This week 5 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) at TB (10th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 16.60
Gronk had a somewhat muted performance last week in a shootout with the Carolina Panthers, catching 4-of-5 targets for 80 yards. However, he did lead the Patriots in receiving yards. This week, he draws Tampa Bay on Thursday night, who does have a highly ranked tight end defense. However, they still allow an average of 316 passing yards per game, which is 31st in the NFL. Given the disarray that is the Patriots defense, I’m expecting another shootout Thursday, with Gronk getting his usual share of yards and red zone targets.
My Projected Points: 19.00 (6 receptions, 70 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank: #2. Travis Kelce (KC) vs HOU (17th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 12.90
After a 1 catch effort in week 4, Kelce had a monster game against the Redskins, catching 7-of-8 targets for 111 yards and a TD. Andy Reid suddenly remembered he had a top tight end option on his team, and had Kelce in motion all over the field on Monday night, helping to create mismatches on his routes. He will face a tough Houston defense that has only allowed one touchdown to tight ends thus far. I expect Kelce to get his fair share of targets in this game, and continue to be a utilized weapon for the Chiefs.
My Projected Points: 15.50 (5 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank: #5. Jimmy Graham (SEA) at LAR (14th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.50
Graham had a decent week 4 against the Colts, catching 4-of-6 targets for 61 yards. He has come alive over the past two weeks, totaling 11 catches for 113 yards. However, he has yet to score a touchdown this season, which does raise some concern. In week 5, he travels to LA to face the Rams, who have one of the more solid all-around defenses in the league. Given his play and target share over the last two weeks, I still think Graham beats his PPR projections, but once again stays out of the end zone.
My Projected Points: 10.50 (4 receptions, 65 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #6. Charles Clay (BUF) at CIN (5th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.60
Clay continued to impress during week 4, totaling 5 catches on 7 targets for 112 yards. He was the top receiving option for Buffalo. He has at least 50 yards or a touchdown this season, providing him a nice fantasy floor of 5-6 points. Jordan Matthews suffered a broken finger last week as well, which will only help to increase Clay’s target share. Even with a hard match-up against Cincy, who allows only an average of 165 passing yards per game, I think Clay beats his PPR projections with a heavy target share.
My Projected Points: 11.50 (6 receptions, 55 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #7. Cameron Brate (TB) vs NE (5th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.70
Brate caught 4-of-6 targets for 80 yards and a touchdown last week, continuing his increase in target share. He has only 13 targets through three games but already has two touchdowns. Given that fellow receiving tight end, OJ Howard is starting to become more involved, it has some cause for concern about Brate’s role. Still, going against arguably the worst secondary in the NFL, Brate has some streaming appeal for those hoping for a touchdown. Since the Patriots look lost on defense, I’m thinking that Brate finds a way into the end zone this week again.
My Projected Points: 12.00 (3 receptions, 30 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank: #8. Evan Engram (NYG) vs LAC (8th ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 9.10
Engram received a career-high 11 targets last week against the Buccaneers, turning them into 6 catches for 62 yards. His target share has increased every week since week 1, and he looks to be more involved in the Giants game planning. With Odell Beckham injuring his finger, and Brandon Marshall not playing to expectations, Engram appears to have inherited the role of the third passing option in the Giants’ offense. While he does face the LA Chargers this week, I think Engram outperforms his PPR projection with a large target share in week 5.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (5 receptions, 50 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #10. Hunter Henry (LAC) at NYG (32nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 7.20
Henry has had an incredibly confusing role in 2017, as he caught 2-of-3 targets for 16 yards and a touchdown in week 4. However, he had complete zeroes in weeks 1 and 3, and 7 catches for 80 yards in week 2. It’s anyone’s guess how well he does in week 5, as his role fluctuates immensely. At this point, you’re hoping for a red zone opportunity. Since the Giants have allowed 5 touchdowns to tight ends in 2017 already, this is Henry’s best chance for a red zone chance.
