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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, November 10, 2011

Fantasy football: Analyzing the values of Brent Celek and Jake Ballard

Two names we briefly mentioned but didn't go into detail about in Tuesday's waiver-wire picks were tight ends Brent Celek and Jake Ballard.

Celek is owned in only 15.8 percent of the leagues on ESPN. Ballard's ownership percentage is 32.7.

Both are starting options at tight end, and depending on if you play in a points-per-reception league or not, Celek could be a top-10 player at his position the rest of the season.

Celek, who has had seven receptions in each of the Eagles' last two games, is an ideal choice in PPR leagues. You might remember him as a fantasy stud in 2009, when he had 76 catches for 971 yards and eight TDs in his third season, or a fantasy dud in 2010 (42 receptions, 511 yards, four TDs).

With Michael Vick at quarterback, Celek's value suffered -- until the last three weeks. In that span, he has 18 catches and two TDs.

Should Vick continue to look for one of his best receiving options, Celek is a slam-dunk choice as a starter in PPR leagues. Should Vick go back to ignoring him, as he did in Philly's first five games (when Celek had nine catches and didn't reach the end zone), his current ownership percentage of 15.8 would seem inflated.

I don't believe Ballard, despite being owned in more than double the number of leagues as Celek, is as good of an option as Celek.

The rookie from Ohio State has better numbers this year (23 catches for 395 yards and three TDs), but Celek's stats are far superior the last three weeks. In that span, Ballard has a respectable 13 receptions for 203 yards and a TD.

He's a decent choice as a low-level starting tight end in 12- and 14-team leagues. He's also probably a safer choice than Celek, who is at the mercy of the up-and-down Vick.

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