Rob Gronkowski (DK – $6,800/FD – $8,400): Gronkowski had another special game vs. the Saints. He caught six of his nine targets for 116 yards and a TD despite leaving the game after 46 plays (76 run by the Patriots) due a groin injury. Rob is listed as questionable for this week’s game while the injury appears to be minor. Last season he missed both games against Houston. In those two games, Martellus Bennett only had three catches for 14 yards on seven targets. This season TDs only have four catches for 60 yards on five targets. The Texans ranked third in the NFL defending TEs in 2016 with only three TDs allowed and one TE scoring over 15 Fantasy points in PPR leagues (Jack Doyle – 4/53/1). Rob is at whole different level than anyone Houston will face at TE. He may be needed to block more this week, but the Patriots are banged up at WR. His projections came out flat (4/59/1) making him more of an against the grain play based on his high salary and matchup.
Travis Kelce (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,100): Sometimes you paint picture of a player for a matchup, but you don’t see the portrait as clearly as you should. Kelce is an elite TE and he was undervalued last week vs. a defense that had success against the TE position. This success of Philly defending the TE was helped by weak TE options in 2016. Travis dusted the Eagles for eight catches for 103 yards and a TD on ten targets, which was his level of success in six of his last ten games in 2016. He had six catches for 74 yards on seven targets in Week 1 vs. the Chargers last season. In Week 17, he had short playing time with Kansas City having a bye in the playoff leading to only one catch for eight yards on two targets. TEs only have eight catches for 124 yards on nine targets vs. LA this year, but they’ve faced the Broncos weak TEs and Julius Thomas (3/26). In 2016, TEs had only four TDs vs. the Chargers with Cameron Brate having the most success (6/86/1). Rising salary with what “appears” to be a below par matchup. He’s the number on receiving option on this roster with a higher chance of scoring TDs with Kareem Hunt running the ball so well. Almost should be an automatic each week while it is always easier to cheat the TE position at DK if you have multiple entries. Torn…
Jordan Reed (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,700): Reed is listed as questionable for this week’s game with a chest issue. Washington plays the late game on Sunday making Jordan a tough start even though a I expect him to play. Over the first two games, he has 11 catches for 84 yards on 11 targets while being on the field for 95 of 134 plays run by the Redskins. Oakland gave up seven catches for 76 yards on nine targets in Week 1 to Delanie Walker while the Jets’ TE only had two catches for 12 yards last week. New York continues to have the weakest TE output in the league. The Raiders struggled with TEs in 2016 (80/1027/7) after playing poorly in this area in 2015 (81/911/12). Reed has an excellent chance of scoring a TD if he plays giving his matchup upside. This is a winnable matchup if you remove his health and injury risk.
Zach Ertz (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,500): Ertz has been active in the passing game in his first two starts (8/93 and 5/97) while averaging nine targets per game. His lack of TDs drops him down a notch on the final TE rankings each week. His ticket came in four of his last six starts (9/79/1, 10/112, 13/139/2, and 8/93) in 2016. Ertz almost has a top WR opportunity over his last 11 games (over nine targets per game). Zach had eight catches for 97 yards vs. the Giants on the road last year while receiving eight targets. New York shut him down in Week 16 (2/33 on two targets), which came in the middle of his hot streak. The Giants have an elite S Landon Collins, but they finished 21st in the league against the TE position in 2016 while getting beat by Jason Witten (7/59/1) and Eric Ebron (5/42/1) for a TDs so far in 2017. Looks favorable on paper, but a TD is required to finish his scoring line.
Jimmy Graham (DK – $4,600/FD – $6,400): Graham was on the field for 53 plays last week, but he only caught one pass for one yard on two targets. This came after a short game in Week 1 (3/8 on seven targets). Jimmy left last week’s game with an ankle injury. He ended up turning in a full practice on Friday so he should start on Sunday. Jimmy has 11 straight games (including playoffs) with fewer than 70 yards receiving. Only once over this period has Graham been a viable play in the daily games (Week 13 – 6/63/1). Even then, he didn’t deliver a separator score. In 2016, Jimmy had three games with over 100 yards receiving (6/100/1, 6/113, and 8/103/2). Over his last 14 games, he averaged just over five targets per game. Jared Cook caught all five of his targets for 56 yards in Week 1 while shutting out the Jaguars’ weak TEs in Week 2. Tennessee was about league average defending TEs in 2016 (80/844/5). Let’s just say there are trust issues here, but his salary is fading into an attractive area.
