To paraphrase Harry Doyle: One catch; that's all we got, one *bleep* catch? Yes, Kelce was shut down by the Chargers in Week three, turning one target into one catch for one yard. No worries, it gets better. The Redskins surrendered the second-most tight end receptions and third-most tight end yards last season and in 2017 have picked up where they left off: Zach Ertz (8-93), Gerald Everett (3-95) and Jared Cook (4-43-1) have all posted productive fantasy outings. Expect Kelce to get back in the saddle here, and in a big way.
Gronk is back to downing defenses like cheap beers at a championship parade, and there are no signs of a hangover in sight. Over the last two weeks Gronkowski racked up 14 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns while leading all Patriots in targets. This week he will face a Panthers defense that has only given up eight catches for 50 yards to tight ends, but that could very well be fools gold. After all, this is the same Carolina team that allowed over 900 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns to tight ends in 2016. Either way, Gronk is a breed all his own, and should be added to lineups with confidence this week.
Ertz has been a hot seasonal commodity in PPR circles, twice posting games of 90-plus yards and double-digit targets. But this kind of euphoria might not carry into Week 4, with the Eagles drawing a Chargers defense which currently owns top-10 rankings against opposing tight ends--in the categories of targets yielded (1st), touchdowns surrendered (1st), receptions allowed (5th) and 9th in receiving yards allowed.
That the Dolphins surrendered 10-101-1 to Chargers tight ends is hardly shocking given how extensively Philip Rivers feeds the position; that Austin Seferian-Jenkins led the Jetsa team that needs a road map and a compass just to find the positionin targets in his first game back from suspension speaks to how poorly Miami covers tight ends. Good news for Fleener, who saw his production drop precipitously in Week 3. Drew Brees feeds the open man, and Fleener's nine catches on 11 targets suggest he's earning more of his quarterback's faith. It's always a sticky wicket given the Saints' propensity to spread the ball around, but trends suggest Fleener will be available to Brees this weekand that usually leads to good things.
Rudolph became a red zone security blanket for Sam Bradford, but, in his two games with Case Keenum as a his quarterback, he has caught just five passes for 49 yards and no touchdowns. He has been used more as a blocker and a receiver running routes to open plays up for other players than getting his in the offense. In two of Detroit's first three games, tight ends did little in the way of production, but the Giants tight ends caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Rudolph's contribution against Detroit has been almost exclusively in the red zone. In his last four meetings, he has caught 17 passes for just 105 yards, but has scored touchdowns in three of them. If you buy into history, he's worth a flyer.
Eric Ebron played crappy in week 3 against the Falcons, his words, not mine (although I do agree). Inconsistency has plagued Ebron's entire career, and so it should not be surprising that a week after catching his first touchdown in almost a year, he went back to being a complete non-factor. If you're brave enough, this could be a good time to take another chance on Ebron however. Minnesota has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in two of its three games this season and Ebron had one of his best games of 2016 in the land of 10,000 lakes, catching seven passes for 92 yards.
It feels a bit like bizarro world when Jared Cook is the safest and most trusted option in a passing offense, but that might just be the case in Week 4s matchup with Denver. The production has been solid through three weeksleader in catches and 2nd in targets, yards and touchdownsbut it might be the matchup on Sunday that is most appealing about Cook. Cooper and Crabtree both have their issues, emotionally and physically, and massive matchup issues. Cook seemingly has neither of those things for the first time in his career, with the latter being the most appealing aspect to Cooks outlook on Sunday. For all the things Denver does well against the pass, defending the tight end isnt one of them. TJ Ward replacement Justin Simmons has been badPFF rates him as the 57th safetyand the Broncos have allowed an average line of 8-68-1 to the position in the last two weeks.
The good news is that Brate has mostly held his spot even with the talented O.J. Howard over his shoulder. Brate has caught 6-of-7 targets through two games and snagged his first touchdown of the year last week. Jason Witten, Eric Ebron and Zach Ertz all found the endzone against the G-Men who are tied for the league lead in touchdowns allowed to tight ends. The yardage ceiling seems relatively low but he is in line to score again this week.
Graham finally returned to relevance in Week 3 and while it took nearly 50 passing attempts and a sideways game script to get there, Grahams once slipping confidence should be on the mend after his best game of 2017 he returned a healthy 7-72 on 11 targets to loyal owners. The Colts havent been overtly giving to the position through three games, but considering theyve faced the Rams, Cardinals and Browns. Otherwise known as the Chernobyl of the position. If you widen the lens, 2016 suggests there is plenty of potential fantasy goodness for any tight end facing this Indy defense. In 2016, the Colts defense allowed the 9th-most receptions and 5th-most yards to the position. And if for some reason target hog Doug Baldwin is sidelined, the focal point of the passing surely shifts to Graham. Yes sirs, its time to fire up your Grahams
Clay has started the season strong, with two scores and averages of 4.3 catches and 38.3 yards. Those aren't world-beater numbers, but they're actually relatively good for a finicky tight end position. The Falcons have been quite stingy against tight ends this season, and have held opposing tight ends to averages of 5.3 catches and 52 yards in three games. Those aren't horrible numbers, but Atlanta has yet to allow a touchdown in those three games. Clay should get a red zone look or two this week, and is a solid play for owners trying to capitalize on his recent success.
