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Tight Ends Waiver Wire: Week 9 Pickups and Adds

Week 9 is when the most fantasy football owners around the world will be searching for tight ends on the waiver wire.

Not only is Week 9 the only week during the NFL season that six teams are on bye instead of the usual two-to-four, the caliber of the tight ends taking the week off is startling.  Seattle’s Jimmy Graham and Kansas City’s Travis Kelce are two of the top five fantasy tight ends going right now, while Detroit’s Eric Ebron is on the verge of becoming a dominant pass catcher as well.

Two of the best tight ends available in most leagues are guys that were two of the best a few weeks ago.  Another viable free agent at the position is someone fantasy owners should be very familiar with thanks to his solid production over the past decade.  This is definitely a week to go with a veteran tight end with your waiver wire pick.

Here are three tight ends you should think about picking up this week:


Week 9 Waiver Wire -- Tight Ends (TE)

 Benjamin Watson (TE, NO ) -- 42% OWNED

Watson was the top tight end to sign up in my column two weeks ago, but most fantasy owners either ignored him or grabbed him for just one week and then dropped him again.  Watson is available in more than half of the leagues.  That will not be the case next week.

The 34-year-old was no one-game wonder after catching 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6.  After a respectable 59-yard outing in Week 7, Watson had his second monster game in three weeks by snagging nine passes for a career-high 147 yards and a score against a banged-up New York Giants defense.  The only complaint fantasy owners could have about his performance was that he only caught one touchdown pass when Drew Brees threw seven of them.

Watson has 26 receptions for 369 yards and three touchdowns over his last four games.  Many tight ends do not post those numbers over the course of an entire season.  Watson has been a fantasy revelation.  We need to find out what Fountain of Youth he has been drinking at so we can all have a taste of that water.

Watson is showing no signs of slowing down and is primed to have another humongous game this weekend when his Saints host the inept Tennessee Titans.  But while the 1-6 Titans have been horrible at almost everything, pass defense is the one thing they have been good at.  They are allowing under 200 passing yards per game, although some of that can be attributed to the quality of the quarterbacks they have faced and the fact they have trailed late in most of their games so opponents have chosen to run rather than pass against them.

I am going to go out on a limb and say Watson will not have a dozen catches for 150 yards this week.  If he does we should check his DNA and make sure he is not a machine.  But seven receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown is entirely possible as he continues to rise as a fantasy force.  The great news is that Brees' shoulder is no longer a concern, so getting the ball to Watson will not be a problem.


Jacob Tamme (TE, ATL) -- 11% OWNED

Tamme is another tight end I touted a couple columns ago, yet he is on the waiver wire in almost 90 percent of leagues.  Fantasy owners must have thought his 10-catch breakout effort against the Washington Redskins three games ago was a fluke.  All Tamme did was prove his doubters wrong by having his second double-digit reception game in the span of a month.

Tamme had 10 receptions for 103 yards and a trip to the end zone against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has had trouble covering tight ends the past few weeks (see Jordan Reed’s numbers versus them in Week 7).

Tamme might not be in the comfort of his own dome his Sunday, but he has other factors in his favor.  Atlanta plays San Francisco, and the 49ers are ranked 27th against the pass this season and are in dire need of Ronnie Lott or Deion Sanders to come out of retirement and step into the secondary.

Tamme has angled ahead of Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson to become Matt Ryan’s third-favorite target behind Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman.  He has had three catches or more in six of his seven contests, and his targets will go up before they come down.  Ink him to a fantasy deal this week and he should be a solid stopgap for your squad.


Heath Miller (TE, PIT ) -- 38% OWNED

The ageless Miller brushed the grey hair out of his eyes this past Sunday and saw the passes coming to him clearly.

After catching just 17 balls all season coming into last weekend’s action, Miller shocked the fantasy world (and probably his own family) by hauling in 10 Ben Roethlisberger tosses for 103 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.

With top tailback Le’Veon Bell out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury and with “Big Ben” back from his own knee injury, look for Pittsburgh to be more of a pass-first, run-second offense the rest of the year.  That means less blocking and more receiving for Miller, who was virtually non-existent during the dark days when Michael Vick and Landry Jones were running the Steelers show.

Pittsburgh has a date at home with the Oakland Raiders, who must be on Cloud 109 after what they did to the New York Jets this past Sunday.  But the reality is the Raiders have the 31st pass defense in the NFL, and they are so short on secondary skill that Charles Woodson starts for them, and he is 900 years old (OK, only 39).

Miller is not going to break any 70-yard plays or score multiple touchdowns, but with Roethlisberger back at the helm, Miller is a perfect one-week option for a fantasy owners missing a tight end.


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