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Week 3 Tight End Analysis

Tight end Jason Witten

This week 3 tight end analysis article will explore the difference between expert consensus rankings (ECR) and projected standard 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.

Top Ten Tight Ends

Rank 1.  Rob Gronkowski (NE) vs HOU (6th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.40

Gronk is currently nursing a groin injury after hauling in 6 of 9 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. The oft-injured tight end was on display last week against a soft New Orleans defense but officially exited the game with the injury. This week, he faces a staunch Houston defense that is playing well this year. Even if Gronk plays, I still think he won’t be at full capacity, which has become the norm for his weekly status.

My Projected Points: 12.60 (below ECR projection)

Rank 2. Travis Kelce (KC) at LAC (14th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.70

Travis Kelce has finally appeared to cement his place amongst the upper echelon of productive tight ends, grabbing 8 of 10 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown. He is the number 1 option in the passing game and is Alex Smith’s favorite read on short to intermediate throws. He also has the breakaway spread to help him accumulate yards after the catch. While the Chargers are defensively decent against the tight end position, I think Kelce still produces at an elite TE1 level this week.

My Projected Points: 15.00 (above ECR projection)

Rank 3. Zach Ertz (PHI) vs NYG (25th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.30

Zach Ertz appears to be in line for a huge PPR year, having accumulated 18 targets in the first two weeks (8 in game 1, 10 in game 2). Last week against a strong Kansas City secondary, he caught 5 of 10 targets for 97 yards. This week, he gets the New York Giants, who give up the 7th most fantasy points to tight ends in 2017. The Giants just gave up 59 yards and a touchdown to an aging, yet surprisingly quick, Jason Witten. I expect Ertz to continue getting his target share and hauling in 5 catches for 50+ yards and a great chance at a score.

My Projected Points: 13.60 (above ECR projection)

Rank 4. Jordan Reed (WAS) vs OAK (9th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.30

Yet again, Jordan Reed is injured. Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed on Monday that Jordan Reed is day-to-day with a bruised chest. Given Reed’s lengthy history with injuries, we can’t automatically assume he suits up for Sunday’s game against Oakland. Even if he does play, Oakland is the 9th best tight end defense in the league and has a solid defensive unit. Once again, I don’t think that Jordan Reed beats his projected PPR total.

My Projected Points: 8.20 (below projection)

Rank 5. Martellus Bennett (GB) vs CIN (1st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.80

Bennett caught 5 of 11 targets for 47 yards against the Packers last week but did not play well at all during that contest. He had a few bad drops, and a costly offensive pass interference play that erased a large gain for the Packers. Still, with Jordy Nelson (quad) and Randall Cobb (shoulder) injured, he saw a large spike in his targets. His usage against the top-ranked TE defense in Cincinnati will heavily depend on the playing time of Nelson and Cobb, though it appears that Cobb has a better shot of playing. I think Bennett beats his PPR total this week, as Green Bay may choose to rest Nelson in what should be an easy win for the Packers.  Look for Bennett to do well, but it won’t be pretty.

My Projected Points: 12.50 (above projection)

Rank 6. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs TB (8th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.60

Rudolph had a respectable game against Pittsburgh last week with Case Keenum as the starter, pulling in 4 of 6 targets for 45 yards. Rudolph can act as a security blanket for either Keenum or Bradford, so it’s reassuring the see his floor production. Still, his upside greatly depends on who starts at quarterback for the Vikings. Given how Bradford’s knee injuries keep lingering, Keenum may be starting Sunday against a tough Tampa Bay defense. If Keenum starts, which he likely will, look for Rudolph to fall short of his projections.

My Projected Points: 10.50 (below projection)

Rank 7. Delanie Walker (TEN) vs SEA (7th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.10

Delanie Walker had 4 catches on 4 targets last week against Jacksonville, totaling 61 yards. He also added a 1-yard rushing touchdown on an end-around run play. He led his team in receptions and yardage for a second straight week and appears to be locked in as Mariota’s favorite target. While he draws a strong Seattle secondary this week, his involvement in the game plan and red zone keep him locked in as a solid PPR option. Look for him to continue to produce against Seattle.

My Projected Points: 11.70 (above projection)

Rank 8. Jason Witten (DAL) at ARI (13th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.30

Witten continues to defy time, as he caught 10 of 13 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown against a top-ranked Denver defense. Not usually known for his red zone capabilities, Witten has been operating as a security blanket for Dak Prescott all over the field. This includes the red zone for 2017, as he’s now caught a touchdown in two consecutive games to start the season. This week he gets a tough Arizona secondary, but Witten’s stat lines are becoming too hard to ignore. Given that Arizona just gave up 8 catches for 97 yards to Jack Doyle, I think Witten has another chance to produce this week.

My Projected Points: 12.40 (above projection)

Rank 9. Jack Doyle (IND) vs CLE (31st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.50

Doyle had a huge week 2 game against Arizona, catching 8 of 8 targets for 97 yards. This was likely due to new quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was only acquired 10 days earlier from the New England Patriots. Fantasy owners have to see the obvious risk here that this production will not be repeatable each week. However, against a soft Cleveland defense, Doyle has a good chance at still catching safety valve throws from Brissett. I expect Doyle to continue doing well against Cleveland, but facing some tough sledding against tougher opponents in the future.

My Projected Points: 11.50 (above projection)

Rank 10. Jimmy Graham (SEA) at TEN (5th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.50

The entire Seattle Seahawks offense has been stagnant this year, especially their passing game. Graham only had 4 catches on 4 targets for 9 yards last Sunday and managed to hurt both his knee and ankle during that game. Combine that with a top-ranked Tennessee defense, and you have a tight end falling short of expectations.

My Projected Points: 6.90 (below projection)

Quick Hits

Rank 11. Eric Ebron (DET) vs ATL (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.80

Ebron finally looked healthy, catching 5 of 5 targets for 42 yards and a touchdown. In what projects to be a high-scoring game, I expect Ebron to continue on his successful path. He’s a great pickup for Eifert, Graham, or Reed owners.

My Projected Points: 10.60 (above projection)

Rank 12. Hunter Henry (LAC) vs KC (16th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.80

Henry exploded last week, hauling in 7 of 7 targets for 80 yards. Again, in what should be a high-scoring game, I think Henry has another strong week.

My Projected Points: 11.50 (above projection)

Rank 13. Coby Fleener (NO) at CAR (4th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.30

Fleener has caught a touchdown in consecutive weeks and is showing a great connection with Drew Brees. He should maintain his weekly production against Carolina, despite being a bit touchdown dependent.

My Projected Points: 10.60 (above projection)

Rank 14. Tyler Eifert (CIN) at GB (2nd ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 7.60

Something is seriously wrong in Cincinnati, as their offense hasn’t looked right all year. Eifert draws a staunch Green Bay defense, and they likely won’t have a productive day.

My Projected Points: 6.00 (below projection)

Rank 15. Jared Cook (OAK) at WAS (24th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 9.80

Cook caught 4 of 6 targets for 25 yards against a weak New York Jets defense, and will likely not produce against the Redskins. The Oakland aerial attack flows through Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

My Projected Points: 6.50 (below projection)

 

Season Projection Record: 18-12-0

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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