This week 7 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 ATL (7th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 15.80
Gronk finally had the game many fantasy owners were waiting for, catching 6-of-10 targets for 83 yards and two touchdowns against the New York Jets. Gronk has always been a consistent red-zone threat and displayed his ability last Sunday. This week, he faces the Atlanta Falcons in the Sunday night primetime game. Atlanta has played tight ends tough this year, having only allowed seven passing touchdowns to tight ends thus far in 2017. However, Gronk looks to be healthy again and has accumulated at least 80 yards in 4 straight games. I think Brady continues to find him in the end zone in what could be a high scoring game.
My Projected Points: 18.00 (4 receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 2. Zach Ertz (PHI) vs WAS (27th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.10
Ertz had an odd Thursday night game, catching only 2-of-5 targets, but for 18 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fantasy owners aren’t complaining about the production, but this was the first time Ertz failed to total at least 5 catches and 55 yards in a game. This week, he faces the Redskins, where he posted a line of 8 catches/93 yards in week 1. Ertz has 34 receptions and four touchdowns so far this year, and I expect him to continue his production. Given Washington’s soft tight end defense, and his consistent role, I expect Ertz to produce something similar to his Week 1 stat line.
My Projected Points: 15.00 (7 receptions, 80 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 3. Travis Kelce (KC) at OAK (23rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.00
Kelce played in week 6 despite having to clear concussion protocol, where he caught 4-of-7 targets for 37 yards against the league’s toughest passing defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Kelce did lead KC in targets, which helps to reassure owners that Reid hadn’t forgotten about his star TE once again. This week, he travels to Oakland for the Thursday night game, who just gave up 5 catches/90 yards to Hunter Henry in week 6. Given that Tyreek Hill is battling effects from a hard hit in week 6, and KC is playing on a short week, Kelce may have more of a passing role this week.
My Projected Points: 15.00 (6 receptions, 90 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 5. Jimmy Graham (SEA) at NYG (32nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.30
Jimmy Graham is fresh off his bye week, which has given him time to recover from nagging injuries. Before the bye, Graham had a combined 17 receptions/170 yards/1 TD in his previous 3 games, helping to establish his role amongst the more productive tight ends this season. This week, he faces the league-worst tight end defense in the Giants. Given how Graham was playing heading into the bye, and the easier match-up, I think Graham beats his projections this week.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (4 receptions, 70 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins at MIA (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.30
ASJ had a great week 6 against the Patriots, catching 8-of-11 targets for 46 yards and a touchdown. He could have even had a larger fantasy day, as he had a second touchdown that was overturned. ASJ has emerged as a top target for Josh McCown, having compiled 19 targets over the last two weeks alone. Miami has a middling TE defense, and given ASJ’s growing role, I think he has a great PPR day once again. He won’t put up many yards, as he hasn’t had more than 46 yards in his first 4 games, but he has had at least 4 catches in every game.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (6 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 7. Hunter Henry (LAC) vs DEN (26th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.80
Henry is showing promise as of late, as he’s been growing his target share and production in the LAC offense. Last week against Oakland, he caught 5-of-7 targets for 90 yards. After having two goose eggs in the first 3 weeks, Henry has compiled 18 targets and touchdowns in the past 3 weeks. Now, he faces the Denver Broncos, who were just shredded by Evan Engram. I expect Hunter to continue growing his role within the LAC offense, and may finally replace the aging Antonio Gates.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 8. Evan Engram (NYG) vs SEA (14th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.70
Engram had his chance to shine in week 6, with the New York Giants having a decimated wide receiver core. Engram seized the opportunity, compiling 5 catches on 7 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. He’s locked in for heavy targets as the #1 passing option in this offense and should be the first read on many passing plays. Engram plays a middling Seattle tight end defense this week, who have allowed a tight end to post at least 93 yards against them in the last 5 games. I expect Engram to contribute with a solid PPR day, but will likely not score a touchdown.
