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Week 12 Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

By Johnmaxmena2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

There are no teams on bye this week, so fantasy football owners really have a reason to give thanks during the holiday!

Other than injured tight ends that may not suit up like New England’s Rob Gronkowski, the majority of the tight end lot should be able to go for fantasy owners this week. But if you need a tight end because you are not happy with who you have at the position, here are a few Week 12 waiver wire tight end pickups to consider adding to your fantasy football teams this week.

Editor's Note: Once you're done here, be sure to read about even more Week 12 waiver wire recommendations, for all fantasy-relevant positions. Just click on any link: ALL - RB - WR - TE - QB - DEF - FAAB - CUTS


Week 12 Waiver Wire – Tight Ends (TE)

Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers

Fantasy owners have been waiting for Cook to live up to his potential for eight long years now. And while he has had his shining moments here and there, for the most part, Cook has been as helpful to fantasy owners as a windbreaker would be to someone caught in a blizzard.

Cook had been injured and ineffective during his first season with Green Bay until he exploded for 105 yards and a touchdown against Washington this past Sunday evening. He was targeted more than any other Packers pass catcher and was on the field more often than tight end teammate Richard Rodgers. He has the physical skills to be a matchup nightmare for defenses because he is too quick to always be covered by a linebacker, but can overpower a defensive back with his size and strength.

Green Bay might be falling apart as a team, but one thing that is still clicking is its passing attack. Aaron Rodgers is always capable of throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns on a weekly basis, so Cook could thrive if he stays healthy and stays fully involved in the offensive scheme. Cook has been so spotty throughout his career that it is hard to be sold on him after this one performance, but if you are a fantasy owner desperate for a tight end, he probably has more upside than anyone else on your league’s waiver wire.

Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s tight end Jacob Tamme is officially out for the season after getting shoulder surgery, so the top tight end for 2016 fantasy MVP candidate Matt Ryan from here on out will be third-round rookie Austin Hooper.

Hooper has had nine receptions for 95 yards and a score over the last three games, and now he can fully blossom with Tamme shelved for the season. With secondaries double-covering Julio Jones on the outside, Hooper should be able to do some damage on the inside as a complimentary part of Atlanta’s high-octane offense.

Atlanta plays four of its last six games at the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome, including mouth-watering matchups against San Francisco (Week 15) and New Orleans (Week 17) when fantasy leagues will be deciding their champions. Hooper could be an unsung hero for your fantasy team during your playoff run if you pick him up.

Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns

The Browns have been easier to laugh at this season than Louie C.K. or Dave Chappelle. Meanwhile, Barnidge has been one of the bigger busts at tight end in 2016. After a breakout 2015 campaign that saw him sneak out of obscurity to record 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, he has been M.I.A. this season. He was likely dropped by many fantasy owners in recent weeks after producing just 434 yards and zero touchdowns in his first 10 games. But is Barnidge ready to rebound?

He caught his first touchdown pass of the season against Pittsburgh in his last game, so maybe that was a sign that he is ready to awaken from his season-long coma. Couple that with Cody Kessler getting concussed for the second time in a short span and the return of Josh McCown to the starting quarterback role for Cleveland in the immediate future, and you see Barnidge has some things going well for him right now.

Barnidge and his Browns have a date with the surging New York Giants this weekend, and while the G-Men have been playing their best defense of the season in recent weeks, they still have trouble covering tight ends. Over the last three games Chicago’s Zach Miller (61 yards and a TD), Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert (96 yards) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (97 yards) all did well against the Giants. A renewed Barnidge could prosper against them, as well.


Other Options

Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers

McDonald is in the midst of a three-game hot streak, during which he has caught 10 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. For McDonald to do this while Colin Kaepernick is his quarterback makes it even more impressive.

Lance Kendricks, Los Angeles Rams

The jury is out on whether Jared Goff’s promotion over Case Keenum to starting signal-caller will help or hurt Kendricks’ fantasy value. Kendricks was doing well with the erratic and inaccurate Keenum at the helm, but if Goff turns out to be an upgrade then that could mean good things for Kendricks down the stretch.

Jermaine Gresham, Arizona Cardinals

I know this is such a stretch that you may want me ousted as the writer of this weekly column, but Gresham is facing the 30th-ranked pass defense in the NFL (Atlanta) this weekend and is coming off scoring his first touchdown of the season against Minnesota.

Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

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