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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fantasy football: Tight end replacement options

If you drafted Packers tight end Jermichael Finley -- or if you're like the owner in one of my leagues who made what looked like a lopsided deal for Finley (before karma struck like an unblocked Matt Roth) -- you probably figured you didn't need a backup at the position.

After four games, you had a tight end on pace for 84 receptions for 1,204 yards, aka PPR Gold. In Week 5, however, Finley suffered a knee injury and was scheduled for surgery this week that we were led to believe would sideline him for 3 to 6 weeks.

Later in the week we learned the damage to Finley's knee was worse than originally believed, and he could be done for the season.

If you're looking for a tight end on the waiver wire, here are eight who are owned in fewer than 50 percent of the leagues on

1. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions (owned in 7.8 percent of the ESPN leagues): His low ownership percentage is baffling, especially considering the 2009 first-round pick has at least six receptions in three of Detroit's five games and 91 yards or more in two of five contests. Pettigrew is on pace for 83 catches for 880 yards.

2. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots (44.1 percent):
The rookie has 17 receptions in his last three games, and the trade of Randy Moss should result in more targets and a quick end to his touchdown drought.

3. Tony Moeaki, Chiefs (11.9 percent): Another rookie, Moeaki has 16 catches for 173 yards and two TDs in four games. Dwayne Bowe has been so bad, Kansas City's best receiving threats are a tight end and a running back (Jamaal Charles).

4. Heath Miller, Steelers (46.1 percent):
We'll write more about Miller's increase in value because of Ben Roethlisberger's return in a column for Saturday's print and online editions, but here's a quick snippet: The tight end had 76 receptions for 789 yards and six TDs last season, but has been dropped in many leagues because the Steelers had the league's worst passing attack without their suspended QB.

5. John Carlson, Seahawks (23 percent):
He's not going to be a huge help in PPR formats, but Carlson can be expected to produce similar numbers to his stats from his first two NFL seasons (an average of 53 catches for 601 yards and six TDs in 2008 and '09).

6. Todd Heap, Ravens (19.8 percent): He had six receptions for 72 yards in Week 1, but has only 12 catches for 138 yards in four games since. At this point in his career, he's better suited to be a bye-week replacement option and not much more.

7. Benjamin Watson, Browns (4.6 percent): He has 20 receptions for 214 yards and one TD in his last four games. That's the good news. The bad: Rookie Colt McCoy will be his quarterback, and it might be for longer than this week's game at Pittsburgh.

8. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (10.4 percent): Like Pettigrew, I'd expect Gresham to be a fantasy starter in Year 2, which in the latter's case is 2011. The 2010 first-round pick has had 35 receiving yards or fewer in four of five games, but is on pace for 70 catches.

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