In week 8 we finally had a tight end with over 100 yards receiving as Antonio Gates continued his epic tear through the NFL with 5 grabs, 123 yards, and a touchdown. Will it happen again in week 9? Or will a new man step up and take over as top dog for the week?
I was so close to having a really good week… so close. It was all fun and games until the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets decided to have a field goal kicking competition and showed little interest in scoring touchdowns. Since that was the case Dustin Keller did not have the stellar performance we were all looking for with only 45 yards on just 2 catches. Jason Witten remains the only real shining star, get it “star,” on the Cowboys roster as he went off, again, for 97 yards and a TD. My last pick was Brandon Pettigrew who failed miserably at gaining major yardage, with a whopping 8 total yards, but what he was able to produce was his third score of the year. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my sit ‘em picks Heath Miller, Vernon Davis, and Owen Daniels combined for 4 catches, 59 yards, and a Miller fumble. Yikes.
This week is another week ravaged by BYE weeks, but there is still a lot of potential for big performances. Week 9 will all be about efficiency. With guys playing through pain, filling in for injured stars, or simply showing up where you’re needed, this is a week where the most needs to be made of your offensive opportunities in the Red Zone. With that in mind here are my Start/Sit picks for week 9 of the fantasy football season…
|Antonio Gates @ HOU||I know, I know, this is a given, but there has been some uncertainty in recent weeks as to the health of his ankle, which is still not 100%. He thoroughly dispelled any of those concerns last week by catching 5 balls for 123 yards and another touchdown, bringing his tally to 9 on the year. Through 8 games Gates has caught a touchdown pass in all but one, and has hit the end zone twice in the same game, well, twice. Just ridiculous.
The fact that his stock continues to rise despite being injured truly says something special about this mans season, and it will continue to rise this week as he faces the Texans and their not so vaunting defense that ranks 32nd against the pass. Gates has become the only real option in the passing game, and will be even more isolated this week with the release of Buster Davis. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Gates gets double-digit targets/catches this Sunday as he walks through the Texans secondary that most recently gave up 64 yards and a TD to a guy named Jacob Tamme. Speaking of Tamme…
|Jacob Tamme @PHI||I don’t think anyone really knows who this guy is or what he is about, but when Peyton Manning is your quarterback you better be ready to catch the ball, and Jacob Tamme certainly was last week. Tamme has stepped into the starting role left vacant by the injured Dallas Clark and made his presence known with 6 catches for 64 yards and a TD on Monday Night Football against division rival Houston. That’s a big way to make your first start. Could it all be a fluke? Yes. Could it all be because it was the Texans? Also yes, but I’m willing to give him another week to follow through and this is why…
The Philadelphia Eagles do not tend to give up a lot of yards to opposing tight ends, but what they do tend to do is leave tight ends wide open in the End Zone. In 3 out of their last 4 games the Eagles have held opposing tight ends to 3 catches (Tony Gonzalez), 5 catches (Vernon Davis), and 2 catches (Chris Cooley), but out of those 10 total catches, 4 of them have been touchdowns. That is why I think Tamme will hit pay dirt for the second straight week.
|Greg Olsen @ BUF (via TOR)||Going out on a limb on this one but I just have a good feeling about this one, plus the Bears could use some good news these days. The good news is that the Buffalo Bills are the worst team in the National Football League, and even better the Bills are the worst team in the NFL against opposing tight ends. Greg Olsen is not really poised to get you 125 yards or 10 catches or anything like that, but he is a consistent threat in the Red Zone, which is where the Bills seem to get lost. In weeks 4-7 (BYE in wk 6) the Bills gave up 6 touchdowns to tight ends, 2 in each game, on a combined 11 catches. More than half of the receptions given up to Todd Heap, Mercedes Lewis, and Dustin Keller over those 3 games were caught for touchdowns. Not a promising stat for those floundering Bills, but could be good news for the Bears faithful, and more importantly, Greg Olsen owners.|
And here is who to sit in Week 9:
|Kevin Boss @ SEA||Kevin Boss has always been a reliable receiver for the New York Football Giants, but with their influx of young talent at the wide receiver position he has become an afterthought of sorts this season. Hakeem Nicks has stepped up huge and Steve Smith has put together another solidly productive year, not to mention the impact of Mario Manningham, but all of this has essentially left Boss in the dust. Strangely enough this is the same scenario he was in last season. He had one big game early, not a ton of catches, but after week 8 he went on to catch 5 touchdowns and have two more 70+ yard games. Unfortunately I so don’t see that happening. Eli has gotten too comfortable with his receiving corps to all of a sudden change things up and start throwing underneath. Boss may get a few looks in the Red Zone here and there, but for now it just does not look good, especially against a Seahawks defense that has not given up more than 35 yards to a tight end in their last 4 games.|
|Brandon Pettigrew vs. NYJ||Although he wasn’t a total failure last week (2 catches for 8 yds and a TD) it was certainly not what I was hoping to get out of him against a bottom teir secondary in Washington. Pettigrew is definitely the Lions go-to tight end, and will be for the long run, made more evident by Tony Scheffler’s lack of production in recent weeks, but that low output in week 8 scares me a little. It scares me because there should have been holes for him to fill and it didn’t happen, so what can we expect when the Jets roll into town? I just don’t know. The Jets do a great job covering the middle of the field with their size and speed (No TDs to a tight end since week 3) so I will be hard pressed to believe he will have anything but a minor impact in week 9.|
|Rob Gronkowski @ CLE||It’s not everyday that you would sit an offensive weapon in Tom Brady’s arsenal but when is this guy going to get it going again? It seemed like he was becoming a Red Zone machine and all he did was catch touchdowns, but alas, all good things must come to an end. Aaron Hernandez is now the man in New England, despite the fact that he has no TD catches so far, but it doesn’t mean the end for Gronkowski. Gronkowski is always present in the Pats Red Zone package, but with their new found rushing attack with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead they have had less of a need to score through the air. At this point in time Rob Gronkowski is a risk that could pay off on the right week when he catches another touchdown, but I do not see it happening this weekend as the Patriots continue to pound the ball up the middle against the Browns.|