Delanie Walker (DK – $4,400/FD – $6,500): Over the first two games, Walker has 11 catches for 137 yards and a TD (rush) on 13 targets. This comes with the Titans still struggling to move the ball offensively. This season TEs have eight catches for 80 yards on 13 targets vs. the Seahawks while facing Green Bay and San Fran. In 2016, Seattle was fourth in the league vs. TEs with three TDs allowed and two players scoring over 15 Fantasy points (Levine Toilolo – 3/69/1 and Martellus Bennett – 7/102). Even with a low salary, Delanie wouldn’t be in play for me this week.
Kyle Rudolph (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,600): Sam Bradford has been ruled out for this week’s game, which lowers the value of all Vikings’ offensive players. Over the first two games, Rudolph only has seven catches for 71 yards and a TD on nine targets. This is well below his pace set in 2016 when Kyle finished as the second highest scoring TE in PPR leagues. The Vikings’ offense looked explosive in Week 1 with addition of an elite RB, but the loss of Bradford hurt their ability to move the ball vs. the Steelers. Tampa gave up six catches for 42 yards to the TE in Week 2 after finishing 10th in the NFL defending TEs in 2016 (75/870/3). Priced cheap enough to still be in play while the Bucs do a good job limiting TDs by TEs.
Coby Fleener (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,700): Fleener has been steady over the first two games of 2017 (5/54/1 and 3/33/1), but he’s averaged only five targets per game. This is in line with his failed 2016 season (50/631/3 on 81 targets). In two games vs. the Panthers last year, Coby had nine catches for 91 yards and two TDs on 12 targets with his best game coming at home (6/74/1). He scored in both games, which is good sign for his TD streak extending another game plus New Orleans should be trailing. TEs have eight catches for 50 yards on nine targets vs. Carolina this season. The Panthers did struggle against the TE in 2016 with (78/915/11) with four players posting solid games (Kyle Rudolph – 7/70/1, Coby Fleener – 6/74/1, Lance Kendricks – 7/90, and Jimmy Graham – 6/63/1). Viable swing if you trust his targets.
Martellus Bennett (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,600): Bennett hasn’t looked sharp in his two games in 2017 while trying to find his rhythm with Aaron Rodgers. He’s caught eight of his 17 targets (47.1 percent) for 90 yards while receiving 11 targets last week due to the injuries at WR. The Bengals allowed the third most Fantasy points in PPR leagues to TEs in 2016 (102/1149/7 on 153 targets) with huge failure to New England (12/201/1), Washington (14/192/1), and Philly (14/132/1). After two games, TEs only have two catches for 17 yards vs. Cinci. They played the Ravens in Week 1 who didn’t need to throw to win the game and the Texans didn’t have a TE with a pulse in Week 2 due to injuries. The Bengals will be without their top LB Vontaze Burfict for one game plus they do have some talent at CB. My gut tells me Martellus is the top play at TE in Week 3 especially with the Packers banged up at WRs.
Hunter Henry (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,500): After being shutout in Week 1 with no targets, Henry was active in the Chargers’ passing game vs. the Dolphins. He caught all seven of his targets for 80 yards while seeing about half of the TE snaps. Last year he had four catches for 43 yards and a TD vs, the Chiefs at home. Kansas City had the fifth best TE defense in 2016 with one team scoring over 13 Fantasy points per game (Chargers in Week 17 – 9/98/1 on 13 targets). They did lose their elite safety Eric Berry in Week 1 leading to Zack Ertz five passes for 97 yards. This came after Rob Gronkowski only caught two passes for 33 yards. Hunter has talent, upside, and scoring ability, but he can’t have a high level of success without a better opportunity. Gates is still in the mix so Henry will come up short in many games when he doesn’t score a TD.
Auston Hooper (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,400): Payback is a bitch in Fantasy sports. Hooper awarded Fantasy owners with a nice game in Week 1 (2/128/1), but he only had two targets. Against the Packers, he had the same two targets. But this time, he only gained seven yards on his two catches. At this point of the season, it becomes a question of fact or fiction. The Lions had huge problems covering the TE in Week 2 (7/108/1) even with New York doing nothing offensively. Evan Engram just missed hitting on a second TD as well. In 2016, Detroit ranked 29th in the league defending TEs (93/912/10) with Delanie Walker having the best game (6/83/1). Mr. not so sexy will score a TD this week with the Lions worried about Julio Jones and the run game. If he chips in with a 5/50 game, Austin will be worth the dance.
