I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with football. It is my favorite sport, and the one I have the most fantasy success in too. Despite that success, there are weeks where I think I know nothing. As much as I like football, there are just things that happen that defy logic – like the Minnesota Vikings scoring 41 points with Adrian Peterson not on the team and Cordarrelle Patterson having 38 yards receiving. For the purposes of this column, Antonio Gates is a better example. Facing the second worst team against tight ends this season, Gates managed only three receptions for 30 yards. Gates was priced cheaply, had a great match up yet failed to produce. That, is why I hate football sometimes. That was last week, let’s look ahead at the tight end match ups for week five:
|Jimmy Graham||New Orleans||$7,600||Tampa Bay||27th|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England||$6,600||Cincinnati||22nd|
|Larry Donnell||New York Giants||$5,700||Atlanta||9th|
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, $7,600 – Things turned out well enough for Graham in week four. He did provide owners with 21.6 points on the week – not quite triple value but close. If you were watching the game then chances are you were not happy with Graham for the first three quarters, good thing they play four. While Tampa Bay did get their first win on Sunday, they allowed Heath Miller to catch ten passes for 85 yards and a touchdown in the process; Jimmy Graham is better than Heath Miller. I have no qualms about using Graham in week five.
Julius Thomas, Denver, $6,900 – Arizona has gone from historically bad against tight ends to just bad against the position. The important word there is “bad”. The Cardinals are still not good against opposing tight ends, and Denver has too many other weapons for the Cardinals to key on Thomas. Expect another nice game from Thomas this week.
Rob Gronkowski, New England, $6,600 – Cincinnati has a good defense, they have been below average against tight ends in 2014 though. The Bengals rank 22nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. Gronkowski has yet to have a monster game this season; he also has not had less than 10.6 fantasy points in any game. In other words, Gronkowski, is a pretty safe play and there is still potential upside.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago, $6,000 – Bennett is averaging one tenth of a fantasy point less per game this season than Jimmy Graham is. He has been better than Julius Thomas thus far – and every other tight end not named Jimmy Graham. This week, Bennett facing a Carolina team that has been slightly above average against tight ends thus far, but given the year Bennett is having, I would not let the match up dissuade me from using Bennett.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants, $5,700 – Those who started Donnell were rewarded handsomely last week; for their $4,600 investment they received a 30.4 fantasy point game from Donnell. The big game means a big price increase for Donnell and likely extra attention from the Atlanta defense this week too. I do not hate Donnell in week five, I just do not think he is a great bargain given his salary.
Greg Olsen, Carolina, $5,300 – Well, at least Olsen did provide some points for his owners in week four. It is never a good thing when a guy does not even earn his value, but it is better than getting shut out completely. Olsen’s match up this week looks bad, but looks can be deceiving. It is easy to look good against opposing tight ends when three of your games have come against Buffalo, the New York Jets and Green Bay. While I wish Olsen were a little cheaper, I would rather go with Olsen than Donnell this week.
Niles Paul, Washington, $5,100 – So, perhaps Kirk Cousins is not such a great fit for Jay Gruden’s offense after all. Paul did manage nine fantasy points before leaving his game against the New York Giants with a concussion. This week he gets to play a Seattle defense that ranks 30th against opposing tight ends this season. The matchup is nice, but I am not willing to trust Cousins against a good defense, so I am avoiding Paul on my teams.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland, $4,400 – It is all about potential with Cameron. He has done little this season so far; he also has been playing hurt. This week he is cheap, coming off his bye week and facing a defense that has been below average against tight ends this season – Tennessee ranks 21st against opposing tight ends in 2014. I think we start seeing the Cameron we saw early in the 2013 season starting this week. I love Cameron at this price!
Delaine Walker, Tennessee, $4,300 – I am not sure why Walker gets so little respect. He has been the fourth highest scoring tight ends this season, averaging 18.7 fantasy points per game. His worst game this year is 13.8 fantasy points, and he has already topped 30 fantasy points once. Cleveland ranks 28th against tight ends this season. I must be missing something with Walker’s pricing; he seems like a steal to me this week.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh, $4,000 – Yes, teams that run the cover-two defense do tend to struggle against tight ends, but 24.5 points from Miller? Miller had 21.2 fantasy points for the season entering week four. He had provided double value in one of three games before last week. Sure, Miller gets to face Jacksonville this week, but it tough to trust a guy who managed only 5.6 fantasy points against the Cleveland defense.
|Zach Ertz||Philadelphia||$3,800||St. Louis||4th|
|Antonio Gates||San Diego||$3,500||New York Jets||15th|
|Jared Coook||St. Louis||$3,300||Philadelphia||10th|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||$3,000||San Francisco||2nd|
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia, $3,800 – If you are looking for a monster game at tight ends this week, Ertz is not for you. His biggest game this season is only 16.7 fantasy points. But, he is averaging an even ten fantasy points per game and only costs $3,800 this week. The matchup is not great, but Ertz is a solid play if you are just looking for double value from a cheap tight end.
Antonio Gates, San Diego, $3,500 – In many ways, Gates is the opposite of Ertz this week. Gates is the guy you go with if you are looking for a potential monster game from a cheap tight end – and do not mind a below average game. Thus far this season, Gates has games of 14.1, 34.6, 1.8 and 6.0 fantasy points. The Jets have been average against tight ends this season so Gates’ matchup really does not help us this week. What I am saying on Gates is, I have no idea what to expect.
Jared Cook, St. Louis, $3,300 – It is tough to recommend a player who is most noted for not living up to his potential, but that is exactly what I am doing with Cook this week. He is cheap, he has not had a bad game yet – his worst game has been 8.6 fantasy points – and Cook is facing the Eagles defense this week. Those positives outweigh my aversion to Cook given what he has done to fantasy owners over the years; I like Cook as a cheap tight end this week.
Owen Daniels, Baltimore, $3,300 – Indianapolis ranks 29th against opposing tight ends this season so Daniels has a favorable matchup. Daniels’ season average of 9.3 fantasy points per game does not look all that impressive until you recall he was the Ravens number two tight end the first three weeks. Daniels is no longer among the elite at tight end – don’t laugh he was once upon a time — but he is a solid play in week five.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City, $3,000 – San Francisco has been very tough against tight ends this season, yet I do not care. Kelce is criminally under-valued again this week. It helps that the pricing came out before the Monday Night game. There is really nothing I can say about Kelce I have not said the first four weeks; he is a good tight end, who is going to provide a nice profit this week, and he is priced as low as a tight end can be priced.
That is this week’s look at the tight end position. As usual, there are some very nice bargains as well as studs who will justify their salary. Good luck with your teams this week and you can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.