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Before you start to break down the rankings for the playoffs, you need to decide who you think will be in the Super Bowl. I’m predicting a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl. As I pave their path to the big game, I will know how many games I expect each playoff team to play in.
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Here’s the breakdown.
Saints (4)
Eagles (3)
Patriots (3)
Colts (2)
Ravens (2)
Steelers (2)
Bears (1)
Chiefs (1)
Falcons (1)
Jets (1)
Packers (1)
Seahawks (1)
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Here are my top tight ends based on my above playoff projections.
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1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Jimmy Graham
3. Brent Celek
4. Jacob Tamme
5. Heath Miller
6. Aaron Hernandez
7. Todd Heap
8. Tony Gonzalez
9.  Dustin Keller
10. Greg Olsen
11. Tony Moeaki
12. John Carlson
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Here’s my Week 17 tight end rankings.

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1. Jason Witten @ Philadelphia
2. Jacob Tamme vs. Tennessee
3. Vernon Davis  vs. Arizona
4. Kellen Winslow @ New Orleans
5. Brent Celek vs. Dallas
6. Kevin Boss @ Washington
7. Marcedes Lewis @ Houston
8. Chris Cooley vs. New York Giants
9. Rob Gronkowski vs. Miami
10. Owen Daniels vs. Jacksonville
11. Zach Miller @ Kansas City
12. Brandon Pettigrew vs. Minnesota
13. Dustin Keller vs. Buffalo
14. Benjamin Watson vs. Pittsburgh
15. Heath Miller @ Cleveland
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Inside the numbers:

  • I’m going to keep riding Witten’s hot hand. He’s averaging 74.0 yards with five touchdowns (including two against Philly in Week 14) in his past four games.
  • Kellen Winslow is averaging 65.3 yards and a touchdown in his past three games.
  • Owen Daniels has 17 catches for 209  yards in his past three games (69.7 per game).
  • Benjamin Watson caught six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown the last time he faced the Steelers.
  • Dustin Keller scored two touchdowns in the first meeting with the Bills this year.

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Here’s my Week 16 tight end rankings.

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1. Jason Witten @ Arizona (Saturday)
2. Chris Cooley @ Jacksonville
3. Jacob Tamme @ Oakland
4. Vernon Davis @ St. Louis
5. Brent Celek vs. Minnesota
6. Kevin Boss @ Green Bay
7. Marcedes Lewis vs. Washington
8. Greg Olsen vs. New York Jets
9. Benjamin Watson vs. Baltimore
10. Rob Gronkowski vs. Buffalo
11. Kellen Winslow vs. Seattle
12. Owen Daniels @ Denver
13. Jimmy Graham @ Atlanta (Monday)
14. Aaron Hernandez vs. Buffalo
15. Zach Miller vs. Indianapolis
16. Tony Gonzalez vs. New Orleans (Monday)
17. Dustin Keller @ Chicago
18. Ed Dickson @ Cleveland
19. Brandon Pettigrew @ Miami
20. Heath Miller vs. Carolina (Thursday)
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Inside the numbers:

  • Jason Witten did not let me down last week, and I’m going back to him as my top option again this week. Everybody else has question marks.
  • Vernon Davis was a letdown, but I expect him to bounce back this week.
  • Brent Celek is averaging 59 yards in his past three games with a pair of touchdowns.
  • Kevin Boss has scored in back-to-back games, and three of his past four.
  • Benjamin Watson had five catches for 47 yards and a touchdown the last time he faced Baltimore.
  • It’s totally a gut thing, but I think this week’s it Rob Gronkowski’s turn to be Brady’s favorite tight end.
  • I’ll have to see Antonio Gates practice before I rank him.

