So, that Julius Thomas guy is having a nice season? Perhaps that is the “no duh” statement/question of the season thus far, but it is pretty amazing just how good Thomas has been. To give a little context, I thought I would list some of the players who are averaging fewer fantasy points per game than Thomas this season. Thomas has averaged 21.7 fantasy points per game, Aaron Rodgers has averaged 21.6 fantasy points per game. If you want to compare Thomas to running backs, he is outscoring – among others – Marshawn Lynch, Giovani Bernard and Le’Veon Bell. Steve Smith is having a great season for the Ravens, yet he is averaging fewer fantasy points per game than Thomas is. What does this week have in store for Thomas and the rest of the tight ends? Let’s take a look:
The Elite TE
Points per Game
|Julius Thomas||Denver||$6,900||vs San Francisco||12th||21.7||21.1|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England||$6,700||vs New York Jets||25th||14.5||16.4|
|Jimmy Graham||New Orleans||$6,500||@ Detroit||17th||18.3||5.6|
|Delaine Walkve||Tennessee||$5,600||@ Washington||21st||15.4||8.7|
|Greg Olsen||Carolina||$5,400||@ Green Bay||5th||17.0||18.2|
Julius Thomas, Denver, $6,900 – A tough matchup is keeping Thomas’ price down this week. While he is the highest priced tight end, he costs less than players like T. Y. Hilton, Matthew Stafford and Marshawn Lynch. That is the good news, the bad news is it is pretty unlikely that he will have a touchdown every week and the 49ers have been above average against tight ends this season. I am not betting against Thomas, though I also doubt I will be using him at that price this week.
Rob Gronkowski, New England, $6,700 – For only the second time this season, Gronkowski did not find the end zone in week six. Good thing he caught seven passes and racked up 94 yards against Buffalo. This week he draws the Jets who just allowed Thomas 21.1 fantasy points and who rank 25th thus far against opposing tight ends. Gronkowski is “only” averaging 14.5 fantasy points per game, but also has topped 11 fantasy points in five of his six games this season. Once again, Gronkowski is a safe option given his price and still possess a good deal of potential “upside”.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, $6,500 – Graham is not expected to play this week, and is expected to miss one or two more games due to a shoulder sprain. These reports are unconfirmed thus far, so be sure to check Graham’s status when the practice reports come out. That said, I would not be buying Graham at that price this week even if he managed to practice.
Delaine Walker, Tennessee, $5,600 – In a strange bit of consistency, Walker has scored 8.7 fantasy points in each of his last two games. After a very fast start to the season, Walker has failed to reach even ten fantasy points in three of his last four games. Walker does have a nice matchup this week, but it is a little tough to trust him when he can only manage 8.7 fantasy points against the Jaguars. Add Walker to the list of guys I will not be buying this week.
Greg Olsen, Carolina, $5,400 – The last two weeks, Olsen has scored 43.4 fantasy points, so it is safe to say he is hot right now. Things gets tougher for Olsen this week as he faces Green Bay which has been tough against tight ends this season. That high rankings by the Packers – 5th against tight ends thus far – is a bit of a mirage – they have faced Seattle, the Jets, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota and Miami which is among the weakest schedule in terms of opposing tight ends. I would much rather go with Olsen with the tough matchup than Walker with the favorable one in week seven.
Five Mid-Priced TE
Points per Game
|Martellus Bennett||Chicago||$5,100||vs Miami||13th||16.9||11.2|
|Jordan Reed||Washington||$5,000||vs Tennessee||24th||9.3||17.2|
|Antonio Gates||San Diego||$4,900||vs Kansas City||10th||15.0||11.7|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||$4,800||@ San Diego||1st||13.1||9.5|
|Jordan Cameron||Cleveland||$4,600||@ Jacksonville||28th||9.6||22.2|
Martellus Bennett, Chicago, $5,100 – 11.2 fantasy points might not seem like a good game, but Bennett was facing the second best defense against tight ends when he scored 11.2 fantasy points against Atlanta in week six. It was a nice rebound from Bennett’s 4.7 point week five performance. This week, Bennett will be facing Miami which has been slightly above average against opposing tight ends – they rank 13th against the position this season. Bennett is not a bad play this week, but I like some of the cheaper options more.
