Week 13 Tight End Analysis
This week 13 tight end analysis article will explore the difference between expert consensus rankings (ECR) and projected PPR stats (both as per www.fantasypros.com). I’ll also offer my insight on their weekly match-up, along with whether or not they can beat their weekly projection.
Tight Ends exceeding PPR Projections
Top 15 Rank#: 1. Rob Gronkowski (NE) at BUF (11th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 15.40
Gronk showed why he’s the number 1 tight end in the NFL, catching 5-of-8 targets for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins. There was some concern that the Patriots were “limiting” Gronk, as his previous two weeks consisted of 7 receptions/11 yards with no touchdowns. However, the Patriots offense is rolling again, averaging 36.6 points/game since their week 10 bye. This week, he plays Buffalo, who allow an average of 11.8 PPR points/game to TE. Buffalo has only allowed 10 passing scores this season, 2 of which have been to tight ends. I still think Gronk beats his projection, as he’s one of the top red-zone options for the Patriots.
My Projected Points: 17.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 2. Zach Ertz (PHI) at SEA (18th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.30
After a dud week 11, Ertz had a monster week 12, catching 10-of-12 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown. He was peppered with targets throughout the game, and heavily used in the middle of the field. This week, he draws Seattle, who are missing both Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman for the rest of the year. Furthermore, the Seahawks have allowed 2 touchdowns to tight ends in their last 3 games, and allow an average of 12.0 PPR points/game. I like Ertz to beat his projection once again, gaining lots of yards over the middle of the field against a weakened Seattle defense.
My Projected Points: 16.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 3. Travis Kelce (KC) at NYJ (22nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.40
After having a series of strong performances, Kelce disappointed with his week 12 effort against Buffalo. Kelce caught 3-of-4 targets for 39 yards, and the entire Chiefs offense looked out of sync. Kelce has held catch less in the first half, and the Chiefs could not sustain drives at all against a tight Buffalo defense. This week, Kelce gets a favorable match-up against the Jets, who allow 12.5 PPR points/game to TE. I like Kelce to rebound this week, but I think he stays out of the endzone, as KC has not been an offensive powerhouse as compared to the beginning of the season. I think he beats his projection with a solid PPR performance, however.
My Projected Points: 15.00 (7 receptions, 80 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 4. Jimmy Graham (SEA) vs PHI (14th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.60
Graham continued his rebound season, catching 3-of-6 targets for 34 yards and a touchdown. He has been an absolute touchdown machine as of late, catching 8 touchdowns in his last 7 games. He hasn’t topped 60 yards since week 4, so he seems to be having mediocre yardage outputs with a high chance at a touchdown. This week, he faces the Eagles, who have given up a total of 4 touchdowns to TE this year. It’s hard to bet on touchdowns, but with the Seattle offense rolling, I expect Graham to continue his touchdown streak. Look for him to have around 3-4 receptions with 30+ yards, and high TD upside.
My Projected Points: 12.00 (3 receptions, 30 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 5. Jared Cook (OAK) vs NYG (32nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.90
Cook had an incredibly disappointing game against one of the weaker TE defenses in the league, the Denver Broncos. He caught 1-of-5 targets for just 1 yard, and was a victim of a run-heavy game script. However, with both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree missing the upcoming game, he may be the Raiders number 1 passing option. This week, he faces the Giants, who are easily the weakest TE defense in the league. With Geno Smith starting for the Giants, it’s expected that the Raiders will have the ball quite often. Look for Cook to have a solid PPR day once again.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 6. Delanie Walker (TEN) vs HOU (26th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.60
Walker finally got his first receiving touchdown of the season, catching 4-of-5 targets for 63 yards and a TD. He suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury early on, but he was able to avoid a setback and only missed one snap. Walker has easily been the most consistent receiver on the Titans this year and ranks fourth amongst TE in both receptions (53) and yards per game (55.7). He has a decent floor in PPR leagues, and he draws a Houston defense who has not been playing well as of late. I expect Walker to continue being the top read in the Titans passing offense and having a great PPR day.
My Projected Points: 12.50 (6 receptions, 65 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 9. Hunter Henry (LAC) vs CLE (29th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.30
Henry’s use has been egregious throughout the season, bordering between being absolutely forgotten to a major part of the game plan. The Chargers simply seem to forget that they have one of the game’s most efficient pass catchers as their tight end, routinely forgetting to target him on throws. However, against the Browns, Henry should still maintain his momentum. The Browns allow an average of 17.1 PPR points/game and have given up 9 touchdowns to tight ends alone. I like Henry to exceed his projections again, even with the Chargers play calling.
