This week 4 tight end analysis article will explore the difference between expert consensus rankings (ECR) and projected PPR stats (both 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 CAR (4th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 15.70
Gronk had a great outing versus the Texans in week 3, who were the 6th ranked TE defense in the league. He caught 8 of 10 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. Gronk showed no ill signs of his previously injured groin and was the top target for Brady. However, Carolina is an even tougher opponent, as they haven’t allowed a TE to post more than 27 yards against them this season. Still, Gronk showed why he’s the best tight end in the league and should once again break his projection.
My Projected Points: 16.50 (above ECR projection)
Rank 2. Zach Ertz (PHI) at LAC (7th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.70
Ertz had a great game against the Giants last week, totaling 8 catches on 10 targets, for 55 yards and a touchdown. He received 21 targets (24% of the overall target share) over the first 3 games and is clearly a favorite target for Carson Wentz. This week, he draws a tough assignment in the LA Chargers, who just managed to hold elite TE Travis Kelce to a 1 reception, 1-yard performance. However, Philadelphia does not have the same potent run offense that KC possesses and I think Ertz can beat his projections with Carson Wentz feeding him targets.
My Projected Points: 14.50 (above ECR projection)
Rank 3. Travis Kelce (KC) vs WAS (27th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.60
As mentioned before, Kelce uncharacteristically was held to 1 target, 1 catch, for 1 yard in his clunker against the LA Chargers. This week, he faces the Washington Redskins, who have allowed a league-worst 83.3 yards per game to tight ends in 2017. Considering his role and match-up, I expect Kelce to post more than 100 yards with quite a few targets and receptions against the Redskins.
My Projected Points: 15.60 (above ECR projection)
Rank 4. Jimmy Graham (SEA) vs IND (18th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.00
Graham had two dud games to start the season, only totaling 9 yards on 4 of 9 targets. However, in week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, he exploded catching 7 of 11 targets for 72 yards. Owners have to be pleased with the output, especially given that he takes on the 29th ranked pass defense when they travel to Indianapolis this week. Indy gives up the 14th most points to tight ends, so Graham has a great chance at production this week.
My Projected Points: 12.00 (above projection)
Rank 5. Delanie Walker (TEN) at HOU (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.30
Delanie Walker had a rough week 3, totaling 4 receptions on 6 targets for only 31 yards. Mariota did overthrow Walker in the end zone, which drew a defensive interference penalty. However, tight end Jonnu Smith ended up with the touchdown on the next play. Smith has already vultured two TDs this year from Delanie Walker, and that’s certainly something to consider going forward. This week, he gets the 17th ranked Houston defense, who were just carved up by the New England Patriots. Yet with so many passing options in Tennesee, I think Walker has another tough week against the Houston defense.
My Projected Points: 8.30 (below projection)
Rank 6. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs DET (13th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.00
Rudolph was forgotten in week 3, totaling 1 catch for 4 yards, on only 2 targets. The Vikings chose to utilize their downfield passing attack with backup quarterback Case Keenum, which worked out very well for Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Detroit Lions have only allowed 9 catches to tight ends in the first 3 games. Given Rudolph’s unstable role and the Vikings’ solid wide receivers, I think Rudolph has another below projection outing.
My Projected Points: 7.50 (below projection)
Rank 7. Jason Witten (DAL) vs LAR (11th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.90
Witten had an insane start for the first two weeks of the season, posting 17 catches on 22 targets for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, week 3 was very pedestrian, catching one reception on 4 targets for 3 yards. Many did not expect Witten to keep up that level of production, but the steep drop-off was disappointing to many owners. This week, Witten plays the Los Angeles Rams, who have yet to allow more than 48 yards to a tight end in 2017. I expect Witten to once again have a tough day and fall short of his projections.
My Projected Points: 8.40 (below projection)
Rank 8. Charles Clay (BUF) at ATL (9th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.70
Charles Clay is a new entrant into the top ten tight end conversation, but his spot is well deserved. He had a productive week 3, catching all 6 of his targets for 36 yards and a touchdown. Clay now has 2 touchdowns in his first 3 games and 18 targets through the first 3 weeks. In week 4, he plays the 9th ranked Atlanta TE defense, which could potentially force Buffalo to throw more than they normally do. I think Clay has a great shot of repeating his solid PPR performances and manages to beat his projection once again.
My Projected Points: 11.70 (above projection)
Rank 9. Eric Ebron (DET) at MIN (21st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.30
Ebron posted a clunker of a week 3, catching 2 of 7 targets for 9 yards. This is especially disappointing given his strong week 2 showing of 5 REC/42 YD/1 TD. It’s hard to trust his role this week against a strong Minnesota Vikings defense. While they have given up the 11th most points to tight ends in 2017, Minnesota still plays their opponents tough and will likely hold an inconsistent Ebron below his point totals.
My Projected Points: 8.90 (below projection)
Rank 10. Martellus Bennett (GB) vs CHI (22nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.60
Bennett caught 3 of 4 targets for 12 yards in Green Bay’s week 3 win over the Bengals. Bennett has been called upon to block more, as the Green Bay offensive line needs support. Furthermore, he hasn’t helped himself with drops, as he’s only caught 11 of 21 targets through the first 2 weeks. Bennett plays the Bears on Thursday Night Football, who haven’t allowed more than 2 catches to a team’s primary tight end through the first 3 weeks. With Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson approaching full health, I expect Bennett to once again be called upon to help in a blocking role, keeping his projected fantasy points below projected.
My Projected Points: 6.50 (below projection)
Rank 11. Jordan Reed (WAS) at KC (10th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.70
Reed didn’t even suit up for week 3 due to a chest/toe/foot injury combination. He just cannot stay healthy, and even with the extra rest, I don’t think he gets enough involvement to beat his point projection.
My Projected Points: 4.60 (below projection)
Rank 12. Jared Cook (OAK) at DEN (26th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.90
Jared Cook looks to be developing a good rapport with Derek Carr, in lieu of Amari Cooper’s disappointing performances. However, his week 4 opponent is Denver, a tough defense who has only allowed 19 catches to tight ends through 3 games.
My Projected Points: 5.40 (below projection)
Rank 13. Coby Fleener (NO) at MIA (24th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.50
Fleener’s role is challenged by the return of Willie Snead in week 4, but faces a very weak Miami defense. I think that Snead takes some time to return to game speed which helps to free up coverage from Fleener.
My Projected Points: 9.50 (above projection)
Rank 14. Evan Engram (NYG) at TB (3rd ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 9.70
Engram caught 5 of 7 targets for 45 yards against a tough Eagles defense last week but draws an even tougher challenge this week against the Buccaneers. Engram has not posted less than 5 catches and 40 yards in a game this year, so I like his chances of beating his projection again this week.
My Projected Points: 10.50 (above projection)
Rank 15. Jack Doyle (IND) at SEA (17th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 8.70
Doyle had a brutal week 3 in Cleveland, posting 2 catches on 5 targets for 16 yards (and a fumble). In week 4, he draws a tough defense against Seattle. Given his inconsistent role and Brissett’s ability to throw deep to Hilton, I think he falls below his projections for the week.
My Projected Points: 6.60 (below projection)
Season Projection Record: 26-19-0
Thanks for checking out my week 4 tight end analysis and good luck this week! Be sure to visit thefantasyauthority.com to read other great weekly content and use our updated weekly rankings to set those lineups!