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How Do You Replace Fantasy Football’s # 1 Tight End?

With Rob Gronkowski out for the rest of the regular season, which widely available players could help your fantasy team down the stretch?

If you drafted Rob Gronkowski this season, you probably had to do so in the second round of most drafts, and if you were lucky you snatched him up in the third. He has been one of the most prolific scoring receivers in football since he entered the league stands alone on top of the tight end pool with only Jimmy Graham to challenge his athletic ability, though there is no other player that can match his size.

On Sunday, Gronkowski suffered a broken left forearm on a special teams play and will be out until the beginning of the playoffs. For fantasy players out there, this means that one of your biggest investments is now out through your playoffs, right before the push to the finish. Tight end is already a thin position to begin with, but there are ways to fill the gap. All ownership stats and season numbers are pulled directly from ESPN.com fantasy football leagues with standard scoring.

Week 12 Fill-in

Dustin Keller – NYJ – owned in 31.0 percent of leagues

Due to injury and the ineptitude of the Jets offense, Keller has been a limited fantasy option for almost the entire season. He returned in week 6 to little fanfare, and only managed one catch for six yard. In fact, he has crossed the six point plateau in only one game so far this season. This doesn’t sound like a player that could help for the rest of the season, but his one good game this year did come against the New England Patriots. He  caught seven passes for 93 yards and a score, and it seems like his best games always come against the New England defense. The Pats have given up, on average, 9.3 points per game to tight ends this season, ranking them 29th in the league. If he is out there on the waiver wire, he could be worth a spot start this week in your league.

Marcedes Lewis – JAX – owned in 5.7 percent of leagues

Coming off a 16 point week against the Houston Texans, he will be one of the hot waiver-wire acquisitions coming up, and so long as Chad Henne remains the starter in Jacksonville, he should stand to benefit. He faces Tennessee this week, a team that is yielding 10.3 points per game to tight ends, though they have been stingy of late allowing only 3.2 per game over their last five contests. If the Jaguars can maintain red zone success, Lewis should stand to benefit. He faces Tennessee twice, Buffalo, Miami, the Jets, and New England on the rest of the year, but he is not a legitimate long-term option until the Jaguars can prove they have an offense without Maurice Jones-Drew.

Dallas Clark – TB – owned in 3.8 percent of leagues

This one time fantasy juggernaut at the tight end position has been slow to get going this season, but managed an 11-point game last week after scoring in overtime. He has a somewhat favorable match-up this week against Atlanta, but I wouldn’t count on him the rest of the way if there are other options available.

Rest of the Season Starter (must own in all formats)

Brandon Myers – OAK – owned in 14.5 percent of leagues

Myers has been a quiet force for Oakland all season, as indicated by his limited ownership in leagues though he has scored the seventh most points of any tight end so far in football. He has come on of late, scoring double-digit points in two of the last three weeks while scoring all three of his touchdowns in that span. His remaining schedule is made up of multiple less than inspiring defenses as he faces Cincinnati  Cleveland  Denver, Kansas City, Carolina, and San Diego. His match-up against Denver could prove particularly important for those of you who are in a Wild Card Playoff Round, as they have given up the most points to tight ends on the season, an average of 10.8 per game. If he is available in your league, even if you aren’t hurt by the Gronkowski injury, chances are that he will improve your team.

About DMac - @dmac4226

I grew up on Boston Sports during the championship era. Nothing has supported my love for Boston sports more than seeing three Lombardi Trophies, two World Series Championships, a Stanley Cup, and an NBA Championship all before turning 21. That will never stop me complaining when one of my teams falls on its face, and there will always be game film to go over, which is why I will always have something to write about.

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