Jack Doyle (DK – $3,600/FD – $5,300): The Cardinals took away the Colts’ top two WRs last week leading to Jacoby Brissett looking Doyle’s way eight times. Jack caught all of his chances for 79 yards. This came after a short game in Week 1 (2/41 on three targets). The Browns were beat by Jesse James in Week 1 (6/41/2) while the Ravens’ TEs dusted them for 13 catches for 121 yards. In 2016, the Browns allowed the second most Fantasy points to TEs (94/1012/11) with five teams having success (BAL – 10/124, NE – 11/176/3, WAS – 10/81/2, DAL – 11/147/1, and SD 8/94/1). At this point of the year, Doyle is the second option in the passing game. This is a favorable matchup, but Brissett needs to prove he can throw TDs in the red zone. Interesting low value stack with Hilton and the Colts’ QB.
Charles Clay (DK – $3.400/FD – $5,100): Clay came up empty in Week 2 (3/23 on three targets) after Fantasy owners thought he would be the Bills’ top option in the passing game. In Week 1, Charles had nine targets leading to four catches for 53 yards and a TD. Denver has talent at CB, but they can be beat by TEs. Jason Witten caught ten of his 13 targets for 97 yards and a TD with Denver playing from a big lead in Week 2. The Broncos did a nice job against the Chargers’ TEs in the first game of the season (2/17 on three targets). In 2016, Travis Kelce had two big games vs. the Broncos (8/101 and 11/160/1). Seems viable, but I don’t view him as an edge player at his position.
Jesse James (DK – $3,300/FD – $5,300): After two games, James has 10 catches for 68 yards and two TDs while averaging 6.5 targets per game. He gains minimal yards per catch (8.7 in 2016 and 6.8 in 2017) forcing him to score a TD to relevant at this level. Last year Jesse average under four targets per game. Austin Hooper beat the Bears on two plays in Week 1 (2/128/2) while doing a much better job against Tampa (2/17 on four targets). Low volume option with more risk than reward in most weeks.
Eric Ebron (DK – $3,300/FD – $5,200): It was good to see Ebron have a nice game in Week 2 (5/42/1) after coming up short against the Cardinals (2/9 on three targets) Even with his success, it may be tough trust his opportunity (four targets per game). Last year Eric only scored one TD while averaging 6.5 targets per game. After two games, TEs have 13 catches for 139 yards on 24 targets against Atlanta. The Falcons did have risk defending TEs last year (86/988/8) plus they lost their top LB Vic Beasley for a month. Eight TEs had six catches or more against the Falcons (Clive Walford – 6/50/1, Coby Fleener – 7/109/1, Greg Olsen – 6/76/1, Jimmy Graham – 6/89, Zack Ertz – 6/55, Travis Kelce – 8/140, Greg Olsen – 6/59, and Jared Cook – 7/78/1). Ebron checks multiple boxes this week: Talent, high scoring game, Lions struggle to run the ball in the red zone, and Atlanta has one top CB forcing Stafford to use his RBs and TEs in the passing game. Double down on his progression game.
Evan Engram (DK – $3,200/FD – $5,100): I’ve been impressed with Engram in his first two pro games. He played well on Monday high vs. the Lions (4/49/1 on seven targets) while just missing on a second TD. His game looks explosive while flashing value at the goal line. Once Odell Beckham gets rolling Evan is going to have a ton of open space to make plays. He’s averaged six targets per game so far in 2017. The Eagles had the second best TE defense in 2016 with 15 teams scoring fewer than 15 Fantasy points. They allowed four TDs to TEs and no TE gained over 55 yards. Jordan Reed was hurt in both games leading to only one catch for ten yards. The other top TEs posted these games: Jimmy Graham – 3/46/1, Kyle Rudolph – 5/55, and Tyler Eifert – 2/25/1. Travis Kelce broke through with an impact game (8/100/1) in Week 2 vs. the Eagles. His big play ability gives him chance, but this isn’t a great matchup based on Philly’s recent history vs. the TE position.
Jared Cook (DK – $3,100/FD – $5,200): The Raiders didn’t need Cook in Week 2 (4/25 on six targets) to beat the Jets. Oakland ran all over New York creating short passing attempts. After two games, Jared has nine catches for 81 yards on 11 targets. Washington showed risk defending TEs in the first two games (9/104 and 4/104 with 14 combined targets). The Redskins allowed the fifth most Fantasy points to TEs in 2016 (108/1119/3). Worth a flier in this favorable matchup, but I can’t trust his targets and Washington usually minimizes the damage in TDs.
