The tight end position has become a critical part of pro passing games in recent years, and with that in mind, it's also a position that can fluster us on a Fantasy Friday. We'll focus on the big targets as we kick off the afternoon version of the Week 6 Injury Wrap.
• Jermichael Finley has been more mouth than muscle in the last year and change, and he's no sure thing for Sunday night's game at Houston. He's dealing with a shoulder injury and is tagged as questionable. If Finley's production and attitude don't change radically in the next couple of months, you can be pretty sure he won't be back with the Pack in 2013. And even if he's a go on game day, I'm not considering him a Top 10 tight end in Week 6. You need to do better. The Pack is also expected to go without Greg Jennings (groin), though he's not completely ruled out as we go to post.
• Aaron Hernandez (ankle) didn't practice Friday and looks like a game-time decision for the tricky visit to Seattle. Given the late starting time to this match, and Hernandez's modest rehab pace, I don't see the point of risking him in a Week 6 fantasy lineup. Rob Gronkowski (hip) is expected to go, though he's carrying the team-preferred questionable tag.
• Martellus Bennett is one tight end who should be on the field this weekend. He's dealing with a sore knee but the Giants list him as probable. Teammate Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee) was active in the last two practice sessions and has a solid chance to play at San Francisco, though he's carrying the questionable tag. The Giants have a late game on the coast, obviously, so you want to be careful with this one. Your depth and the timing of your alternatives will have a large say in how you handle Nicks this week.
Now that we're up to speed with those tight ends, let's take the full lap around the clipboard, checking in with all positions in the usual order (QB, RB, WR, TE . . . and the rest).
• Robert Griffin (post concussion) had a strong week of practice and should be good to go against Minnesota.
• The Titans are hoping Jake Locker (shoulder) will be good to go when Week 7 rolls around. Matt Hasselbeck played well in Thursday's victory over Pittsburgh, but he's clearly a placeholder. Buffalo and Indianapolis come calling for the Titans in the next two weeks, definitely plus matchups for somebody.
Matt Cassel (post concussion) won't play at Tampa Bay. Are you ready for your closeup, Brady Quinn? The Chiefs are off for Week 7.
• Adrian Peterson (ankle) is listed as probable, so he's ready to go, barring a surprise game-day setback. The Redskins front seven (4.0 YPC allowed) will be a good challenge for him.
The wait for Tate (USP)
The wait for Tate (USP)
• Andre Brown (post concussion) won't play in Week 6, opening the door a little more for David Wilson as the looming No. 2 back. Wilson had 44 rushing yards and a touchdown on two carries last week, and he's been explosive on returns.
• The Patriots usually skip the probable tag, so I'm not going to worry too much about Brandon Bolden (knee/questionable). But a road game at Seattle is obviously a concern for the Patriots offense.
• Peyton Hillis (ankle) is out again, which means Shaun Draughn will be the caddy to Jamaal Charles.
[Related: Video: Week six fantasy monsters]
• Daniel Thomas (post concussion) is out indefinitely, with opens up the door for Jorvorskie Lane to possibly get some goal-line work. Lamar Miller is also in the mix behind Reggie Bush.
• Brandon Jacobs (knee) was active at practice all week, though the Niners still consider him questionable for Week 6. With Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter running well, there's no pressing need to get Jacobs on the field.
• Jahvid Best (post concussion) remains in limbo with the Lions; he's yet to be cleared for practice work. He's wasn't going to play at Philadelphia anyway, but the optimists in the crowd were hoping Best might be able to give it a go against Chicago a week from Monday.
• With Ryan Williams done for the year and Beanie Wells out for several weeks, William Powell is expected to be the primary tailback for Arizona this Sunday against Buffalo. Powell was impressive in the preseason, you might recall (42-249 rushing, that's 5.9 yards a pop, with three touchdowns). LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip/probable) is another Cardinals option, though he's more of a third-down back. The offensive line won't do anyone favors here; it's probably the worst in football.
• Rashard Mendenhall suffered an Achilles injury at Tennessee on Thursday night, heading to the sidelines prematurely. Andy Behrens has the full story on the hobbling Steelers; click through here for the info.
• Andre Johnson (groin) is listed as probable. He's fully expected to go against the Pack, and this might be a week where he's not on a careful pitch count, given the opponent (Johnson has participated in a modest 79 percent of the snaps this year).
• Jordan Norwood (foot) had a brief breakout and now he's off the grid again - he's been moved to injured reserve (with the designated to return tag). Travis Benjamin and Mohamed Massaquoi are also out of action for Week 6. If you need to roll the dice on any Cleveland wideout, your choices are Greg Little (drops everything) or Josh Gordon (little experience, but scored twice last week).Pierre Garcon was added to the injury report Friday; he can't seem to shake this foot problem. Minnesota's underrated defense (and improving secondary) is on tap for Sunday. Check back before kickoff on game day; in the meantime, I've moved Garcon down a tier on my wideout board.
• Jon Baldwin (hamstring) had a full workout Friday, which leads you to believe he'll go at Tampa Bay despite the questionable tag. He's taken his share of reps with Brady Quinn; it will be interesting to see if it translates on the field.
• Wes Welker (ankle) and Julian Edelman (hand) are both listed as questionable. It's the Patriots. It's Belichick. There are no straight answers. I've pushed Welker outside the Top 20 at wideout but it's really about the matchup. I won't consider Edelman for a roto role until he has a full game back.
• Jerome Simpson (foot/back) had partial workouts on Thursday and Friday; the Vikings tag him as questionable. He's too risky for most owners to consider in Week 6. Percy Harvin (hamstring) is listed as probable.
• Dustin Keller (hamstring) and Stephen Hill (hamstring) both had limited practices Friday and hope to play against the Colts on Sunday. While neither player is a world beater or automatic fantasy starter, Mark Sanchez will take any help he can get. Bottom line, if I have to start one New York receiving option this weekend in the Meadowlands, give me Jeremy Kerley.
• Todd Heap (knee) is considered a game-time decision for Week 6. I've yet to field a Todd Heap question in 2012.
• Brandon Pettigrew (knee) is listed as probable. The Eagles have been strong in tight-end coverage this year, a Top 5 unit.
• Nate Kaeding (groin) isn't ready yet, so Nick Novak works Monday against Denver.
• Sebastian Janikowski (groin) is listed as probable. Barring a setback in warmups, he should be fine at Atlanta.
• Shayne Graham (calf) is listed as probable.
• The Chargers need to patch things up on the offensive line, with LT Jared Gaither (groin) expected to miss Monday's game. Gaither could hardly move at the end of the Week 6 loss at New Orleans, leading to a gift sack that sealed the Saints win.
• Buffalo offensive linemen Cordy Glenn (ankle) and Kraig Urbik (ankle) aren't expected to play at Arizona. Good luck finding running room, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
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