Late in the fantasy football season having a TE who puts up good numbers can really be a difference maker. In football, if a team is playing in sub-par passing conditions but still needs to throw the rock, the tight end is the quarterback's best and most reliable target.
Tight ends are a lot more valuable in fantasy than they are given credit for. To that end, here are the top four fantasy TEs of Week 13.
Right behind Steve Smith in receiving for the Carolina Panthers this season is TE Greg Olsen.
All year Olsen has been a reliable target for rookie QB Cam Newton and he's second on the team in yards, receptions and touchdowns.
This week Olsen and the Panthers play at NFC South rival Tampa Bay who has the No. 28 and No. 29 ranked pass and rush defenses, respectively. With Carolina's Top 10 offense, expect some good numbers from Olsen.
If the Bucs want any shot at slowing down the Panthers they must double-team Steve Smith and put a spy on Cam Newton because of his ability to scramble. That will then put Olsen in many single coverage situations, a coverage he is more than capable of beating.
He did exactly that while in Chicago and has done more of the same in Carolina. Newton has the ability to buy time, therefore allowing Olsen even more time to get open in one-on-one coverage.
In Houston, TX there's a big inter-conference game between the Falcons and Texans. Houston needs a win to keep Tennessee at bay in the AFC South while Atlanta is trying to remain within striking distance of New Orleans.
The Texans have a Top 5 defense against the rush and pass and it will be tough to move the rock against them. That said, Atlanta has a balanced enough offense to be effective and guard themselves from being over-matched in any one situation.
That's where veteran TE Tony Gonzalez comes in. For starters, he knows how to block and block well which will then help the Falcons establish a ground game. This will help set up the pass and no Texan linebacker will be able to match Gonzalez in one-on-one situations.
Make no mistake about it, the Texans have a great defense but, with so many weapons across the board the Falcons can match them perfectly. Gonzalez is the most seasoned-vet on the field so his instincts will give him a big advantage.
If the New York Jets want any consistency in moving the ball, TE Dustin Keller must get involved every game. Next to a reliable rushing attack, a reliable TE is the next best thing for a QB.
As much as Mark Sanchez has improved the past few years, he can't continue to improve without trusting Dustin Keller more often.
What's interesting though is that Sanchez does in fact throw to Keller the most (69 targets, 40 receptions) with Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress in a close second and third.
At least Sanchez is spreading the ball around, but continuing to get the ball to Keller is vital. Against the Redskins this week, Sanchez will face a pair of great pass rushers in Brian Orakpo and rookie Ryan Kerrigan, so his time in the pocket will be limited.
When under much duress, finding the TE needs to be his No. 1 priority. That's where Keller comes in and for the Jets to win on the road, he must get targeted quite often.
Baltimore TE Ed Dickson goes flies under the radar quite and is often overlooked in favor of teammates Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and rookie WR Torrey Smith.
But, if the Ravens want to continue on their winning path, keeping Dickson involved is crucial. Baltimore plays at Cleveland this week who has a stellar pass defense but no rush defense.
We can expect a heavy dose of Ray Rice and for Torrey Smith to be double-covered most of the time. If there's anything that can keep Cleveland in the game, it's preventing the big play from occurring.
Therefore, Dickson will be left in numerous one-on-one situations. With the ground game being effective, and it will be, it will open up the playbook.
Even if his number of targets are rather low this week, he'll get some solid yards after contact to make up for it. Also, don't be surprised if he becomes Flacco's main man inside the red zone.