The tight end picture has become a little more clear on the season, but there are a couple of new guys in the mix heading into Week 16 due to some injuries. One of them will serve as an interesting play on a team desperate for a jolt to their offense.
Dennis Pitta - He had a massive letdown against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football with just two catches for 24 yards. If you own Pitta, hopefully you were able to weather the storm and are in the finals this week.
He gets a great matchup this week against the New England Patriots. The losses of Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork has made their linebacker corps a little more apt to stopping the run, leaving them very vulnerable to play-action fakes. Plus, they don't exactly have the best coverage skills in the NFL.
The Pats are 26th in the NFL in stopping tight ends on the season. They have been a gashed for huge games by Tony Gonzalez, Greg Olsen and especially Jordan Cameron over the year. The Ravens really don't have other options on intermediate routes, so it could be a big day for Pitta. Start him as a top-six option this week.
The biggest one is that he puts up much better numbers with Jay Cutler at the helm. Last week with Cutler back, Bennett caught six balls for 71 yards. Both of those were his highest totals since at least Week 6.
The other interesting aspect is how the Eagles have been defending their opponents. It's almost become obvious coach Chip Kelly has taken a page out of the Patriots' playbook in trying to take out the best weapons. They've kept Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in check and Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald only caught five balls.
In other words, the Eagles are likely going to do whatever they can to try and limit Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall from going off. Bennett has a good chance to produce and should be able to put up some numbers.
Griffin was solid last week in taking over, catching six balls for 62 yards against the Indianapolis Colts. This week they're going to have to try and pass the ball against the Denver Broncos. The Texans turn the ball over way too much, so Griffin should be the most popular short-yardage guy.
He's a low-end TE1 and can be viewed as a must-start in two-TE leagues.
Coby Fleener - The Colts will travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs and it's not going to be easy to play Fleener for fantasy owners. The Chiefs are the toughest matchup against tight ends and going on the road is the kicker to put him on the bench. What's more, he's coming in with no momentum, thanks to a goose egg against the Texans and only 81 yards combined in his previous two games. Bench him.
Joseph Fauria - Yes, Brandon Pettigrew is not going to play against the New York Giants, so the Lions are likely going to give Fauria some extra snaps. Some of the time it's exciting when a guy gets more snaps in a high-powered offense, but there just isn't enough to like about Fauria. He only has 12 receptions on the year. Unless it's a TD-only league, he's not an option.
Jared Cook - What a letdown. He had such a great start with a seven-reception, 141-yard game against the Cardinals back in Week 1, but has been basically a ghost all year. Last week was a new low with just one catch for eight yards against the Saints. He's not worth playing in almost any league.