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Week 14 is the last week of the regular season in many fantasy leagues, while it could also be the opening round of the playoffs in other leagues depending on the postseason structure. So this is not the time to make a fantasy lineup mistake.
If you still haven’t plugged the gaping hole left behind by Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Tyler Eifert on your fantasy team, you may be in serious trouble. The amount of decent tight ends available in fantasy leagues is dwindling faster than the San Diego Chargers’ receiving corps. Craig gives you the info on three tight ends that could help you out this week if you need one.
Week 14 Waiver Wire — Tight Ends (TE)
Luke Willson (TE, SEA) — 4% Owned in Fleaflicker
Willson is no Jimmy Graham. Hell, he’s not even the best Willson/Wilson on his own offense. But what he is right now is the starting tight end on a team whose quarterback and offense are clicking on all cylinders at the perfect time of the season for fantasy owners.
While Seattle’s offensive scheme does no favors for its tight ends (just ask Graham owners), Willson is an intriguing pickup because Russell Wilson is lighting defenses on fire with his torch tossing. The man has 11 touchdown passes over his last three contests and is playing like a guy trying to prove to all doubters that he is worth 20 million dollars per year.
With Graham out for the season with his torn patella tendon, Willson is Seattle’s top tight end from here on out. And even though receivers Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett have been the ones getting the bulk of the targets recently, Willson is due to get more chances in the coming weeks.
Willson’s Seahawks play at Baltimore this weekend, and the Ravens’ 19th ranked pass defense sure could use Ed Reed right about now. Willson is not going to rack up 10 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns this week, but he could get needy fantasy owners 50 yards and a score.
Will Tye (TE, NYG) — 2% Owned in Fleaflicker
Larry Donnell’s neck injury has made the fantasy value of Tye very healthy. While Donnell sits on the sidelines, Tye has made the most of his opportunity as New York’s starting tight end during the last month.
Tye has not found the end zone yet this season, but he has found Eli Manning’s passes when he is running routes in between the 20-yard-lines. Tye has 14 receptions for 200 yards over his last three games and has proven he is much more than just a slow-footed safety valve. He caught a 45-yard pass against the New York Jets this past Sunday that made him look like an Olympic sprinter compared to other tight ends.
Tye is complete opposite of Donnell, who does not possess the downfield speed required to make 20-yard catches but uses his big basketball body to shield defenders and score touchdowns. Tye seems to find cracks in the seams of a defense, especially over the middle. He just does not find his way to the end zone.
New York plays at Miami as this week in another attempt to kill Monday Night Football with terrible matchups (seriously, please allow flex games for Monday nights, too!). Miami’s 22nd-ranked pass defense should give Tye room to roam. Five receptions for 60 yards is well within Tye’s fantasy range.
Clive Walford (TE, OAK) — 7% Owned in Fleaflicker
Walford has slowly blipped on fantasy radars for a while now after scoring three touchdown sover a four-game span last month, but he hadn’t caught more than a pair of passes in any game until this past week. Against the Kansas City Chiefs he set season-highs with five receptions for 53 yards, so maybe this is a sign that David Carr will be looking his way more often down the stretch.
Walford may have a name that sounds like he is a butler and not an NFL tight end, but the third-round rookie has truckloads of talent. He may be just a year away from really breaking out and becoming a top-10 fantasy tight end. He can score a touchdown next week for your fantasy squad, though.
The bad news for Walford is that he and his Oakland Raiders mates have to play at Denver this weekend. Denver has the top-ranked pass defense and is as stingy as any defense in the league. The good news is that two weeks ago New England’s Gronkowski and Scott Chandler combined for 146 yards and two touchdowns, so it is not like the Broncos secondary is impenetrable.
The best Walford will get against Denver is three catches for 35 yards and a possible touchdown. If that is better than what you project for the tight end you have on your fantasy roster, feel free to take a flyer on him.