Fantasy Football: Why Tight Ends Facing the Tennessee Titans Are Must-Starts

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIISeptember 17, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:   Dante Rosario #88 of the San Diego Chargers scores his third touchdown of the game in front of  Jason McCourty #30 of the Tennessee Titans during a 38-10 win at Qualcomm Stadium on September 16, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans gave up two touchdowns to the New England Patriots’ tight end tandem of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in Week 1.

That’s no surprise, as the two players are very talented and possibly the core of the Patriots’ offense.

But it looked like the beginning of a trend.

As a result, I ranked Antonio Gates as the No. 1 tight end for fantasy football entering Week 2 play. He was scheduled to match up against those Titans.

Gates was a late scratch for that game.

In his stead, someone named Dante Rosario hauled in not one, not two, but three touchdowns from quarterback Philip Rivers.

I know who Dante Rosario is. That’s not the point.

The point is, this is less a case of “Antonio who?” than it is of how fantasy owners should consider starting their tight ends against the Titans.

Maybe even picking up a tight end to start against the Titans.

Through the first two games of 2012, the Titans have given up 19 catches for 196 yards and five touchdowns to four tight ends.

Two of those guys were the aforementioned Gronkowski and Hernandez. The other two were Rosario and Randy McMichael.

The Titans face the Detroit Lions in Week 3. Brandon Pettigrew is widely owned in fantasy leagues, so he probably won’t be on the waiver wire in yours. It wouldn’t hurt to check, but I wouldn't expect to find him there.

It’s possible that Calvin Johnson gets added looks over the deep and intermediate middle parts of the field and produces his first monster performance of 2012 against the Titans.

But Pettigrew is a must-start TE in Week 3.

Next up for Tennessee are the Texans, Vikings and Steelers.

That means that looking ahead and stashing Owen Daniels, Kyle Rudolph and/or Heath Miller should pay dividends for fantasy owners without an elite tight end on their rosters.

This statistical development is definitely worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.