The PFW staff offers its late-week fantasy TE tips, including reason to temper expectations for 49ers TE Vernon Davis.
Memo to Niners TE Vernon Davis’ fantasy owners: While Davis would appear to be a very enticing fantasy performer this Sunday against a Bills defense that had problems last week defending Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (5-104-1) in the Pats’ runaway victory, it’s worth noting Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh’s insistence that every offensive player be ready to take on a different role every week. This is a particularly pertinent point in the case of Davis, who in any given game could be asked to serve as more of a blocker than a receiver. Such was the case last Sunday when Davis, who is considered a tremendous blocker, caught only two passes (on two targets) for 28 yards.
For owners considering which low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end to start this week, the Panthers’ Greg Olsen is the hot hand to continue playing. He’s made 13 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown in the past two games and was targeted a team-high 21 times in those two contests combined. His combination of size and speed could make him a tough matchup for Seattle’s strong and aggressive secondary.
Broncos TEs Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen have combined for 22 catches, 200 yards and three touchdowns this season. They have a favorable matchup this week against the Patriots, who allowed two touchdowns to Bills TE Scott Chandler in Week Four. Keep an eye on how they are used this week, and if Virgil Green, who was suspended for the first four games, is active. Dreessen is a touchdown vulture like he was in Houston, but Tamme is Peyton Manning’s third target in the passing game.
Memo to Cardinals TE Rob Housler’s fantasy owners: While there’s no denying Housler’s fantasy potential, a big problem continues to be his poor blocking, which figures to keep him off the field more often than not. That said, with Todd Heap still feeling the effects of a gimpy knee (he’s questionable for the Rams Thursday night), Housler could conceivably be a fantasy factor.
Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham is on pace for 68 catches and 712 yards, but he has only one TD through his first four games. However, with defenses surely worried about stopping A.J. Green, Gresham will have his share of favorable matchups going forward. Don’t give up on him yet.
Ravens TE Dennis Pitta had no catches and was targeted only twice in the Week Four win vs. Cleveland. The feeling here is that QB Joe Flacco will keep looking for Pitta in key spots — and that two targets is just about the floor for Pitta, a key part of the Ravens’ passing game.
Colts rookie TE Coby Fleener is off to an extremely slow start, while fellow rookie Dwayne Allen is coming off his strongest game (5-35-0). We are not suggesting fantasy players cut their losses with Fleener and scour the waiver wire for Allen, but we have not seen any evidence to suggest that Fleener belongs in your lineup this week against a Green Bay “D” that, prior to getting lit up by Drew Brees and the Saints in Week Four, had made great strides defending the pass.
Texans TE Owen Daniels is off to the fastest start of his career (19-232-2), and he will have a chance to continue his excellent production on “Monday Night Football” against the Jets, who are reeling defensively. Daniels, who leads Houston in targets (28), had a terrific 28-yard TD last week in which he fought past a would-be tackler on the way into the end zone. Daniels is as healthy as he has been in some time and should continue to put up solid fantasy numbers.