Tight ends are as hard as ever to predict in fantasy football. With a glut of truly elite talents, there's a rapid dropoff after the handful of big names. Things aren't any easier this week with Jordan Reed suffering yet another concussion, adding to his scary of head trauma. He's out this week, taking a major TE1 out of the pool.
The good news is that Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce are back from bye, so owners can set and forget them in their lineups once again. But other owners aren't as lucky, so we'll take our best shot at the guessing game here, recommending three tight ends worth starting and three you should probably stay away from.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
With Sammy Watkins on injured reserve, Clay is seeing more targets, recording 10 catches for 120 yards the past two games. He doesn't score enough touchdowns to be a regular TE1, but Clay should be a solid streaming option against a 49ers defense that just lost NaVorro Bowman for the season.
Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers (@ Miami Dolphins)
James is the ultimate boom-or-bust tight end -- he either finds the end zone or is totally useless. James has just 18 catches in five games, but three of those went for a touchdown. He's a decent gamble to score against Miami's poor defense, so fantasy owners should feel okay with using him this week.
Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)
Rob Gronkowski is back to full health, but it doesn't look like Bennett is going away. He stole the show with three touchdown receptions in Tom Brady's first game back last week, and it appears that Bennett will continue playing a role in the offense, particularly on red zone plays. Owners can keep trotting him out as a TE2 for the time being.
Vernon Davis, Washington (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
Jordan Reed is out and who knows when he'll be back. That makes Davis the next man up on the depth chart, but he hasn't been fantasy relevant in years and we see no reason why that will change against Philly's defense. Davis is well off the radar in standard 12-team leagues.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
Donnell got cleared from the concussion protocol and will make his return this week. However, he hasn't done much of note all year, and with Eli Manning and the Giants' offense in general stuck in a major rut, Donnell is no longer in the TE2 conversation.
Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (@ Seattle Seahawks)
Despite Matt Ryan racking up massive passing stats, Tamme has been quiet this year, with only 17 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns in five games. We don't expect him to suddenly become a fantasy factor, even though the Seahawks traditionally struggle to cover opposing tight ends. Tamme will have a better TE2 matchup with the San Diego Chargers next week.