New Orleans’ All-Pro tight end is ready to roll in Week 10, but the same can’t be said of Chicago’s big target. Athlon Sports gets you up to date on the key tight ends that appeared on this week’s injury report.
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers
Probable – Shoulder
Graham was a full practice participant every day this week and unlike last week, he’s listed as Probable. This “upgrade” alone should pretty much remove any doubt from the equation. Graham has caught a touchdown pass in each of his past two games, so he’s looking more like his old self with each passing week. Rob Gronkowski is on bye, which is why Graham is our No. 1 TE this week, and he should have another productive day at the office against a 49ers defense that’s pretty banged up in the middle.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Questionable – Ribs
Bennett just can’t seem to shake the injury bug. After dealing with a hamstring issue the past several weeks, Bennett injured his ribs during practice a few days ago. He didn’t practice at all on Friday, which is typically not a good sign, and is listed as Questionable. Head coach Marc Trestman didn’t sound overly optimistic when asked about his tight end’s availability, so it’s likely Bennett will wind up being a game-time decision. The Bears don’t play until tonight, which complicates matters some, especially considering Bennett’s role in the passing game and the fact he is a top-five fantasy TE. Bennett is a guy you definitely want in your lineup, but just keep in mind that if you wait until kickoff (8:30 p.m. ET) and he ends up not playing, your options will be limited to the likes of Bennett’s replacement, Dante Rosario, and Green Bay’s Andrew Quarless, because chances are neither Greg Olsen or Zach Ertz, who play Monday, are available. Are you willing to take a chance on Bennett not playing and be shut out at TE?
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Probable – Ribs
Kelce was a full go at practice this week, so even though he’s on the injury report all you need to worry about is the Probable designation. Kelce has been a top-10 fantasy TE for most of the season and it’s certainly how he should be treated this week with the aforementioned Gronkowski, as well as Antonio Gates and Dwayne Allen all on bye. Anthony Fasano will get his share of playing time, but the Chiefs employ enough two-tight end sets and also will make a point to get Kelce, their leading receiver, involved so it shouldn’t impact your decision about whether to start him or not.
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions
Probable – Knee
Clay missed some practice time, as he has pretty much every week this season, but he’s listed as Probable, so expect him to be out there today. Clay has been the epitome of an up-and-down player this season, as he’s gone from four catches in Week 7 to one the following week to five last week. He did catch a touchdown pass in two of the past three games, but if his cycle holds true, he’s due for a poor showing today. The point is, Clay has been hard to figure out and even more difficult to trust on a weekly basis this season, but once again the bye-week situation may leave you with no choice but to stick with him.
Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew, TEs, Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins
Doubtful – Hamstring; Questionable – Ankle; Questionable – Foot
Unlike teammates Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson, the bye did not seem to benefit the Lions’ banged-up tight end trio that much. No one has been ruled out yet, but the best shot any of the three have of playing today is 50-50, if even that. Ebron is the least likely to suit up, based on his Doubtful tag. He and Pettigrew, who is Questionable, practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. Fauria on the other hand, got in a little bit of work every day, so he’s the least Questionable of this group, for what that’s worth. The bottom line is this – with Johnson and Bush both expected back, there’s no reason to pay any Lion tight end much attention this week, if any of them even make it on the field.