It is week 16 already? Seems like just last week that Julius Thomas was on pace to set all sorts of records and Jimmy Graham was looking like the stud everyone expected. Now, Thomas has done nothing in the last month and Graham has has not totaled 20 fantasy-points in his last three games combined. Luckily, Rob Gronkowski Is still going strong. Let’s take a look at what the tight end position looks like for week 16:
Points per Game
|Rob Gronkowski||New England||$7,000||@ New York Jets||26th||18.6||18.6|
|Jimmy Graham||New Orleans||$6,300||vs Atlanta||6th||14.9||13.7|
|Greg Olsen||Carolina||$6,000||vs Cleveland||11th||15.2||24.0|
|Martellus Bennett||Chicago||$5,700||vs Detroit||24th||15.6||9.6|
|Antonio Gates||San Diego||$5,000||@ San Francisco||19th||12.8||17.4|
Rob Gronkowski, New England, $7,000 – Gronkowski had another solid game in week 15, but due to his high salary — $7,600 – did not even return triple value. Gronkowski is without a doubt the most reliable tight end; he is not at nine consecutive games with at least 11 fantasy points. The Jets have struggled against tight ends this season, so Gronkowski is a good option once again. The downside of Gronkowski is, you are probably going to get tripe value, and you usually need to get quadruple value from your team to win a GPP league.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, $6,300 – Jimmy – I like to call him Jimmy – has the exact same salary as last week, but a much less favorable matchup. Sure, he did not have a monster game against Chicago on Monday night, but he did return better than double value and was targeted seven times. This week he faces Atlanta which has been tough against tight ends; Atlanta has also not faced all that many good ones. Graham put up 16.2 fantasy-points in his first game against Atlanta, which seems like a pretty reasonable expectation for this week.
Greg Olsen, Carolina, $6,000 – Olsen has scored over ten fantasy-points in each of his last five games, and had 20+ in three of those five games. We do not yet know who will start at quarterback for Carolina this week, but we do know that Olsen is a good start regardless of his quarterback.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago, $5,700 – Detroit has been a good defensive team this season, but that goodness has not included opposing tight ends, the Lions ranks 24th against opposing tight ends this season. The last time Bennett faced Detroit, he scored 21.9 fantasy-points. If Bennett is healthy, he can easily match that total this time around.
Antonio Gates, San Diego, $5,000 –It is still a little tough to guess what Gates will do any given week. He has been up and down more than the average roller coaster this season. Expect an up game against a struggling San Francisco team for Gates this week.
Five Mid-Priced TE
Points per Game
|Julius Thomas||Denver||$4,800||@ Cincinnati||16th||15.8||4.0|
|Coby Fleener||Indianapolis||$4,600||@ Dallas||31nd||11.3||5.2|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||$4,600||@ Pittsburgh||22nd||11.1||15.9|
|Delanie Walker||Tennessee||$4,500||@ Jacksonville||21st||12.3||13.3|
|Jason Witten||Dallas||$4,000||vs Indianapolis||29th||9.2||13.9|
Julius Thomas, Denver, $4,800 — The problem with Thomas is the trust factor. It is very hard to trust a tight end who has 6.3 fantasy-points total that last five weeks. Sure, he did miss two games in that span, but he was active for three; by my math that is 2.1 fantasy-points per game. The salary makes Thomas tempting, but that is a risk I am just not willing to take with money on the line.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis, $4,600 – Speaking of hard to trust, I present to you Coby Fleener. Fleener only managed 5.2 fantasy-points against Houston last week, plus Dwayne Allen is back now. But, Fleener is a good play despite those factors. The reason? Dallas is the second worst team against tight ends. Need proof? Philadelphia’s tight ends – which we “in the business” like to call not all that good – had seven receptions against Dallas Sunday Night. Fleener is a risk, but that matchup makes the risk one worth taking.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City, $4,600 – Kansas City has the worst receiving crew in the NFL. While that is bad for the Chiefs, it has been good for Kelce. Perhaps a Chiefs wide receiver finally catches a touchdown pass this week, but I think the odds are much greater that Kelce will. Pittsburgh has not been good against tight ends, which is just another reason to go with Kelce as your TE this week.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee, $4,500 – After two weeks in single-digits, Walker finally broke into double-digits in week 15 against the Jets. Walker once again has a favorable matchup this week facing the 21st ranked defense against tight ends. I would rather have Kelce for $100 more, but I you need that extra $100, Walker is a solid play too.
Jason Witten, Dallas, $4,000 – The Dallas/Indianapolis game should make for some nice fantasy games for the tight ends involved in said game. Dallas has been the second worst team against tight ends this season, Indianapolis has been the fourth worst team against tight ends. While Witten probably has less upside than Fleener in this matchup, he is cheaper and probably a safer option.
Points per Game
|Mychal Rivera||Oakland||$4,000||vs Buffalo||2nd||9.3||10.9|
|Dwayne Allen||Indianapolis||$3,800||@ Dallas||31st||9.7||9.6|
|Kyle Rudolph||Minnesota||$3,400||@ Miami||1st||6.5||13.9|
|Marcedes Lewis||Jacksonville||$3,000||vs Tennessee||17th||7.6||4.2|
|Brent Celek||Philadelphia||$3,000||@ Washington||27th||4.3||8.2|
Mychal Rivera, Oakland, $4,000 – If only, Rivera had a more favorable matchup this week, alas, Buffalo has been the second toughest defense against tight ends this season. Rivera is coming off of two solid games in a row, however he is just not a good start given what Buffalo has done to opposing tight ends this season.
Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis, $3,800 – As I have already mentioned, Dallas is horrible at defending tight ends. I think there is a good chance that both of the Colts tight ends give you 10+ fantasy-points this week. Allen has a great matchup and is cheap, two of my favorite qualities when selecting a tight end each week.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota, $3,400 – [Update: Rudolph is not going to play in Week 16.] Rudolph is just so tempting this week. He looked good against Detroit in week 15. Too bad he is facing the toughest team against tight ends this season. Sure, Miami has not had the toughest tight end schedule, but there is no doubt they are good at defending opposing tight ends. I know Rudolph is oh so tempting at that price, but I doubt he does all that much against Miami this week.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville, $3,000 – No problems finding $3,000 tight ends this week as I was able to find a couple I am willing to use if I need the money elsewhere. No, I am not expecting 20 fantasy-points from Lewis, but I think he can return triple value against a Tennessee defense that has below average against opposing tight ends this season.
Brent Celek, Philadelphia, $3,000 – Let’s just cut to the chase and call this a “gut” call. Yes, I can support starting Celek because Washington ranks 27th against tight ends this season. I can also point out that Celek was targeted six times last week. I could even mention that he is “due” for a touchdown since he has yet to have one this season. Fact is, I “think” he has a good game this week.
That is our look at tight ends this week. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.