Fantasy Football 2012: Tight End Rankings and Analysis for Week 13

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IIDecember 1, 2012

Figuring out who the top fantasy football tight ends will be from week to week is a little easier than doing so for running backs and wide receivers, but by no means is it simple—especially in Week 13 with all the byes completed and injuries galore throughout the league.

That's why those of us in the fantasy industry put together these lists for you—to give you a gauge of what to expect from your players on any given Sunday.

With that, here are the weekend's tight end rankings, along with some detailed analysis of the 10 best plays for the week:

32. Charles Clay (vs. NE)

31. Coby Fleener (at Det)

30. Anthony Fasano (vs. NE)

29. Garrett Graham (at Ten)

28. Scott Chandler (vs. Jax)

27. Jacob Tamme (vs. TB)

26. Brent Celek (at Dal, Sunday night) 

25. Brandon Pettigrew (vs. Ind)

24. Dustin Keller (vs. Ari)

23. Rob Housler (vs. NYJ)

22. Joel Dreessen (vs. TB)

21. Dennis Pitta (vs. Pit)

20. Ben Watson (at Oak)

19. Heath Miller (at Bal)

18. Dwayne Allen (at Det)

17. Tony Moeaki (vs. Car)

16. Greg Olsen (at KC)

15. Brandon Myers (vs. Cle)

14. Jermaine Gresham (at SD)

13. Jermichael Finley (vs. Min)

12. Jared Cook (vs. Hou)

11. Marcedes Lewis (at Buf)

The Top 10 TE Plays for Week 13 

10. Martellus Bennett (at Was, Monday night)

Martellus Bennett started off the season hot as nails putting up three straight games with a touchdown and double-digit fantasy points.

However, his best game since then came in Week 7 against these Washington Redskins when he put up 79 yards on five catches.

The self-proclaimed “Black Unicorn” has a chance to grab some decent numbers again this week with the Washington defense allowing the most receptions, second-most touchdowns and third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.

This isn’t a play I would depend on, but if you’re in need of a breakout-type of game this week, Bennett might be the guy you’re looking for. 

9. Antonio Gates (vs. Cin)

Honestly, I have no idea whether I should ride this guy or take him back behind the shed and flog him into retirement.

Antonio Gates used to be one of the most dependable horses in the stable you could find, but nowadays, you'd be lucky just to see over two fantasy points a week!

I still love the guy, and he obviously has more talent than most of the other tight ends in the league, but either Philip Rivers isn’t targeting him enough or defenses are paying far too much attention to him because he’s had more than four catches in a game once the entire season.

That being said, the Cincinnati Bengals aren’t one of the better teams when it comes to covering the TE position, so you might want to throw your eggs into the future Hall of Famer’s basket one more time this weekend. 

8. Dallas Clark (at Den)

Yeah, I know, my head is spinning, too. Dallas Clark among the top 10 tight ends?!

It may not be as strange as it sounds as Clark actually ranks sixth in the league for most fantasy points over the last three weeks and ninth over the last five.

Basically, if you haven’t played him lately, now would be a good time to start considering it.

Anyway, the Bucs and Clark will be taking on the Denver Broncos this weekend, and though they pretty much rock in defending all other facets of the game, the Donkeys struggle at guarding the tight end position.

They have allowed the most touchdowns and second-most fantasy points per game to TEs this season, so look for Dallas to be included in the game plan this week with Denver focusing its attention more on guys like Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson. 

7. Kyle Rudolph (at GB)

Rudolph came out of the Week 12 game against the Bears because of a concussion, but the reason he missed Wednesday’s practice wasn’t because of his head as he passed all his concussion tests, but instead due to a banged up shoulder that nobody seems to know anything about.

My guess at this point is that he’ll be okay, but what really matters is if Percy Harvin happens to miss one more week, then Rudolph fantasy owners will be psyched as all hell with the kid dominating since Harvin went down.

In the last two weeks, Kyle has averaged six catches for 59.5 yards and a touchdown, numbers that any fantasy owner would be happy wit considering the craziness with tight ends this season.

This week he’ll face a Green Bay defense that’s normally pretty tough against tight ends, but Rudolph is on a bit of a roll right now, and you really shouldn't mess with a winning streak.

Get him in there.

6. Vernon Davis (at StL)

Vernon Davis complains far too often for most people’s liking, but the guy certainly has the skills to back up his mouth and will hopefully be used accordingly for the remainder of the season.

