It has been believed that prime time at Atlanta would mark the long-awaited return of Rob Gronkowski (back, arm) for the New England Patriots and fantasy owners.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is not optimistic, though.
Gronk has been playing Bill Belichick-coy with the media, including The Boston Globe's Shalise Manza Young, and the Patriots are always secretive about injuries. It will be tough to trust Gronk to return Sunday night, although missing the plane trip to Atlanta on Saturday could make the decision academic for fantasy owners.
If you hope to have him active, you will need to insure him with Pats backup tight end Zach Sudfeld or perhaps the Dolphins' Charles Clay, who plays Monday night at New Orleans.
It's Miller time
The Steelers have long waited for some good news amid their 0-3 start, and they get it with the return of Heath Miller from reconstructive knee surgery. The Steelers have relied heavily on Ben Roethlisberger in the early going, and Miller returned with 35 yards last week.
He will find the end zone against a Vikings defense that has been second worst in fantasy against tight ends to date, allowing a league-high six touchdowns. Jordan Cameron had three last week, Martellus Bennett had two in Week 2 and rookie Joseph Fauria had one in Week 1. Following the transitive property, that means Miller is going for four in Week 4 (half-kidding)!
Ignore the matchup and keep "Gonzo" going
Tony Gonzalez has gotten off to a disappointing start for fantasy owners, and he has to face a Patriots defense that has been No. 1 in fantasy against tight ends. But you don't sit this guy in prime time, particularly in a potential Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan shootout.
Roddy White (ankle) is not 100 percent, and Gonzo should be a factor in the red zone against a Pats secondary that hasn't faced even a decent quarterback yet. EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Josh Freeman are two rookies and a guy who has already been benched for a rookie. Yucky!
Week 4 sleepers
Joseph Fauria offers more than just trendy dance moves. After all, you have to get into the end zone to be able to dance in it. He has done that in the preseason and now the early going, which makes Brandon Pettigrew one of the biggest fantasy wastes of space.
Fauria is among the tight ends we like significantly more than the consensus:
- Tony Gonzalez
- Owen Daniels
- Kyle Rudolph
- Joseph Fauria
- Zach Miller
Week 4 duds
The crazy numbers for tight ends slowed a week ago, save for Cameron's pending enshrinement in the Hall of Fame (another half-kidding joke). The early sleepers of Julius Thomas, Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook (who already played on Thursday night) are going to regress to decent but not great fantasy options.
They are among the tight ends we like more than a couple of spots less than the masses:
- Julius Thomas
- Jared Cook (already stunk it up against the 49ers)
- Charles Clay
- Brandon Pettigrew
Three DraftDay.com bargains
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons ($8,700)
His slow start puts him well under value, along with what appears to be the unfavorable matchup. Gonzo will show up in prime time as Ryan and Brady put on a Sunday night show in a game that will get loose. Gonzo is a must-have at this price.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,350)
The matchup and the Steelers' use of the tight end in Todd Haley's dink-and-dunk offense make Miller a great value if you are short on a few dollars to buy Gonzo. Miller is going to get some of the throws and scores that went to Antonio Brown in his huge Week 3 performance.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts ($7,250)
When Dwayne Allen (hip) went down for the season, Fleener was due to rise to the top 10 among fantasy tight ends. The first matchup sans Allen came against the tough 49ers defense, so Fleener's true value has been hidden for one week. It won't be hidden here. He gets in the end zone twice against the lowly Jags, who made Zach Miller a fantasy name again last week.
Week 4 Tight Ends Rankings - Eric Mack