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Here’s my Week 16 wide receiver rankings.
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1. Vincent Jackson @ Cincinnati
2. Marques Colston @ Atlanta (Monday)
3. DeSean Jackson vs. Minnesota
4. Hakeem Nicks @ Green Bay
5. Roddy White vs. New Orleans (Monday)
6. Brandon Marshall vs. Detroit
7. Reggie Wayne @ Oakland
8. Miles Austin @ Arizona (Saturday)
9. Anquan Boldin @ Cleveland
10. Calvin Johnson @ Miami
11. Greg Jennings vs. New York Giants
12. Jeremy Maclin vs. Minnesota
13. Kenny Britt @ Kansas City
14. Mike Wallace vs. Carolina (Thursday)
15. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Dallas (Saturday)
16. Mike Williams (TB) vs. Seattle
17. Dwayne Bowe vs. Tennessee
18. Pierre Garcon @ Oakland
19. Santana Moss @ Jacksonville
20. Brandon Lloyd vs.  Houston
21. Deion Branch @ Buffalo
22. Wes Welker @ Buffalo
23. Santonio Holmes @ Chicago
24. Stevie Johnson vs. New England
25. Hines Ward vs. Carolina (Thursday)
26. Sidney Rice @ Philadelphia
27. Braylon Edwards @ Chicago
28. Mario Manningham @ Green Bay
29. Big Mike Williams (SEA) @ Tampa Bay
30. Kevin Walter @ Denver
31. Steve Breaston vs. Dallas (Saturday)
32. Lance Moore @ Atlanta (Monday)
33. Malcom Floyd @ Cincinnati
34. Davone Bess vs. Detroit
35. Mike Thomas vs. Washington
36. Percy Harvin vs. Philadelphia
37. Derrick Mason @ Cleveland
38. Josh Morgan @ St. Louis
39. Jacoby Ford vs. Indianapolis
40. Earl Bennett vs. New York Jets
41. David Nelson @ New England
42. James Jones vs. New York Giants
43. Anthony Armstrong @ Jacksonville
44. Andre Caldwell vs. San Diego
45. Blair White @ Oakland
46. Chad Ochocinco vs. San Diego
47. Michael Crabtree @ St. Louis
48. Jabar Gaffney vs.  Houston
49. Danny Amendola vs. San Francisco
50. Jacoby Jones
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Inside the numbers:

  • One game was enough to convert me on Vincent Jackson. He’s a beast. Rivers is money. The Bengals are awful. Perfect recipe for another monster game.
  • Andre Johnson gets a slight downgrade this week because of Champ Bailey, but he’s still a top flight WR1 option this week.
  • I’m expecting Aaron Rodgers to play this week, which makes Greg Jennings a WR1 again.
  • Despite their woes on offense, Larry Fitzgerald has become very active. He gets a bump in PPR leagues, but is a high-end WR2 this week against Dallas.
  • I doubt Rex and Santana Moss repeat last week’s performance, but Moss looks like a must start this week.
  • Stevie Johnson got his mojo back, and should have a strong performance against the Patriots.
  • I don’t expect the Patriots to go full tilt on offense, which is why I’m downgrading Welker and Branch.
  • With Austin Collie likely out, Blair White should be a fantasy option once again.
  • I’ve really soured on Ochocinco and Michael Crabtree. Play them at your own peril.
  • ***Update*** Mike Sims-Walker will be limited if he plays at all. He’s too risky of a play.
  • ***Update*** Andre Johnson is likely to miss this week. Kevin Walter gets bumped up a few notches and Jacoby Jones makes a sleeper play.

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Here’s my Week 15 tight end rankings.

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1. Jason Witten vs. Washington
2. Vernon Davis @ San Diego (Thursday)
3. Jacob Tamme vs. Jacksonville
4. Chris Cooley @ Dallas
5. Kellen Winslow vs. Detroit
6. Greg Olsen @ Minnesota (Monday)
7. Kevin Boss @ Philadelphia
8. Tony Gonzalez @ Seattle
9. Rob Gronkowski vs. Green Bay
10. Owen Daniels @ Tennessee
11. Brent Celek vs. New York Giants
12. Benjamin Watson @ Cincinnati
13. Marcedes Lewis @ Indianapolis
14. Aaron Hernandez vs. Green Bay
15. Dustin Keller @ Pittsburgh
16. Brandon Pettigrew @ Tampa Bay
17. Heath Miller vs. New York Jets
18. Ed Dickson vs. New Orleans
19. Jermaine Gresham vs. Cleveland
20. Jeremy Shockey @ Baltimore
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Inside the numbers:

  • Jason Witten is averaging 70 yards and a touchdown in his past three games.
  • Vernon Davis is really 1A. He’s been a beast the past two weeks, and plays well when Alex Smith is starting, but the Chargers are the number one pass defense.
  • Greg Olsen has scored a touchdown the past two times he’s faced the Vikings.
  • Hakeem Nicks returned, but Steve Smith (hamstring) and Mario Manningham (hip) got banged up on Monday. Boss should remain a ky option in the passing game.
  • Antonio Gates is so frustrating. If he can go, he’ll likely have a big game, but he’s a gamble. They do play on Thursday so you should get a feel whether or not he can play. If it looks promising, I’ll add him to the rankings.

