If you are looking for profit this week, look no farther than the tight end position.  The highest priced tight end is only the 30th highest price player over-all on Draft Kings.  The 5th highest priced tight end is only the 179th highest priced player this week.  There are also a number guys with very favorable matchups who can be had for under $3500.  It is a good week to save some money at tight end to spend elsewhere.

 

Top Five Tight Ends

PlayerTeam PriceOpponentRank against Position, 2013
Ladarius GreenSan Diego3200Arizona32
Antonio GatesSan Diego3400Arizona32
Scott ChandlerBuffalo3500Chicago22
Mychal RiveraOakland3400N.Y. Jets27
Travis KelceKansas City3200Tennessee25

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, $7200 – Atlanta was the 21st most effective defense against tight ends last season and in Graham’s two games against the Falcons, he had nine receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns.  Graham is priced $500 more than any other tight end this week so is not a bargain by any stretch.  However, given his opposition, he is a safe option, with a good chance at scoring over 15 points this week.

Rob Gronkowski, New England, $6700 – Gronkowski has an even more favorable opponent this week, he faces a Miami team that ranked 24th against tight ends last season.  While the matchup is nice, we still do not know for sure yet that Gronkowski is playing week one, worse still, the Patriots are not noted for being forthcoming with injury news.  Gronkowski is a high risk/high reward play this week.

Julius Thomas, Denver, $5800 – There is a steep drop in price from Gronkowski to Thomas, for good reason, Thomas is facing the team that was toughest against tight ends last season.  The good news is, Thomas had a nice game when he faced the Colts last season – five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.  Thomas provides similar reward potential to Gronkowski, with a little less risk.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland, $5600 – Pittsburgh was average against tight ends last season, ranking 15th in fantasy points allowed using Draft King’s scoring format.  Cameron faced the Steelers twice last season, totally eight receptions for 102 yards, but failed to reach the end zone.  Speaking of failing to reach the end zone, Cameron managed only one touchdown in his final eight games last season.  Jordan seems like a pretty risky play given his price this week.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco, $4800 – The Dallas defense was historically bad last season, and that badness extended to tight ends as Dallas was the second worst defense against the position last season.  While the Cowboys did make moves to improve their D this off-season, chances are they will still be below average.   The only issue for Davis is how the addition of Steve Johnson – and to a lesser extent a healthy Michael Crabtree – will impact Davis.  Davis’ price this week — $800 less than Cameron — more than accounts for the uncertainty that Crabtree and Johnson present for Davis.

 

Five Mid-Priced TE

PlayerTeam PriceOpponentRank against Position, 2013
Ladarius GreenSan Diego3200Arizona32
Antonio GatesSan Diego3400Arizona32
Scott ChandlerBuffalo3500Chicago22
Mychal RiveraOakland3400N.Y. Jets27
Travis KelceKansas City3200Tennessee25

 

Greg Olsen, Carolina, $4700 – In many ways, Olsen’s situation is the opposite of Davis’.  Of the Panthers top-four receivers last season, Olsen is the only one still on the team.  What is similar is that Olsen has a very favorable matchup facing a Tampa Bay team that ranked 26th against opposing tight ends last season.  Cam Newton is expected to play week one, but with a cracked rib will be less likely to run than normal, which could mean more targets for Olsen.  Olsen is looking like a nice play this week.

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore, $4400 – If you just go by matchup and price, Pitta is not a good play this week.  Cincinnati ranked 4th against tight ends last season and allowed opposing TE only six touchdown receptions all year.  Pitta, however, has fared well against the Bengals.  In his one game against the Bengals last season he had 14 points; in his one game against the Bengals in 2012 he had 21 points, and in his one game against them in 2011, Pitta had 19 fantasy points.  Pitta is a tough call, you need to decide if the matchup or Pitta’s history against the Bengals is what you want to trust more.

