Julius Thomas, Dallas Clark and Best Week 2 Tight End Fantasy Pickups
Week 1 of the NFL season always causes a frenzy in the fantasy football world as owners look to decipher which blossoming stars are the real deal and which are duds.
After watching Thursday’s opening game and breaking down depth charts, tight ends like Julius Thomas, Dallas Clark and Scott Chandler will all be viable pickups for Week 2 in most standard fantasy leagues.
Unless you have a top tight end like Jimmy Graham of New Orleans or Rob Gronkowski of New England, fantasy owners should consider making a waiver-wire move for these players.
Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
The biggest winner of Thursday’s opening night was the Denver Broncos' Julius Thomas. The veteran was on almost no one’s fantasy radar leading into this season (Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen were both expected to share the role of No. 1 tight end), but he proved everyone wrong in Week 1.
With five receptions on seven targets for 110 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas proved to be the reliable target that quarterback Peyton Manning needs in his style offense. That’s a promising sign for fantasy owners.
Defenses simply can’t defend all of the weapons that Denver boasts. Receiver Wes Welker spreads linebacker groups thin by running across the middle of the field, and that opens up the extra space for a huge body like Thomas to make a play.
Despite playing in just eight games over the last two seasons due to injuries, catching one pass in his career before Thursday and coming off an arrest earlier this week, the Broncos and Manning will look to Thomas early and often moving forward.
Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens
Speaking of Peyton Manning, many fantasy owners had given up hope that one of his favorite targets from Indianapolis, Dallas Clark, would ever be relevant again after bouncing from team to team since leaving the Colts.
That was until Dennis Pitta suffered a serious hip injury. The void opened the door for the reemergence of one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league. After catching seven passes for 87 yards, it is clear that Clark has become QB Joe Flacco’s go-to dump-off receiver.
Fellow tight end Ed Dickson had the opportunity to shine early in the game, but with just one reception out of five targets and several key drops, there is no question that the team will lean more heavily on Clark as the season progresses.
If you can get Clark off the waiver wire after missing out on Thomas, that’s not a terrible Plan B.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
Whether Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler burns the New England Patriots on Sunday or not, fantasy owners should consider picking up the unquestioned starter if their current options fail to live up to expectations.
The Bills have a very favorable schedule in the AFC East, and no matter who is under center throughout this season (first-round pick E.J. Manuel or undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel), the quarterback will be forced to lean on the tight end position while he builds chemistry with the receivers.
With 43 receptions and six touchdowns last year, expect a heavy increase in Chandler's numbers in 2013. The Bills lack a serious red-zone threat besides the 6’7” tight end, so look for the veteran to fill that role once again.
*All stats via ESPN.
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