Week 17 is here! Yes, the regular season is almost over, and the playoffs are just around the corner. But, we do still have a chance to make some money in the regular season. As always, you will want to make sure that the players you chose will see significant playing time. Here is my look at the tight end position for week 17:
Points per Game
|Rob Gronkowski||New England||$7,400||vs Buffalo||2nd||18.4||15.1|
|Jimmy Graham||New Orleans||$6,700||@ Tampa Bay||20th||14.9||16.3|
|Antonio Gates||San Diego||$5,900||@ Kansas City||6th||14.2||28.2|
|Greg Olsen||Carolina||$5,600||@ Atlanta||9th||15.0||3.1|
|Martellus Bennett||Chicago||$5,300||@ Minnesota||11th||14.2||1.0|
Rob Gronkowski, New England, $7,400 – Another week another good game from Gronkowski. You have to go back to week two to find a game in which Gronkowski did not top 11 fantasy-points. Buffalo has been tough against tight ends this season, but Gronkowski put up 16.4 fantasy-points against them in week six. Too bad Denver lost to Cincinnati Monday Night. That means New England has nothing to play for in week 17. Gronkowski probably plays, but I doubt he plays even a half.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, $6,700 – Graham had another solid game in week 16, scoring 16.3 fantasy-points against one of the better tight end defenses in the league. It could have been much better. If his fumble had been ruled a touchdown – which it look like to me – Graham would have ended the day with 24.3 fantasy-points. Tampa Bay has not been good against tight ends this season, but they did just hold Green Bay to 20 points. Graham is a solid play, but it will be tough for him to provide even triple value given his price tag.
Antonio Gates, San Diego, $5,900 – Gates was able to get open almost at will in the second half against San Francisco. Of course, the 49ers helped by blitzing on what seemed like every play. Kansas City has been tough against tight ends, but Gates did manage 14.1 fantasy-points against them in week seven. I like Gates more than Gronkowski and Graham this week; given his salary, he is actually capable of giving you better than triple value.
Greg Olsen, Carolina, $5,600 – In week 15 Olsen had ten reception, in week 16 Olsen was only targeted three times. This week he is facing an Atlanta defense that has been tough against tight ends. Olsen did score 11.1 fantasy-points the last time he played Atlanta, but given his price, last game and opponent, I do not see him as a very good option this week.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago, $5,300 –One fantasy-point will not cut it in any league, but that is what Bennett delivered in week 16 – one reception for zero yards on three targets. This week he is playing the 11th ranked defense against tight ends, and you have to wonder if his foot is still an issue even if he is not showing up on the injury report. Add Bennett to the list of guys I do not like in week 17.
Five Mid-Priced TE
Points per Game
|Zach Ertz||Philadelphia||$5,100||@ New York Giants||23rd||9.2||29.5|
|Jason Witten||Dallas||$5,000||@ Washington||28th||10.4||22.0|
|Julius Thomas||Denver||$4,900||vs Oakland||21st||14.7||5.3|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||$4,600||vs San Diego||3rd||11.2||7.1|
|Heath Miller||Pittsburgh||$4,500||vs Cincinnati||16th||10.5||13.8|
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia, $5,100 — Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you what happens to a player’s salary after he has a 39.5 fantasy-point game; it jumps from $3,200 to $5,100. Ertz managed more points in week 16 than he had in his last four games combined. His matchup this week is favorable, but that is a lot of money to pay for a guy with ten games this season with less than ten fantasy-points. Yes, Ertz is another addition to my avoid list in week 17.
Jason Witten, Dallas, $5,000 – There is a chance that Dallas could rest some players this week, but they also do still have a chance at a first-round bye, and the teams that need to lose, play after Dallas plays – it would be a stretch, but if both Seattle and Arizona lost and Dallas won, they would get a first-round bye. So, it is likely that Witten will play as long as the game against Washington is competitive. Washington has been horrible against tight ends so the matchup is enticing. Witten is a risk, but I would rather take the risk on him than guys like Bennett or Ertz.
Julius Thomas, Denver, $4,900 – It is pretty obvious when you watch Thomas play that his ankle is still an issue. In the last four games in which Thomas has been active, he has a total of 11.6 fantasy-points. In other words, do not be fooled by Thomas’ price; he is not someone you want on your team.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City $4,600 – I had to do it; I had to include Kelce in this column one more time. But, for only the second time, it is to recommend you sit him. San Diego has been tough against tight ends, Kelce did little last week, and Kelce only had 7.3 fantasy-points the last time he faced the Chargers.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh, $4,500 – The only game in Miller’s last five in which he did not top ten fantasy-points came against Cincinnati in week 14. I am not suggesting Miller is a bad play however. Miller has been playing well lately – I did mention all the 10+ point games – and Cincinnati has been below average against tight ends. Miller does not have 40 fantasy-point upside, but can easily provide triple or better value this week.
Points per Game
|Delanie Walker||Tennessee||$4,400||vs Indianapolis||27th||12.2||9.4|
|Jordan Cameron||Cleveland||$4,400||@ Baltimore||12th||8.3||17.8|
|Charles Clay||Miami||$4.300||vs New York Jets||26th||9.5||20.4|
|Mychal Rivera||Oakland||$3,300||@ Denver||29th||8.9||1.5|
|Vernon Davis||San Francisco||$3,000||vs Arizona||30th||4.7||0.0|
Delanie Walker, Tennessee, $4,400 – Week 16 was the third time in the last four weeks in which Walker failed to reach double-digit fantasy-points. Walker’s matchup against Indianapolis is enticing, but he has not been producing over the last month. I have yet another player added to my “not a fan of this week” list.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland, $4,400 – Do not get too exciting about Cameron’s 17.8 fantasy-points against Carolina. Cameron had 88 yards, three receptions and a touchdown; 81 yards and the TD came on one play. Both of Cameron’s big games this season have been because of a major defensive breakdown by his opponent. Not to say that that is not possible by Baltimore, but I think it is improbable. So yes, Cameron is yet another player I do not like in week 17.
Charles Clay, Miami, $4,300 – Clay has the misfortune of missing Miami’s last game against the Jets due to an injury. He is healthy this time around, has averaged 16.1 points per game his last two games. The Jets have struggled against tight ends this season, making Clay a nice play against the Jets.
Mychal Rivera, Oakland, $3,300 – This one is short and sweet. Denver has struggled against tight ends this season, plus Rivera had 18.4 fantasy-points the last time he played Denver. Rivera is not a sure thing – no one at this price range is – yet he is one of the few tight ends I actually like in week 17.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco, $3,000 – It is week 17 so why not go for the “Hail Mary”, “gut call”? Davis is having a horrible year by any criteria; he is also coming off of a zero point fantasy-game. Thing is, he had a long TD reception called back by penalty and Arizona just allowed Luke Wilson to average 46.3 yards per reception and catch two touchdowns. If you are looking for a $3,000 tight end – and willing to take the risk in using a $3,000 player – Davis is the way to go.
My personal thanks to everyone who read this column this season. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.