Walker has seen his productivity drop as Marcus Mariota adjusts to having legitimate wide receivers at his disposal; worse, rookie Jonnu Smith has become the Titans' designated scoring tight end with two TDs on three catches while Walker remains scoreless. A date with the Texans won't help; Walker hasn't scored against Houston since Week 8 of 2014 and in six matchups over the past three seasons is averaging a paltry 39 yards per game. Houston's defense got Gronked last week but prior to that had allowed 50 yards in two games to opposing tight ends, so this doesn't shape up as a favorable matchup any way you slice it.
There is always the issue with rookie tight ends that they usually don't produce very well early on. While Engram's numbers aren't outstanding, but they've been consistent in terms of targets (5-7-7), receptions (4-4-5) and yards (44-49-45) with one touchdown. He has started to set a baseline of expectations that is expected to only increase if the Giants offense can get its house in order and start clicking like they've been expected to do.
It was a nice turn-back-the-clock fortnight for Witten as he collected 22 targets, 17 catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns through the first two games. Then reality set in: he's a 35-year-old tight end who's a tertiary option in the Dallas offense. Facing the Rams, who are giving up an average of four catches for 34 yards to the position through three games, isn't likely to return Witten to throwback mode. Don't bank on a touchdown, either; only one of the nine touchdowns the Rams have given up this season has gone to a tight end.
Bennett has yet to have a big day with the Packers. He has been targeted 21 times, but caught just 11 passes for 102 yards and no touchdowns and his high-water mark for yardage is just 47. The Bears got burned on two plays by Atlanta's Austin Hooper in Week 1, as he caught two passes for 128 yards (catches of 40 and 88 yards) and a touchdown, but, over the last two weeks, Chicago has limited the tandem of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard to just three catches for 41 yards and Jesse James to two catches for 19 yards. It seems like only a matter of time before Bennett becomes a fantasy weapon for A-Rog, but, until it happens, owners are getting more gun shy by the week.
Reed hasn't enjoyed an all-world start to the season, but there's certainly nothing wrong with a catch-to-target rate of 80 percent through two games. There are other reasons to be optimistic: a) Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has been effusive with his early praise of Reed, who missed a decent chunk of training camp to a toe injury. b) Eagles tight end Zach Ertz burned the Chiefs two Sundays ago, to the tune of five catches, 10 targets and 97 yards. c) Of his previous 29 games, including the playoffs, Reed has collected double-digit targets nine times and six-plus receptions 17 times, while registering 18 touchdowns during this prolific stretch. Simply put, Reed just needs to stay on the field.
Remember that one time when Jack Doyle was a thing and had a dream matchup with the Browns, and then metaphorically defecated on his sheets? Oh yeah, that was last week. Everybody's off the Doyle train now, and the line for tickets this week is enthusiastically non-existent. The Seahawks were a tough nut for tight ends to crack last year, ranking in the top five in fewest catches, yards and touchdowns allowed to the position. And they've picked up where they left off, holding three opponentsincluding Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walkerto an average of four catches and 46 yards and a combined one touchdown. Doyle can return to toiling in obscurity, without causing damage to fantasy lineups everywhere.
Henry seems to show up every other week, so the good news is this is one of the weeks we expect a sighting. Unfortunately, the Eagles are one of the toughest teams in the league for tight ends to find success against; Travis Kelce's Week 2 touchdown was the first Philly has allowed to a tight end dating back to Week 13 of last year, and his 103-yard game the first triple-digit yardage outing against the Eagles since December of 2015. Such numbers required 10 targets, a number Henry has never seen in his brief NFL career. Stout opposition, inconsistent looks and the presence of Antonio Gates conspire to make Henry difficult to trust with a fantasy lineup spot this week.
Here's a perfect damned-if-you, damned-if-you-don't scenario for fantasy owners: The chances of Jesse James matching Marcedes Lewis's three-touchdown output (from Week 3) against the Ravens are prohibitively long; and yet, it makes zero sense to bench James (only 6 catches, 45 yards in his last two games) for this attractive-on-paper matchup. On the whole, Baltimore ranks 16th against the pass ... but also owns bottom-five rankings with receiving yards allowed and touchdowns surrendered to opposing tight ends.
The 8-91 line from week two make the ageless Watson seem like a sneaky play last week and I guess it wasn't all bad thanks to a short touchdown saving an otherwise dreadful day. Watson is likely in line for most to all of the tight end targets with Maxx Williams dealing with a bad foot but no tight end has gone over four catches or 45 yards against the Steelers thus far.
Hooper went nuts on just two targets in Week 1 and the rationale was, "He doesn't need high volume to be efficient." However, two more weeks of just two targets, with single-digit yardage totals each week and no touchdowns to show for his efforts and that theory has been twist-tied and taken out to the curb. Need further reason to bail on Hooper? The Bills were a top-five defense against tight ends last year and have surrendered an average of four catches for 39 yards with zero TDs to opponents this year.