Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 6: Forecasting Outlook for Mid-Tier TE Options
Tight end has been a fortuitous position for fantasy football owners this year, especially ones who own Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints, Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos or Jordan Cameron of the Cleveland Browns.
Two more standout fantasy tight ends—Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons and Charles Clay of the Miami Dolphins—have a bye in Week 6, so there's a good chance you might need a refresher on options for your starting tight end or flex spot.
There's a number of players with favorable matchups who are candidates to earn a start for your lineup, and we'll play start 'em or sit 'em with three of those options below.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Greg Olsen might not be Jimmy Graham, but he's quietly putting together a solid fantasy season and has not had a game in 2013 in which he recorded less than four receptions.
His seven-catch, 84-yard, one-touchdown performance against Buffalo in Week 2 was clearly the biggest highlight so far, but there's little doubt that he is a security blanket for Cam Newton on a weekly basis.
The Panthers will face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6, and Olsen will once again have a chance to put up big numbers as a go-to guy in the offense. Although he was in a walking boot after the game with Arizona, Max Henson of the team's website has reported that Olsen is good to go:
Start Olsen with confidence if he's your top tight end, and even if he's paired with a Graham, Cameron or Antonio Gates, he might be worth a start in the flex spot.
Verdict: Start 'Em
Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
The Texans have lost Owen Daniels for the foreseeable future, and even if he does return this season, it likely won't affect his status as droppable in all formats.
While his absence is a blow, the emergence of Garrett Graham as his replacement might give fantasy owners pause who were ready to write off the tight end position in Houston.
Even with Daniels in the lineup, Graham had become an interesting fantasy option. He had three touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season and is actually a top-15 tight end in scoring in ESPN standard leagues at the moment.
Facing the St. Louis Rams in Week 6, Houston will need to establish the run and give Matt Schaub chances to be successful. Judging by what has worked earlier this season, Graham will be part of that mix.
If he's on your roster, he's worth a start.
Verdict: Start 'Em
Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets
With Kellen Winslow now suspended for the next four games due to testing positive for a banned substance, Cumberland looks to be the player who will benefit most from his absence.
The athletic tight end has touchdown catches in each of the last two games and will likely have chances for more with Geno Smith being lambasted for failing to take care of the ball in previous weeks. With a security blanket like Cumberland, he'll be less likely to force the ball at the wrong time.
However, this might not be the week to trust this tight end as a starter.
The Jets will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6, a team that has yielded some of the lowest fantasy numbers to tight ends over the first five weeks of the season. Coming off a bye, the Steelers will be well prepared for New York's offense.
Cumberland's prospects as a fill-in are strong while Winslow is out, but it would be fool's gold to trust him against Pittsburgh's defense this weekend.
Verdict: Sit 'Em
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
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