If Jimmy Graham plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you start him without a second thought. Graham at 50 percent is still better than the vast majority of tight ends out there.
However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with checking out a few options should he not go this week. As of Friday morning, he was listed as questionable after being limited in practice on Thursday.
Not being prepared could result in a goose egg in your tight end slot, giving your team a gigantic hurdle to overcome. Don't do that to your boys. They've given you too much for that.
The following players will at least give you a few points to help you get through these troubling times. They aren't studs, but have a high likelihood of being available in your league.
Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans
Matt Hasselbeck doesn't rely on his tight ends to the same degree as a lot of other quarterbacks. He also doesn't ignore them completely.
Cook caught all four of the passes Hasselbeck threw to him last week, so hopefully the fill-in signal-caller will be looking his way—especially against a Buffalo Bills defense that doesn't have anyone to cover him.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are looking to settle Cam Newton down and get him back in a groove. Newton has been forcing the ball to Steve Smith and getting burned. A great way to boost Newton's confidence is with dumps to the tight end instead of heaving the ball downfield.
Olsen is a solid choice to provide steady, and possibly explosive, production this week against a Cowboys defense whose weakness is in the linebacking corps.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets
This choice is for those in deep leagues or leagues that let people play tight ends at the flex. The pool of available choices will be much smaller so you have to take a shot with someone, right?
Keller only has two receptions this year, but the Jets are hurting for anyone to catch the ball. Keller can do that now, he is supposed to play after being shelved since Week 1.
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