Most of the best teams in fantasy football have an elite tight end, and this week the pool of the “elite” gets a new addition as Rob Gronkowski is expected to return for the New England Patriots. Gronk isn’t atop our list though as Jimmy Graham’s early season dominance continues to put him in the #1 slot. Going forward, it’ll be fascinating to see how long he can hold the top spot with Gronk and the emerging young receiving tight ends trying to chase him down.
This list of the top ten tight end’s to start week 4 is assuming that Gronk and Vernon Davis are both going to play this weekend. It’s a simple composite rankings of mine and my Fansided colleague Leo Howell’s. If you have any roster or lineup questions feel free to fire them at me on twitter @ZT_Sports or in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Here’s our top 10 for week 4:
1. Jimmy Graham-New Orleans Saints
Graham has been targeted an incredible 31 times in the Saints last two games. He’s converted those targets for 19 catches and 313 yards. He has four touchdowns in three games including a pair this last week against the Cardinals where he caught nine passes for 134 yards. This week on Monday Night Football he’ll face the Dolphins. Miami has given up the fourth-most points to tight ends this season including a touchdown to a tight end in each of their first three games. An elite option in a great matchup, there is no better TE option than Jimmy Graham.
2. Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys
Witten has returned to the elite tier this season and had a solid game last week against St. Louis catching five passes for 67 yards. He and Tony Romo have a great connection, and with Miles Austin possibly sidelined look for plenty of passes coming Witten’s way this Sunday in San Diego. The Chargers have given up the fifth-most points to opposing tight ends on the season.
t3. Jordan Cameron-Cleveland Browns
Cameron had a beastly week 3 against the Vikings catching three touchdowns and six passes for 66 yards. He was targeted 11 times by Brian Hoyer in his first start at QB, so expect Cameron to continue to pull in tons of targets no matter who starts at QB for Cleveland. His breakout campaign has been impressive especially when considering the iffy QB play in Cleveland. The Browns are hosting their in-state rivals the Bengals this week.
t3. Rob Gronkowski-New England Patriots
Is this finally the week we get Gronk back? It’s looking like the Patriots pass-catching weapon will be able to play in this week’s showdown with the Falcons in Atlanta. With all the Patriots receiver issues, Gronk will get plenty of attention from the defense and plenty of passes thrown his way if he’s 100%. If you have another elite option and can afford to, it may be wise to see him healthy a week before playing him, but as long as he’s active he is definitely startable in all formats.
5. Julius Thomas-Denver Broncos
Thomas has become a huge target for Peyton and the dominant Broncos. Thomas has found the end one every week with 14 catches and three scores on 20 targets. Manning and the Broncos are in a great matchup against the Eagles in Denver, so expect plenty of points including passes headed Thomas’s way especially around the end zone.
6. Tony Gonzalez-Atlanta Falcons
Gonzalez hasn’t found the end zone since week 1 but continues to be a part of the Falcons passing game getting at least five targets a game. This week he’ll face the Patriots Defense who have allowed the least fantasy points to opposing TE’s in the league. Gonzalez isn’t in a great matchup, but he is still a TE1 for at least another couple weeks since Matt Ryan trusts him and targets him around the red zone.
7. Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers
Davis missed last week’s game and will need to make a quick recovery to face the Rams on Thursday. San Francisco’s passing offense needed him against the Colts as Colin Kaepernick struggled for the second week in a row. Hopefully, Davis can return and Kaepernick can return to form making Davis a TE1 again this week.
8. Antonio Gates-San Diego Chargers
Gates found the End Zone last week agains the Titans coming off a 124-yard performance against the Eagles. Gates is far from a young up-and-coming tight end, but he’s been a nice value for whoever grabbed him in this year’s draft in which he slid into the later rounds.
9. Coby Fleener-Indianapolis Colts
Since Dwayne Allen’s season-ending injury, Fleener has contributed to the Colts as he’s reconnected with his former college teammate Andrew Luck. He had 69 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins week 2 and caught both targets against the 49ers this past week. I don’t have Fleener in my top ten, but Leo says the matchup against Jacksonville is good enough to make him a starter. Go with his advice if you need a plug-and-play option for Sunday.
10. Martellus Bennett-Chicago Bears
Bennett didn’t have a huge week last week catching just two catches for 10 years, but in week 2 had a seven-catch, 76-yard performance which included a pair of touchdowns. Bennett and the Bears take on the Vikings who gave up three TD’s to Jordan Cameron last week. Bennett is a solid option as a low-end TE this week and is on my top ten list although Leo didn’t have him in his top ten.
Honorable Mention: Owen Daniels-Houston Texans, Jared Cook-St. Louis Rams, Kyle Rudolph-Minnesota Vikings