Week 16 TE Report
Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Rob Gronkowski (DK – $7,400/FD – $8,400): Gronkowski is making a run at Travis Kelce for the top spot in TE scoring despite missing two games this year. He’s scored over 20 Fantasy points in three straight games (5/82/2, 9/147, and 9/168) while averaging 10.7 targets per game. His middle game of this set came against the Bills. Last season he had five catches for 109 yards and a TD against Buffalo, which was the case in 2015 (@BUF – 7/113/1). In his career, Gronkowski has 61 catches for 960 yards and 11 TDs vs. the Bills in 12 games. Buffalo is 22nd defending TEs with two bad games (TB – 12/158/2 and NE – 10/150). On the year, TEs have 74 catches for 813 yards and three TDs on 105 targets. Gronk has an excellent resume in this matchup against Buffalo in his career while playing his best ball of the season over the last month. Possible multiple TDs with solid value in catches and receiving yards in Week 16.
Travis Kelce (DK – $6,900/FD – $7,000): Kelce is battling an illness this week leading to a couple of missed practices. He’s on pace to set a career-high in catches (90), receiving yards (1132), TDs (8), and targets (130). Travis has been quiet in three of his last four games (3/39, 7/74, and 6/46) while having five games with over 20 Fantasy points in 2017 (8/103/1, 7/111/1, 7/133/1, 7/73/1, and 4/94/2). He averages 8.1 targets per game. Miami tightens up their defense against WRs over the last month, but they rank 28th vs. the TE position (78/828/8 on 109 targets) with five bad game (LAC – 10/101/1, TEN – 10/62/1, OAK – 8/126, NE – 6/84/2, and BUF – 7/101). Love this matchup, and I expect him to shine this week. Possible 30+ Fantasy points.
Evan Engram (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,600): Engram will finish as a top-five TE in 2017. He’s on pace for 72 catches for 811 yards and seven TDs on 129 targets. Evan only has one game (7/99/1) with over 20 Fantasy points while posting over 15 Fantasy points in five other outings (5/82/1, 6/60/1, 4/70/1, 6/31/1, and 8/87). Engram averages just over eight targets per game. The Cardinals have shown risk defending TEs in three games (PHI – 9/82/1, TB – 8/96/1, and SEA – 6/27/2). Over the last eight games, no TE has over 45 yards receiving vs. Arizona with only 30 combined catches. As much as I want him to have a nice game for a season-long contest I’m in, Evan doesn’t have a great matchup this week. He remains the number two option in the passing game for the Giants, which helps his floor. More of an against the grain play in the daily space.
Greg Olsen (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,600): Last week was the perfect storm for Olsen, but most Fantasy owners failed to see his upside. After playing a full game in Week 14 with no catches on one target, game score and an unhealthy Devin Funchess led to a monster game by Greg (9/116/1). I’m sure he was on the bench on many teams in the season-long games. Last week Olsen was on the field for 73 of 75 plays, so it’s now safe to assume that he’s back to his old self. The Bucs are very good against TEs (4th – 58/608/3 on 77 targets). They haven’t allowed a TD to a TE in their last eight games. On the year, only two teams scored over 20 Fantasy points at TE against Tampa (NYG – 8/73/1 and DET – 13/125). In 2016, Greg had a 9/181 game vs. the Bucs. Very good salary for his expected growth in opportunity, but he needs a TD to fill his salary box. His lower salary will make him an attractive play at TE in Week 16.
Delanie Walker (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,400): Delanie remains the top receiving option in Tennessee. He has five catches or more in seven of his last eight games while averaging 7.8 targets per game over this stretch. Walker has a TD in three of his last four games and over 60 yards receiving in six of his last eight starts. The Rams are league average against the TE position (52/599/7 on 90 targets) with two bad games (NYG – 6/91/1 and PHI – 6/76/3). LA allowed four TDs to the TE position over the last two games. Nice steady TE option with a mid-teen floor.
Jimmy Graham (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,800): Against two good defenses (JAC and LAR), Graham deserted Fantasy owners. He caught only one of his five targets over his last two starts for minus-one yard. Before his fade, Jimmy had nine TDs over eight games. Even with his success, Graham had fewer than 60 yards receiving in these games. He averages 6.4 targets per game. A season-long battle with an ankle issue lowered his yards per catch to 8.9 yards, which is well below his success in 2016 (14.2). The Cowboys allowed over 15 Fantasy points to the TE position in four of their last seven games (21.60, 18.90, 18.60, and 21.40). On the year, TEs have 68 catches for 709 yards and five TDs on 96 targets against Dallas. Graham will regain some of his form in this matchup with a chance at a TD, but his lack of explosiveness does limit his ceiling.
Jason Witten (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,800): Witten is at the end of his career, which is highlighted by his fade over his last 12 games. Over this stretch, Jason has one catch in a game six times while averaging only 4.4 targets per game. His best two games came in Week 1 (7/59/1) and Week 2 (10/97/1). Seattle ranks 8th against TEs (59/653/5 on 100 targets) with three TEs scoring over 165 Fantasy points (LAR – 5/106, NYG – 6/60/1, and ARI – 5/64/1). Boring option at this point in his career with his last dance in the NFL looking to be next week.
