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Week 16 Tight End Analysis

Week 16 Tight End Analysis

This week 16 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) vs BUF (15th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 16.20

Gronk caught 9-of-13 targets for 168 yards in their week 15 win over the Steelers, which was a highly anticipated shootout. Gronk now has 18 catches for 315 yards over his past two games and appears to be fully in sync with Brady. With the Patriots needing a win this week to help secure home-field advantage in the playoffs, you can bet that they’ll continue looking Gronk’s way. This week, he faces Buffalo, who allow an average of 12.4 PPR points/game to TE. With Burkhead going down with a knee injury, Gronk may receive even more targets. I like his chances as finishing as the TE1 this week.

My Projected Points: 18.00 (6 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD)

Top 15 Rank#: 2. Travis Kelce (KC) vs MIA (26th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.60

Kelce caught 6-of-7 targets for 46 yards in their week 15 win over the Chargers, having a much better PPR output than a standard output. His one dropped target was inside the 10-yard line, so he did have a chance to add to his point total for the day. This week, he gets a very favorable match-up against the Miami Dolphins, who are in the bottom 10 for TE defense. They allow an average of 14.9 PPR points/game to TE. The resurgence of Kareem Hunt may actually prove beneficial to Kelce, as it should drop a linebacker into box coverage more often. I think Kelce performs well against a weak Miami TE defense in what should be an easy win for the Chiefs.

My Projected Points: 16.00 (6 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD)

Top 15 Rank#: 3. Zach Ertz (PHI) vs OAK (25nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.60

Ertz was back in action for week 15, after taking week 14 off with concussion symptoms. He caught 6-of-9 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown, showing no drop-off in production with Nick Foles at the helm. He also draws a favorable match-up, as Oakland allows an average of 14.5 PPR points/game to TE. My biggest worry with Ertz is the scheduling. Minnesota plays Saturday night, and if they win against Green Bay, then it creates a push and Philly needs to win against Oakland to clinch home-field advantage. With the news that Aaron Rodgers will be on the I.R., I like Minnesota’s chances of winning, and thus, pushing Philly to win as well. If Minnesota does lose, fantasy owners need to have a Monday backup plan for Ertz (such as Trey Burton).

My Projected Points: 14.00 (5 receptions, 90 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 4. Delanie Walker (TEN) vs LAR (19th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.10

Walker caught 5-of-10 targets for 37 yards and a touchdown, continuing his excellent play. He has now had at least 4 catches in the past ten games, giving him one of the safest floors for PPR production at TE. Furthermore, he could have had an even bigger day, as he dropped a 23-yard touchdown and lost a fumble. This week, he faces the Rams, who are a very solid defensive unit. However, they allow an average of 11.6 PPR points/game to TE, likely because teams try to stay away from the strong corners of the Rams. With Rishard Matthews returning this week, I think this actually helps to open up production for Walker, as it’s less likely he’ll be double teamed. It’s a tough match-up, but I think Walker beats his projections this week with a solid PPR day.

My Projected Points: 11.50 (5 receptions, 65 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 5. Greg Olsen (CAR) vs TB (2nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.30

Olsen exploded back into the fantasy scene against Green Bay, catching 9-of-12 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. He saw three times as many targets as Funchess and appears to re-establish himself as the top receiving option in Carolina. While the Buccaneers allow only 9.8 PPR points/game to TE, they have the worst pass defense in the league. Given that Olsen plays more of a wide receiver role for the Panthers, I think he’ll definitely be getting targets. Carolina is playing to win their division, and will likely be pushing on offense against a weak secondary. Look for Olsen to have some big gains down the middle in this match-up.

My Projected Points: 15.00 (6 receptions, 90 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 6. Evan Engram (NYG) at ARI (11th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.20

Engram caught 8-of-13 targets for 87 yards in a shootout loss against Philly in week 15, as Eli Manning threw for over 400 yards. He continues to build on his excellent rookie season and has 84 yards in two of his last three games. This week, he faces the Cardinals, who allow an average of 11.2 PPR points/game to TE. It’s a fairly neutral match-up overall in a rather meaningless game between the two teams, but given Engram’s continued involvement throughout the season, I think he’ll get his targets. I don’t think he’ll score this week, but he should have a decent PPR day. My biggest worry is that Davis Webb plays for the Giants, but even then, they should feature Engram on many of Webb’s throws.

My Projected Points: 14.50 (7 receptions, 75 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 8. Jack Doyle (IND) at BAL (20th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 10.30

Doyle caught 7-of-8 targets for 47 yards against Denver, as Indy relied heavily upon him to move the chains in the passing game. He is the only pass catcher that Brissett seems to have any connection with, and has six games with at least 7 catches this season. This week, he faces Baltimore, who allow an average of 12.6 PPR points/game to TE. I like Doyle to have a much better PPR day than a standard output, and he remains a low TE1 figure for the week. Owners who are playing Doyle are hoping for many short receptions, as he does not accumulate yardage nor touchdowns very often.

