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Fantasy football rankings, Week 11: Tight ends

The guys actually playing tight end have struggled. How will the guys who haven't been playing do?

From a fantasy perspective, having teams like the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars on a bye in Week 11 is handy -- very few fantasy-relevant players being out means very little fantasy disruption. When Denver and Green Bay go on a bye, we mourn. Jacksonville and New York? We shrug.

Fantasy owners will be down two moderately important tight ends this week since the byes for Dallas and Baltimore put Jason Witten and Owen Daniels on the shelf. But in general, the big names are back for the rest of the season, save the bye for Carolina (and Greg Olsen) in Week 12.

That means, for the most part, fantasy owners are done worrying about "What do I do when he's out?" for their tight ends. And that means we're left with the other, likely more important question:

Who the heck do you use?

The chart below lists my top 25 preseason tight ends. Sure, it's based on my opinion, but it's not like I am some crazy guy; my stuff was at least close.

Rank Player
1 Jimmy Graham
2 Rob Gronkowski
3 Julius Thomas
4 Vernon Davis
5 Jason Witten
6 Jordan Cameron
7 Greg Olsen
8 Dennis Pitta
9 Charles Clay
10 Jordan Reed
11 Antonio Gates
12 Coby Fleener
13 Ladarius Green
14 Kyle Rudolph
15 Dwayne Allen
16 Eric Ebron
17 Zach Ertz
18 Travis Kelce
19 Martellus Bennett
20 Tyler Eifert
21 Marcedes Lewis
22 Delanie Walker
23 Levine Toilolo
24 Heath Miller
25 Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Look at that top 10. The top three have been great, sure. But Vernon Davis and Jordan Cameron have been disasters. Witten started the same, but has rebounded at least a little of late. Charles Clay? Dennis Pitta? Ladarius Green?

If there were only 8-12 competent tight ends this year, but they were inside the preseason top 15 or so, we'd be fine -- basically every team would have someone. But with guys like Donnell, who were unranked in the preseason, and Kelce, Walker and Allen considered more like afterthoughts, I'm seeing lots of situations where one owner has, for example, Graham and Kelce (my duo in one league), while another is sitting on Jared Cook and Tim Wright.

This is why, in recent editions of The Ticker, I have advocated speculative adds for Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert and Marcedes Lewis. All three are hurt. Eifert might not return. None of the three is exciting. But with teams increasingly having to rely on Coby Fleener, Charles Clay or Zach Ertz, and with the best waiver guys some motley assortment of Jermaine Gresham and Scott Chandler, the guys at least could be down-the-stretch names that matter.

If you are stuck at tight end, you might just be stuck. But you've gotta try something. On to the Week 11 rankings:

Tight end rankings, Week 11

(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)

Rank Consensus Team Opponent DK DC JD SK
1 Rob Gronkowski NE @IND 1 2 1 2
2 Jimmy Graham NO CIN 2 1 2 1
3 Julius Thomas DEN @STL 3 3 3 3
4 Greg Olsen CAR ATL 4 4 4 5
5 Antonio Gates SD OAK 5 6 11 4
6 Dwayne Allen IND NE 6 5 8 7
7 Martellus Bennett CHI MIN 7 9 5 6
8 Travis Kelce KAN SEA 9 8 6 8
9 Jordan Reed WAS TAM 10 7 10 9
10 Larry Donnell NYG SF 8 10 12 10
11 Mychal Rivera OAK @SD 17 11 7 12
12 Delanie Walker TEN PIT 11 14 9 14
13 Charles Clay MIA BUF 13 12 13 11
14 Jared Cook STL DEN 18 13 16 13
15 Heath Miller PIT @TEN 21 15 15 16
16 Coby Fleener IND NE 12 20 18 20
17 Vernon Davis SF @NYG 16 17 23 15
18 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TAM @WAS -- 16 14 18
19 Kyle Rudolph MIN @CHI 20 18 19 19
20 Chase Ford MIN @CHI 14 21 -- 21
21 Jordan Cameron CLE HOU -- 19 21 17
22 Zach Ertz PHI @GB 19 22 24 22
23 Tim Wright NE @IND 15 23 -- --
24 Scott Chandler BUF @MIA 22 -- 17 --
25 Tyler Eifert CIN @NO -- -- 20 --
-- Jermaine Gresham CIN @NO 23 24 -- 25
-- Andrew Quarless GB PHI -- -- 22 --
-- Anthony Fasano KAN SEA -- -- -- 23
-- Niles Paul WAS TAM 24 -- -- --
-- Lance Kendricks STL DEN -- -- -- 24
-- Brent Celek PHI @GB 25 25 -- --
-- Levine Toilolo ATL @CAR -- -- 25 --