After the Patriots had put the finishing touches on one of their best games of the season a 59-24 smackdown of the Colts, news started to trickle out of Foxboro that all was not well. News continued to break throughout the Sunday Night Football game and by the end of the night multiple sources for multiple reporters all agreed: Rob Gronkowski left the game with a broken forearm and will be sidelined for four to six weeks.
For Gronk owners, the news couldn’t have come at a worse time with the fantasy playoffs just around the corner and some of the biggest games of the year coming up in the next few weeks. So how should Gronk owners proceed, pick up the pieces, and try to move forward? Well, first of all, don’t drop Gronkowski. He’ll be back in time for your championship possibly and could be just the jolt your team needs at season’s end. However, plan as if you won’t have him just in case the Pats hold him out of just give him quick tune-up minutes before the playoffs. Keep him on your bench though, because any chance of him playing makes it worth the roster spot to hold him.
Hopefully you already have a solid backup tight end on the roster, so you just go with your backup. However, if you’re in a deep league or one with few bench spots you may need to hit the wire. If you need to add a tight end for depth or to plug-and-play right away here’s seven options who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues that I like for the next few weeks. They are ranked in the order I would claim them.
Brandon Myers-Oakland Raiders: (owned in 14.5% of ESPN Leagues) In my fantasy sleepers post for week 11 (click here) I recommended Myers against the Saints even coming off his concussion and he delivered scoring a touchdown and catching six passes for 55 yards. He had a concussion last week, but has become a big part of the Raiders offense leading the team in targets and receptions so he makes a great pickup as the Raiders face the Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Chiefs, and Panthers in the remaining weeks.
Dennis Pitta-Baltimore Ravens: (37.2%) Pitta could have headed this list after last weeks 67-yard, 5 catch performance but this week was limited to just a catch and five yards as he left the game early with a concussion. If he’s cleared to play, he has value since he’s built a good rapport with Joe Flacco and has a relatively favorable schedule over the next five weeks.
Dwayne Allen-Indianapolis Colts: (2.6%) Allen was targeted a season-high 11 times Sunday at New England and he finished with 69 yards on six catches. Only Reggie Wayne got more looks from Andrew Luck. Allen hasn’t found the endzone since week five but has a tasty schedule of Buffalo, Detroit, Tennessee, Houston (the only tough one), and Kansas City in the coming weeks. He’s growing into a bigger role in the rapidly maturing Colts offense and will continue to get the looks with Coby Fleener sidelined.
Joel Dreessen-Denver Broncos: (10.7%) Dreessen had four catches for 28 yards and had just as many targets (6) as fellow-tight end Jacob Tamme. The drawback with Dreessen even in the Broncos passing game is that he has to share looks and that Peyton tends to go to his wide receivers in the end zone not his tight ends. That being said, Dreessen is the better of the two Broncos tight ends to own at this point and has a fairly cushy schedule the rest of the way as the Broncos face the Chiefs, Bucs, Raiders, Ravens, Browns, and Chiefs again to close out the season.
Logan Paulsen-Washington Redskins (0.4%) Paulsen scored his first NFL touchdown Sunday against the Eagles but it was his only catch of the day going for 17 yards. He’s filled in for the injured Fred Davis, but with the Redskins starting to get their receivers back healthy he may have his role reduced. Paulsen will be on the field and has a decent rapport with RG3 though so you could definitely do worse than adding him.
Tony Moeaki-Kansas City Chiefs: (0.8%) Moeaki set a career-high for the secone week in a row finishing with 73 yards on four catches against the Bengals Sunday. Brady Quinn looks to be the QB the rest of the way and he utilizes Moeaki more than Matt Cassell. When needed, he’s a great pass protector as well which doesn’t help his fantasy value at all, but does make him a more valuable member of the Chiefs. With few weapons in the passing game, Moeaki could blossom the rest of the way but expect some inconsistency based on poor quarterback play and the role he plays in Romeo’s gameplan.
Benjamin Watson-Cleveland Browns: (1.6%) Watson has a big game Sunday in Dallas catching four passes for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was tied for the team lead with eight targets but had only seen ten in the three games prior to that. He’s going to get some looks especially if he keeps converting in the redzone, but he hasn’t been consistent at all this year making him a big gamble.