After his least productive game of the season last week, Travis Kelce returned to his usual monster games in which he had eight receptions for 109 yards with a touchdown. That makes his second 100+ yard game and his sixth touchdown on the season. Both Jared Cook and Taysom Hill had good games for the Saints as Cook has now had a touchdown in each of his last three games. Hill has not been much of a factor this season and it will probably be the case moving forward but an increase in use along with a touchdown could make him a potential waiver wire candidate in the future. With time ticking away in the season, it is important to make your best lineup decisions now. Do not mess up with starting a tight end who is set up to fail. To help, here is a list of some of the tight ends you should be starting and some you should avoid this week.
Opponent: Atlanta Falcons
After coming back from his injury, Noah Fant has picked up right where he left off. He received seven targets in his week back and nine targets last week. Once Fant can find the endzone again as he did in the first two weeks of the season, he will return to being one of the top tight ends in the league. His volume is there and with a few more downfield attempts, his yards will pick up too. He gets to face a Falcons’ team who has been the kindest to tight ends this year, giving them the most fantasy points than any other team. With the Broncos receivers dealing with many injuries, it will be on Fant to get the passing game going as we saw last week. I would expect his targets to remain the same, but a few more downfield attempts to boost his yardage and maybe a score if he gets lucky.
Opponent: New Orleans Saints
I have said before that Rob Gronkowski is only playable if he starts to pick up the pace, and he answered that call with three straight games with a touchdown. Not only has he been able to score but his target share has dramatically increased with eight targets in weeks 6 and 7 and he caught all four of his targets last week. He has averaged just over 60 yards over this three-week span which when combined with the touchdowns has led to some impressive scores. The Gronkowski-Brady synergy is back and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The Bucs take on the Saints this week who has been a favorable matchup for tight ends this year. With the momentum on Gronk’s side, there seems to be no one who can stop him as we have seen in years past.
Opponent: Dallas Cowboys
In back-to-back weeks, Eric Ebron has put up the numbers of a tight end you want in your starting lineup. Eight targets two weeks ago led to a healthy share of the receiving game and a touchdown last week capped an impressive performance once again. The upcoming matchup against the Cowboys is a matchup you want to target with almost any player as the Cowboys have allowed tons of points to almost anyone. They have been better at guarding tight ends than the rest of the positions, but they still have been above the league’s average of points given up to tight ends. In what will likely become a Steelers’ rout over the Cowboys, Ebron will likely get a big part in the action.
Opponent: Tennessee Titans
After a great start to the year for Jimmy Graham, the past three weeks have not been his finest. His workload is there with eight, six, and seven targets in the last three weeks respectively, but his yards are not there to support him. He has only surpassed 40 yards in one week, making him a touchdown-dependent starter which is not what you are looking for in a tight end. Once he establishes himself as a downfield type of player, he will be startable again, but the last three weeks have shown how the Bears have struggled offensively and it does not appear to be getting any better. The Titans are a decent matchup for tight ends, but with how the trend of Graham has been going, it should not make much of a difference.
Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
It has been a miserable time for Mike Gesicki owners who relied on him after a great start to the season. Gesicki has totaled just one reception for eight yards combined in the past two games. He has received only two targets in both games and so far the switch at quarterback to Tua Tagovailoa has not been in favor of Gesicki. To add to that, the Cardinals have shown great improvements at covering tight ends this year as opposed to last year where they ranked dead last. Now they are more of a team to avoid. With his target share disappearing, there is no reason to be starting Gesicki this week. Who was once a top tight end in the league, has turned into a waiver wire player. It could be worth stashing him in hopes he returns to glory but that does not appear to be the case.
Opponent: Green Bay Packers
You may be looking at Jordan Reed as George Kittle will be out for this week. Reed was recently activated off the injured reserve list and is set to make his return this week but the question is how much will he be used. The 49ers’ offense is riddled with injuries all around which would normally be good for Reed as his target share will increase. It is his prior injury that keeps me turning away from him. Yes, there will be more targets open for the taking, but I do not think Reed will be able to take on a large workload as they do not want to lose him as well. It is very much worth picking up Reed and stashing him for now for when he gets to 100% again. With Kittle possibly out for the year, Reed could become Nick Mullens’ favorite target moving forward, but it is risky to start him right away this week.
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