Pick these guys up! We partnered with RotoBaller to give you accurate and timely waiver wire adds. In turn, they post our podcast to their site (which is centered around setting your weekly lineups). Enjoy!
The final week of teams being on bye is here, and fantasy owners are celebrating like Rex Ryan did when his Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets last Thursday.
Two of the biggest tight end surprises in fantasy football this season, New Orleans’ Benjamin Watson and Cleveland’s Gary Barnidge, are the top two tight ends who are off this week. Many fantasy owners will have humongous holes in their lineups because of it as their leagues enter a crucial stretch before their playoffs begin.
Craig doesn’t want you to be blinded by the shocking statistics Chicago’s Zach Miller (107 yards, two TD) and Philadelphia’s Brent Celek (134 yards) posted this past weekend. These were anomalies. Neither guy is the best tight end on his team let alone worthy of a waiver wire addition. There are better nominees available at the position. Here are three tight ends worthy of a look on the waiver wire this week:
Week 11 Waiver Wire — Tight Ends (TE)
Zach Ertz (TE, PHI) — 38% Owned in Fleaflicker
Ertz has had a harder time finding the end zone this season than Peyton Manning had finding Broncos receivers this past Sunday. The poor guy has not scored and is averaging a career-low 10.6 yards per catch. You would think between this and starting quarterback Sam Bradford probably missing Philadelphia’s next game due to a shoulder injury and a concussion that Ertz should be avoided like a stranger’s sneeze.
Guess again. Bradford’s demise could cause Ertz’s fantasy value to rise. During the final four games of the 2014 campaign while Mark Sanchez was subbing for Nick Foles, Ertz tallied up 24 receptions for 242 yards and a touchdown. The two definitely have some chemistry together, and Sanchez can throw the ball as well as Bradford can, if not better.
Ertz is having no trouble in other fantasy departments this year. Over his last five games he has averaged 5.2 receptions, 7.6 targets and 55.6 yards per contest. He has steadily improved after a sluggish start. He just needs to get into the end zone to make himself more worthwhile to fantasy owners, and that could very well happen this week.
Ertz and his Eagles take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Bucs’ pass defense is ranked 10th in the NFL, it has been inconsistent when defending tight ends. Tampa Bay held Dallas’ Jason Witten in check in its last game (42 yards), but failed miserably in prior week when Atlanta’s Jacob Tamme and Washington’s Jordan Reed combined for 21 catches for 175 yards and three touchdowns over a two-game span.
You do not have to worry about the aforementioned Celek eating into Ertz’s targets. Ertz is the tight end that gets more looks, and the arrow is pointing up in that department, even with Celek’s sudden re-emergence. If you need a one-week tight end replacement, Ertz would be a valid choice.
Crockett Gillmore (TE, BAL ) — 20% Owned in Fleaflicker
The targets are up for grabs in Baltimore! With Steve Smith sidelined for the season, and with the Ravens lacking depth and talent at wide receiver (to put it mildly), the door is open for Gillmore to become Joe Flacco’s second-favorite pass catcher for the remainder of the season.
Gillmore caught all four passes thrown his way for 42 yards and a touchdown this past Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While wideout Kamar Aiken was targeted an ungodly 14 times and will probably be Flacco’s No. 1 guy the rest of the way, Gillmore is primed to be the main man who catches the short passes over the middle and down in the red zone.
Gillmore’s only obstacle is his tight end teammate Maxx Williams, who also caught four passes including one for a touchdown in Baltimore’s last contest. But Williams is clearly not the pass catcher that Gillmore is right now. And there are no other receivers on the roster (don’t say Chris Givens!) that should match Gillmore’s production.
Gillmore’s Ravens host the reeling St. Louis Rams, who just allowed a backup tight end to torch them for 107 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams have one of the best pass rushes in football, but if the rush doesn’t get there than their secondary is vulnerable. Plus, Flacco has been a much better quarterback at home this season (7-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio, 94.1 QB rating) than on the road (6-to-7 ratio, 76.9 rating), which also bodes well for Gillmore. Gillmore is a solid pickup for owners who are short a tight end this week.
Garrett Celek (TE, SF) — 3% Owned in Fleaflicker
The younger brother of twice-mentioned Brent Celek had been quieter than a kid with soap in his mouth all season — until the man, the myth, the legend, Blaine Gabbert took over as San Francisco’s signal caller.
Celek produced immediately when Gabbert became the starting quarterback for the 49ers. Celek had two catches for two touchdowns in their first game together. And now that Celek had a bye week to work with Gabbert more in practice, the pair could even be better together.
Now the reason Celek was the third tight end listed in the column is because his team has to play the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. But while in past years that meant curtains for the fantasy values of opposing offensive players, recently visiting tight ends have fared nicely at CenturyLink Field. Carolina’s Greg Olson racked up 131 yards and a touchdown two home games ago, and Arizona’s Jermaine Gresham had 26 yards and a score this past Sunday night.
Do not snatch Celek off the waiver wire thinking he is going to run between and by Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor on Sunday for a terrific 75-yard touchdown. But if you need a TE in a deep league and your options are limited, Celek could find a path to the end zone, with the unexpected help of Mr. Gabbert.