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Fantasy Football: Emergency replacement for Delanie Walker

Greg McWilliams/Icon Sportswire

Delanie Walker is listed as questionable and was a rare late week downgrade. After the tight end missed Friday’s practice there is serious doubt about his availability on Sunday. This is a tough blow for those that have rostered Walker on their fantasy teams.

Last week, the Titans’ Walker go for 83 yards and a touchdown on six catches in Week 2. So these owners were very excited to see the tight end face an Oakland defense that just got ripped apart by Jacob Tamme the week before.

Of course, you need to wait for the official active list on Sunday for his status for the game, but if you were one of these fantasy players, you need a contingency plan. It is a real possibility that Walker is going to watch the game on Sunday in street clothes.

When a player is injured we usually can start by looking at the backup on his team. But, in this case, that isn’t a real option. The second-string tight end on the Titans is Anthony Fasano, who is known more for his blocking rather than his pass catching ability. Fasano is averaging just 24.7 catches per season over his last three.

So as we scour the free agent list for a suitable replacement at the tight end position there are some viable options available. There are a couple of players that have seen their ownership numbers rise very quickly over the past week, but if they are still available in your league they are a must add as your Plan B for Week 3.

These two players would be the Atlanta Falcons’ Jacob Tamme and the Baltimore Ravens’ Pitta. According to the ESPN fantasy football ownership numbers, both of these guys have seen big increases in their ownership. In fact, both have seen it jump by 45-plus percent this week. And for good reason as both have been busy in the first two weeks of NFL action. They are tied for third among tight ends in targets and in first and second in receptions at the position. So if either of these guys is available in your league, this is the way to go as you look to replace Walker.

But with the jump in ownership for both players, they may not be options in your league. And if that is the case than the Philadelphia Eagles’ Trey Burton is the tight end for you. The pass catcher is available in 96.5 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues.

Last week, the tight end filled in for the injured Zach Ertz. He responded with 49 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. The Eagles’ Carson Went is completing 28 percent of his passes to tight ends this season. Meaning that Burton should be plenty busy again this week as Ertz has already been ruled out for Week 3.

And Burton’s opponent has had trouble with tight ends since the start of the 2015 season. Last year Pittsburgh allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to the position. They gave up 88 receptions for 931 yards and eight touchdowns to tight ends. And through two games in 2016, they are allowing an average of seven catches for 64 yards to the position.

The Falcons’ Tamme or the Ravens’ Pitta should be your first choice in providing yourself protection in case the Titans’ Walker can’t play in Week 3. But if you are in a deep fantasy league, Burton is an available and capable option that has a plus matchup on Sunday.

Fantasy Football: Emergency replacement for Delanie Walker

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