Jordan Reed, Washington, $5,000 – In his first full game of the season all Reed did was score 17.2 fantasy points. Yes, it was against Arizona, but the important take away is that Reed was targeted 11 times in the game compared to two targets for Niles Paul. Tennessee ranks 24th against opposing tight ends thus far, making Reed a nice play this week.
Antonio Gates, San Diego, $4,900 – The Gates roller-coaster continued in week six. In a nice matchup, Gates managed 11.7 fantasy points. Not a bad game, but not a great return for a $6,100 investment. This week, he is facing Kansas City which has been solid against tight ends this season – they rank 10th against the position. If you are fine with double value then Gates is not a bad play this week; he has averaged 11.6 fantasy points per game against the Chiefs in his last six games. Just do not expect a monster game from Gates.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City, $4,800 — I cannot put Kelce in the bargain section this week, his salary is finally coming close to what it should be. Too bad he has a horrible matchup this week. The Chargers have been the toughest defense against tight ends this season, and the game is in San Diego. For the first time this season, I am not recommending Kelce this week.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland, $4,600 – I think that Cameron is finally healthy. Coming into his week five game, Cameron had a game-high of 47 receiving yards, he topped that in one play against the Steelers – a 51-yard touchdown. Cameron is a great play in week six facing the Jaguars who rank 28th against tight ends for the season. I love Camron at his price this week.
Five Value TE
Points per Game
|Scott Chandler||Buffalo||$4,000||vs Miami||6th||7.7||19.5|
|Jared Cook||St. Louis||$3,600||vs Seattle||29th||10.5||11.4|
|Larry Donnell||New York Giants||$3,500||@ Dallas||31st||12.2||1.6|
|Benjamin Watson||New Orleans||$3,400||@ Detroit||17th||3.1||9.3|
|Coby Fleener||Indianapolis||$3,000||vs Cincinnati||32nd||7.7||9.1|
Scott Chandler, Buffalo, $4,000 – It is amazing what a 19.5 fantasy point game can do for a guy’s salary. Chandler gets a $1,000 bump in his price this week after the big game against New England. Don’t buy into Chandler. He is likely to have another big game or two this season, the issue is actually predicting when those games will be. It is doubtful it will be against the team that has been the 6th toughest against tight ends this season.
Jared Cook, St. Louis, $3,600 – It is all about price and potential. I am not a Cook fan, but he has a nice matchup — Seattle ranks 29th against tight ends this season — and a low price this week. Cook’s worst game this season has been 8.4 points so he has a pretty high floor – then again his best game was 14.5 points, so the ceiling is not that high. Still, I like Cook, if you are looking to save money at tight end this week and are just looking for a guy to give you double or triple value.
Larry Donnell, New York, Giants, $3,500 – Donnell’s matchup is so tempting this week. Dallas has major issues against tight ends this season rankings 31st in terms of fantasy points allowed per game to opposing tight ends. Too bad Donnell has done almost nothing the last two weeks – a total of one reception for six yards the last two games. Yes, Donnell is cheap and has a very favorable opponent, but even at that price, Donnell is just too big of a risk this week given what he has not done the last two weeks.
Benjamin Watson, New Orleans, $3,400 – It seems unlikely that Jimmy Graham will play this week. After Graham left the Saints last game, Drew Brees targeted Watson seven times, so Watson would seem to be the tight end to see the majority of the tight end targets with Graham out. There is certainly the risk that Watson does little this week against Detroit, but there is also considerable upside with Graham out too.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis, $3,000 – You cannot avoid risk when you take the cheapest possible player at a position; there is a reason a player is priced so low after all. The risk with Fleener is pretty low considering he is averaging 7.7 fantasy points per game this season, and has already scored three touchdowns. He is also facing the Bengals who have been the worst team against tight ends this season. If you are looking for a $3,000 tight end, Fleener is the guy for you week six.
That will do it for our look at the tight end position this week. Good luck with all your team this week; you can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.