Finding the right tight end is always tough. You can draft an elite player, and he can end up on the waiver wire one week later.
Coming into the season, Jeremy Shockey (No. 7), Vernon Davis (No. 8), Heath Miller (No. 9), Todd Heap (No. 10) and Alge Crumpler (No. 12) were all drafted as starting tight ends, according to their average draft position on CBSSports.com. None are ranked in the top 20 based on Fantasy points in a standard-scoring league through Week 10.
My strategy with tight ends is to pass on drafting a stud coming into the season and take one or two sleepers with a late-round pick. My target this year, and I advised anyone who asked, was Owen Daniels, who currently ranks No. 3 in Fantasy points.
|The Titans are getting Bo Scaife more involved with each passing week. (US Presswire)|
And like every year, a couple of tight ends emerge as the season goes on. This year isn't any different.
By now, you've probably missed out on Anthony Fasano (79 percent ownership on CBSSports.com), Bo Scaife (72 percent) and Visanthe Shiancoe (71 percent), who have been pleasant surprises and rank in the top 12, although Fasano has cooled off following a hot start. Don't worry because there are others out there who could be useful for the stretch run.
The best options are Tony Scheffler (59 percent), Kevin Boss (53 percent) and Dustin Keller (26 percent). Boss, who had six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown Sunday at Philadelphia, has scored a touchdown in three-straight games and should be added immediately.
The same goes for Scheffler, who returned from a three-game absence with a groin injury Thursday with four catches for 92 yards at Cleveland. When healthy, Scheffler has shown he can be a top 10 Fantasy option. And with Denver's running game a mess, the Broncos might be throwing on a regular basis, which will help Scheffler's cause.
Keller showed what he's capable of doing Sunday against St. Louis with six catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. He has played well at times this year and could be a factor the rest of the year, especially with Brett Favre's affinity for using the tight end.
Keller ranks third on the aforementioned list, but there are other tight ends who could also help, including John Carlson (53 percent), Heap (32 percent), Marcedes Lewis (31 percent) and Billy Miller (20 percent). Heap had his best game of the season Sunday at Houston with five catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns, and maybe this is a sign of him turning around his dismal year.
Carlson, like his rookie counterpart Keller, has been hit-or-miss this year, but he could be in line for a breakout second half with a good schedule and the expected return of Matt Hasselbeck (back). The Seahawks face Arizona twice, Dallas, New England, St. Louis and the Jets over the final seven weeks, and all have suspect pass defenses.
Lewis could become even more of a factor in the passing game for Jacksonville if Matt Jones (thigh) is out or starts his reported three-game suspension. And Miller has played well with Shockey dealing with injuries, and Shockey (ankle) was hurt again Sunday at Atlanta.
Miller had five catches for 65 yards against the Falcons and now has gone five-straight games with at least 50 receiving yards. With the way some tight ends have played this year, you'll take that kind of production from your starter every week.
In case you haven't noticed ... It's time to add Dolphins running back Ricky Williams. This should probably say re-add since many of you dropped him this season, and for good reason. But Williams showed Sunday against Seattle that he can still produce with 12 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. And with Miami's schedule the rest of the way (Oakland, New England, St. Louis, Buffalo, San Francisco, Kansas City and the Jets) Williams could get plenty of carries in tandem with Ronnie Brown. He might not get over 100 yards again, but he does have three touchdowns in his past five games and could be of value if Miami increases his carries.
Each Monday we will highlight players who might be available in your league and whether you should consider picking them up off waivers based on their recent performances. The players chosen are based on the percentage of ownership in CBSSports.com leagues.
Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta
Owned: 56 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had six carries for 17 yards and two catches for 88 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans.
Analysis: Like Ricky Williams, it's a good idea to own the No. 2 running back in a rushing offense, especially when that player gets touches. Norwood shares carries with Michael Turner, and Norwood has scored a touchdown the past two weeks. He also has some favorable matchups ahead against Denver, New Orleans and St. Louis, and if Turner gets hurt, Norwood would become a star. Like Williams, this should probably be a re-add since Norwood was dropped in several leagues this year.
