Week Five NFL TE Rankings: Start-Sit—It's Miller Time

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Week Five NFL TE Rankings: Start-Sit—It's Miller Time
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Both of her TEs scored in Week 4

Both of her TEs scored in Week Four

Week Five TE Rankings: Sit ’em or Start ’em Edition

Monday’s game between the Packers and Vikings was a great way to end the week and the first quarter of the season. Both team’s tight ends found the end zone, making many fantasy owners who took a chance on Vinsanthe Shiancoe and Jermichael Finley very happy.

Time to start the second quarter of our fantasy football season. This week we have the Packers, Bears, Saints, and Chargers on byes. That means Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen, Jermichael Finley, and Jeremy Shockey will all be out.

Before we get to potential fill-ins this week, let’s take a look at my Week Four start and sit suggestions. I recommended starting Anthony Fasano, Greg Olsen, Jermichael Finley, Kevin Boss, and Vernon Davis.

Fasano turned out to be a big bust, and if he couldn’t put up points against the Bills last week, his fantasy value in 2009 is nil. I got that call wrong, though statistically he should have done something. Dump him.

A lot of people were skeptical about my Finley pick, but he ended up with 128 yards and a touchdown. Third best TE performance of the week.

Vernon Davis only had 43 yards receiving, but he scored, which is what I was banking on. He ended at eighth best last week.

Kevin Boss ended with 41 yards, but unlike Davis, he never found the end zone as I’d hoped, but he still ended in the top 20 last week at TE. 

My other pick was Greg Olsen, who only had one catch, but it was for a touchdown (good for 14th best TE this week). Many experts, including some of my colleagues at Top Fantasy, seem to think it’s time to dump Olsen as a bust (read Mike Sholty’s Risers and Fallers), but I argue just the opposite.

I think this is a prime time to snag him on the cheap, as I argued in my Blue Light Special article last week. Olsen has the talent, but what he’s missed this season is opportunity. Defenses are keying in on him. But as the young receivers begin to spread those defenses, Olsen will see more action. He only caught one pass last week for a TD, but he was targeted seven times.

Many owners are ready to give up on him, which means he’s ripe for a steal, especially with him being on a bye in Week Five. He’s top 10 in targets, but his conversion ratio is terrible. That has little to do with his ability. That ratio will change moving forward. Bank on it.

So of my start suggestions, only Fasano turned out to be a major bust. Let’s take a look at who I recommended sitting and how they performed in Week Four.

Miller's hurt again, another Raiders loss

Miller's hurt again, back to the waiver wire

  • Jason Witten – four receptions, 41 yards, no TDs
  • John Carlson – five receptions, 39 yards, no TDs
  • Jeremy Shockey – four receptions, 34 yards, no TDs
  • Zach Miller – three receptions, 33 yards, no TDs
  • Randy McMichael – two receptions, 17 yards, no TDs

All five had bad days, with none of them finding the end zone. I got a couple of angry e-mails about my call to bench Witten and Carlson, but as you can see, four of my suggested starts outperformed all five of my suggested sits. Even the top guys have bad days against certain defenses.


Week Five TE Start Suggestions

What we’re looking for here is guys other than your big guns, like Dallas Clark, Tony Gonzalez, and Witten. We expect those guys to perform most weeks. I’m suggesting lesser guys with good matchups.

Robert Royal, CLE – There’s a name you won’t see on many rosters. In Week One against the Vikings, who are the league’s worst at surrendering points to TEs (as we saw Monday night), Royal notched nine targets, four receptions, 60 yards and a TD, with Brady Quinn under center.

This week, the Browns face the Bills, who—despite giving up nothing to Fasano last week—are still second worst in giving up points to opposing TEs. Royal also has the more pass-friendly Derek Anderson at QB this week.

This could be a solid week for Royal as a bye week fill-in, who is available on most waiver lists. In fact, you could save your waiver spot and grab him as a free agent before Sunday.

Heath Miller, PIT – Miller is a hit or miss TE. He had a big game opening night, then disappeared for two weeks fantasy-wise, then exploded Sunday night with 2 TDs. He is still available in many leagues after going dormant for two weeks, but he’ll be a top waiver grab this week as he faces the Lions, who have surrendered more TDs (five) to tight ends than any other team.

One thing is for sure, if Ben throws the ball Miller’s way, it’s almost a sure catch, as he’s converted 24 of his 27 targets to catches. That’s 89 percent.

Dustin Keller, NYJ – Keller has been a pleasant fantasy surprise for owners who took a chance on him as a starter or bench depth. He’s 14th in targets, and he just needs to covert a few more of those into red zone catches to get into the top 10 at TE.

This week, the Jets face the Dolphins, who have given up 320 yards and two TDs to tight ends. I like Keller to find the endzone again this week.

