time, you would have noticed that I wrote about the Saints dominance against tight ends. Well, scratch that. Like the rest of their defense they're now terrible at defending TEs too. In the last two weeks the Saints have allowed 182 yards and three scores to the TE position.
6. Jermaine Gresham vs. OAK
If you're looking for the top receiver in Cincinnati, you're obviously seeking A.J. Green, but the man who has the second-most targets on that team is Jermaine Gresham. His 63 targets on the season lead Andrew Hawkins by ten, and his 6'5" frame leads Hawkins by ten inches (in height). Gresham has topped 65 yards or scored in four of his last five games and faces a struggling Oakland defense this weekend. The Raiders have allowed a tight end to score in each of the last two weeks and have given up an average of 77 yards to opposing TEs in the last two.
7. Brandon Myers at CIN
For those of you who lost Rob Gronkowski for essentially the rest of the fantasy season, look into acquiring Brandon Myers this week. He's available in around 85 percent of ESPN leagues, has scored three touchdowns in his last three games and has received 10 or more targets in three of his last five games. He gets a rare amount of opportunities on an offense that can do nothing but pass the ball. This week they'll get a chance to air it out against the Bengals. Cincy has allowed a TE touchdown in three of their last five games and allowed 73 yards to Tony Moeaki last week.
8. Aaron Hernandez at NYJ
At least one of the two hurdles standing in Aaron Hernandez's path to super-stardom is out of the way for the time being. The first hurdle, the great Rob Gronkowski will miss at least a month with a broken forearm. The second hurdle, Hernandez's brittle body, seems to be healing at the right time. But will he be ready to go against the Jets in the Thanksgiving nightcap? Signs are pointing to yes, barring any setbacks. Despite only playing basically three games this season, Hernandez has scored in two games. The one in which he didn't was Week 7 against the Jets.
9. Dustin Keller vs. NE
It's concerning that Dustin Keller's reception and yardage totals have each declined in the past four weeks. A two reception, 16-yard performance is rock bottom for the Jets tight end, and let me tell you why. First, there's no one else for Mark Sanchez to throw to, which is why Keller has had 25 targets in the last four weeks. Second, he's facing the Patriots for the second time this season, and in the first meeting he had 93 yards and a score. Finally, the Pats have allowed six touchdowns to TEs in the last seven weeks and have yielded eight games of 50 or more yards to TEs this season.
10. Greg Olsen at PHI
I truly believe that the problem with Greg Olsen is me. Every week I have trusted Olsen to start for one of my fantasy teams, he's turned up a performance of 42 yards or less. So I know what you're thinking, "are you starting him this week?" The answer is, yes in one league I am, but here's why. Philly has allowed two touchdowns to tight ends in the last three weeks, but what's more impressive (or depressing if you're an Eagles fan) is that in those three weeks they've allowed two TEs to have eight receptions. I can live with opportunity, and it seems like Olsen should get at least that.
11. Marcedes Lewis vs. TEN
12. Dallas Clark vs. ATL
13. Antonio Gates vs. BAL
14. Heath Miller vs. PIT
15. Brandon Pettigrew vs. HOU