This week 11 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. Travis Kelce (KC) at NYG (32nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 15.30
Fresh off his bye week, Kelce has the opportunity to torch the New York Giants this Sunday. Already a top-tier tight end option, Kelce has been playing well as of late, totaling 14 receptions/206 yards/2 TDs in his last two games prior to his bye week 10. The Giants have allowed a tight end to score in every single game this season, almost an impressive feat. Naturally, I think Kelce has his best chance of scoring in week 11, along with a volume of targets and yardage.
My Projected Points: 17.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 2. Zach Ertz (PHI) at DAL (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 15.70
Ertz was a surprise inactive in week 9 against Denver, leaving many fantasy owners scrambling for a replacement. His hamstring problem seemingly rose from nowhere, as Ertz was limited in practice but was expected to play. He had his week 10 bye, allowing him to fully rest his hamstring. He’s already practicing in full for week 11 as of Monday, so owners can be assured that he likely plays this week. Ertz is a must play against the Cowboys during their Sunday night primetime game. After playing tight ends strongly to start the year, the Cowboys have allowed 15 receptions/135 yards/2 TDs to TEs over the last two weeks. Look for Philly to keep Ertz involved in the game throughout the night.
My Projected Points: 16.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 3. Rob Gronkowski (NE) at OAK (26th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 16.10
Gronk had a decent week 10, catching 4-of-7 targets for 74 yards. He had a dream match-up against the Denver Broncos, who were the 31st ranked TE defense in the league, so the results are disappointing for Gronk. He did have a touchdown called back, so the result could have been much larger. Gronk has a great chance to rebound and get back into the end zone against the Raiders in Mexico City, who have allowed 14 passing scores thus far in 2017, four of which have gone to tight ends. With the primetime game in Mexico, I think Gronk rebounds and gets back into the end zone this week.
My Projected Points: 17.00 (5 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 4. Evan Engram (NYG) vs KC (12th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 14.00
Engram continues to impress as a top receiving option for the Giants, catching 6-of-9 targets for 31 yards and a touchdown last week against the 49ers. He has now scored in every game since Odell Beckham went down with an injury, cementing his role as a TE1 option. Sterling Shepard has also been impressive in his return, but that actually benefits Engram, as it will help to draw coverage away from him. This week, he draws the Chiefs, who have allowed only one touchdown to tight ends thus far this year. The Chiefs defense is poor against passing as a whole, so Engram will still get his targets and yardage, but I think that they manage to keep him out of the end zone this week.
My Projected Points: 14.50 (6 receptions, 85 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 5. Jimmy Graham (SEA) vs ATL (4th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.00
Graham had a great week 10, catching 6-of-9 targets for 27 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was Russell Wilson’s favorite red zone target, and Graham now has five touchdowns in his last five games. He hasn’t been averaging a lot of yardage (39 yards/game), but is averaging 4.3 receptions per game. This gives Graham a floor of around 8.5 PPR points/game, along with the TD upside. This week, he draws a tough assignment in the Falcons, who have only allowed one touchdown to TE thus far. Given how TD dependent Graham can be, it’s a scary match-up, but this game has sneaky shootout potential. I think Graham remains a TE1 option this week.
My Projected Points: 13.50 (4 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank#: 9. Delanie Walker (TEN) at PIT (3rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.30
Walker played against Cincinnati last week and appeared to be over his ankle injury, catching 6-of-9 targets for 63 yards. He has now strung together three straight 60+ yard performances and appears to be recovered from his multitude of injuries. However, this week he draws a very tough Pittsburgh defense on a short week for Thursday Night Football. The Steelers have allowed only 9.5 PPR points/game to TE, and have the second-best pass defense (181.8 YPG). I think Delanie Walker does well from a PPR standpoint, but I would not count on a huge yardage output.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (6 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 10. Vernon Davis (WAS) at NO (9th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 8.60
Davis caught 7-of-11 targets for 76 yards in week 10, continuing his run of excellent play in the absence of Jordan Reed. He now has at least 58 yards in 6 of his last 7 games and is averaging 5 targets per game over that span. While the Saints defense has been strong all year, Davis has simply been getting too many targets to not start as a top 10 tight end this week. The Saints allow an average of 3.2 receptions/34.2 yards per game to tight ends but have already allowed 5 scores this year. Davis has a great chance of beating his projection this week, with some upside for a TD.
My Projected Points: 11.00 (6 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 11. Tyler Kroft (CIN) at DEN (31st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.00
After trending upward for a few weeks, Kroft had a dud game in week 10, catching 1-of-6 targets for 4 yards. The targets were certainly encouraging, so he remains involved in the Cincy game plan. The Broncos are awful against the TE, allowing 18.4 PPR points/game to TE. I like Kroft’s chances at rebounding this week and beating his projections.
