This week featured one of those devastating injuries in fantasy football that resontes big time across the game. Of course I am talking about the season-ending wrist injury that Indianapolis Colts TE Dallas Clark suffered last Sunday which led to surgery this week. Clark was officially placed on injured reserve on Friday and thus the next catch he makes will be in 2011. Undoubtedly, the Clark injury had a major impact on those fantasy football teams who owned him as he likely was the first TE drafted in those leagues. The loss of such as high draft choice (and one who had the ability to catch 100 passes) no doubt leaves a huge hole that os almost impossible to fill. The truth is that Clark can never truly be replaced but his loss can be minimized somewhat if you make the right call on his replacement which is what I am here to do to help with that.
For starters, the first thing you should do if you were a Clark owner is to search out the other teams in your league and see if anyone has an extra solid TE to spare. In my league for instance, one team had both Kellen Winslow and Chris Cooley and so he dealt Winslow to the Clark owner in my league for Roy Williams. Fair trade and it met the needs to both teams. If that doesnt yield anything, than the next thing you must do is go to the waiver wire and make an addition from the TE ranks.
Now one thing that is pretty clear to see this season is that the TE position is quite possibly the deepest it has ever been. There are at least 10-12 starting caliber TE’s in fantasy football and so there should be a decent one or two guys on your league’s wire who can help. Here are the ones in particular that I like as a fill-in who can help you out and keep you afloat.
-Jermaine Gresham (Bengals): Gresham has been very solid every week in this his rookie season and CIncy QB Carson Palmer has a clear rapport with the guy. The Bengals have turned into more of a passing team this season after being a running team last year and so the opportunity is there for Gresham to continue getting good looks. Right now Gresham has caught at least four passes in every game but one this year but his yards per game is on the low end at 31.0. He also has failed to score a TD but again the Bengals have been featuring the pass so that will change. More of a PPR option that a TD heavy one.
-Aaron Hernandez (Patriots): This guy has tremendous natural receiving ability and he looks more like a wide receiver playing TE. Hernandez has above average speed for his position and will likely see an even more increased role in the passing game now that Randy Moss has been traded. QB Tom Brady has gusshed about Hernandez on many occasions and thus he has the full trust of the guy throwing the ball. Like Gresham, Hernandez has not gotten into the end zone but he is averaging 60 yards per game so he is making his catches go for more yardage. A very good all around guy to own right now.
-Brandon Pettigrew (Lions): This is another guy I cant stop crushing on as Pettigrew has the best raw numbers of anyone on this list with 33 catches for 336 yards with 1 TD. Pettigrew was a first round pick for a reason and he is living up to his hype. The only problem with Pettigrew is the fact that he didnt seem to have much of a rapport with QB Matthew Stafford last season and during the first game of this year. Right now the Lions are on a bye and there stands a great chance that Stafford will be back the following Sunday but I find it hard to believe that the coaching staff wont drill it into his head to get this guy the ball due to his great work so far. This is the guy I like the best on this list and he actually can put top 5-7 numbers if he continues on this pace.
-Jacob Tamme (Colts): Those who lost out on Clark can quite possibly look to his direct replacement in Tamme who was a fourth round pick of the Colts out of Kentucky a few years ago. Tamme has very good hands and now has the starting TE spot in the best passing attack in the league. We all know that QB Peyton Manning has turned some seemingly medicore players into household names so keep an eye here. you never know. He is certainly a lottery ticket that could turn a shocking profit for you.
-Ben Watson (Browns): Watson has really stepped up the last month or so by averaging 5 catches a game and contributing some scores. The Browns have turned to rookie QB Colt McCoy who no doubt will be looking to Watson as a safety net when the protection breaks down. Look for him to continue to get a good amount of looks.
So there you have it. I can guarantee that at least 2 of these guys are sitting on your league’s waiver wire so be sure to make the move now before someone else steals these guys from you.