Charles Clay (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,500): Clay was more active last week (5/68 on nine targets), which was his best game over his last six starts (2/13, 3/27, 4/60, 3/20, and 2/11) since returning from his ankle injury. The Patriots held him to three catches for 20 yards on three targets in Week 13. New England is 12th in the league vs. the TE position (63/599/5 on 90 targets). They’ve held TEs to fewer than 11 Fantasy points in each of their last eight games after struggling in five of their first six games (KC – 7/55/1, NO – 7/70/1, HOU – 6/75/1, TB – 5/68/1, and NYJ – 8/46/1). Charles isn’t healthy, and this isn’t great matchup.
Eric Ebron (DK – $3,700/FD – $5,200): Of all the backend TE options, Ebron is trending in the right direction while owning upside talent. Over his last two games, Eric has 15 catches for 127 yards and a TD on 18 targets. He has four catches or more in five straight games after only having over three catches in a game once over his first nine games. His playing time remains in almost a dead heat with Darren Fells (500 to 491 snaps). Cinci is 19th defending TEs (69/745/4 on 97 targets) with two teams scoring over 20 Fantasy points (IND – 12/121/1 and CHI – 8/85/1). Decent backend TE flier.
Ricky Seal-Jones (DK – $3,500/FD – $5,200): The Seals-Jones window looks to have passed. After two nice games (3/54/2 and 4/72/1) with short snaps (8 and 17), Ricky has been extremely quiet over the last three games (2/44, 1/20, and 2/11). Last week he did have six targets with a season-high 30 plays. Arizona is banged up at TE (Jermaine Gresham – illness and Troy Niklas – ankle), which may lead to a nice bump in snaps for Seals-Jones in Week 16. The Giants still have the worst TE defense (77/941/13 on 121 targets). Eleven of their 14 opponents have a TD from the TE position. Player to follow as Ricky has a big WR feel for a TE. The change at QB and the health of the other TEs do invite some cloudiness to his situation. Viable gamble if you decide to stack him with Drew Stanton.
Vernon Davis (DK – $3,400/FD – $6,000): Davis has been over projected in each of his last five games. His only TD came in Week 3. Vernon only has six catches for 59 yards and a TD on 15 targets over his last four starts. He had over 60 yards receiving in six of his previous seven games before his fade. Denver allows the fourth-most Fantasy points to TEs (73/901/9 on 104 targets) while playing better vs. TEs in four their last five games (CIN – 2/13/1, OAK – 2/13, MIA – 4/49/1, NYJ – 1/1, and IND – 9/80/1). Cousins will need to use his RBs and TEs to have success passing the ball this week. Fading candle, but this is a matchup where he should be more active with a chance at a TD.
Cameron Brate (DK – $3,300)/FD – $5,100): Brate has a bounce back in playing time in Week 15 (29 of 61 snaps) after O.J. Howard went down with an ankle issue. Even after the injury, Tampa did mix in Alan Cross and Antony Auclair at TE. Cameron is battling hip and knee issue in December. Over his last seven games, Brate only has 11 catches for 136 yards and two TDs on 24 targets. In Week 8, he had four catches for 64 yards against the Panthers. Carolina is 7th defending the TE (48/537/7 on 75 targets). Tough to trust, but he does have scoring ability, and Jameis Winston will look for him at the goal line.
Austin Hooper (DK – $3,100/FD – $5,100): Hooper has an emptiness in his stat line in five straight games (2/-1, 3/38, 3/21, 2/23, and 2/12) with only 17 combined targets. Austin averages only 4.1 targets per game with only one game of value (2/128/1). The Saints have the best TE defense in the league (46/511/6 on 74 targets) with two teams scoring over 20 Fantasy points (NE – 7/121/1 and 6/85/1). Only a flier while playing in a possible chaser game.
Garrett Celek (DK – $2,800/FD – $5,000): Over the last two games, Celek has hit on a pass for over 40 yards and TD leading to two straight, steady games (2/67/1 and 3/63/1) on seven combined targets. He’s been on the field for 107 of 143 plays in the last two games. The Jaguars have the third-best defense against TEs (54/561/4 on 87 targets). Low volume player with a tough matchup while battling knee and rib issues.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (DK – $2,700/FD – $5,400): Over his last seven games, Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t have a TD while posting six short games (5/28, 2/20, 2/27, 2/7, 1/1, 2/13). Austin averages 5.5 targets per game with three TDs and one game of value (8/46/1). The Chargers will rush the QB requiring ASJ to block more. LA is 9th defending QBs (61/710/3 on 95 targets). Fading player with a downgrade at QB makes him a losing ride.
Antonio Gates (DK – $2,500/FD – $4,500): Gates will get a bump in playing time with Hunter Henry placed in IR. Last week Antonio was on the field for 22 of 64 plays, but he did score his second TD of the year. Over his last six games, Gates only has five catches for 45 yards and a TD on 14 targets. The Jets rank 18th defending the TE position (53/669/8 on 93 targets). Great career resume, but his game isn’t where it needs to be to be a productive player in the daily games even with a bottom shelf salary. I expect the Chargers to rotate in a couple of other TEs this week.