1. Jimmy Graham vs. TB
Graham's "cold streak" continued last week in New York as he failed to reach the end zone for the third consecutive game. Yeah, we're talking about him not scoring, because unlike other TEs in the league, we've just come to expect it from Graham. Fear not, because the Bucs give up tons of points through the air. The last time the Saints faced the Bucs was Graham's single injury absence and his replacement, David Thomas had 27 yards and a touchdown.
2. Owen Daniels vs. IND
Is Owen Daniels some sort of stud tight end? No, but I trust him to put up more points than most of the other guys on this list for a few reasons. First, this week he faces a Colts team that has allowed a tight end to score in each of the last four games. Second, he shows up. He's put up at least 43 yards in nine of 12 games this season. Last he's scored in half of the games he's played in this year, and he hasn't scored in two straight. Some might say that he's due.
3. Aaron Hernandez vs. SF
There was something in the air on Monday night and Hernando didn't disappoint. Aaron Hernandez jumped back into the limelight with eight catches, 58 yards and two scores against a Texans squad that seemed happy just to be there. This week the Pats host a fierce Niners' defense. In the last ten weeks, the 49ers have only allowed two touchdowns to tight ends, they just both happened to come in the last three weeks though.
4. Tony Gonzalez vs. NYG
For the fifth time this season, Tony Gonzalez caught seven or more passes in a game as he hauled in eight catches for 61 yards last week in Carolina. That Panthers squad is a pretty decent pass defense, unlike this week's opponent the Giants. The G-men have allowed wide receivers to burn them up and down the field, but besides Jason Witten's monster 18-catch, 167 yard game, they've held opposing TEs in check. You can't bench Gonzalez in this situation though.
5. Martellus Bennett at ATL
Martellus Bennett seems to score in streaks. He opened the season scoring in each of the first three games. Then he took the next eight weeks off of end zone dances and has now come back with two straight games with a touchdown. Granted, in the last two weeks he's faced maybe the worst two pass defenses in the league, but the Falcons have had their share of problems defending the tight end too. Atlanta has given up some good games to TEs, including Jimmy Graham's 146-yard and two score day and Greg Olsen gaining 55 yards and a score last week.
6. Dennis Pitta vs. DEN
I called it last week. Check the transcription. Dennis Pitta the playoff savior is here to help. In Pitta's last three games not against the Steelers, he's topped 40 yards and scored. This week he faces the Broncos. Denver has had a good defense against everyone but the TE position. In seven of 13 games the Broncos have allowed at least one tight end touchdown, and have allowed over 100 yards to the tight end position twice this season.
7. Jason Witten vs. PIT
The Steelers are a very good defense, especially against this position. In the last nine weeks the Steelers have allowed only one tight end to score, which is quite a coincidence for Jason Witten since it was nine weeks ago when he scored last. Despite that, he's topped 50 yards in six of the last seven games, topped 60 in each of the last three and had six or more catches in nine of the last ten games. He's a PPR dream and is a better play if Dez Bryant cannot go due to his finger injury.
8. Dallas Clark at NO
It feels like the good old days. Like I should call him Ye Olde Dallas Clark. But Clark has scored in three of his last five games and has thrived on matchups with porous defenses. Oh, well would you look at that. The Saints are just one of those defenses. The Saints have allowed five touchdowns to tight ends in the last five weeks and have allowed more than 50 yards to the position in seven of the last eight games.
9. Rob Gronkowski vs. SF
This is a speculative starting grade. Gronk says he's going to test the injured arm in practice this week, but as per usual with the Patriots, we're not going to know anything until game time. It just so happens game time is Sunday night, so you're taking a big risk in leaving Gronk in your lineup unless you have Vernon Davis, Jeff Cumberland or Craig Stevens as your backup plan. Look them up, they're likely the starting tight ends for the Jets and Titans on Monday night. Things would be much clearer if this was a noon kickoff, but I just can't stomach taking a zero if you have one of the guys on the list above riding your bench.
10. Vernon Davis at NE
Hey Vern! Your owners aren't thrilled with your three catches and 19 yards over the last three weeks (and that's total, not an average). But just when we think you couldn't be a dumber play, you get a prime time matchup against the Patriots and (completely redeem yourself?). Maybe, maybe not. Davis is an absolute long shot, but it could pay big dividends if you desperately need the points. While he's just as likely to get you a zero, here's why this could end up well. Six times this season a tight end has scored on the Pats, with Scott Chandler scoring twice in a game. The Pats have also allowed more than 60 yards to tight ends in five of the last seven games. It's like Adam Dunn. It's going to be a home run or a strike out.
11. Tony Moeaki at OAK
12. Antonio Gates vs. CAR
13. Jermaine Gresham at PHI
14. Jermichael Finley at CHI
15. Greg Olsen at SD