My Projected Points: 8.50 (4 receptions, 45 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 15. Austin Hooper (ATL) at SEA (18th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70
Hooper caught 6-of-6 targets for 49 yards and a touchdown last week against the Cowboys, reaching the end zone for the second time in the last 3 games. He now has 6 targets in three straight games and appears to have a decent red zone role in Atlanta. This week, he faces Seattle, who have allowed 60+ yards to opposing tight ends in 4 of their last 5 games. I think Hooper has a great chance to put up catches and yardage against the Richard Sherman-less Seattle defense.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (4 receptions, 60 yards)
Tight Ends Below PPR Projections
Top 15 Rank#: 6. Jared Cook (OAK) vs NE (19th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.80
Cook had a monster week 9, catching 8-of-9 targets for 126 yards against the Dolphins. Coming off his week 10 bye, he looks to keep the momentum going against New England. Cook has been a focal point of the Oakland offense all year, and the Patriots defense has not been playing well. The Patriots allow an average of 12.9 PPR points/game to TE, but have kept opposing tight ends to 48 yards over their last 3 contests. While it was the Falcons/Chargers/Broncos during those three weeks, the improved play has to be accounted for. I think Cook still does well as he is a large part of the Raiders game plan, but the expectation should be lowered for this game. I think Cook just slightly falls short of his projections for the week but still remains involved.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 7. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs LAR (11th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.50
In a game where the Vikings put up 38 points, Rudolph was kept off the scoresheet despite being a great red zone target. He caught 5-of-7 targets for 37 yards, which is a great PPR day and typical of Rudolph’s level of production. He now has 7 straight games with at least five targets and remains involved in the short yardage situations for Minnesota. This week, he faces the Los Angeles Rams, who have been solid as a whole against TE this year, allowing only 10.7 PPR points/game. The Rams have allowed 4 touchdowns to TEs so far this year, so Rudolph has a limited chance at a touchdown this week. Rudolph has only scored 3 times this year, so I think he stays out of the end zone again. He’ll have similar production to last week, and will come close to his projections, but not quite exceed them.
My Projected Points: 9.00 (5 receptions, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 8. Cameron Brate (TB) at MIA (27th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70
Brate has had two straight dud games, posting only 2 receptions for 19 yards. Last week, he struggled to get going with Ryan Fitzpatrick, catching only 1-of-3 targets. Fitzpatrick just isn’t who he used to be and his arm strength is definitely waning. Brate owners are hoping that the return of Mike Evans helps to open up routes underneath for the tight ends. The good news is that he plays Miami this week, who allow an average of 15.3 PPR points/game to tight ends. I think Brate gets involved again, but he’s going to be hard to trust until we see something better from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
My Projected Points: 8.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 12. Jason Witten (DAL) vs PHI (22nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.70
Witten caught 7-of-7 targets for 59 yards in week 10 at Atlanta, which is expected given the absence of Zeke. He was mostly non-existent in the first half and padded his stats during the finals drives of the game. This week, he faces Philly, who allow an average of 13.4 PPR points/game to TE. While Philly has been traditionally bad against the TE, I think the Eagles defense comes to play in the Sunday night tilt and limits the Cowboys offense all night. Witten will still produce some yardage and receptions in garbage time, but it may not be enough to help beat his lofty PPR projection.
My Projected Points: 9.50 (5 receptions, 45 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 13. Charles Clay (BUF) at LAC (2nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.30
Clay caught 2-of-3 targets for 13 yards in his return from a four-week absence due to a knee injury. With the change at quarterback to fifth round rookie Nate Peterman, it’s anyone’s guess how well Clay will fare with the new quarterback. Clay may operate as a safety blanket, but against a tough secondary such as the Chargers, I’m more willing to put Clay under projections for the week. He’s also still getting up to game speed and may be limited by his conditioning.
My Projected Points: 7.50 (3 receptions, 45 yards)
Top 15 Rank#: 14. Hunter Henry (LAC) vs BUF (14th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70
Henry has yet another disappointing week in his wildly inconsistent season, catching 1-of-2 targets for 7 yards against the Jaguars. He has been held to under 20 yards a total of 5 times this season, and cannot be relied upon for anything but a streamer based on match-ups. This week, he faces Buffalo, who are a middling TE defense that allowed only 2 TDs to TE this year. Once again, I don’t think Henry exceeds his projections.
My Projected Points: 7.00 (3 receptions, 40 yards)
Season Projection Record: 90-60-0 (60.0%)
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