Brandon Pettigrew, DET - With Troy Polamalu sidelined, the Steelers defense against TEs has been bad. So IF he does not return this week, Pettigrew could do well. Last week he was targeted 10 times, and had 60 yards. If Stafford plays and Polamalu does not, Pettigrew makes a nice sleeper bye week play.

Vinsanthe Shiancoe, MIN – Favre hasn’t gone to him much, but when he does it’s often in the red zone, as we saw against the Packers Monday night. This week, Shiancoe gets the Rams defense, which has allowed three TDs and 251 yards to TEs, including two to Vernon Davis in Week Three. Howl at the moon, baby!09000d5d813311f0_gallery_600


Week Five TE Sit Suggestions

Bo Scaife/Alge Crumpler, TEN - The Titans like to throw to their tight ends, but Indy will have none of that. The Colts are the best at limiting TE production; 91 yards, no scores. Don’t play either of these guys this week. No one is that desperate.

Ben Watson/Chris Baker, NEP – Like the Titans, the Patriots like hitting their TEs for short bursts and end zone packages. The Broncos have stifled TEs so far, giving up only 93 yards and no TDs.

Kellen Winslow, TBB – The Bucs have gone to Winslow often this season, but lately he hasn't been producing. Add to that mix a rookie QB and an Eagles defense ranked fourth against TEs this season (103 yards and no TDs), and you have a recipe for a fantasy black hole. Sit him this week.

Kevin Boss, NYG – Boss has been anything but the boss so far in 2009. You’d think he’d be ripe for a breakout game against the Raiders, but for all their woes, Oakland has been strong against TE production, giving up 200 yards, but no scores. Boss’ QB, Eli Manning, is hurting, so who knows what effect that will have, or if Manning will even play in Week Five. Play it safe, and tell the Boss no this week.

Feel free to go head over heels for Ryan

Feel free to go head over heels for Ryan


Fantasy Spotlight

Sean Ryan, KCC - It is perhaps needless to point out how bad the Kansas City Chiefs have been so far, but one bright spot has been tight end Sean Ryan. When Tony Gonzalez left for Atlanta, many (myself included) expected Brad Cottam to fill that void, but so far, Ryan has stepped to the plate.

As you can see below, he’s ranked 18th so far, and has two TDs. In Week Four he was the Chiefs' leading receiver. As QB Matt Cassell gets more familiar with coach Todd Haley’s offense, I expect Ryan will play a larger role, especially with Larry Johnson and the running game at a stand still.


Current Statistical TE Rankings through Week Four (Actual Stats)

 

Player Name

Team

G

Targets

Rec

Yards

TDs

Fantasy Points

1. Dallas Clark

IND

4

33

26

364

2

48.4

2. Antonio Gates

SD

4

35

24

349

2

46.9

3. Vernon Davis

SF

4

27

17

211

3

39.1

4. Chris Cooley

WAS

4

32

22

254

2

37.4

5. Brent Celek

PHI

3

27

22

245

2

36.5

6. John Carlson

SEA

4

32

20

208

2

32.8

7. Owen Daniels

HOU

4

28

17

202

2

32.2

8. Heath Miller

PIT

4

27

24

181

2

30.1

9. Marcedes Lewis

JAC

4

18

11

179

2

29.9

10. Ben Watson

NE

4

17

12

174

2

29.4

11. Todd Heap

BAL

4

22

14

170

2

29.0

12. Jeremy Shockey

NO

4

24

18

162

2

28.2

13. Tony Gonzalez

ATL

3

18

13

160

2

28.0

14. Kellen Winslow

TB

4

30

17

155

2

27.5

15. Jason Witten

DAL

4

27

23

212

1

27.2

16. Jermichael Finley

GB

4

15

11

190

1

25.0

17. Dustin Keller

NYJ

4

21

12

171

1

23.1

18. Sean Ryan

KC

4

18

11

97

2

21.7

19. Greg Olsen

CHI

4

25

10

94

2

21.4

20. Dante Rosario

CAR

3

10

6

89

2

20.9

21. Visanthe Shiancoe

MIN

4

14

9

67

2

18.7

22. Daniel Fells

STL

4

9

4

61

2

18.1

23. Kellen Davis

CHI

4

8

7

58

2

17.8

24. Will Heller

DET

4

12

7

93

1

15.3

25. Robert Royal

CLE

4

17

8

93

1

15.3

26. Zach Millerinjured

OAK

4

20

11

146

0

14.6

27. Kevin Boss

NYG

4

14

10

143

0

14.3

28. Brandon Pettigrew

DET

4

19

10

131

0

13.1

29. Tony Scheffler

DEN

4

8

6

71

1

13.1

30. Jerramy Stevens

TB

4

18

8

71

1

13.1

 

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