This week 8 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#: 2. Travis Kelce (KC) vs DEN (27th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.60
Kelce caught 4-of-5 targets for 33 yards and a TD, salvaging his fantasy day. Outside of his dud week 3 game, where he had 1 catch for 1 yard, Kelce has at least 4 receptions in each game this season. His week 8 opponent is the Broncos, who allow 68.3 receiving yards per game to tight ends (5th highest in the league). Given that Kelce typically averages at least 4 receptions, we can assume that’s his floor for the week. The Broncos have allowed 3 touchdowns on the year to tight ends through 6 games, and Kelce is a red zone threat. Given his continued involvement in the Kansas City offense, Kelce looks to have another solid outing this week.
My Projected Points: 18.00 (4 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 3. Zach Ertz (PHI) vs SF (3rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.90
Ertz had a great week 7, catching 5-of-5 targets for 89 yards and a TD against the Redskins. Ertz now has 41 receptions on the year, and already has bested his career high touchdown total with 5 on the season. This week, he draws a tough opponent in San Francisco, who have allowed only 8.4 PPR fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2017. However, they have unraveled a bit in the past two weeks, allowing 12 receptions, 163 yards, and 1 touchdowns to the Redskins and Cowboys collectively. I like Ertz to continue his floor of 5 receptions per game and has a great chance at about 75 yards and a score.
My Projected Points: 18.50 (5 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 4. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at CLE (29th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.80
Rudolph had a great game against a stingy Baltimore defense in week 7, catching 5-of-7 targets for 43 yards. Rudolph hasn’t posted more than 47 yards this season but has gotten at least 40 yards in 4 of 7 games thus far. For every game that Diggs has missed this year, Rudolph was second in team targets during those games, only trailing Adam Thielen. This week, he draws the Browns, who average an astounding 18.9 PPR points per game to tight ends in 2017. Since Rudolph has at least 5 catches in his last 3 games, I think he has a fairly safe PPR floor, assuming that Diggs once again does not suit up this Sunday in London. Diggs looks unlikely to play or may play in limited fashion, leading the way for Rudolph to have another solid week.
My Projected Points: 10.50 (6 receptions, 45 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 6. Hunter Henry (LAC) at NE (24th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.60
Henry led the Chargers in receiving yards in week 7, catching 4-of-5 targets for 73 yards against the Broncos. He played 47-of-58 snaps in the game, and has significantly out-snapped and outplayed the aging Antonio Gates. Henry has at least 5 targets in his past three games and hasn’t posted less than 42 yards in those weeks. He faces the Patriots this week, who allowed a league-worst 323.1 passing yards per game. Furthermore, they allow generous 15.1 PPR points per game to tight ends. The Patriots have allowed 5 touchdowns to tight ends through 7 games, so Henry has huge touchdown upside this week to accommodate his PPR production.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 9. Cameron Brate (TB) vs CAR (11th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.50
Brate showed a good connection with backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, catching 6-of-9 targets for 60 yards. However, Brate was overshadowed by fellow tight-end OJ Howard on the day, who caught 6-of-6 targets for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brate’s owners shouldn’t be worried about the receiving emergence of Howard, as it appears that Brate still has a healthy role in this offense going forward. In week 8, Brate faces the Panthers, who allow an average of 10.0 PPR points per game to tight ends. The Panthers have allowed a tight end to eclipse more than 30 yards once this season, but have been roasted for 4 touchdowns in the past 3 games, after not allowing a single touchdown to tight ends in the first 4 games. That being said, I think Brate is the better chance for a PPR floor and yardage, but OJ Howard figures to be the larger red zone threat. Look for Brate to continue his PPR floor of 4+ catches and 60+ yards.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 10. Jason Witten (DAL) at WAS (31st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.10
Witten continued his seesaw season, catching 4-of-4 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers, who were the top tight end defense unit prior to that game. Witten has gone from being non-existent in the Dallas game plan to having huge weeks, so it’s tough to predict his performance. This week, however, sets up nicely for him to perform well. The Redskins allow an average of 17.9 PPR points per game to tight ends and have given up a league-high 519 yards to tight ends through 6 games. I like Witten to have a solid PPR day with a lot of yardage, but his touchdown may be hard to predict.
My Projected Points: 13.00 (6 receptions, 70 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 12. Jared Cook (OAK) at BUF (21st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.20
Cook had his best game in week 7 against the Chiefs, catching 6-of-7 targets for 107 yards. The Bills average 6 catches and 60 yards to tight ends and were just obliterated by the tight end tandem of Brate and Howard last week for 12 receptions/158 yards/2 TDs. Cook has had a fairly solid target share through the first 7 weeks, averaging 5.8 targets per game. Look for Cook to build on his momentum from week 7 with a strong showing against a weaker Bills tight end defense.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 13. Tyler Kroft (CIN) vs IND (23rd ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 9.40
Kroft caught 4-of-4 targets for 23 yards and a touchdown in week 7 against the Steelers, who are one of the top-ranked pass defenses in the NFL. Kroft has at least 4 targets in his past 4 games, so he appears to have carved himself out a role in the offense. That being said, his production is heavily TD reliant but has scored a touchdown in 3 of the past 4 games. Fortunately, he plays the Colts this week, who have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends this year. I like Kroft to score again this week, but be warned that without the touchdown, he will have low yardage and reception totals.