The 49ers need him to be a force on offense if they want to win the Super Bowl, and now that the dynamic Colin Kaepernick is under center; my guess is that Davis will be that force.

Though he wasn’t able to snag a single catch last week against the Saints, he did have his second-best fantasy day of the season the week before against the Bears with Colin at the helm, so the potential is obviously there.

The Rams are normally pretty good at defending tight ends, but if Rob Housler can catch eight balls for 82 yards against them like he did last week, then you have to think Vernon will be able to do a bit of damage himself.  

5. Jason Witten (vs. Phi, Sunday night)

Jason Witten is a strange bird indeed as he easily has the most targets and catches of any tight end in the league, yet ranks only 10th on the fantasy totem pole as of Week 12.

He’s never been much of a touchdown-monger, but you’d think that after 82 catches in the first 11 games, he’d have more than one!

Three weeks ago against the Eagles, Jason caught eight of his 10 targets for a mere 47 yards and no touchdowns.

It’s actually not that surprising…until you realize that Philly has allowed a TE to catch a touchdown in three of the last four weeks, with Witten being the only one who didn’t grab one (Jimmy Graham, Logan Paulsen and Gary Barnidge did).

I’m not entirely sure what to expect from Tony Romo’s best man at his wedding, but it certainly looks like he should have nice fantasy numbers this Sunday. 

4. Owen Daniels (at Ten)

You have to love what Owen Daniels has been doing this year as he’s been a pretty consistent fantasy player from the first snap of the season.

He has averaged almost five receptions, more than 55 yards and 0.6 TDs per game thus far and hasn’t had less than three receptions in any one game.

He's not the type of player to break out and go for big yardage, but as he showed on Thanksgiving against the Lions, he’s always a threat in the red zone catching a TD pass from Matt Schaub despite putting up just 20 yards on the day.

This week he goes to Tennessee to face a Titans defense that’s given up the most touchdowns and fourth-most fantasy points to TEs this season.

In their first matchup of 2012, Daniels caught all six of his targets for 72 yards and a TD—numbers he should come close to repeating this weekend. 

3. Tony Gonzalez (vs. NO, Thursday night)

Gonzalez has struggled of late with only two good performances over the past seven weeks.

Those two games, of course, were flat-out week-winners as he was able to grab 11 or more balls and 120-plus yards in each of them with the added bonus of three TDs combined in the duo.

In those other five games, however, Gonzalez totaled 202 yards on 19 catches with zero TDs. Gonzo had scored in four of five games to start the season, but has caught a TD in only one game since.

That being said, this is a really good week to get Gonzo into your starting lineup as the last time he faced the Saints (in Week 10), he had the second-most fantasy points for tight ends next to Jimmy Graham, so he obviously has a mental advantage on them right now.

He’ll be single-covered all day long with Roddy White and Julio Jones gaining most of the attention, so look for him to receive a bunch of targets and a ton of fantasy action this week.

Thursday night's final statistics4 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD 

2. Aaron Hernandez (at Mia)

Hernandez had a bit of a dud in his first game back from injury this past week, but don’t expect it to stretch into a second game this Sunday.

With the amount of targets Tom Brady normally gets his tight ends, Aaron should be in for a hell of a day against the Dolphins without Rob Gronkowski able to steal his thunder.

Last year in Miami, Aaron caught seven passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, numbers he could very well reproduce this weekend if the Patriots stick to their normal game plan against them. 

1. Jimmy Graham (at Atl, Thursday night)

Jimmy Graham has been held in check over the past two weeks putting up just 10 catches for 62 yards and one TD over that time.

The meager output comes on the heels of Graham’s first 100-yard game of the season back in Week 10 against the Falcons when he caught seven passes for 146 yards and two TDs.

Even though he was held without a TD last week against the 49ers, he still has five TDs in his last five games so he’s obviously on a roll.

In his last four games against the Falcons, the 6’7” Saints tight end has put up at least one TD in each of those games, so you have to consider this is a must-start game for Jimmy—as if you were considering otherwise.

Graham has had good success against the Falcons in his young career and should be able to get back on track with a possible second 100-yard game of the season against these pesky Dirty Birds.

Thursday night's final statistics 4 catches, 59 yards, 0 TDs

For rankings at all the positions, check out the: Pyro® Rankings

 For advice on who to start, check out the: Pyro® Start 'Em Sit 'Em

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