My Projected Points: 13.00 (4 receptions, 30 yards, 1 TD)
Top 15 Rank: #13. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ) at CLE (31st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.30
Seferian-Jenkins has been sneakily good since his week 3 return, catching 9-of-10 targets for 77 yards over two weeks. Now, he draws the Cleveland Browns, the second worst TE defense in the league. They allow 241 passing yards per game, and ASJ looks to build on his recent successes.
My Projected Points: 10.00 (6 receptions, 40 yards)
Tight Ends below PPR Projections
Top 15 Rank: #3. Zach Ertz (PHI) vs ARI (3rd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 13.40
Once again, Ertz led the Eagles in receiving yardage, catching 5-of-8 targets for 81 yards. He has easily been one of the best and most consistent options for Carson Wentz. Ertz hasn’t caught less than 5 balls in each game this year, so he has a great PPR floor. However, Arizona is a tough opponent who have eliminated tight end seams along the field this year. I think Ertz has a good fantasy floor with his target share, but will only get around 5 catches for 70 yards against the Cardinals.
My Projected Points: 12.00 (5 receptions, 70 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #4. Delanie Walker (TEN) at MIA (21st ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 10.70
In a blowout loss to the Texans, Walker had caught 3-of-7 targets for 51 yards. Marcus Mariota may potentially miss week 5, as he injured his hamstring in week 4. Given that the Titans just signed journeyman Brandon Weeden to a 1-year deal, there is a serious risk that Mariota misses week 5. While he does draw an easy opponent in Miami, who have allowed the 21st most yards to tight ends in 2017, Walker may be an afterthought if Weeden starts and the team relies on Derrick Henry and Demarco Murray.
My Projected Points: 8.50 (3 receptions, 55 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #9. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at CHI (18th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.40
Rudolph posted another dud of a game, catching 2-of-4 targets for just 21 yards in week 4’s loss to Detroit. With Case Keenum at quarterback, the Vikings appear to be targeting the wide receivers more, allowing Diggs and Thielen to receive more targets. In week 5, he draws the Chicago Bears, who have only allowed 8 receptions to tight ends thus far in 2017. Given that Rudolph has 10 catches through 4 games, I don’t think he receives and increases in targets in week 5.
My Projected Points: 5.50 (3 receptions, 25 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #11. Martellus Bennett (GB) at DAL (11th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 8.90
Bennett had a good PPR game with 6 catches for 39 yards last week against Chicago, but he draws a much stiffer test this week against the Cowboys. Bennett hasn’t gone over 47 yards in a game this year, and the Cowboys haven’t allowed more than 47 yards to a TE all year. Coincidence? Probably. But, I think Bennett falls short of projections is this game.
My Projected Points: 7.50 (4 receptions, 35 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #12. Jason Witten (DAL) vs GB (2nd ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.70
Witten had an explosive start to the season but has only totaled 2 catches for 12 yards over the past two weeks. Green Bay hasn’t allowed more than 45 yards to a tight end this year, and Witten has only 6 targets over the last two weeks. Look for options elsewhere.
My Projected Points: 8.50 (4 receptions, 45 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #14. Jared Cook (OAK) vs BAL (28th ranked TE defense). Projected PPR Points: 9.10
Cook caught 3-of-8 targets for 41 yards against a stout Denver defense, but maybe without starting quarterback Derek Carr for his week 5 match-up against Baltimore. EJ Manuel just isn’t as good as Carr, and most of Cook’s yards came in garbage time, so I don’t think Cook does well in week 5.
My Projected Points: 8.00 (4 receptions, 40 yards)
Top 15 Rank: #15. Ben Watson (BAL) at OAK (22nd ranked TE defense). Projected Points: 9.30
Watson caught 5 of 6 targets for 43 yards last week, appearing to be over the calf injury he aggravated in week 3. While Oakland has a weak TE defense, I think Baltimore struggles to put up points against Oakland in the game that has the second lowest total over/under for the week.
My Projected Points: 8.00 (5 receptions, 30 yards)
Season Projection Record: 36-24-0