Del Pilar's Digest: Fantasyland TE report

Posted Dec. 26, 2011 @ 9:03 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

The Patriots' Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both came out flat based on expectations but Owen Daniels hurt fantasy owners by completely tanking it. This is the one position you can play matchups, so make sure you hit the waiver wire as you'll find players like Jared Cook and Brandon Pettigrew who can make a difference for you with their final regular season matchup.

The studs

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (7-78-0 on nine targets) did not post anything close to the elite points he was posting from Weeks Nine through Week 14. However, those are solid enough numbers and he's a weekly start. 

Chargers TE Antonio Gates (4-40-0) has a two-game average of three catches for 35.5 yards and zero TDs on four targets. A far cry from his performances from Weeks 7-14 where he averaged 5.6 catches for 65.9 yards and 0.75 TDs per game. You can see the disappointment and sour taste he left in his owners' mouth the last two weeks. Despite the two-game swoon, he deserves fantasy consideration against the Raiders, but one must wonder if the Chargers are deflated as they're no longer fighting for a playoff spot whereas the Raiders are still in the hunt.

Gaining fantasy value or holding steady

Titans TE Jared Cook (8-169-0) really is an underachiever. I touted Cook's talent and ability and he never showed up this year. However, he has a two-game average of 8.5 catches for 136 yards and 0.5 TDs, showing the talent many of us believe he has. Even with the matchup, he wouldn't have been a recommended start this week. His per game average is still only three catches for 46.4 yards and 0.2 TDs per game on 4.9 targets. The real question isn't Week 17, as he warrants final week consideration, rather if he can take this into 2012 and if dynasty league owners should invest in him. I'm not sure as it boils down to the team's starting QB. That's an offseason question but you see his potential.

Jets TE Dustin Keller (8-77-0 on 18 targets) had the matchup and saw the targets. While he had a solid game, with that many passes one would have thought he would produce more. However, he has a two-game average of 5.5 catches for 75 yards and no TDs. He warrants fantasy consideration against the Dolphins.

Texans TE Owen Daniels (1-4-0 on two targets) tanked it for his fantasy owners in Week 16, but the onus is more on QB T.J. Yates than anyone else, as the rookie is regressing and affecting all receivers. Daniels is too risky to risk in Week 17 in total points or championship game leagues.

Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (4-36-0 on six targets) had his second-worst game of the season at the worst possible time for fantasy owners. However, the Dolphins played much better than anyone expected and outside of a couple of Patriots players, most struggled based on expectations. Hernandez is still a fantasy starter in most formats.

Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew (9-80-1 on 10 targets) had a phenomenal Week 16 and has two TDs in his last three games. His three-game average of 6.7 catches for 62 yards and 0.7 TDs and he warrants fantasy consideration against the Packers despite going 4-27-0 earlier this year against them.

Panthers TE Jeremy Shockey (2-14-1 on two targets) has become the Scott Chandler of the Panthers and is now a TD vulture with a TD in three straight games. However, his average is only two catches for 19.7 yards and one TD, thus the Chandler reference. He has value in the larger leagues against the Saints.

Minimum or diminishing fantasy value

Packers TE Jermichael Finley (3-20-1 on six targets) looked like he was going to have another three-TD game against the Bears, but quickly disappeared after the first quarter. Finley's been a bust based on where owners took him and with the team resting their players in Week 17; he may not be on the field much so you better have some other options available.

Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham (5-56-1 on seven targets) was a recommended bench when asked. Even with the TD, he only has a three-game average of 3.7 catches for 39 yards and 0.3 TDs making him a risky start next week against the Ravens.

Ravens TE Ed Dickson (2-14-1 on five targets) now has five TDs on the season and one in two straight games but his numbers the last two weeks are not good (combined 5-50-2). This boils down to the size of the league you're in as he has a slightly favorable matchup against the Bengals but would be a recommended bench in other leagues.