Fantasy Football Blog

Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham have their teams scrambling

Players and coaches huddle around after Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham was injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half Sunday.
Players and coaches huddle around after Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham was injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half Sunday. AP

Week 12 saw two major injuries at tight end as both Rob Gronkowski (at least for this week) and Jimmy Graham (for the year) are out. There are several options for replacement on your team or if you need a spark.

Scott Chandler (New England) is an obvious choice as he replaces Gronkowski. Chandler isn’t the same level of talent, of course, but he will have plenty of fantasy value because of his role in the Patriots offense. Likewise, Luke Willson (Seattle) will be elevated to starter in Seattle.

Other considerations include Vance McDonald (San Francisco), who has a touchdown in back-to-back games (and he is quietly the No. 2 tight end over the past two weeks) and Cameron Brate (Tampa Bay) who also has touchdowns in his past two games.

Deeper targets could include a pair of rookies: Jesse James (Pittsburgh) may start with Heath Miller (ribs) ailing and Tyler Kroft (Cincinnati) may start for Tyler Eifert (neck) this week.

▪  Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh) has 14 touchdowns in his 16 NFL games. Bryant remains a high-end start, capable of a two-touchdown game against the Colts and their 27th-ranked pass defense (and especially with star corner Vontae Davis on Antonio Brown).

▪  Eric Decker (N.Y. Jets) has a touchdown or 80 yards in every game this season and that should continue this week in a Giants/Jets game that has the potential to be a shoot-out. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets face a Giants’ defense that allows a league-worst 309.2 passing yards per game and the Giants will get the Jets minus top corner Darrelle Revis.

▪  Start Brandon LaFell (New England) with confidence. LaFell is one of the Patriots’ remaining healthy options at wide receiver for Tom Brady, while no team allows more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than Philadelphia.

▪  Likewise, LeGarrette Blount (New England) should be leaned on heavily in the running game. Philadelphia allows a league-worst 163.3 yards rushing per game over its past three games.

▪  Doug Martin (Tampa Bay) has gone six games without a touchdown but look for him to get back to scoring this week against a reeling Atlanta Falcons’ team who allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

▪  Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati) comes off a 100-yard game, his first since Week 16 of last year. Hill could have a huge game this week against Cleveland’s 28th-ranked rush defense, and he could score multiple touchdowns with Eifert likely out.

▪  It will be fun to ride the Panthers this week against the Saints. Cam Newton (Carolina) is my top-ranked quarterback this week as the Saints allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (by a wide margin). Newton is also on pace for 142 carries, his most in any season. Jonathan Stewart is also an elite option – Stewart has at least 20 carries in seven straight games. Devin Funchess could get a score this week as well.

Week 13 sleepers

▪  David Johnson (Arizona) will get the start for Arizona with Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington both out. Don’t let a trip to face the St. Louis Rams’ defense scare you off – Johnson is a very high-end start as he should be busy, he can break long scores, converts short touchdowns well and he is an elite receiving back.

▪  Rookie DeVante Parker (Miami) received 10 targets last week and with Rishard Matthews having multiple fractured ribs Parker will start. Parker should have a larger role in the offense going forward as the 4-7 Dolphins look to the future. Parker is raw but has special talent and size.

▪  Shaun Draughn (San Francisco) could be a viable option if your normal starter has a tough matchup (such as Mark Ingram against the Panthers). Draughn played 100 percent of snaps for the 49ers last week, the only time a back has done so this year.

▪  Kirk Cousins (Washington) is a viable fantasy option this week. Washington finds itself in first place in the NFC East, while Cousins has 300-plus yards passing in three of his past five games and he sports an 11:2 touchdown to interception ratio at home this season.

Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.