It is a tricky week at the tight end position because of the byes and injuries of late. Hunter Henry, Darren Waller, and Jared Cook are all on bye this week, leaving three major holes in some lineups. Noah Fant had a week off to rest but he will remain questionable for this week. Jordan Akins was out last week with a concussion and Mo Alie-Cox popped up on the injury report. A few of these names below have been gaining steam in targets and snaps over the past few weeks. The tight end positions haven’t been an easy one this year as a lot of middling names have failed to show up this year. However, there are a few names that should bring some stability moving forward.
Week 6 TE Waiver Wire Pickups
Robert Tonyan – Green Bay Packers
Robert Tonyan’s ownership bump did happen but not high enough because of the bye week he was coming into. Now the Packers are back of the bye and you won’t have to worry about that for the rest of the year. Tonyan is coming off a couple of excellent games and he took advantage of the Falcons matchup where Davante Adams and Allen Lazard were out. Adams will be back and that can be viewed as a small hit for Tonyan but his overall numbers should still be fantasy viable given the nature of the offense. He has 12% of the red zone targets in Green Bay this season and his targets have gone up from 3, 5, to 6 over the last three weeks. He is seeing a lot of short and effective passes early on but also has been used on third down.
Trey Burton – Indianapolis Colts
The Colts offense has been a nightmare for fantasy football. The running back committee has been unappealing and the rotational use of tight ends so far has been annoying as well. Jack Doyle has been involved in snaps but has hardly been involved in the offense. At this point, he is just getting in the way. Since Trey Burton has returned from injury, he has played 36 and 25 snaps. He has also run the most routes among the Colts tight ends in that span and has 12 targets in that span. While we have played a guessing game with the Colts tight ends so far, Frank Reich has talked up Burton over the offseason as a key guy for the offense. That is holding true now that he is back and healthy. He has run 38 routes to Jack Doyle’s 32, and he has 12 in that span while nobody else has more than three.
Dalton Schultz – Dallas Cowboys
Dalton Schultz continues to see a ton of time on the field, playing 50+ snaps every week of the season so far. While we will have a shift of quarterbacks with Dak Prescott out for the year, Andy Dalton isn’t a quarterback that will just tank this offense. Schultz ranks fourth in targets on a powerful high-volume offense. He leads the Cowboys in red-zone targets with five this season, and that is 20% of the red zone targets on an offense that is loaded with talent. Schultz remains an option to pick up to at least keep up on the bench as a backup plan or as a starter in deeper leagues if you didn’t go the high-end route with the bigger names. The Dallas schedule remains one to target as they will get Arizona, Washington, and Philadelphia over the next three weeks. All teams have struggled against tight ends this season or dating back to last year.
Austin Hooper – Cleveland Browns
I mentioned Austin Hooper last week as a potential option to grab because his usage in the offense was trending up. That continued against the Colts as he had 10 targets, bringing it to 17 over the last two weeks. If he can sit even in the 6-7 range each week I will be happy with Hooper as this offense is really clicking. While they have a tough matchup against Pittsburgh coming up, Hooper’s role in the offense is worth of a look moving forward in easier matchups. After scoring back-to-back double-digit fantasy point games, I would imagine Hooper’s ownership will take a slight jump after this week. There will be a handful of people looking to grab plug and play option because of the bye week names out.
Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers
Eric Ebron continues to adjust to this Steelers offense and as many new players, rookies, and even seasoned veterans, have needed to time after an odd offseason. While there are a lot of weapons in this offense, Ebron has seen 19 targets, catching 74% of them this season. He has seen at least five targets since Week 2 and is getting multiple deep targets downfield which helps his upside with chunk plays. It is not a bad few weeks of matchups for Ebron outside of the Ravens, as he plays the Browns, Titans, Cowboys, Bengals and Jaguars. This is a very strong fantasy schedule for a tight end and overall offense. I still won’t be spending a ton of FAAB money on these names just due to the volatility of the position and other positions needing more attention.
Jimmy Graham – Chicago Bears
Jimmy Graham ranks second on the Bears in targets behind Allen Robinson, but he leads the team in touchdowns with five. His red zone usage has been high with 28% of the team targets in the red zone. It is somewhat shocking he isn’t an 80% rostered player right now, given he is TE6 in PPR scoring and moves up in standard formats with the touchdown dependency. While he needs those touchdowns to produce strong scores given the lack of yardage, the Bears have been just competent enough on the offensive side to give Graham these chances in the red zone. With no real other red zone options outside of Robinson, I would expect Graham’s usage to continue. Graham is likely going to be a popular grab this week to help fill in for bye week players.
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