Tyler Thigpen, QB, Kansas City
Owned: 21 percent of leagues
Week 10: Completed 27-of-41 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions at San Diego.
Analysis: We're going to include Chiefs wide receiver Mark Bradley (8 percent) also since both have played well recently. Thigpen has emerged as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback the past three weeks with seven touchdowns against the Jets, Tampa Bay and Chargers. And Bradley has 18 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns the past three games while also throwing for a touchdown. The Chiefs passing offense is clicking, and these are two players to own. Kansas City also has a great schedule remaining against New Orleans, Buffalo, Oakland, Denver, San Diego, Miami and Cincinnati.
Brady Quinn, QB, Cleveland
Owned: 64 percent of leagues
Week 10: Completed 23-of-35 passes for 239 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against Denver.
Analysis: Quinn showed enough in his first start that he could be a starting Fantasy option the rest of this year. He doesn't have a favorable schedule with tough pass defenses ahead in Indianapolis, Tennessee, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but when he faces Buffalo, Houston and Cincinnati, you can start him. It will help if Kellen Winslow plays like he did against the Broncos and if Braylon Edwards could show consistent production. But Quinn's first game was reason for hope, so pick him up now.
Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee
Owned: 24 percent of leagues
Week 10: Completed 30-of-41 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions at Chicago.
Analysis: Collins had a great game when his team needed him to make plays, but that was his first game with more than 200 passing yards this season and first game with multiple touchdowns. The Titans want to run, run and run some more with Chris Johnson and LenDale White, so don't expect Collins to do that again. And now that the bye weeks are done, Collins will never start for you even when the matchup is right. There are better Fantasy options out there.
James Hardy, WR, Buffalo
Owned: 13 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown at New England.
Analysis: It's too bad you can't use Hardy at tight end because that's basically what he is. He's a red-zone target who has the chance to catch touchdowns but not produce much more on a regular basis, which is a disappointment because he could be a good receiver if given a chance. He has three games this year with no catches, and the Bills don't keep him on the field enough to help your Fantasy team.
Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota
Owned: 14 percent of leagues
Week 10: Caught one pass for 3 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay.
Analysis: Rice had the chance to be a sophomore sleeper this year, but injuries and inconsistent play have left him as a reserve option and nothing more. He's not worth owning at this time because the Vikings don't use him enough. He only has two catches his past two games for 11 yards. The two touchdowns over that span are nice, but six Fantasy points aren't going to cut it most weeks.
Others to monitor ...
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle
Owned: 31 percent of leagues
Week 10: Did not play.
Analysis: Hasselbeck is expected to return in Week 11 after missing the past five games with a back injury. If he plays well against Arizona, Hasselbeck could be worth using down the stretch since Seattle has a favorable schedule with games against Arizona twice, Dallas, New England, St. Louis and the Jets over the final seven weeks, and all have suspect pass defenses. Bobby Engram (37 percent) also could be worth picking up if Hasselbeck returns at 100 percent since Engram is Hasselbeck's favorite target.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Denver
Owned: 9 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had 8 carries for 24 yards at Cleveland.
Analysis: I know we had Hillis as an avoid last week after he had seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against Miami in Week 9, but that was before Ryan Torain joined Michael Pittman and Andre Hall as being out for the year. Selvin Young (46 percent) could be worth adding if he returns from a groin injury, but if Young remains out, Hillis could be the starter for the Broncos. That would make him an immediate add, but for now just keep an eye on what happens this week.
Jerry Porter, WR, Jacksonville
Owned: 12 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had two catches for 33 yards and a touchdown at Detroit.
Analysis: There was finally a Porter sighting against the Lions, and he could be a good addition to your Fantasy team down the stretch if Matt Jones (thigh) is out or starts his reported three-game suspension. The same goes for Reggie Williams (15 percent) since David Garrard would need someone to throw to besides tight end Marcedes Lewis. What happens with Jones will determine if you should add Porter or Williams so keep an eye on what develops.
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