Fantasy football TE rankings: Week 6 features studs and duds

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Dan Ciarrocchi of Pro Football Focus breaks down the top 25 options for Week 6 and highlights this week's studs and duds.

Last week, fantasy owners prayed for predictability after having Coby Fleener, Garrett Graham, Sean McGrath and Mychal Rivera crack the top 10 in fantasy points for tight ends during Week 4. They got their wish, after the top five included familiar names like Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Jason Witten and Vernon Davis. That could be the case once again in Week 6, but it will also likely mark the long-awaited return of a potential top five player at the position, even with the missed time:

WEEK 5 STUDS

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: Could this finally be the week? Ever since the start of the season, murmurs of a Week 6 return for Gronkowski surfaced, though cautious optimism -- or likely a smokescreen from Patriots brass -- presented the possibility of a sooner return. But the optimism surrounding Gronk's potential return this week is more than cautious, and should he suit up against the Saints, he will be in line for a huge day. Tom Brady could not be more excited for the return of his favorite target, and fantasy owners could not be more thrilled for the return of 2012's top scoring tight end not named Jimmy Graham.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers: Only the Broncos have allowed more yards to tight ends this season than the Cardinals, which has to be music to Vernon Davis' and Colin Kaepernick's ears. Davis was fortunate to be the recipient of half of Kaepernick's six completed passes a week ago versus the Texans, and he converted those chances for 88 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Davis will have more than six targets come his way against a defense that is prone to giving up plenty of big plays versus tight ends, and if that is the case, expect another big week.

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: Lost in the career resurgence of Philip Rivers is that of Antonio Gates, who currently ranks seventh in the NFL with 438 receiving yards and only trails Graham in receiving yards among tight ends. He draws a matchup versus the Colts, who have been one of the stingier teams versus tight ends this season, but they haven't been tested by a tight end of Gates' caliber. Gates has continued to put up huge numbers now that the likes of Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander are out of the picture, and to keep up with a high-flying Colts offense, the Chargers will look to their future Hall of Famer once again.

WEEK 5 DUDS

Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears: Bennett will be a game-time decision against the Giants after sustaining a knee injury against the Saints last week. As a result, Bennett has several factors working against him despite a good matchup on the horizon. Because of the Thursday night game time for the Bears, Bennett has less recovery time, although he did manage to practice at a limited basis on Tuesday. That indicates Bennett will likely suit up, but with other options for Jay Cutler to throw to, and with tight end being such a deep position overall, it's difficult to trust his involvement in a potentially sloppy Thursday night matchup.

Garrett Graham, Houston Texans: Graham has turned the heads of quite a few fantasy owners with three touchdowns over the first five games, including a game against the stout Seahawks defense where he scored and added five catches for 69 yards. Now that Owen Daniels is on injured reserve with a designation to return, owners have snatched Graham off of waivers instead of just keeping an eye on him.

However, unless said owners have no other options, it would be a little premature to insert him into the lineup this week despite a great matchup with the Rams. It's DeAndre Hopkins, not Graham, who is more likely to get a boost against one of the worst defenses against wide receivers this season. Starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who had been previously benched for his poor play, has allowed a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 when targeted this season. Janoris Jenkins isn't far behind, allowing quarterbacks to have a rating of 112.4. This is likely where Texans quarterback Matt Schaub will look in order to regain his confidence.

Let's take a look at the top 25 tight ends for Week 6:

Rank Player Team Opponent
1 Jimmy Graham NO NE
2 Rob Gronkowski NE NO
3 Jason Witten DAL WAS
4 Antonio Gates SD IND
5 Julius Thomas DEN JAC
6 Jordan Cameron CLE DET
7 Greg Olsen CAR MIN
8 Vernon Davis SF ARI
9 Jermichael Finley GB BAL
10 Heath Miller PIT NYJ
11 Coby Fleener IND SD
12 Martellus Bennett CHI NYG
13 Jared Cook STL HOU
14 Garrett Graham HOU STL
15 Kyle Rudolph MIN CAR
16 Brandon Pettigrew DET CLE
17 Brandon Myers NYG CHI
18 Brent Celek PHI TB
19 Jordan Reed WAS DAL
20 Jermaine Gresham CIN BUF
21 Sean McGrath KC OAK
22 Dallas Clark BAL GB
23 Scott Chadler BUF CIN
24 Tyler Eifert CIN BUF
25 Delanie Walker TEN SEA

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