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Here’s my Week 14 tight end rankings.

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1. Antonio Gates vs. Kansas City
2. Vernon Davis vs. Seattle
3. Jacob Tamme @ Tennessee (Thursday)
4. Jason Witten vs. Philadelphia
5. Kellen Winslow @ Washington
6. Chris Cooley vs. Tampa Bay
7. Brent Celek vs. Dallas
8. Benjamin Watson @ Buffalo
9. Kevin Boss @ Minnesota
10. Dustin Keller vs. Miami
11. Marcedes Lewis vs. Oakland
12. Greg Olsen vs. New England
13. Rob Gronkowski @ Chicago
14. Aaron Hernandez @ Chicago
15. Tony Gonzalez @ Carolina
16. Brandon Pettigrew vs. Green Bay
17. Joel Dreessen vs. Baltimore (Monday)
18. Ed Dickson @ Houston (Monday)
19. Jermaine Gresham @ Pittsburgh
20. Jimmy Graham vs. St. Louis
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Inside the numbers:

  • He probably won’t practice much, but Antonio Gates has reclaimed his top TE status.
  • Vernon Davis is coming off a monster 126 yard, TD performance. Last time he faced Seattle he caught eight passes for 73 yards.
  • Jason Witten is dealing with an ankle injury, but he’ll likely be able to go against the Eagles. The last time he faced them he caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
  • The last time Brent Celek faced the Cowboys he caught seven passes for 96 yards.
  • Benjamin Watson should be very active once again with Jake Delhomme under center.
  • I can’t bring myself to call Tony Gonzalez a fantasy starter anymore.
  • Ed Dickson is my sleeper pick filling in for the injured Todd Heap against Houston’s shaky pass defense.

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Here’s my Week 13 tight end rankings.

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1. Jacob Tamme vs. Dallas
2. Todd Heap vs. Pittsburgh
3. Antonio Gates vs. Oakland
4. Kevin Boss vs. Washington
5. Kellen Winslow vs. Atlanta
6. Tony Gonzalez @ Tampa Bay
7. Chris Cooley @ New York Giants
8. Brandon Pettigrew vs. Chicago
9. Jason Witten @ Indianapolis
10. Dustin Keller @ New England (Monday)
11. Marcedes Lewis @ Tennessee
12. Greg Olsen @ Detroit
13. Vernon Davis @ Green Bay
14. Rob Gronkowski vs. New York Jets (Monday)
15. Heath Miller @ Baltimore
16. Brent Celek vs. Houston (Thursday)
17. Joel Drsessen @ Philadelphia (Thursday)
18. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Buffalo
19. Jermaine Gresham vs. New Orleans
20. Aaron Hernandez vs. New York Jets (Monday)
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Inside the numbers:

  • Antonio Gates returned, but I’d much rather trust Jacob Tamme (averaging 76.3 yards and 0.5 TDs in past four games) and the red hot Todd Heap (five TDs in past six games).
  • Still short at WR, I like Kevin Boss against pass-friendly Washington. He has three TDs in his past four games.
  • Greg Olsen has three TDs in the past four games and a favorable match-up against Detroit.
  • Rob Gronkowski has been the touchdown threat, but not he’s getting more looks than Aaron Hernandez, making him a borderlin TE1. Although Hernandez had six catches for 101 yards in the first meeting with the Jets.
  • Meanwhile Dustin Keller had 115 yards and a score against the Patriots.
  • Brent Celek made a brilliant touchdown grab, and is a decent option against Houston.

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Here’s my Week 12 tight end rankings.

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1. Brandon Pettigrew vs. New England (Thursday)
2. Jacob Tamme vs. San Diego
3. Todd Heap vs. Tampa Bay
4. Chris Cooley vs. Minnesota
5. Kellen Winslow @ Baltimore
6. Tony Gonzalez vs. Green Bay
7. Vernon Davis @ Arizona (Monday)
8. Zach Miller (OAK) vs. Miami
9. Marcedes Lewis @ New York Giants
10. Jason Witten vs. New Orleans (Thursday)
11. Visanthe Shiancoe @ Washington
12. Jermaine Gresham @ New York Jets (Thursday)
13. Kevin Boss vs. Jacksonville
14. Jimmy Graham @ Dallas (Thursday)
15. Aaron Hernandez @ Detroit (Thursday)
16. Joel Dreessen vs. Tennessee
17. Rob Gronkowski @ Detroit (Thursday)
18. Greg Olsen vs. Philadelphia
19. Randy McMichael @ Indianapolis
20. Brent Celek @ Chicago
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Inside the numbers:

  • The Lions will be forced to throw a lot against New England, which works in their favor as the Patriots struggle to defend the pass. I’m expecting big things from Brandon Pettigrew this week.
  • Jacob Tamme shrugged off the back injury and caught seven catches for 70 yards. He’s a strong play yet again this week.
  • Todd Heap is averaging 51.4 yards with four touchdowns in his past five games.
  • I can’t trust Antonio Gates until he shows signs that he’ll be ready to go.
  • Jason Witten was more involved this week, but isn’t the focus of the offense the way he was in Weeks 7 & 8.
  • The Jets aggressive style lends itself to strong TE play. Look for Gresham to have a decent game.
  • With their WRs banged up, Kevin Boss figures to step up for the Giants.
  • I’m expecting Owen Daniels to be out again, meaning Joel Dreessen has fantasy relevance again.
  • ***UPDATE*** – Tony Moeaki (concussion) is out again this week. I added Jimmy Graham, and bumped him up a spell as Jeremy Shockey could miss this week as well.

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Here’s my Week 11 tight end rankings.

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1. Jacob Tamme @ New England
2. Zach Miller (OAK) @ Pittsburgh
3. Vernon Davis vs. Tampa Bay
4. Kellen Winslow @ San Francisco
5. Dustin Keller vs. Houston
6. Tony Gonzalez @ St. Louis
7.  Jason Witten vs. Detroit
8. Todd Heap @ Carolina
9. Marcedes Lewis vs. Cleveland
10. Brandon Pettigrew @ Dallas
11. Chris Cooley @ Tennessee
12. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Green Bay
13. Aaron Hernandez vs. Indianapolis
14. Rob Gronkowski vs. Indianapolis
15. Brent Celek vs. New York Giants
16. Greg Olsen @ Miami
17. Benjamin Watson @ Jacksonville
18. Randy McMichael vs. Denver
19. Jermaine Gresham vs. Buffalo
20. Kevin Boss @ Philadelphia

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Inside the numbers:

  • Antonio Gates still isn’t practicing, and given his Monday Night game, it’s too much of a risk. Only keep him in your lineup if you have Randy McMichael on your roster to use in case Gates can’t go.
  • I’m more worried about Tamme’s back than I am about the Patriots stopping him.
  • Out of respect to Jacksonville’s Zach Miller’s big game, I will specify which Zach Miller I’m ranking. Miller makes a strong play against Pittsburgh, who was burned by tight end Rob Gronkowski for three scores last week.
  • Jason Witten was not in Jason Garrett’s plans last week. I’m hesitant to start him.
  • Both New England tight ends should be heavily involved as Brady looks to keep Peyton on the sidelines.
  • Tony Moeaki will likely miss the game because of a concussion so he was taken off the list. I slid Aaron Hernandez-Jermaine Gresham up a slot and added Kevin Boss.

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Here’s my Week 10 tight end rankings. Keep in mind that the Green Bay, Oakland, New Orleans, and San Diego are on bye.

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1. Jacob Tamme vs. Cincinnati
2. Jason Witten @ New York Giants
3. Vernon Davis vs. St. Louis
4. Tony Gonzalez vs. Baltimore
5. Dustin Keller @ Cleveland
6. Aaron Hernandez @ Pittsburgh
7. Kellen Winslow vs. Carolina
8. Todd Heap vs. Atlanta
9. Marcedes Lewis vs. Houston
10. Brandon Pettigrew @ Buffalo
11. Chris Cooley vs. Philadelphia
12. Visanthe Shiancoe @ Chicago
13. Heath Miller vs. New England
14. Greg Olsen vs. Minnesota
15. Tony Moeaki @ Denver
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Inside the numbers:

  • Color me a believer in Jacob Tamme. Peyton Manning is using him the same way he used Dallas Clark. Scary.
  • Jason Witten’s hot streak ended, but I have to imagine the whole team will give a better effort for new coach Jason Garrett.
  • Vernon Davis should come out of the bye refreshed and ready to torch the Rams.
  • Now that Aaron Hernandez had a taste of the end zone, I look for him to make a return trip against the Steelers.
  • Todd Heap (vs. Atlanta) and Marcedes Lewis (vs. Houston) should take advantage of poor pass defenses making the borderline starters TE1s this week.

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