My Projected Points: 15.00 (5 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 11. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at ATL (8th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.50
Rudolph had a monster week 12, catching 4-of-4 targets for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now has 4 or more catches in 7 straight games, establishing his PPR floor. While the Falcons are a tough opponent, opposing TE have gone for at least 52 yards against them in the last 3 games. With his touchdown upside, I like Rudolph to stay involved against the Falcons this week.
My Projected Points: 10.50 (4 receptions, 65 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 14. Charles Clay (BUF) vs NE (16th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.40
Clay led the Bills in receiving last week, catching 4-of-4 targets for 60 yards. His upside remains limited as Buffalo is primarily a run-first offense. After being a defensive sieve to TE to begin the year, NE has improved, as opposing TE haven’t eclipsed more than 5 catches or 50 yards in their last 5 games. However, if Kelvin Benjamin misses this week, I like Clay’s upside as the #1 receiving option. Look for a solid PPR day, but not a lot of yardage.
My Projected Points: 8.50 (4 receptions, 45 yards)
Tight Ends below PPR Projections
Top 15 Rank#: 7. Evan Engram (NYG) at OAK (24th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.10
Engram has had two bad weeks in a row, catching 3-of-7 targets for just 18 yards. He now has just 4 receptions and 27 yards over his last 2 games, and the Giants offense is reeling. The inexplicable benching of Eli Manning will certainly not help. As Geno Smith is far from a better option. Even with the good match-up against the Raiders, I find it difficult to recommend Engram. He may be the top read option in this offense, but I just don’t trust Smith to make the throws that Eli could. Furthermore, the Raiders have held both Gronk and Kelce to under 37 yards recently, so they have been playing better as of late.
My Projected Points: 7.50 (4 catches, 35 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 8. Jack Doyle (IND) at JAC (19th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 10.70
Doyle has emerged as the Colts leading target and is consistently the first read on many throws. In week 12, he caught 7-of-8 targets for 94 yards against the Titans, one of the middling TE defenses in the league. However, this week, he plays the Jaguars, who have one of the best secondaries in the league. The reason they have such a lower TE defense ranking is that teams are routinely forced to the middle of the field to avoid playing against the Jags cornerbacks. Arizona was recently lit up by the Cardinals tight ends, but they have a much better offensive line than the Colts. I expect Brissett to be under heavy pressure the entire game and coupled with the Jags secondary, leads to a rough day for Doyle.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (6 receptions, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 10. Vernon Davis (WAS) at DAL (21st ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 10.10
Davis put up a goose egg against the worst TE defense in the league, as he failed to catch his one target. The Giants are by far the worst TE defense, so it was very puzzling to see 5 targets go to fellow TE Niles Paul. Furthermore, Davis was on a roll prior to this week, as he was entering the game as the Redskins #1 receiver. The emergence of Jamison Crowder seems to be taking away from Davis’ middle of the field routes, which is definitely a concern. This week, he faces Dallas on the Thursday night game, who give up an average of 12.3 PPR points/game to TE. Reed isn’t practicing, so Davis still has streamer appeal, but I think he has a low yardage output against the Cowboys. The emergence of Crowder just worries me too much.
My Projected Points: 9.00 (4 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 12. Jason Witten (DAL) vs WAS (28th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.00
Witten caught 7-of-7 targets for 44 yards, continuing a bizarre season. The loss of Zeke has stymied the Dallas offense, forcing them to rely on short throws. Witten is still in the TE1 conversation this week due to the plus match-up against the Redskins, but I just don’t think he exceeds his projection, especially in the short week.
Season Projection Record: 100-65-0 (60.6%)
Top 15 Rank#: 13. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ) vs KC (9th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.80
ASJ had a mild week 12, catching 2-of-7 targets for 27 yards. The good news is that he dropped an easy TD and had another overturned, so they’re still looking for him in the red zone. He will remain a highly targeted option against KC, as he’s one of the main offensive weapons. I don’t think he’ll score, so his production is limited to PPR production. I think he falls shorts of his production this week, as the fantasy gods seem intent on keeping him out of the end zone.
My Projected Points: 9.00 (5 receptions, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 15. Tyler Kroft (CIN) vs PIT (3rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70
Kroft caught 3-of-4 targets for 14 yards and a TD last week but has failed to eclipse 15 yards in his last 3 games. However, he does have 2 touchdowns in that span, making him a touchdown or bust option. This week, he faces a tough test against the Steelers. While Kroft did score against them in week 7, he only had 23 yards that game. I’m betting the Steelers don’t let him beat them in the red zone again this week, which means he’ll likely fall short of his projection.
My Projected Points: 6.00 (4 receptions, 20 yards)
Season Projection Record: 100-65-0 (60.6%)