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota, $4300 – The St. Louis defense was stingy against tight ends last season.  They were the second toughest team to face for a tight end to play according to Draft Kings scoring; they allowed over 10 fantasy points to opposing tight ends only four times last season.  Rudolph is getting a lot of love among the non-elite tight ends this season, but given his opponent this week, odds are he will get off to a slow start.

Charles Clay, Miami, $3900 – Like Pitta, Clay is either a good or bad play this week depending on what stat you look at.  If you go by history against the opposition, Clay is not a good play – last season Clay managed six receptions for 43 yards and 0 TD against New England last season.  If you go by fantasy points allowed to tight ends past season, Clay is a good play as the Patriots were the 28th best team against the position last season.  Since the New England shored up their secondary in the off-season, I lean more toward Clay being a risky play than a rewarding one this week.

Cody Fleener, Indianapolis, $3700 – Fleener’s matchup this week is not unfavorable, Denver was the 23rd most effective team against tight ends last season.  Despite off season improvements, the Broncos are likely to be no better than average against tight ends.  The problem with Fleener is that Dwayne Allen is healthy – and currently listed as the starting tight end for the Colts – Reggie Wayne is healthy and Hakeem Nicks is now with the Colts.  In other words, there will be a lot of competition for targets for the Colts, making Fleener a risky play.

 

Five Value Picks

PlayerTeam PriceOpponentRank against Position, 2013
Ladarius GreenSan Diego3200Arizona32
Antonio GatesSan Diego3400Arizona32
Scott ChandlerBuffalo3500Chicago22
Mychal RiveraOakland3400N.Y. Jets27
Travis KelceKansas City3200Tennessee25
 

Ladarius Green, San Diego, $3200 – To say Arizona was bad against tight ends last season would be an understatement.  The Cardinals allowed 1227 yards, 17 touchdowns and 97 receptions to opposing tight ends in 2013.  At 6’ 6” with 4.53 40 speed, Green is a nightmare for the Arizona defense.  Green is far from a sure thing, but for $3200 he presents a huge potential profit.

Antonio Gates, San Diego, $3400 — Yes, I am listing two Chargers tight ends in the value section; the Cardinals defense was just that bad against tight ends last season.  The average game for tight ends against the Cardinals last season was six receptions, almost 77 yards and a touchdown.  One, if not both Chargers tight ends will have a good game this week.  Green is cheaper than Gates, but Gates is still the starting tight end in San Diego and was a top-10 fantasy tight end last season.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo, $3500 – Chandler failed to score over three points using Draft Kings scoring format once in 2013.  Chandler is a value pick this week because there is little chance he does not at least break even for you.  Chicago ranked 22nd against opposing tight ends last season and allowed opposing TE to catch over five passes per game.   Chandler is not likely to provide quadruple value this week, but he is a very safe bet to earn more than he costs.

Mychal Rivera, Oakland, $3400 – Quietly, Rivera lead all rookie tight ends in receptions last season.  That was with the mess at quarterback that Oakland had last season, this week he will have Derek Carr as his QB – while Carr is a rookie starting his first game, he is still likely better than what the Raiders had at QB last season.  Rivera is not particularly talented and might not even remain the starter in Oakland once David Ausberry is healthy, but he will start week one against a New York Jets defense that struggled against tight ends last season – they ranked 27th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends using Draft Kings scoring format.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City, $3200 – Logically, the farther down the price list one goes at tight end, the more risky the options become.  Kelce is competing with Anthony Fasano for targets at tight end for Kansas City.  But, he is facing a Tennessee defense that was ineffective against tight ends last season – rankings 25th in fantasy points allowed using Draft Kings scoring.  The Chiefs will also be without Dwayne Bowe week one, meaning more target to go around for the other Chiefs receivers.  At this price range all of your options are risks, but Kelce has a nice potential reward this week given his price and matchup.

Week one is tough.  While we do have four or five preseason games to look at, the value of those games is dubious at best.  Starters did not play much more than a half in any game and veterans were held out of games for minor injuries.  As such, we are forced to rely on last season’s stats to judge matchups.  Luckily, tight ends are priced low, so provide a lot of potential profit this week.