Alright, alright I messed up with that whole Antonio Gates being injured thing, but at that point in time I’m sure you had him starting as well so back off… Moving on.
Tight end production is right back on track as we had our second straight week with a 100+ yard receiver. It was made extra special because Jacob Tamme was my number one starter for the week and has proven that his starting debut performance was mp fluke my having an even better encore with 11 catches, 108 yards, and a TD in a losing effort to the Eagles. Much like Brandon Pettigrew the week before, Greg Olsen did not put up big yardage (29 yds) or PPR (3 catches), but he finally got his third touchdown of the season and helped make me look really really intelligent. On the other end of the Start/Sit spectrum I hit a few hiccups, but overall wasn’t too embarrassed. Kevin Boss, by some sort of miracle, scored on one of his whopping two catches of the day. In much the same fashion as Boss, Brandon Pettigrew made me feel like an ass for scoring on one of his three total grabs. Seriously, he only had 18 yards. Come on. Lastly, I had something good to feel about as Rob Gronkowski, as well as most of the Patriots offense (except Aaron Hernandez and Danny Woodhead), failed in an epic manner against a Colt McCoy-led Browns squad.
Alas this week is another week, and I am feeling a little bit more confident about Week 10. It’s an even number, not a ton of injuries to report, and it can’t get much worse right? This week is all about establishing your position in the league. As we near playoff time it becomes increasingly more important to cement yourself as a playmaker and one that can be counted on in the clutch. So here are some guys who need to step up in this vital part of the season to help their teams get over the proverbial hump… My Week 10 Start/Sit predictions…
|Joel Dreessen @ JAX
||As this season has progressed, Joel Dreessen has proven time and time again that he can be a solid pass catching tight end. The problem is that his opportunities in the spotlight have been few and far between. Dreessen is one of those guys who are perpetually living in the shadow of a more prominent player in the same position, in this case, Owen Daniels. Fortunately for Dreessen, Daniels has been plagued with injuries and was forced to sit out last week’s game, where he recorded a team high 5 catches for 67 yards, and Daniels may be forced out of week 10 leaving the door wide open for Dreessen to step up and dominate the center of the field.
It isn’t often that one would recommend starting a backup tight end, but it has worked for me ok so far (see Jacob Tamme the last two weeks) and I’m feeling a bit frisky so why not? The Jacksonville Jaguars are Joel Dreessen and the Houston Texans’ opponent in week 10 and things just started looking brighter for the young tight end. Jacksonville has matchup issues all over the field and has struggled on an epic level against the pass all year ranking 28th in the league, have given up a TD to a tight end in 3 of their last 5 games, and are coming off a rough game against a floundering Dallas team giving up 97 yards and a TD to Jason Witten. If Matt Schaub can finally get on track and hit his tight end 5-7 times there could be much success in their future.
|Visanthe Schiancoe @ CHI||Now that Randy Moss is officially out of the picture and Sidney Rice is still not back to 100% the Minnesota Vikings are playing like they did to open the season, which is to say they are playing within their means. When the Vikings are on their game they focus on the run and use quick slants off the line to move the ball. They finally seemed to get back into rhythm this past weekend in their come from behind with where Percy Harvin was the focus and they used Visanthe Shiancoe to close it out. Shiancoe had zero catches through the first three quarters of the game, then took over in the fourth quarter hauling in 4 catches for 66 yards and a score. Shiancoe is going to be a much-needed Red Zone weapon as the Vikes roll into Chicago a bit short handed this weekend. Chicago is still tough to run the ball against so the ball will be in Brett Favre’s hands to win the game. The positive aspect of this situation for the Favre-Shiancoe connection is that Chicago is ranked 19th against the pass and has already sacrificed major yards to tight ends this year, like Jermichael Finley who went off for 9 catches and 115 yards.|
|Mercedes Lewis vs. HOU||So far this season, Mercedes Lewis has victimized some of the weaker pass defenses in the NFL. He has scored two touchdowns against both the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills, to go along with his other 3 scores that he has racked up on the year bringing his tally to 7. There is only one other player at the tight end position that has surpassed that number this year so far and that is Antonio Gates who has been a beast all year. This is certainly not bad company to have at the top. Lewis, and the rest of the Jags passing attack to be honest, doesn’t rack up a lot of yardage, but he is efficient. Almost a third of his catches have been for TDs and he is on a bit of a hot streak as of late with 4 TDs in his last 4 games. Who has not been on a hot streak is the Houston Texans pass defense. Houston is 32nd overall against the pass, and has given up 3 touchdowns in the past two games to backup tight ends Jacob Tamme and Randy McMichael. I see this trend continuing as Mercedes Lewis again proves his dominance in the Red Zone on Sunday.|
And here is who to sit in Week 10:
|Kellen Winslow vs. CAR||Coming out of their Bye Week, Kellen Winslow seemed like he was going to be a lock to play week in and week out as he had 6 catches for 75 yards against the Bengals, but that has been the only high point in recent weeks. Since that day his production has declined and he has yet to break 45 receiving yards in a game. As much as he has seen the ball, it is surprising to note that Winslow has yet to score a touchdown this season. Since Mike Williams has established himself as the go to guy for young Josh Freeman, Winslow has been used mainly as a check down option, as opposed to a primary target. I do not see this changing as Carolina rolls into town with their 5th ranked pass defense. The last time these two teams faced each other Winslow had his best game of the season with 84 yards, and Carolina will certainly remember this and make it a point to shut him down, even if it is just as a matter of pride.|
|Jermaine Gresham @ IND
||Coming out of Oklahoma this guy was supposed to be an absolute stud, but Jermaine Gresham has not quite lived up to the expectations. Part of that could be him, part could be the Bengals game plan, and part of it could be Carson Palmer’s newfound affection for Terrell Owens. Regardless of how you want to look at it, it all adds up to not a whole lot for Jermaine Gresham. Gresham has become a luxury as opposed to a necessity and his recent lack of production has reflected that. One would have to combine his output from the last 5 games to reach 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. Not great news when you are staring in the face of the Indianapolis secondary that has virtually shut down opposing tight ends all season. This guy definitely has a future, but with Palmer consistently looking deep, he is going to be consistently looked over.|
|Todd Heap @ ATL||It is not usually commonplace to have Todd Heap and “hot streak” in the same sentence, but here we are. Heap has been on a bit of a roll as of late with 3 touchdowns in his last 3 games to go along with an average of 15.8 yds/catch. Despite these facts, Heap continues to be a major risk because he is simply not a major player in the Red Zone for the Ravens. Heap only has 5 TOTAL Red Zone targets through 8 games, but he has managed to convert three of those into touchdowns. Essentially this means that he is a risk to start because you simply do not know if he is going to get the targets he needs to score against a tough Falcons defense. The Ravens simply have too many other weapons, not to mention their stellar running game, for Heap’s hot streak to continue.|