My Projected Points: 13.00 (4 receptions, 30 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 15. George Kittle (SF) at PHI (26th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 7.30
Kittle caught 1-of-2 targets for 16 yards in the 49er’s week 7 blowout loss to the Cowboys but may have a chance to put up some garbage time production against the Eagles. I don’t think the 49ers stay competitive in this game, so owners will have to be hoping for some late-game heroics. If Kittle does get targets, it’ll be for a high reception/low yardage output.
My Projected Points: 7.50 (4 receptions, 35 yards)
Tight Ends below PPR Projections
Top 15 Rank#: 1. Rob Gronkowski (NE) vs LAC (2nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 15.40
Gronk followed up his monstrous week 6 with a tepid week 7, catching 3-of-7 targets for 51 yards against Atlanta. The Patriots seemed content to control the game with their running packages, forcing Gronk to pass and run block throughout the game. The Chargers allow the second fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2017, averaging only 8.0 PPR points per game. Fellow elite tight end Zach Ertz posted a line of 5 receptions/98 yards against them in week 4, so they’re not impervious. Look for Gronk to get involved in the passing game once again, but I think he stays out of the endzone this week. The Chargers have yet to allow a tight end to score against them in 2017, but Gronk will get his yardage.
My Projected Points: 14.00 (5 receptions, 90 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 5. Jimmy Graham (SEA) vs HOU (18h ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.20
Graham caught 3-of-6 targets for 51 yards and a touchdown against the league’s worst tight end defense, the Giants, in week 7. Graham has continued to grow his involvement in the offense, as this was the fourth straight week where he had at least 6 targets. Furthermore, he’s gone two consecutive weeks with a touchdown, showing some of the red zone prowess that made him such a fantasy asset in New Orleans. This week, he faces the Texans, who allowed an average of 13.7 PPR points per game. The Texans have a middling defense, as they’ve allowed big fantasy totals to Gronk and Kelce so far this year, but have shut down less talented tight ends. I think Graham has a decent PPR floor for this match-up, but given that Houston has allowed only two touchdowns this season to tight ends, I think Graham stays out of the endzone this week.
My Projected Points: 9.50 (4 catches, 55 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 7. Jordan Reed (WAS) vs DAL (8th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 11.60
After doubting Jordan Reed each week, I was finally wrong on my prediction for him. He exploded for 8 catches on 10 targets, for 64 yards and two touchdowns. The bigger surprise is that it was versus the Eagles, who had played well against tight ends previously. He finally looks healthy, which has certainly not been the case for him during his career. In week 8, he plays the Cowboys, who have not allowed more than 53 yards or a touchdown to a tight end in their last 5 games. While the Cowboys have benefited from a softer tight end schedule thus far, they allow an average of 4 receptions and 52 yards per game to tight ends. Given Reed’s previous performances this week, I think he comes crashing back to Earth, posting totals slightly below the Cowboy’s averages.
My Projected Points: 8.50 (4 receptions, 45 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 8. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ) vs ATL (5th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.70
ASJ caught 3-of-5 targets for 21 yards and a touchdown in week 7 against the Dolphins, extending his touchdown streak to 3 games. He has become a focal part of the Jets’ offense and has at least 4 targets each game. However, his yardage totals are nothing extravagant, as he hasn’t posted more than 46 yards in a game. This week, he plays the Falcons, who have only allowed nine total passing scores in 2017. Furthermore, they haven’t allowed a since touchdown to a tight end thus far. Given ASJ’s PPR floor, I believe he remains involved throughout the game but will be hard-pressed to score this week against Atlanta.
My Projected Points: 8.50 (5 receptions, 35 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 11. Jack Doyle (IND) at CIN (4th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.10
Doyle caught 6-of-7 targets for 44 yards in week 7 against the Jaguars. He continues to show good rapport with quarterback Jacoby Brissett and is second on the team with 41 targets. Cincinnati has played tight ends tough all year, allowing an average of 8.4 PPR points per game to tight ends. Doyle will likely be a decent back-end TE1 for week 8, but the receptions and yardage total will be low.
My Projected Points: 8.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 14. Benjamin Watson (BAL) vs MIA (20th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 7.70
Watson is in jeopardy of missing the week 8 Thursday night match-up against the Miami Dolphins, due to a knee injury he sustained in week 7. If he plays, I still think he underperforms relative to his projections, given that he hasn’t topped 50 yards or scored a touchdown in the past 4 weeks. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere for a streamer.
My Projected Points: 7.00 (4 receptions, 30 yards)
Season Projection Record: 64-41-0 (61.1%)