Week 5 TE Start’em, Sit’em: Tight End Fantasy Football Strategy

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Last week I was all over picking up and starting Will Dissly and, to those who did, you’re welcome. After looking through past performance and this weeks’ matchups, I have compiled a new list of the tight ends you should be starting and those that you may want to consider leaving on the bench this week.

Start ‘Em

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints

Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jared Cook hasn’t been used to his full potential quite yet. The Saints haven’t yet played a defense that has had troubles with defending tight ends, but this week is a change for that. Behind the Cardinals, they have allowed the 2nd most receptions and yards to tight ends. If I were the Saints, I would see this and give Teddy Bridgewater the opportunity to utilize Cook in ways to exploit the defense. Cook did see the most receptions of the season last week under Bridgewater, so I would expect a continued increase in volume.

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

Tyler Eifert hasn’t done anything spectacular yet this season, but he faces a very good matchup this week for tight ends. The Cardinals have allowed the most receiving yards to tight ends this season which averages out to 107.8 per game. On top of that, they have allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends this season. By far, tight ends have found the most success against the Cardinals than any other team. I would expect at least one touchdown for Eifert with more yards than he has seen so far this season.

Trey Burton, Chicago Bears

Opponent: Oakland Raiders

Trey Burton has had a rough time getting it going this year but has begun to see an increase in productiveness as the season progresses. The Bears took a hit with Trubisky’s injury, but they have a reliable backup in Chase Daniels. The Raiders have allowed the 2nd most amount of touchdowns and the 3rd most amount of fantasy points to tight ends. Daniels will need a reliable receiver to throw to and Burton should be that guy this week. He is an easy completion to boost confidence especially against a team like the Raiders who allow it freely.

Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

Most games with the Chiefs turn into high scoring games. Eric Ebron will see a lot of action this week because of it. The Chiefs score a lot which will contribute to the Colts throwing a lot. The Chiefs have had opposing tight ends targeted 40 times which is the 2nd most in the NFL. In PPR leagues, this is extremely valuable. If T.Y. Hilton also has to miss another week, his value this week will continue to grow. Last week he had one catch for a 48-yard touchdown, but this week should come with a lot more volume.

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

Opponent: Baltimore Ravens

This pick I am the least confident in, but there are reasons for why Vance McDonald could be a good pick this week. The Ravens are a very solid run defense, but the one exploit for them is how they handle the pass including tight ends. They have averaged 62 receiving yards to tight ends this season with just one touchdown though. McDonald sat out last week for a shoulder injury but is likely to make a return. In Week 2 he had 7 receptions which are a lot for tight ends along with two touchdowns. If his shoulder fully heals, I would expect similar usage this week.

Sit ‘Em

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins

Opponent: New England Patriots

Vernon Davis finds himself on a team that is struggling to decide which quarterback is right for them. Last week against the Giants he had just one reception for 5 yards. He won’t be getting much more action than that this week against the Patriots who have the top-ranked defense in the league. Against tight ends, they have allowed just 9 receptions through 4 games for 144 total yards. That is only 36 yards per game also without allowing a single touchdown. I can almost assure you that Vernon Davis won’t give you much this week if anything at all.

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

The fact that Cameron Brate received equal targets as O.J. Howard scares me for starting Howard. I had him on the “Sit ‘Em” list last week which was the right move even though I was a bit skeptical about it. This week I am more clear cut about sitting him. Jamies Winston had the game of his life last week, and Howard only received 3 targets for 33 total yards. To compare, Brate had 3 targets for 36 yards but had a touchdown to go with it. He has yet to find the endzone despite playing close to every snap which makes me think he won’t be getting many this year.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Opponent: Buffalo Bills

Delanie Walker is coming off a very poor performance for fantasy purposes with only one reception for 4 yards. This marked a huge drop in volume which was odd against a Falcons team that previously was a favorable matchup for tight ends. This week the Titans play the Bills who are the least favorable matchup for tight ends possible. Tight ends have averaged just 21 yards per game which is the 2nd lowest in the NFL behind the Panthers. If no better options are available, I would start him with low expectations, but I would check waivers this week for other options.

James O’Shaughnessy, Jacksonville Jaguars

Opponent: Carolina Panthers

James O’Shaughnessy has climbed up into the talk of tight ends the past two weeks in which he has found the endzone once in each week. While it is important for your tight end to have a red-zone presence, his volume is not yet to a point of starting him. He caught two passes two weeks ago and one last week for his single touchdown. He is very touchdown-dependent which he is likely to not get against a Panthers’ defense that has allowed the least amount of yards per game to tight ends this season (19.8).

Ricky Seals-Jones, Cleveland Browns

Opponent: San Fransisco 49ers

You may have noticed the Ricky Seals-Jones had quite the game last week against the Ravens with 3 receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. With David Njoku out, he has been the one to step up in his place and gave a reason for a rise in his ownership. I don’t see him having the same kind of production out of his volume again especially against a strong 49ers defense. Tight ends have averaged just 29 yards per game against the 49ers which is about where I would put Seals-Jones at for this week.

I am a student at the University of Michigan studying Sport Management. I have been involved in sports as long as I can remember, playing football, baseball, and basketball. I also love learning how to play songs on the piano and ukulele.

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