Tight end is an extremely vital position in fantasy football, but unfortunately not every owner can have Jimmy Graham and his monster production. If you’re struggling at the position or need a bye week fill in for your TE1, there are some solid options on the waiver wire who are starting to emerge.
Here’s my top five to pickup this week who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues (ownership percentages included in parentheses).
1. Sean McGrath-Kansas City Chiefs (0.2%)
After getting a chance due to injuries to other Chiefs tight ends, McGrath has been a nice addition for the Chiefs. He was claimed off of waivers from Seattle just before the season and has contributed after Tony Moeacki, Anthony Fasano, and Travis Kelce went down with various injuries. In the last two weeks, he has caught all nine passes thrown his way for a total of 95 yards and a touchdown. Chiefs QB Alex Smith has a history of utilizing his tight end and has definitely established a comfort level throwing to McGrath.
This week the Chiefs take on the Titans who average the fourth most fantasy points allowed to opposing tighe ends. Tennessee has allowed touchdowns to the opposing TE in their last three games and over 100 yards to the position in the last two. McGrath may not reach 100 yards, but I do think he’ll have a solid game making him a borderline TE1 in 10-team leagues this week.
2. Charles Clay-Miami Dolphins (17.1%)
Clay is the number 8 ranked tight end after four weeks of the season. He’s made it to the end zone in two of the last three weeks with a rushing touchdown from his fullback position and a receiving touchdown last week in New Orleans. He has at least 40 yards receiving and four catches every week this year.
Miami will look to recover from their Monday Night defeat as they host Baltimore this week. If you need a steady option with breakout potential, Clay is a nice play and a solid option going forward. He isn’t quite as good a play as McGrath this week, in my opinion, but is the better long-term option.
3. Colby Fleener-Indianapolis Colts (20.4%)
After Dwayne Allen’s injury, Fleener has seized his opportunity and emerged as a fringe TE1 in the Colts pass-heavy scheme led by his college teammate Andre Luck. Fleener caught five passes for a season-high 77 yards and a touchdown last week against the Jaguars and continues to work his way into a larger rolein Indy’s offense.
This week, the Colts are in a brutal matchup with eh Seahawks, but Fleener is a nice pickup if you can stash him. If you have to play him this week, you can look at what the Texans tight ends did last week against Seattle–141 yards, 1 TD–for hope that Fleener can find some room to operate.
4. Brandon Pettigrew-Detroit Lions (36.7%)
Pettigrew burst back onto the scene this week after a horrible start to the year. He was targeted seven times against the Bears, second only to Calvin Johnson on the team. The impressive part of his week, though, was that he caught all seven passes for 54 yards. The Lions are looking for someone to emerge as a second option in the passing game after Nate Burleson’s pizza incident cost him a few weeks. For the next few weeks, Pettigrew makes a nice plug and play option if Matthew Stafford keeps throwing the ball his way.
The Lions play the Packers this week in what should be a pass-happy game. Green Bay has allowed the eighth most points per game to opposing tight ends, so Pettigrew is a low-end TE1 this week.
5. Brent Celek-Philadelphia Eagles (7.2%)
If you need a long-shot starter, Celek is in a matchup to exploit as the Eagles take on the Giants. Celek caught three passes for 57 yards in the Eagles loss in Denver while being targeted a season-high six times. Michael Vick needs to get other receivers involved besides DeSean Jackson, and Celek is an option he’s starting to utilize. He actually led the team in receiving this week and was targeted as many times as Jackson.
Against the Giants, he’s a long-shot option that you can plug in this week. New York has allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so see if Vick gets him the ball in what should be an up-tempo, high-scoring NFC East showdown.
This list of TE’s is part of my weekly waiver wire focus. If you need further help constructing your team, check out my top ten waiver wire picks of the week as well as my top 5 waiver targets at each of the following positions: QB, RB, WR, D/ST.
If you have any specific questions about your roster you can find me on twitter @ZT_Sports or leave a message in the comments at the bottom of the page and I’ll answer them as quickly as I can.
All scoring references are based on ESPN Standard scoring and are current through week 4.