Zach Miller (DK – $3,000/FD – $4,800): The Bears have split TE snaps so far in 2017. Miller has been on the field for 88 of 131 plays compared to 78 by Dion Sims. After two games, Zach has ten catches for 81 yards on 15 targets. The Steelers held TEs to ten catches for 107 yards on 13 targets over the first two games. Fading player who flashes a couple of nice games over the last couple of seasons, but his role is fading.
Cameron Brate (DK – $3,000/FD – $5,100): For those holding out hope for Brate to be the top TE out of the gate in Tampa, the dream appears to be over after one game in O.J. Howard’s career. Howard won the snap battle (46 to 38), which paints a cloudy picture for Cameron in all formats. Game score led to minimal passing by the Bucs in Week 2, but a lot will change when they need to throw. Brate caught two of his three targets for 24 yards. He has scoring ability, but it is tough to believe in his opportunity in Week 3 vs. a top Vikings’ defense.
Ryan Griffin (DK – $3,000/FD – $4,500): With C.J. Fiedorowicz placed on the IR, Griffin will get the bulk of the TE chances in Houston. Last year he caught 50 of his 74 targets for 442 yards and two TDs, but he gained only 8.8 yards per catch. Ryan is coming off a concussion issue while being removed from the injury report on Friday. Last year the Texans’ TEs caught 11 passes for 88 yards and a TD in two games vs. New England with Griffin going 8/52 in the first game. Houston will throw the ball to the TE and they will be chasing on the scoreboard. Possible flier with a bottom level salary at both daily sites.
Julius Thomas (DK – $3,000/FD – $5,100): In his first game in Miami, Thomas caught all three of his targets for 26 yards. Cutler looked early and often to Jarvis Landry while taking his deep shots with DeVante Parker. The Dolphins will run the ball well so a play action TD could be in the cards especially with the Jets struggled to defend the run. TEs have 12 catches for 116 yards and a TD on 19 targets after two games vs. New York. Not the star he once was in Denver with Peyton Manning throwing the ball, but there are signs of improvement in the Dolphins’ passing game in 2017. Possible mid-teens upside with a TD.
Austin Seferian Jenkins (DK – $3,000/FD – $4,500): Over the last two seasons, the Jets’ TEs have only 26 catches for 268 yards and a TD on 51 targets. This is an insanely low number and just shows how weak New York has been at TE. Over the first two games, their TEs have six catches for 63 yards on eight targets. I know most feel Seferian-Jenkins will be an upgrade, but it’s never a good sign when a player coming off a suspension reports to the team out of shape. This guy is fool’s gold and I don’t trust him at all in Week 3.
Antonio Gates (DK – $3,000/FD – $5,000): Gates did indeed score his record breaking TD in Week 2. Unfortunately, Antonio only caught one other pass leading to two catches for 11 yards and a TD on four targets while watching Hunter Henry shine. After two games, he has four catches for 28 yards and a TD on seven targets while splitting TE snaps. Hall of Famer with scoring ability, but he no longer has the Lion’s share of TE chances in San Diego (Just seems right based on his career there).
David Njoku (DK – $2,800/FD – $4,500): Njoku won the TE snap battle in Week 2 leading to three catches for 27 yards and a TD on four targets. The Browns have rotated three TEs in 2017 so he’s far from a lock to see the bulk of playing time in Week 3. David is a talented player who is raw. The injury to Corey Coleman may end up rewarding him the most. Only a gamble until we see more playing time and a bump in targets.
Ed Dickson (DK – $3,000/FD – $4,500): Dickson will take over at TE for the Panthers with Greg Olsen injured. His best year came in his second season (54/528/5), but Ed was unable to repeat his success in his next two years in Baltimore leading to backup role in Carolina over the last three seasons. At best, 50 cents on the dollar, which is where his salary lies. Hs low resume would keep me away, but he’s playing against the Saints. Seems like a pitching wedge from 200 yards into the wind…
O.J. Howard (DK – $3,000/FD – $5,000): Howard caught one of his three targets for 17 yards in his first NFL game while winning the TE battle in Tampa over Cameron Brate. O.J. is a talented player with high upside. I like his playing time in Week 1, which is a good sign for his future value in 2017. For now, we just have to watch until he’s makes the jump into stardom.