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Unless you are in a fantasy football league that does not believe in a postseason and goes by cumulative point totals (which is silly), your league is in the thick of the playoffs and hopefully your squad qualified for them.
This is not the time to make a boneheaded Leon Lett-like decision if you are in the fantasy playoffs. One lineup mistake where you take out a hero and insert a zero could cost you a title, prize money and may force you to get a tattoo on a buttock.
Buffalo’s Charles Clay, Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert and Carolina’s Greg Olsen all left their games this past Sunday with injuries, so there should be plenty of fantasy owners in the market for a tight end for their playoff contests. Here are three tight ends Craig wants you to consider this week on the waiver wire:
Week 15 Waiver Wire — Tight Ends (TE)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, TB) — 55% Owned in Fleaflicker
Hey, hey! Seferian-Jenkins stayed healthy for two games in a row! So this means he should be safe to steal off the waiver wire if he is still available in your league.
It is amazing how well rookie quarterback Jameis Winston has played this year when his second and third-best options in Tampa Bay’s passing attack, Vincent Jackson and Seferian-Jenkins, have been out for the bulk of the campaign. And now that Jackson is out again with another knee injury, Seferian-Jenkins will certainly see more passes come his way.
Seferian-Jenkins is an ultra-talented tight end with wide receiver-like skills. While he has not been able to show off those skills very often this season due to a serious shoulder injury, fantasy owners know what he is capable of. He is coming off back-to-back identical lines of three receptions (six targets) for 31 yards in last two outings. He is ready to do much more.
A.S.J. and his burgeoning Buccaneers have to play at St. Louis this Thursday night. The Rams, who seemingly play every week at their home dome, have allowed 100-yard games to Chicago’s Zach Miller (more about him shortly) and Baltimore’s Crockett Gillmore over the past month, so Seferian-Jenkins should find plenty of empty acres to make grabs.
A healthier Seferian-Jenkins and an injured Jackson mean doubly good things for Tampa Bay’s tight end. Do not be surprised if he has a seven-catch, 80-yard game this week that helps him move up fantasy draft boards for 2016.
Zach Miller (TE, CHI) — 15% Owned in Fleaflicker
There were obviously several fantasy owners who ignored my advice to pick Miller up a couple weeks ago because Martellus Bennett was still active, on the field and catching Jay Cutler’s passes. But now that Bennett has been banished to injured reserve, Miller should be owned in all fantasy leagues, not just 15 percent of them.
Miller has been one of the hottest tight ends in fantasy football over the past month-and-a-half. He has five touchdown catches over his last six games and is now the top tight end on a team that always plays from behind and has a gunslinging quarterback who loves throwing to his tallest targets. Miller is a veteran who knows how to find the end zone, and Cutler knows how to find him when Miller plants himself in the end zone.
Miller will not have an easy time finding open spaces inside Minnesota’s secondary this weekend. The Vikings are ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in pass defense, although they have allowed five touchdown tosses over their past two contests. With the Vikes coming off two straight losses and a 10-day break, chances are the defense will tighten the screws a bit. This is why Miller is the second tight end mentioned in this column and not the first.
Look for Miller to be thrown at 6-10 times this week as Cutler’s receiving corps is banged-up and lacking talented targets other than Alshon Jeffery. So even if Cutler and Miller do not connect as well they have in past weeks, Miller should still put up solid numbers for fantasy owners who pick him up this week.
Tyler Kroft (TE, CIN) — 1% Owned in Fleaflicker
Can you believe Pittsburgh’s Mike Mitchell concussed another player? Can you believe Cincinnati has two tight ends named Tyler on their roster? And can you believe that Tyler Kroft could actually help someone win their fantasy league?
Kroft should be the next man up at tight end if Eifert cannot dress this week after suffering a concussion at the hands and helmet of Mitchell. Kroft and fellow Cincy second-stringer A.J. McCarron hooked up twice for 31 yards after Eifert and QB Andy Dalton left this past Sunday’s game. That’s all well and good for the third-round Rutgers rookie, but he has a long way to go to prove to fantasy owners that he is worthy of a pickup. Kroft only has four receptions on the season.
The Dalton-less Bengals will travel to San Francisco this Sunday to face the 49ers, who cover receivers as well as Colin Kaepernick throws spirals. San Fran is ranked 27th against the pass, so if Kroft fails to post decent numbers this weekend it will not be because he was locked down by sticky defensive backs.
Cincinnati’s wideouts should be bigger beneficiaries of Eifert’s injury if he is unable to go this weekend than Kroft. But for fantasy owners who have Eifert and do not see many other options on their league’s waiver wire, Kroft can be picked up and plugged in, and owners who do that can pray that Kroft and McCarron stay on the same page and connect more often.