Week 12 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, C.J. Fiedorowicz is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 12 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Jimmy Graham and Fiedorowicz, you should start Graham -- and in turn, bench Fiedorowicz.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 12 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

TE - Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. GB)

After sustaining a rib injury in the season opener, Ertz missed a couple of games and returned following their Week 4 bye. In his first four games back, he was frustratingly under-utilized with four or fewer targets in the first four games back. In fact, he had just nine catches for 92 yards over that four-game span.

Since then, however, Ertz has become much more involved in the offense again. With a minimum of seven targets and a total of 26 over his past three games, Ertz has six-plus catches in three consecutive games and has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight in two of those three games. And he could have had an even better performance last week if an unnecessary penalty did not negate a touchdown of more than 50 yards.

With a great matchup against the Packers this week, Ertz could be in store for another strong performance. The Packers have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Only the Bills (13.89 Y/R) and Buccaneers (13.84) have allowed more yards per reception than the Packers (13.20) this season.

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TE - C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (vs. SD)

Barely used as a receiver in the team's first three games, Fiedorowicz has become much more involved in the passing offense since then. The third-year tight end now has five targets in seven consecutive games.

Over that seven-game span, Fiedorowicz has averaged 7.0 targets per game and has posted a 33/380/3 line during that stretch including 6/82 on 10 targets on Monday Night Football in Mexico City. Fiedorowicz now has at least 24-percent target share in two of his past three games.

The Chargers have been solid at defending tight ends, 12th-fewest fantasy points to the position, but Fiedorowicz is still a top-12 option due to his volume. If you're looking for a streamer, Fiedorowicz was on my list of waiver-wire options to target as he was owned in roughly one-fifth of Yahoo! leagues as of Tuesday this week.

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (vs. MIN)

After being sidelined for a few games, Ebron has been highly productive over his past three games. During that stretch, he has finished as fantasy's weekly TE12, TE11 and TE2, respectively, with a minimum of 70 receiving yards in each game.

Over that three-game span, Ebron has 17 catches for 241 yards on 23 targets and had a one-yard touchdown run last week as well. In his first game against the Vikings (Week 9), Ebron had seven catches on eight targets for a season-high 92 yards and I expect another productive outing from him on Thanksgiving.

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at HOU)

Over his past four games, Gates has a minimum of nine targets. Going back five games, Gates has a minimum of 20-percent target share. The matchup this week against the Texans isn't favorable, but one thing that we know for sure is that Gates will be targeted heavily by Philip Rivers.

And of course, Gates is still one of the better red-zone weapons in the NFL. With a touchdown in three consecutive games, Gates has finished as the TE7, TE4 and TE5, respectively, over that span.

Week 12 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BUF)

Thomas has been a huge disappointment this season. Healthy going into his second season with the Jaguars, Thomas has 28 yards or less in every game played since Week 3.

Even though he has a touchdown in three of his past five games, he kills your fantasy team when he doesn't score -- 2/21 (TE29) in Week 9 and 3/12 (TE36) in Week 11. More TD-dependent than any other position in general, Thomas is one of the most TD-dependent players at the most TD-dependent position.

TE - Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers (at PHI)

Returning from a multi-month absence, Cook had six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 11 targets on Sunday Night Football. It was clearly his best performance as a Packer, but hopefully it's a sign of what may be to come.

In his first three games with the Packers, however, Cook had just 53 total yards on six catches and 11 targets. And the Packers have a Week 12 matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

As inconsistent as Cook has been over his career and given the difficult matchup this week, he's outside my top-12 fantasy tight ends for Week 12.

TE - Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (vs. NYG)

I listed Barnidge as a sit last week and I wrote, "he's going to score a touchdown at some point this season and perhaps that's this week, but ..." (Naturally, he scored his first touchdown of the season last week.) So, perhaps listing Barnidge on this side of the post once again will lead to another score for him.

That said, he is a TD-dependent option this week. In his past three games including last week's performance, Barnidge has finished with 3/23 (TE27), 1/8 (TE40) and 2/23/1 (TE9).

TE - Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints (vs. LA)

In the first five games of the season, Fleener had a pair of TE2 performances (and three outside the top-25). Since then, he has finished somewhere between the weekly TE12 (last week) and TE31 in five consecutive games.

The good news is that Fleener had both of his TE2 outings at home and the Saints are at home this week, but the bad news is that his matchup against the Rams isn't a favorable one. The Rams have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 12

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