"I've been big ever since I was little." - William "The Refrigerator" Perry
Week 9 saw the big boys take over the top end of tight end scoring. Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen were numbers one through five respectively in tight end scoring, providing order to a chaotic world. Can fantasy football be this easy?
I wouldn't bet on it.
Remember, it wasn't so very long ago that Orange Julius was just another store between Brookstone and American Eagle. As recently as this past August, the only one who owned a Jordan Cameron jersey was Jordan Cameron. Was there anyone as "Incognito" [numberFire does not condone bullying of any fashion] as Charles Clay, a top-12 tight end who still may or may not be the same person as Clay Harbor? My point is that variability still exists at this position. As the homestretch approaches, tight end streaming can still find big value in little places.
Week 10 Streamers
Tim Wright, Tampa Bay Fire Schianos (owned in 2.8% of ESPN Leagues)
Timothy Wright and Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon have such a connection they finish each other's sentences and/or touchdown-scoring drives. The Wright Stuff has hauled in 23 passes for 253 yards in the five games started by Glennon, as opposed to only one catch for six yards with the late great Josh Freeman. Mr. Wright scored touchdowns in back-to-back contests, and Glennon has targeted him six or more times in three games this season.
With Mike Williams sidelined with an injury, expect Wright to stay active in the Tampa passing offense. Wright's .81 receiving Net Expected Points per target, a statistic that measures a pass catcher's offensive efficiency on a per-target basis, is slightly better than that of the Gronk Monster this season. Wright faces off this week against Miami, one of only seven teams to allow six or more tight end touchdowns this season. The time could not be more Wright to get him into your lineup.
Jared Cook, St. Louis Zac Stacys (owned in 74.9 of ESPN Leagues)
Jared Cook has spoiled the broth for many a fantasy owner in 2013. After a Week 1 Cook-splosion for 141 yards and two touchdowns, Captain Cook joined the witness protection program. "So much promise yet so much disappointment" could be the title of Cook's autobiography, and trust me, I get it if you're "all Cook'ed out." However, if there was a time to give Cook a look, this would be it.
Not one, but two Rams injuries have led to an uptick in value for this much-maligned asset. Since Sam Bradford went down, Cook has gotten much love from new "quarterback" Kellen Clemens. In fact, he's been targeted six times in each of his last two games, and he recorded his first touchdown since Week 1 last Sunday against Tennessee.
Another boon for Cook's game is the finger injury that befell complementary tight end Lance Kendricks, who will not be in uniform on Sunday. Kendricks has averaged almost four targets per game this year. Although his fantasy numbers haven't impressed anyone, Cook has proven to be an efficient factor of St. Louis' offense, with a receiving NEP per target of .60. If Cook can add Kendricks' usual targets to his average and maintain his overall efficiency, he's headed towards a top-12 finish in Week 10.
Garrett Graham, Houston Keenums (owned in 19.9% of ESPN Leagues)
Garrett Graham scored three touchdowns in his first four games this year, and then moved to the frozen food section of your local grocery store. In other words, he couldn't be colder. Even with Owen Daniels now out of the picture, Graham hasn't gained more than 46 yards or scored a touchdown since Week 4.
So why even mention Graham here? For starters, he's efficient; his receiving NEP per target is a solid .57. He's got a new quarterback, Case Keenum, who's not afraid to sling the rock. And he has been targeted at least five times in seven of his eight games. Expect Arizona to blanket Andre Johnson, who went ham on the Colts last Sunday, freeing up additional acreage for Graham to roam. Arizona has the poorest numbers in the NFL when it comes to defending tight ends, allowing them to score 14.5 fantasy points per game in ESPN standard leagues - that's more than 4.5 more points per game worse than any other team in the league. Look for Graham to shine in the Arizona sun this Sunday.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Lockers
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Sauce