With 5 games remaining in the 2015 NFL season, we are officially into the home stretch with the most important games of the year staring right at us. A good tight end can keep an ambitious fantasy owner loose, and help make that end of the year not seem so tight. Playing with words is fun. Playing fantasy football with an elite tight end is funner. Making the playoffs and winning your league transcends fun. If you've got that elite tight end, a serviceable, middle-of-the-packer, or are in search of the next great dart throw or sleeper option, we've got it all for you in this week's tight end rankings.
Remember: an asterisk (*) next to a player's name denotes a possible injury concern for that player.
Week 12 Tight End Rankings 1-10
1. Greg Olsen @ DAL- Surprise! We're flip-flopping Olsen and Gronk this week as Greg gets the Cowboys vulnerable defense and Rob faces a trip to face Wade Phillips' Broncos unit.
2. Rob Gronkowski @ DEN- Expect Gronk to top 400 yards and have 7 scores as he retaliates against our decision to bump him into second.
3. Jordan Reed vs NYG- Reed should see a plethora of opportunities against the G-men. He serves Kirk Cousins as both a security blanket and a red-zone beast.
4. Gary Barnidge vs BAL- Big Play Barnidge is off of his bye week and ready to ball. We like alliteration almost as much as Johnny Manziel likes throwing to really tall guys.
5. Travis Kelce vs BUF- Kelce is the Chiefs' main weapon in the passing game. They'll need him to exploit the seams and holes underneath in Rex Ryan's plucky Bills defense. He's a sure bet for 7-10 targets.
6. Tyler Eifert vs STL- When he's not battling the dropsies, Eifert is making plays in the red-zone, as was the case in week 11. He gets a Rams team that will be preoccupied with trying to contain A.J. Green, which could open things up for Eifert and Marvin Jones.
7. Jason Witten vs CAR- Tony Romo returned in week 11. Witten had a quiet day (2 catches, 27 yards on 3 targets) but played most of the first half in monsoon-like conditions in Miami. The Boys are heading back to Dallas to face the Panthers on Thanksgiving afternoon. Carolina saw Jordan Reed make some plays as a security blanket for Kirk Cousins, and there's no better security blanket in the league than Witten.
8. Delanie Walker vs OAK- Walker continues to shine as the Titans' receiving corps keeps taking on water. Kendall Wright may return for week 12, but Walker is entrenched as one of Marcus Mariota's top targets. Averaging 7 targets and 6 catches over his last 4 games.
9. Jimmy Graham vs PIT- It's all about whether or not Russell Wilson looks his way. Graham has a nice matchup against the tight end friendly Steelers in week 12, but it's tough to pencil him in as a shoo-in TE1. Nevertheless, here he is, and we'd expect Seattle to try and match him up on linebackers as often as possible.
10. Antonio Gates @ JAX- Very quiet week 11 in what has been a challenging year for the Chargers. Consider week 11 a fluke -- Gates is usually a good bet for double-digit targets, especially with the Chargers' depleted receiving corps growing thinner. Look for him to shake back against the Jags in week 12.
Week 12 Tight End Rankings 11-32
11. Martellus Bennett @ GB
12. Benjamin Watson @ HOU
13. Julius Thomas vs SD
14. Vernon Davis vs NE
15. Zach Ertz* @ DET
16. Kyle Rudolph vs ATL
17. Charles Clay @ KC
18. Crockett Gillmore @ CLE
19. Jordan Cameron @ NYJ
20. Heath Miller @ SEA
21. Eric Ebron vs PHI
22. Jacob Tamme vs MIN
23. Richard Rodgers vs CHI
24. Larry Donnell* @ WAS
25. Coby Fleener vs TB
26. Ladarius Green @ JAX
27. Jared Cook @ CIN
28. Vance McDonald vs ARZ
29. Dwayne Allen vs TB
30. Scott Chandler @ DEN
31. Clive Walford @ TEN
32. Brent Celek @ DET
Week 12 Tight End Sleepers
Brent Celek @ DET- Zach Ertz is iffy with a concussion, so Celek could be in for a big workload. He's had big games before, and Mark Sanchez loves his tight ends.
Ryan Griffin vs NO- Griffin can play, but doesn't see many looks in the Texans' offense. That could change this week as the woeful Saints' defense comes calling.
Maxx Williams @ CLE- He's seeing more and more looks in the Ravens' offense. Matt Schaub is poised to take over for Joe Flacco (knee), and he and Williams have some chemistry from working together with the 2's at practice.
Darren Fells @ SF- Healthy and a viable red-zone target for Carson Palmer in a game where there should be plenty of opportunities for Arizona in that area of the field.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins @ IND- He should finally make it back to the field in week 12. ASJ has been toying with our emotions so much that he went ahead and left him off of the list this week, but when he's cleared to play, he could be in line to make a nice splash in Tampa's offense as Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson make plays on the outside.
Week 12 Tight End Injuries to Monitor
Zach Ertz (concussion)
Larry Donnell (neck)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder)
Good luck in week 12.