Week 14 TE Start, Sit Fantasy Strategy: Eric Ebron Is Going Off
Darren Waller had what will probably stand as the best game for a tight end this season with 13 receptions for 200 yards with two touchdowns. The Jets proved yet again why they are the worst team in the NFL with another loss after a blown defensive call. But Waller will go from that to the toughest matchup for tight ends this season in a game against the Colts. He has been on a streak of alternating games of a touchdown or not, so if that keeps up, he will not be getting a touchdown next week. Logan Thomas also had another touchdown to combine with his season-high 98 yards on his season-high nine targets. This came against a Steelers’ defense who has been unfavorable towards tight ends all season, so this performance came as somewhat of a surprise. Thomas could continue to play a major role in moving forward. With the beginning of the fantasy playoffs comes the importance of putting together the best possible lineup to win and move on. That includes your tight end who can come to be a major difference-maker in some matchups. Here are some of the tight ends you will not want to leave on your bench as well as some you might want to consider leaving out.
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
With another massive week for Eric Ebron with 11 total targets for the second week in a row, he is your perfect play in half and full PPR leagues. The sheer volume he has received as of late is enough to make him one of the best options this week. If he manages a touchdown, he would become one of the top scorers for sure. The upcoming matchup against the Bills will work in his favor for a big game. They have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. A touchdown given up to Jordan Reed last week bodes well for the outcome for Ebron in Week 14. The greatest part of owning Ebron is he has two great matchups in a row with the Bengals coming up in week 15.
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
The recent struggles for the Ravens’ passing game have impacted all receivers and tight ends, but the return of Mark Andrews presents such a high ceiling that you cannot say no to him. He sat out with Covid-19 for the past two weeks, but his appearance should produce effects right away. A great matchup against the Browns presents an even greater opportunity for him to be a big part of the offense which has been so reliant on the run as of late. As this is an important game for the Ravens’ hopes of achieving the playoffs, they will come out with everything they got including a lot for Andrews who is one of their greatest playmakers for Lamar Jackson to use.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
Opponent: Atlanta Falcons
After a total miserable game with horrible offensive production last week, this will be the recovery for the Chargers. Hunter Henry had just two targets with one reception for five yards all game which resulted in a horrible week for anyone who started him. But we have seen his production on a normal week and especially recently, he has seen an upward trend in his targets excluding last week’s misery. The Falcons provide the fifth-best matchup for tight ends to face and as he has seen at least six targets in the four weeks before last week, we can expect a bounce-back game to his normal production. The Chargers will not be getting shut out again.
Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers
Ever since the Falcons’ bye week in week 10, it has been downhill for Hurst. Zero receptions in week 11, four in week 12, and one in week 13 have not cut it for viable fantasy production. Over that span, his completion percentage has been just 35.7% which is not going to get it done. What can be said for Hurst though is the two exceptionally poor performances with zero and one reception were both against the Saints. Against all other teams, he has been doing decently, but the recent drop-off in production is not good especially now that we are in the fantasy playoffs. The Chargers do offer a solid matchup if you are stuck with Hurst, but it is difficult to count on anything good.
Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans
Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jonnu Smith was sidelined last week with an injury which allowed his backups to stand in the spotlight with some major performances from each. Seeing the success of both Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt in Smith’s stead, there will likely be no rush in getting Smith back to his full starting duties. He was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice which is a good sign of moving back into playing, but the risk of further injury will likely deter him from getting very much action even if he is cleared to play. The Titans have found that they are deep in the tight end position and will not be taking his return too quickly. A good matchup against the Jaguars may be appealing, but the risk seems to outweigh the benefits for Smith this week.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
Even when the Browns torched the Titans through the air, Hooper was not in on it. His two targets for 24 yards do not cut it as a viable option this week. Three of the past four weeks have resulted in just two targets for Hooper. His maximum yards in a game over those four weeks have been 33 yards which are not going to get it done when it comes to winning in fantasy. You would think that the number one tight end on the team would get more targets especially when the Browns were doing so well in the passing game last week, but the results are not there. With a more difficult opponent in the Ravens coming up, there is no reason to believe his target share will increase.
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