The Week 11 injury report reads like a “who’s who” when it comes to the tight end position. Here is the latest injury-related information you need to read before setting your lineup.
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gonzalez hasn’t missed a game since the 2006 season, but that streak (111 games) could come to an end today. Gonzalez has a toe injury that kept him out of practice for basically the entire week. He is listed as Questionable and more than likely will be a game-time decision to face the Buccaneers. The Falcons have several banged up weapons, as wide receiver Harry Douglas also is Questionable and fellow wideout Roddy White has been dealing with injuries all season. Even if he plays, Gonzalez will be limited by the toe injury, so if you plan on starting the future Hall of Famer, don’t count on TE1 production from him.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints
Davis sustained a concussion last week against Carolina, but he appears on track to play this afternoon. He is listed as Questionable and was limited in practice, but barring a setback, he is expected to be on the field. Davis has emerged as Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target over the past month or so, so the 49ers desperately need him in the lineup. There’s always a risk when it comes to someone who sustained a concussion, and the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff adds to it in this case, but the potential reward in playing Davis should outweigh the risk, unless you have another viable starting option.
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers
Graham’s plantar fasciitis won’t be completely healed until after the season, but unlike the past few weeks, he is listed as Probable for today’s big game against San Francisco. The 49ers’ defense is among the best in the NFL, but Graham has shown that’s he the best at his position and he doesn’t have to be 100 percent to be productive. Start him with confidence.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers (Mon.)
Gronkowski continues to be limited in practice due to several injuries, but the Patriots are coming off of their bye, so in some ways Gronk should be as healthy as he’s been in a while. He is listed as Probable for Monday night’s tilt with Carolina and Gronk will be needed against a Panthers defense that is second in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. There’s no question you start Gronk, just don’t be surprised if he doesn’t put up huge numbers.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens
Bennett was a late add to the injury report after not practicing at all on Thursday and being limited on Friday because of an ankle injury. He is Questionable and most likely will be a game-time decision today. The early game time (1 p.m. ET) will help, but he has just one touchdown in his last seven games, so maybe it would be best to just leave Bennett on the bench this week.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Gresham missed the last game because of a groin injury, but he was back at practice this week and is listed as Probable. The interesting thing to see is if he and Tyler Eifert will go back to a timeshare or if Eifert will get the majority of the targets. Last week, Eifert got a season-high nine targets, catching three of them for 55 yards. Eifert probably carries a little more upside than Gresham, but as long as both of them are sharing the targets, they are very hard to trust from a production standpoint.
Already Ruled Out
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph will miss several weeks with a fractured foot and John Carlson has already taken advantage of the additional playing time. Last week against Washington, Carlson led the Vikings with nine catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Seattle’s defense is tough, especially at home, but that doesn’t mean that Carlson still can’t catch enough balls to produce. He’s certainly a viable replacement option if you own Rudolph and belongs in the TE2 conversation.