Tight End Playoff Plays

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Tight ends are probably the least loved skill position in Fantasy. They can be inconsistent and hard to predict from week-to-week unless you have an elite option. However, this position can swing the pendulum of close games that can help you make the playoffs or win a championship. As the trading deadline approaches  teams in the playoff hunt need to focus on upgrading, through trade or on the waiver, for the advantage in the Weeks 11-13 games to get in the playoffs and Weeks 14-16 (potentially 17) to win the championship.


Antonio Gates TE SD – Weeks 11-13 (DEN, BAL, CIN) Weeks 14-16 (PIT, CAR, NYJ) Week 17 (OAK)

Gates is a headliner as a trade target since his injury earlier in the season seems not to be a problem, Rivers is going to need to be throwing to him a lot of the Chargers are going to be in the playoff race. Finally Gates has the second softest schedule for fantasy TE’s the rest of the year with teams on average giving up 8 fantasy PPG to TE’s.

Jermichael Finely TE GB – Weeks 11-13 (DET, NYG, MIN) Weeks 14-16 (DET, CHI, TEN) Week 17 (MIN)

Jermichael Finley is another TE who hasn’t been living up to expectations this year. Injuries to the WR corps in Green Bay should increase Finely’s utilization of 5.4 targets per game and only 1 TD. Finley has decent matchups for a fantasy team trying to get into the playoffs, but the real value is in championship Week 16 matchup vs. TEN, who give up an NFL worst 13.4 fantasy PPG to TE and Week 17 against MIN who rank of 26 against the TE, giving up 8 fantasy PPG.

Aaron Hernandez TE NE – Weeks 11-13 (IND, NYJ, MIA) Weeks 14-16 (HOU, SF, JAC) Week 17 (MIA)

Hernandez has been a headache to own all year; he has had injuries to his ankle all year and played in only 3 fantasy worthy game so far. No matter who the Patriots play there no one can matchup against a healthy Gronkowski and Hernandez. Hernandez should be healthy the rest of the way and if an owner is frustrated with Hernandez make a play for him. He is a Top 5 TE when healthy averaging nearly 8 targets per game from Brady that could help you win a championship with some risk.

Low Cost Options

Dennis Pitta TE BAL – Weeks 11-13 (PIT, SD, PIT) Weeks 14-16 (WSH, DEN, NYG) Week 17 (CIN)

Pitta started this year fast and was one of the hottest waiver wire pickup earlier in the year. After a couple down weeks he reappeared on many of those same waiver wires. What we do know is Pitta is Flacco’s preferred option at TE and that the Ravens after being ravaged on defense with injuries. The Ravens will have to throw more keep their lead in the AFC north from the surging Steelers. Pitta has tough matchups in Weeks 11-13 against PIT (twice) and SD, a tough matchup Week 16 against the NYG who are fourth best against the TE. Weeks 14-15 and 17 are all great matchups for Pitta on where the teams are giving up on average 10 fantasy PPG to TE’s.

Brent Celek TE PHI – Weeks 11-13 (WSH, CAR, DAL) Weeks 14-16 (TB, CIN, WSH) Week 17 (NYG)

Celek has been Michael Vick’s security blanket all year. He is 5th among TEs in yards with 389. Philadelphia will be doing everything to comeback from slow start to the season and miscues by Vick to make the playoffs, so they should be throwing a ton the rest of the way. Celek has favorable matchups against WSH (twice) and CIN who are giving up 11 and 9.3 fantasy PPG respectively to TEs. and should increase his meager TD total of 1. Celek is an especially good play if your league does not play Week 17, to avoid playing NYG, the fourth best defense against the TE.

Not for the Faint of Heart

Marcedes Lewis TE JAC – Weeks 11-13 (HOU, TEN, BUF) Weeks 14-16 (NYJ, MIA, NE) Week 17 (TEN)

I know you must be thinking I am crazy for putting Marcedes Lewis in this article, but hear me out. Lewis has the most favorable schedule rest of the way in the NFL for TE’s including championship matchups against NE and TEN in Weeks 16 and 17. NE has given up 10 fantasy PPG to TE and TEN has been league worst giving up 13.4. Lewis has a very good catch rate of 73.4% when targeted, and with Mike Thomas shipped out of town there should be more targets going his way. Lewis is on most waiver wires, so the price should in most cases be a roster spot, but I recommend relying on Lewis only in tandem of another quality TE if at all possible.

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