My Projected Points: 12.00 (6 receptions, 60 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 10. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs BAL (29th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.40
Rudolph was the second-most targeted player on his team in week 6, catching 5-of-9 targets for 47 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Rudolph has seen 9 targets in each of the last two games and faces a Baltimore defense this week that has allowed 6 touchdowns to tight ends thus far. However, what is important to note is that Rudolph’s increased usage has come in the two games where Stefon Diggs has sat out. Diggs figures to try and return this week, but his effectiveness remains to be seen. With Diggs likely not at 100% this week, I still like Rudolph’s chances at producing a line around 5 rec/50 yards, with a good chance at a touchdown.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 12. Austin Hooper (ATL) at NE (28th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.90
Hooper caught 7-of-9 targets in week 6 for 48 yards and has been targeted 16 times in the last two games. He has averaged 49 yards over that span, and now he draws an easy New England defense. The Patriots have allowed an average of 63 yards per game to tight ends this week, along with 5 touchdowns. His success hinges on the health of Mohammed Sanu, as Hooper is basically providing the role of WR2 in his absence. With Sanu looking likely to miss week 7, I like Hooper’s chance at beating his projections this week against New England.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards)
Tight Ends below PPR Projections
Top 15 Rank#: 4. Delanie Walker (TEN) at CLE (31st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.70
As expected, Walker’s production was limited by Mariota’s hobbled hamstring, as he caught 4-of-8 targets for only 17 yards. Walker did have two end zone targets, so he did have a chance at a much better fantasy day. This week, he plays the Browns, who have one of the worst tight end defensive rankings for 2017. Walker’s production hinges entirely on the health of Mariota, who did seem healthy enough to play week 6. I think Walker has an improved day from his week 6 outing, but still falls short of his projection. Tennessee is the favorites in this game and may favor their run game to protect Mariota if they accumulate an early lead.
My Projected Points: 9.50 (4 catches, 55 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 9. Cameron Brate (TB) at BUF (5th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.10
Brate has been enjoying a strong season thus far, posting at least 4 catches in each of his last 4 games, along with a very impressive 4 touchdowns. Last week against the Cardinals, he caught 6-of-8 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown, firmly entrenching his TE1 role within the Buccaneers. However, Jameis Winston is battling an injury on his throwing shoulder. He won’t even attempt throwing until late in the week, suggesting that barring a miraculous recovery, Ryan Fitzpatrick will figure to start week 7. Brate does have a secured role, but what worries me the most is the Buffalo defense. The Bills haven’t allowed a single touchdown to tight ends this season, and have held opposing tight ends to 50 yards or less in every game this season. The tough opponent, coupled with the backup quarterback Fitzpatrick, has me keeping Brate under his projections, though I still think he gets healthy targets for low yardage.
My Projected Points: 9.00 (5 catches, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 11. Jordan Reed (WAS) at PHI (10th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.00
Reed was targeted 5 times last week, and he caught 4 balls for 37 yards. He has yet to gain more than 48 yards in a game this season and has failed to score thus far. Reed just isn’t the first option anymore in the Redskins offense, with Chris Thompson taking up targets, along while splitting snaps with veteran Vernon Davis. Philadelphia is a tough tight end defense, and in an earlier game this year, he caught 5 catches for 39 yards. I expect a performance similar to his week 1 production.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (5 catches, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 13. George Kittle (OAK) vs DAL (13th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.40
Kittle has shown great chemistry with new 49ers’ starting rookie quarterback, C.J. Beatheard. He has 17 targets over the last two games and has turned those targets into 11 catches/129 yards/1 TD. I like his chances of producing going forward, but this week faces a tough Dallas defense. I think Kittle has a decent PPR floor if you’re looking for a deep flier, but I would keep muted expectations as the Dallas defense will have time to prepare for the rookie quarterback.
My Projected Points: 4.60 (5 receptions, 30 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 14. Jason Witten (DAL) at SF (1st ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 10.00
Witten had shown some life in week 6, catching 8 of 10 targets for 61 yards (with a fumble). In his previous 2 games, he was dreadful, posting 2 catches for 12 yards. This week, he faces the 49ers’, who haven’t allowed a tight end to post more than 40 yards against them, and haven’t allowed a single touchdown this year to tight ends. I don’t think Witten returns back to fantasy relevance this week either.
My Projected Points: 7.50 (4 receptions, 35 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 15. Ben Watson (BAL) at MIN (16th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 7.80
Watson caught 6-of-8 targets for 28 yards last week against the Bears, which are excellent PPR totals but with alarmingly low yardage. While he does have some big games occasionally, the Ravens offense is stagnant, and defenses will clue onto Watson early if he finds any kind of success. Minnesota is a tough all-around defense, and I don’t think Watson has a fantasy relevant day in week 7.
My Projected Points: 7.00 (3 receptions, 40 yards)
Season Projection Record: 56-34-0 (62.2%)