Fantasy football rankings, Week 17: Tight ends
Coming into the season’s final week, the big question is: Who’s gonna rest?
The big question heading into Week 17 in late-ending fantasy leagues is who might and might not play, and who might and might not play a full game. Some teams have locked up their playoff seed, others are done for the season, and others just have guys who need a break.
This probably matters less at tight end than other positions, as there are so few tight ends that we care about, but since we’re here, let’s talk about the various guys who could be at issue:
Rob Gronkowski: The New England Patriots have locked up home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. It seems likely they’ll play their studs for at least part of Week 17, and Gronkowski always only needs one play to make a worthwhile fantasy play. For me, he slips to No. 2, but if you use him, there’s the chance he’s done after a single quarter of play. You just have to hope he performs in that quarter.
Jimmy Graham: The New Orleans Saints are done for the season after Sunday’s loss, and Graham clearly isn’t 100 percent. Still, Drew Brees is holding on to a small lead over Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck in passing yards, and I think the team will want to make sure he keeps that lead, if only to give them something to mark as a success for 2014. And if so, they’ll need weapons like Graham on the field. I bet he plays a fair amount.
Julius Thomas: The Detroit Broncos will be the No. 2 seed and have a bye if they win or if Cincinnati loses, but they could fall to the three seed, so they’ll be playing their big guys. Even if they were locked in, I think they want to get Thomas back on track, so I expect he plays most of the game.
Jason Witten: The Dallas Cowboys could theoretically secure a first-round bye Sunday, but they’d need to win and have (a) Seattle and Arizona both lose, or (b) Detroit and Green Bay to tie. Option (b) obviously isn’t happening, and while I could certainly see Arizona lose, the way Seattle’s going that part doesn’t seem likely. Ultimately, the Cowboys would probably be better off making sure they’re strong for the first round of the playoffs. That said, I think the Dallas studs play (DeMarco Murray possibly excluded; so much risk there), and do well against that Washington pass defense.
Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener: The Indianapolis Colts are locked into the four seed. They’ve said they’ll play their primary guys — if nothing else, after Sunday’s beatdown they’ll want to get back on the right track — though there’s not much reason to press the maybe-injured guys. That includes Allen and T.Y. Hilton. With Fleener in the mix, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Allen sits Sunday, or plays sparingly, and Fleener sees more use in return.
There are other guys who are out of the playoffs — Delanie Walker, Martellus Bennett — who don’t have much reason to work too hard, but for the most part I expect the key names to still be on the field in Week 17.
On to the Week 17 rankings:
Tight end rankings, Week 17
(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)