When we talk about tight ends, upside doesn’t often come to mind. A large part of their value is dependent upon reaching the end zone but they don’t have upside in the way a wide receiver has. Seeing a tight end go for 100-plus yards just isn’t something that will happen often unless you are dealing in the truly elite territory. Fifty yards and a touchdown is a perfectly reasonable expectation from your tight end, and that means your budget should be allocated accordingly. Just make sure you are paying for the production you are getting though.
This doesn’t mean you should never look towards the higher end options if the situation dictates or the salary cap allows, but tread carefully here. There is a fine line to walk between risk and reward as you can’t afford taking a zero from a lineup spot. At the same time, you don’t want to spend any more than necessary at the risk of other positions.
For those who have yet to subscribe, what are you waiting for? Until then you will get one free pick to whet your appetite. Jonnu Smith’s ($5,200 DK, $5,600 FD) value and stature has increased since the start of the season but his price is still not all that outlandish. Smith practiced fully on Thursday and is ready to go for this week. With A.J. Brown sidelined once again the targets will be there. In the first two weeks of the season Smith has been targeted 12 times catching eight passes for 120 yards along with three touchdowns. Once of the big things we look for with tight ends is consistency in role and their place in the offense, and Smith is right there with Corey Davis at the top of Tennessee’s receiving depth chart with both of those attributes.
Behind the paywall, we will continue to take a closer look at some more tight ends who deserve our attention this week along with a few from whom we should keep our distance. And not all will break the bank either which will leave plenty of room for help at other positions. So, keep on going and take a look at what we have to offer.
While he has yet to make his presence felt in the Giants’ offense this season, Evan Engram ($5,000 DK, $5,900 FD) led New York with eight targets last week. As the Giants struggled through the first half against Chicago, Engram was targeted just once but he picked up momentum in the second half of the season and finished with six receptions for 65 yards. With Sterling Shepard sidelined those targets need to go elsewhere and Engram is in prime position to reap the benefits. And with Saquon Barkley now out for the season the Giants do need to adjust their offensive game plan. Once again that means Engram is in position to benefit and leading up to Sunday’s game Joe Judge has talked about increasing his tight end’s involvement in the offense for this week.
After he caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown to start the season I advocated keeping our distance from Logan Thomas ($3,700 DK, $4,900 FD) last week and I wasn’t exactly wrong. Thomas followed that up with four catches for just 26 yards and without the touchdown, the value just wasn’t there. Upon closer inspection though, Thomas was targeted nine times last week which gave him 17 targets over the first two weeks of the season. It is clear that Thomas is a focal point of Washington’s offense and the volume is going to be there even if he does lack explosiveness. This week’s opponent (Cleveland) has allowed opposing tight ends to have success to start the season and Thomas should be busy once again this week.
The beneficiary of Cleveland’s struggles against tight ends last week was Drew Sample ($3,500 DK, $4,800 FD) following C.J. Uzomah’s departure with an Achilles injury. The first two weeks of the season have shown that Joe Burrow is going to be busy but a lot of his passes are going to be of the short and conservative variety. That bodes well for Sample who was targeted times last week catching seven passes for 45 yards. We know that Sample is going to be busy, and at the price it’s hard to argue with his value. And if he makes his way into the end zone, then it really will be a positive return on investment with a solid floor.
It was a quiet debut in Atlanta for Hayden Hurst ($4,700 DK, $5,700 FD) as he caught just three passes for 38 yards with the highlight being a 27-yard reception. Things picked up for Hurst last week as he was targeted eight times which he turned into five receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. It was clear that Hurst was a bigger part of Atlanta’s game plan as the chemistry with Matt Ryan was there. Opposing tight ends have had success against the Bears with the small sample size we have and Hurst should continue to build on last week’s success.
Don’t go chasing touchdowns and last week’s performance. In the case of Tyler Higbee ($5,900 DK, $6,100 FD) it really started in the second half of last season. To begin the year Higbee caught just three passes for 40 yards but then he went crazy last week. Higbee caught five passes for 54 yards but the big difference between the two weeks was his three touchdown receptions. That is not something we can bank on each week and the Bills do have a tough defense. As one of the most expensive tight ends on the slate, I just don’t feel that Higbee is worth paying up for in a situation where we are essentially chasing touchdowns.
Another higher priced option we are looking to avoid this week is Zach Ertz ($5,100 DK, $6,200 FD). While Ertz has been targeted seven times each week to begin the season, he has yet to score a touchdown and has just 60 combined yards over the past two weeks. Dallas Goedert has been the more explosive option over the past two weeks of the season and while that might not continue each week, Ertz isn’t worth the price to find out if he does.
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