Since this week is championship week in most leagues, yours truly is getting a head start on scouring the tight end landscape. Here are a few notable happenings from Week 13:
In the most surprising news of the day, Geno Smith brought Evan Engram back to life. Engram posted a 7-99-1 line (8 targets) against the Raiders and is tied for the TE2 position for Week 13 pending Monday Night Football.
Stephen Anderson had a whopping 12 targets against the Titans, parlaying that into a 5-79-1 line. This is one week after Jack Doyle had 8 targets against Tennessee, so maybe we can expect a decent floor for Ricky Seals-Jones in Week 14.
Jameis Winston’s return was a boon for Cameron Brate, who turned 6 targets into 2-39-2. His counterpart, O.J. Howard, had a minimal 1-17 line on 2 targets.
On Sunday, Andy Reid relinquished play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, and Nagy found a way to get Travis Kelce involved. Kelce pasted the Jets with a 4-94-2 line (8 targets). This comes at a good time heading into our playoff matchups. Another dud by the Chiefs would have made me question Kelce as a legitimate start. Instead, I am left feeling that way about Kareem Hunt, who has all but disappeared from this offense.
Hunter Henry (7-81) had 9 targets against Cleveland and is firmly entrenched in the circle of trust by now...right? I like to think so, but we’ve felt that way before.
Jared Cook and Clive Walford combined for 9 targets against the GMen, but only Walford (4-57) was somewhat viable. Jared Cook seems to find a way to disappoint pretty frequently. I would look for reasons not to play him this week.
David Njoku (4-74-1 on 6 targets) is the TE6 pending Monday Night Football. He will be a strong TE2 for Week 14 given the relative weakness of this position.
So what does Week 14 hold? Let’s check it out!
The big news is Rob Gronkowski might be suspended for a late hit in the Buffalo game. If so, that would leave Travis Kelce as the unquestioned top start for playoff week. Kelce gets a great matchup against the Raiders—the same team that revived Evan Engram in Week 13.
Jimmy Graham (@ JAC) and Zach Ertz (@ LAR) would round out the elite tier. After those guys, it’s a dice-roll between trusting Engram against Dallas or Hunter Henry against Washington. For me, it’s Henry. I will be paying attention to the Giants quarterback situation all week. If there is a chance Davis Webb is active and will see significant action, I don’t think you can trust Engram to replicate his recent success. Remember, McAdoo’s plan was to give Eli Manning a half and Geno Smith a half. If he enacts something similar between Geno and Webb, I don’t think you can trust Engram.
Jason Witten is a candidate to move into legitimate TE1 status for Week 14, as he is a notorious Giant-killer and the matchup is the best in fake football.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins will have a chance to right the proverbial ship against the Broncos, who allowed the shadow of Julius Thomas to finish as the TE12 in Week 13 (pending MNF). Thomas accomplished said feat by scoring a touchdown on one of his three targets. The Broncos have allowed eight scores to enemy tight ends this year and are the second-worst defense against tight ends. If you are forced to rely on ASJ this week, you could certainly be doing worse.
Charles Clay was shaping up to be this week’s “coverboy,” but the injury to Tyrod Taylor is not encouraging. The Bills don’t have any reason to rush Taylor back to work, and a home matchup against the Colts is a decent spot to get another look at backup Nathan Peterman.
Finally, if Greg Olsen returns this week, he will do so against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have not allowed a tight end to score since Week 5. Also, if you removed Vernon Davis’ 76-yard effort in Week 10, no tight end has eclipsed 54 yards against the Vikings (and that was to Coby Fleener all the way back in Week 1). If you remove Fleener’s Week 1 output, no tight end has amassed more than 40 yards against the Vikings all year. I know I can’t just arbitrarily remove weeks, I am just illustrating the brutality of this matchup. I will not be rostering Greg Olsen anywhere in Week 14. Not even in daily fantasy. I’ll seek upside elsewhere.
That’s it for the recap and the brief look ahead. Welcome to the playoffs, everybody!