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Is 2013 the Year of the Tight End?

The tight end position is the most vital position in fantasy football. Ask anyone who owns
Jimmy Graham

. Graham is among the top-five players in receiving yards this season.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s the number one target in the Saints offense, period. Graham gives you an advantage over almost any opponent since he has notched two 100-yard receiving games already this season. There are five tight ends that have eclipsed 100 yards in a week.

Week 1


Julius Thomas

     161

Jared Cook

         141

Jordan Cameron
   
108

Week 2


Charles Clay

       109

Antonio Gates

     124

Jimmy Graham

     179

Week 3


Jimmy Graham

     134

Just how big is this early trend?

To give you some perspective,
Jimmy Graham

is third in receiving yards behind
Julio Jones

and
DeSean Jackson

with 358.
Jordan Cameron

is a yard ahead (269) of the best wide receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson
.

Three of the top five players tied with four scores are tight ends (
Jimmy Graham

,
Julius Thomas

, and
Jordan Cameron

.) This is the year of the tight end. Teams are finding ways to create mismatches with these big chess pieces. Although they may be big targets, most of the group can really run and are difficult to bring down. Here’s a look at this week’s must start tight ends and their match ups.

OBVIOUS STARTS

1.
Jimmy Graham

vs. MIA

2.
Jordan Cameron

vs. CIN

3.
Jason Witten

@ San Diego

4.
Julius Thomas

vs.Philadelphia

Start ‘Em

1.
Antonio Gates

TE San Diego Chargers

Don’t look now but the old guy is in great shape. His 114 yards after catch,
which is 8th among all receivers is astonishing. His fantasy value is at an all time high with the injury to Malcom Floyd. Floyd is due to miss a month at least with a neck-jarring concussion injury. 

This week versus The Dallas Cowboys, look for San Diego to throw early and often. Dallas is allowing a very stingy 66 yards per game on the ground. Ryan Mathews doesn’t exactly instill fear into opposing defenses. I think this may shape into some pretty solid numbers for Gates.

Is it a sign that should he catch a touchdown in this game he will equal his jersey number in TD receptions with 85? Oh yeah, he’s pretty good at home (52 of 84 TD’s at home). How about 7 TD’s in week 4 over a ten year span? Enough already…
Plug him in.

2. 
Heath Miller

TE Pittsburg Steelers

Last week you saw the rust from Miller. He wasn’t awful, but most of the targets went the direction of Antonio Brown
. This week the Steelers get the run game moving in the correct direction and there will be less desperation passes to Brown.

I think there is no one that
Ben Roethlisberger

trusts more than Miller in the red zone. I would guess that Minnesota has a hard time with Miller since they rank dead last against points given up to the tight end.

The stat sheet shows an extra Touchdown on a special teams play to
Jordan Cameron

on the old ” hurry get off the field” play. So they technically rank second to last which is as they say, not too good.

3.
Coby Fleener

TE Indianapolis Colts

The only reason that he is on the list is due to the injury to T.Y. Hilton
. Hilton has a nagging groin injury that will only get better with rest. The Colts take on a Jaguars team that gave up 76 yards to the Seahawks Luke Willson and two TD’s to Zack Miller last week. Fleener is a big target and he should be one of three options in the red zone. I think he’s a good solid play with everyone focused on newly acquired Trent Richardson
.

Final Thought

When I was just a youngster playing Nintendo and Tecmo Bowl with my friends, I’ve lost many of you at this point. Nintendo is a simplistic video game system with a cartridge, a joypad and two buttons. Tecmo Bowl is a football game where you could choose from four plays on the screen.

If your opponent picked your play then it usually ended in disaster. There was one play when using the Chicago Bears that you could count on every time. It was a curl route by the tight end which happened to be Cap Boso.

It was named by a few friends “tight end love” because it worked like a charm. Google Cap Boso and you will be amazed that this is common knowledge among Nintendo fanatics. It doesn’t make me cool as much as it makes me old.

Cap Boso was my security blanket when I needed a first down or when in the red zone. If you couldn’t stop it, I wouldn’t take it easy on you. NFL teams are finding that the current big men create all kinds of problems because of size, speed, and where they line up. The tight end today is too fast for a linebacker and too big for most of the secondaries. Look for some “tight end love” in the games this week. You’ll agree that 2013 could be the year of the tight end.

Questions/Comments/Concerns to michaelfsarmento@gmail.com, or follow me on Twitter @AudibleFantasy. Michael Sarmento is a proud member of the Fantasy Sharks Team and Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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