My Projected Points: 11.00 (7 receptions, 40 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 9. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at GB (26th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.90

Rudolph was a surprise active last week, as he was in serious danger of missing the game with an ankle injury. He ended up playing only 20 snaps but still came away catching 2-of-2 targets for 17 yards and a touchdown. He now has 5 touchdowns in his past 4 games and is starting to already practice in limited fashion this week. This week, he faces a tough Green Bay TE defense, but they were recently torched by Greg Olsen. After not giving up a touchdown in their first 10 games to TE, they have given up 4 touchdowns in the past 4 games. Given Rudolph’s redzone presence, I like his chances of continuing his TD streak and scoring against Green Bay in a must-win game for the Vikings.

My Projected Points: 14.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD)

Top 15 Rank#: 10. Eric Ebron (DET) at CIN (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70

Ebron caught 5-of-7 targets for 33 yards and a touchdown in week 15, continuing his heavy involvement. Ebron now has 15 catches on 18 targets over the past two weeks but has only topped 40 yards our times this season. He gets a favorable match-up against the Bengals this week, who will likely be without three of their starting cornerbacks. Furthermore, opposing tight ends have scored in consecutive weeks against the Bengals. They allow an average of 12.0 PPR points/game to TE, and Ebron should be able to attack the middle of the field. I like Ebron a lot as a streaming option this week.

My Projected Points: 10.50 (5 receptions, 55 yards)

 

Tight Ends below PPR Projections

Top 15 Rank#: 7. Jimmy Graham (SEA) at DAL (18h ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.00

Woof. Graham caught 1-of-3 targets for -1 yards in week 15, leaving many owners frustrated in their fantasy semifinal. The Seattle offense was manhandled by the Rams defense, and they could not get any production going on the day at all. While Graham does have 9 touchdowns in his past 10 games, he is truly a touchdown or bust option. Graham should rebound against a middling Dallas TE defense, but they have only given up 5 touchdowns all year to TE, while is Graham’s specialty. I don’t think Graham rebounds this week against Dallas, and owners should look elsewhere for a more reliable option.

My Projected Points: 6.00 (3 receptions, 30 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 11. Jason Witten (DAL) vs SEA (10th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.50

Witten caught 4-of-5 targets for 47 yards against the Raiders in week 15, which was a plus match-up for him. However, with the impending return of Zeke, I think he will directly suffer lowered production. Furthermore, Seattle has played well defensively all season against TE, staying in the top 10 against opposing TE over the past 6 weeks. Look elsewhere for TE production during the championship weekend.

My Projected Points: 8.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 12. Jared Cook (OAK) at PHI (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.00

Cook came up small in the semifinal weekend, catching 2-of-4 targets for just 17 yards against the Cowboys. Crabtree was the preferred target all night, and will likely continue to be as they play the Eagles on Monday night. Cook is a boom-or-bust streamer against a Philly team that is playing home field advantage, and I would say he’s more of a bust this week. Look elsewhere for a streamer, as Cook is far too unreliable for championship weekend.

My Projected Points: 8.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 13. Charles Clay (BUF) at NE (8th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.10

Clay has a respectable output against the Dolphins in week 15, catching 5-of-9 targets for 68 yards. However, this week against New England, he faces a far tougher challenge. Belichick specifically schemed against Clay in their week 13 match-up, and the Bills offense was thoroughly dominated that entire game. I expect more of the same in week 16, and owners should not expect big things from Clay against a tough TE defense.

My Projected Points: 7.00 (3 receptions, 40 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 14. Benjamin Watson (BAL) vs IND (23rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.00

Watson caught 4-of-4 targets for 74 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland, and he’s enjoyed success playing against his old team specifically. This week, he faces the Colts, who is also a generous TE defense. Watson has had zero consistency throughout the season, and I’m hard-pressed to recommend him even in a plus matchup. I like his stream appeal more if Jeremy Maclin does not play this week, which will likely occur. That would leave Watson as the second passing option. He’s only a desperate flier if needed.

My Projected Points: 8.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards)

Top 15 Rank#: 15. Vernon Davis (WAS) vs DEN (29th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 9.00

Davis caught 2-of-4 targets for 18 yards and also lost a fumble on the day in week 15 against the Cardinals. While Denver is an extremely weak TE defense, Davis has posted only 59 yards total over the past 4 four, leaving him as a TE2 option. I doubt that Davis breaks out, as he’s had plus match-ups before and not produced in those situations.

My Projected Points: 5.00 (2 receptions, 30 yards)

 

Season Projection Record: 127-83-0 (60.47%)

Accountant by trade, I enjoy stats and numbers far more than anyone ever should. Despite being born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, I’ve somehow become a Dallas Cowboys fan (praise Romo). While I love all fantasy sports, fantasy football is my favorite. Twitter @TFA_Andrew

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