With two of the top six tight ends on bye this week, you may be one looking for ways to fill their spots. One of the top over-performers from last week was Darren Fells. He recorded a touchdown on two receptions for 57 yards. He has been a very hit or miss tight end this season and only hits when he gets a touchdown. You have to really believe he is going to score a touchdown to play him. The top three tight ends continue to shine with Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller. George Kittle had more of an off day after having an explosive return the week prior. With new matchups in week 6, it is time to get into who you should be starting and avoiding at tight end. Here are the starts and sits at tight end for week 6.
Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
After facing one of the toughest defenses against tight ends in the Steelers, Zach Ertz should be back to his normal production in week 6. The Ravens have been far more lenient to tight ends this season, providing him with more opportunities to gain yards. The focus has been on Ertz from defenses as the Eagles’ wide receivers have been banged up. With members of the team like DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey possibly making a return, the focus of defenses will likely shift away, leaving Ertz with more open routes. This is gearing up to be a bounce-back week for Ertz and he deserves a spot in your starting lineups.
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
After a slow start to the season, Eric Ebron has seen an increase in targets and now ranks second on the team in targets. He has had five receptions in each of the Steelers’ past two games and had his only touchdown two games ago. When Ebron can find the endzone, he can put up some high numbers with the volume he receives. The Browns have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends this season in the league. They have allowed just under a touchdown a game to tight ends on average, giving Ebron every opportunity to shine this week. He is a great addition to your team if you have Hunter Henry, Darren Waller, or Jared Cook who are all on bye.
Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
A game has not gone by this season in which T.J. Hockenson did not reach expectations. He has great hands and makes the most out of every target that he can. Other than in the Lions’ most recent game, he has caught at least four passes and surpassed 50 yards. The one time he did not reach that mark, he scored a touchdown to make up for it. Either way, you are getting solid production out of Hockenson and after a bye week, the streak will likely continue. They have a generous matchup against the Jaguars who have not been the best defense overall, and that extends to covering tight ends as well. They have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends, and Hockenson will be able to exploit that with Matthew Stafford heating up.
Opponent: Green Bay Packers
Rob Gronkowski has yet to see consistent use as he had in New England with Tom Brady. He had three receptions for 52 yards last week which is not horrible, but it appears to not be an expectation each week. He is your last resort type of player for this week if there are no options available, but if you can avoid him, do it. The Packers have been stingy with tight ends this season, letting up the fourth-least amount of fantasy points to them in the league. With the matchup not being very favorable and his production not being the type that you want in a starting tight end, he is only startable if you have Henry, Waller, or Cook, and are in desperate need of a tight end.
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Jimmy Graham has been a touchdown machine for the Bears this season. He added another one last week to make his total four on the season. In three out of the five games the Bears have played, he has come away with a touchdown and a solid score. It is the two games in which he hasn’t that bring up questions. Those two games were against two of the top three defenses against tight ends. It seems that the matchup is the biggest predictor of Graham’s success for the week and this week is not a good week for that to be true. The Panthers have allowed the fifth-least amount of fantasy points to tight ends and have allowed just one touchdown to them this season. With that in mind, it is better to go with someone else this week and play him later on.
Opponent: Detroit Lions
Tyler Eifert has seen an increase in targets over the last couple of weeks which you would think would lead to more production from him, but his catch rate is so low, that it has a negligible effect on his scores. He is consistently getting between two and three receptions per game and has never gone above 40 yards receiving. His one touchdown gave him his only solid week, but besides that, it has been atrocious on his stat card. The Lions do not make matters any better as they have been particularly good at holding tight ends. They have allowed the least amount of yards to tight ends in the league and have the eighth-best score against tight ends in fantasy terms. With the year looking like a bust for Eifert, the Jaguars struggling, and the Lions being solid at defending tight ends, it is a sit for Eifert this week as well as many more.
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