In the latest example of why you don’t draft a tight end early, none of the first three TEs off the board (Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten) are currently among the top three in per-game scoring. In their place is the high-upside, athletically-gifted trio of Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels, and Dallas Clark – all of which made their way into our top five this week. Those of us who waited and grabbed a tight end like Heath Miller, Brent Celek or Jeremy Shockey late have also been rewarded with a top-ten option. Let’s not forget about this come draft season in 2010.
I had pegged Greg Olsen as a potential top-five tight end going into the season, but at this point I think ranking him inside the top ten in a cake home matchup against Cleveland is generous. Olsen is quietly coming around with 3 TDs in his last four games, but he’s really not getting open downfield like we expected and he’s yet to catch more than 5 passes in a game. There’s still time for him to rebound in the second half, but so far Olsen has been a bust.
Perusing the ranks, it strikes me that Donald Lee makes for an excellent sneaky play this week. Jermichael Finley is likely out, the Vikings can’t cover TEs for shit and with Jared Allen all up in his grill Aaron Rodgers is going to be dumping the ball off often. Add in the fact that Antoine Winfield should also be out again and the Minnesota secondary looks susceptible. I think Lee puts up a useful fantasy line with a potential score.
1. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. OAK
2. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts vs. SF
3. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans @ BUF
4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
5. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers @ IND
6. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons @ NO
7. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG
8. Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints vs. ATL
9. Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears vs. CLE
10. Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings @ GB
11. Donald Lee, Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
12. Tony Scheffler, Denver Broncos @ BAL
13. John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks @ DAL
14. Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders @ SD
15. Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens vs. DEN
16. Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. MIA
17. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars @ TEN
18. Kevin Boss, New York Giants @ PHI
19. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions vs. STL
Randy Mc Daniel Fells, St. Louis Rams @ DET
Vernon Davis photo credit: Icon SMI