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Week 17 Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds


The fantasy football season may be over for many of you, as most fantasy football leagues do not hold their Super Bowl during Week 17. It is a week where superstars are rested either because their teams have qualified for the playoffs and are locked into their seeds, or because their teams have no chance of making the postseason and their organizations do not want to risk their stars being injured in meaningless games. So having your league’s championship game during this week is akin to celebrating New Years on January 6.

But for those of you preparing for your fantasy Super Bowl and in desperate need of a tight end on this final week of the NFL season, here are three tight ends to consider on the waiver wire:

Editor's Note: Once you're done here, be sure to read about even more Week 15 waiver wire recommendations, for all fantasy-relevant positions. Just click on any link: ALL - RB - WR - TE - QB - DEF - FAAB

 

Week 17 Waiver Wire – Tight Ends (TE)

Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills

Clay was a nonfactor during the first 70 percent of the season. After 11 games he had not scored a touchdown or sniffed an 80-yard game. In fact, Clay had more games where he had less than 10 receiving yards than games where he had over 50 yards. He was the walking advertisement of a fantasy failure.

I am not sure what light bulbs went off in the heads of Clay, quarterback Tyrod Taylor or Buffalo’s coaching staff, but suddenly Clay is the second coming of Rob Gronkowski. Clay has 18 receptions for 209 yards and four touchdowns over his last three games, just when fantasy owners needed him to explode. It only took him almost two full seasons to finally mesh with the rest of the Bills offense.

Clay and his Bills get to finish the season against the creamiest cream puff in the NFL these days, the New York Jets. The Jets are waving more white flags than the South did during the end of the Civil War. There is no reason to think the Clay train will go off the rails this weekend. Pick up Clay and another 70 yards and a score could be headed your way.

 

Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers

James was a nice early-season find for fantasy owners when he caught three touchdown tosses over his first five games until he went through a stretch where he was harder to find than a microphone Rex Ryan doesn’t like to talk into. When Ladarius Green returned from an ankle injury, James became an afterthought in Pittsburgh’s offense.

Now that Green is dealing with another concussion and his return date is unknown, James has been thrust back into a starting role with the Steelers. He had four receptions for 49 yards last week and could get some action around the end zone during Pittsburgh’s final contest of the campaign, especially if top target Antonio Brown sits out to prepare for the playoffs.

Pittsburgh’s game this week may not mean a lot considering the Steelers clinched the AFC North title this past weekend, but they are playing the 1-14 Cleveland Browns. The Browns can make the most mediocre skilled players look like Pro Bowlers, so look for James to make some plays. While Pittsburgh is locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC and will likely rest their major players, James should start as the Steelers keep Green away to get him healthy for the week after.

 

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

Pitta has been an inspiration this season, overcoming two major hip injuries that appeared to have him sidelined from football forever. He has 75 receptions for 638 yards and two touchdowns --- not amazing by fantasy standards, but amazing in the way that you should not be surprised if you see a Lifetime movie made about his comeback someday.

Pitta has been targeted 11 times twice in the last month by Joe Flacco as more passes have been aimed in his direction than at Baltimore’s wideouts. Pitta has seemingly gotten healthier as the season has worn on. He may been a step slower, but Pitta’s hands and route running are on par with when he was in his pre-injury prime.

Baltimore is just playing for pride against longtime enemy Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bengals are ranked 14th in pass defense and 18th overall, so Pitta should not be bottled up. During a week where many top tight ends will take off their pads and watch from the press box, Pitta is not a bad guy to pick up and play.

 

Other Options

Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers

I’ll be honest. I cannot predict whether Cook will get you 75 yards and a touchdown or one measly catch for 10 yards this week. What gets him in this column is he is one of few tight ends available at this point who actually could get you those 75 yards.

 

Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns

Barnidge has caught touchdown passes in two of his past three games against his opponent this week, division rival Pittsburgh. Cleveland’s quarterbacks have held him down this season, but maybe Robert Griffin III can get him the ball in the end zone.

 

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts

Doyle’s problem is that Indianapolis now employs three tight ends into its passing attack, so his target and reception totals get stunted by this setup. Still, he has had four catches or more in each of his past four outings, so Andrew Luck is still consistently finding him.




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