This week 2 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.
Week 2 Tight End Analysis
Rank 1. Rob Gronkowski (NE) at NO (23rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 17.40
Kansas City played New England last week and chose to focus themselves on stopping Gronk. The team game planned on rolling coverage towards him, and forcing the Patriots to beat them with their wide receivers on deep routes. Gronk did have a touchdown called back on a penalty, so he could have had a more productive day. Against New England, I expect that Patriots to come out as hell unleashed, and try to get their offense in order. Even as the last dud, believe in what Gronk can do against a weak New Orleans defense.
My Projected Points: 18.50 (above ECR projection)
Rank 2. Travis Kelce (KC) vs PHI (13th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.60
As expected, Bill Belichek schemed against Kelce in last game, forcing Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt to beat the Patriots (which, they easily did). This week, he’s facing another tough test against a Philadelphia Eagles team that yielded the 2nd fewest points to tight ends in 2016, and already is 13th ranked after week 1. I think that Kansas City relies on their newfound talent at running back, and tries to grind the tough Philadelphia defense down. Kelce should get some targets, but not as much production as owners would like.
My Projected Points: 11.50 (below ECR projection)
Rank 3. Jimmy Graham (SEA) vs SF (9th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.50
Seattle’s offensive line woes continued, with Russell Wilson running for his own safety nearly every single snap. What was encouraging to note, however, is that the team designated Luke Willson as the second tight end with the blocking role. This still allowed Graham to function as a wide receiver. He also had a red zone target where he was interfered with, but the referees refused to call a penalty. This week, he draws a soft San Francisco defense, despite their high tight end defensive ranking, I think Seattle’s offense bounces back at home against San Francisco.
My Projected Points: 13.00 (above ECR projection)
Rank 4. Zach Ertz (PHI) at KC (12th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.00
Zach Ertz has a monster week one, having 8 of 8 targets for 93 yards. He appears to finally be maintaining momentum from his strong end-of-season surges, and his connection with Wentz was evident. Kansas City just limited Gronk to 2 receptions for 33 yards, but they also lost top safety Eric Berry to an Achilles injury. Berry was one of the top cover blankets for high end tight ends, so it remains to be seen how KC will fill his shoes. Still, I think Kansas City holds Ertz in check, blanketing him with coverage from their strong linebacker group.
My Projected Points: 9.00 (below projection)
Rank 5. Greg Olsen (CAR) vs BUF (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.70
Cam appears to be rusty as his offseason shoulder surgery, as he was inaccurate all game and missed some easy throws. Olsen was a victim of poor throws, only catching 2 of 4 targets for 14 yards. Olsen is still a top target for Cam and faces the below-average safeties of Buffalo this week. Even the New York Jets, who almost never use the tight end position offensively, compiled 5 catches for 59 yards against Buffalo. I expect Olsen to bounce back this week with a strong showing.
My Projected Points: 13.50 (above projection)
Rank 6. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at PIT (19th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.60
Kyle Rudolph is a huge red zone target for Minnesota and figures to have a heavy red zone role for the entire season. The Minnesota offense looked great on their Monday night debut, albeit against a very weak New Orleans Saints defense. Pittsburgh’s defense is middling against tight ends, and Rudolph is involved in the Minnesota game-plan. I like for Rudolph to still snag a touchdown this week, and likely around 3 catches for 30 yards.
My Projected Points: 12.30 (above projection)
Rank 7. Jordan Reed (WAS) at LAR (14th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.70
Jordan Reed had a tough time in Week 1, along with the rest of the Washington offense. Kirk Cousins was off the whole game, and Reed caught 5 of 8 targets for only 36 yards. This week, he gets to face the LA Rams defense, which just obliterated one of the worst offenses in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts. Washington is far better than the LA Rams, but I still think the Rams defense plays Washington closely and overwhelms them with their tough safeties and linebackers.
My Projected Points: 9.60 (below projection)
Rank 8. Delanie Walker (TEN) at JAC (18th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.40
Walker showed last week that he was not a forgotten target in Tennessee, hauling in 7 catches on 7 targets for 76 yards. Jacksonville has built one of the stronger defenses in the NFL, but it was obvious that Tennessee still plans to throw to Walker. I think he can still beat his projection this week, especially with short yardage throws on third downs.
My Projected Points: 11.60 (above projection)
Rank 9. Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs HOU (7th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.50
The Cincinnati Bengals looked awful last week against Baltimore, producing almost zero offense. Andy Dalton was especially terrible, accounting for 4 interceptions and 1 fumble by himself. Their offensive line looked overwhelmed the entire game and providing zero help to their quarterback. This week they play the Houston Texans and their top tier defensive line. I expect more of the same from the offense of Cincinnati, and a below projection outing from Eifert.
My Projected Points: 5.90 (below projection)
Rank 10. Martellus Bennett (GB) at ATL (21st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.60
Bennett was a surprise inclusion in the Green Bay offense last week, catching 3 of 6 targets for 43 yards. He does function as a safety valve for Aaron Rodgers and was the first read on his 26-yard reception in week 1. He becomes a bit touchdown dependent in this offense, but with a potentially high scoring game in Atlanta, I like Bennett to put up around 5 catches for 60 yards.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (above projection)
Rank 11. Jason Witten (DAL) at DEN (6th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.40
Witten was the top target for the Cowboys in week 1, working as the security blanket for Dak. Against a tough Denver defense, he will operate as the underneath blanket for Dak. I think he can still produce 5 catches for 40 yards in this game.
My Projected Points: 9.00 (above projection)
Rank 12. Charles Clay (BUF) at CAR (11st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.70
Clay caught 4 of a team-high 9 targets in week 1, for 53 yards and a 1-yard touchdown. He’s a familiar face for Tyrod Taylor and was targeted heavily. Still, that was a weak New York Jets defense, and I think Carolina shuts down the weak Buffalo offense.
My Projected Points: 8.00 (below projection)
Rank 13. Hunter Henry (LAC) vs MIA (N/A – Coming off week 1 bye). Projected PPR Points: 8.80
Hunter was a complete non-factor in week 1 as he has not even targeted in this game. Miami has a strong defense and with Gates still in Los Angeles, Henry just doesn’t look like he’s part of the game-plan there.
My Projected Points: 6.60 (below projection)
Rank 14. Coby Fleener (NO) vs NE (28th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.00
Fleener looked great against a tough Minnesota defense in week 1, catching 5 of 6 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. With Willy Snead still suspended, I think Fleener remains part of the offense. With a potential looming shootout with New England, I think Fleener has another productive outing.
My Projected Points: 12.50 (above projection)
Rank 15. Jared Cook (OAK) vs NYJ (29th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70
Cook hauled in 3 of 3 targets for 36 yards. The New York Jets have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and Charles Clay just had a monster game against them. Still, I think Oakland finds other ways to beat the Jets, including Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
My Projected Points: 6.00 (below projection)
Season Projection Record: 8-7-0