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. For multiple reasons we should throw last week out for Darren Waller ($5,200 DK, $6,700 FD). The Raiders never really got going offensively in their loss to New England and Waller was also dealing with a knee injury. The tight end was targeted just four times and caught only two passes for nine yards as he was essentially a non-factor. It was a far cry from the first two weeks of the season where Waller caught 18 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. This week Waller faces a Buffalo team that has proven to be weak against opposing tight ends as he looks to get back on track. The knee appears to be healthy but I would double check his situation Sunday morning.
Subscribers can now expect to get six more picks as we take a closer look at some more tight ends at varying price points who deserve our attention this week along with a few from whom we should keep our distance. And not all will break the back 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.
Through the first three weeks of the season New Orleans has allowed the most points to opposing tight ends and this week T.J. Hockenson ($4,800 DK, $5,400 FD) gets to take a crack at the Saints. Detroit should find things even easier this week as New Orleans is missing two key pieces of their secondary and the Lions shouldn’t have much trouble throwing the ball downfield. The return of Kenny Golladay didn’t seem to impact Hockenson last week as they tied for the team lead with seven targets each. Hockenson turned that into four receptions for 53 yards and for the season he has 13 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Another tight end who is both in a good situation (Cleveland struggles to defend the tight end) and in a secure role within a strong offense is Dalton Schultz ($4,300 DK, $4,900 FD). Despite that, Schultz is still priced pretty favorably and he has been consistent in each of the past two weeks after taking over the starting job. Schultz has been targeted 16 times in that stretch and turned it into 13 receptions for 136 yards with a touchdown in both games. At his price Schultz’s production can fit solidly into a roster as it provides some measure of predictability.
Even with the return of Jack Doyle last week, Mo Alie-Cox ($3,900 DK, $5,300 FD) still appeared to have a good handle on being the main tight end in Indianapolis. At his price, Alie-Cox is close to a free square and if we are going to base things on the last two weeks it is well worth it to take a shot on him. Two weeks ago with Doyle still sidelined Alie-Cox caught five passes for 111 yards and last week both were essentially a non-factor as the outcome of the Colts’ game against was never really in doubt. But if we are going to take Alie-Cox’s performance as the floor, we have to feel pretty good about our investment as he caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. I would expect Philip Rivers’ chemistry with Alie-Cox to continue this week as the Colts face a Bears team that has struggled against the tight end position so far this season.
No you aren’t reading last week’s picks, we are just going back to Logan Thomas ($3,500 DK, $4,900 FD) one last time. With the point spread hovering around the two-touchdown mark, it’s no secret that Washington will be trailing and looking to make up ground through the air. Couple that with the fact that their top receivers are nursing injuries and I would expect to see Thomas be busy on Sunday against the Ravens. Thomas is still looking for his first touchdown of the season but he has four receptions in each of his first three games while averaging eight targets per week. While Thomas isn’t going to jump off the page at anyone, he is cheap and has a consistent role in Washington’s offense and that has value.
The majority of time when building a lineup I tend to avoid higher priced tight ends and this week things are no different when it comes to Mark Andrews ($6,000 DK, $7,400 FD). Andrews is the second most expensive tight end on the slate and his performance through the first three weeks of the season certainly doesn’t warrant that price. We want to avoid judging Andrews strictly on last week’s performance as the entire Baltimore offense was a mess, but things were just not good as he turned eight targets into just three receptions for 22 yards. The problem though is that is indicative of Andrews’ performance all season as combined he has just nine receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns. That is what you would expect from Andrews in one week at his price, not three.
At this point can we trust the Giants’ offense? Through the first three weeks of the season they haven’t shown us any reason to do so and things aren’t going to get better in Los Angeles against a tough Rams’ defense on Sunday. It has been a rough go of things for Evan Engram ($4,400 DK, $5,600 FD) as he has just 11 receptions for 96 yards through the first three weeks of the season and there is nothing to suggest that anything will change. Engram’s price has come down some but at this point there really isn’t any upside.
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