This week I am concentrating on the tight end position. It has been very tough going all year. Quarterback? Much easier.
I’ll be brief with them. Here are my quarterback streamers,
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Quarterback Streamer of the Week: Josh Allen (BUF) vs. New York Jets
He’s not very good, but better than he was. He’s getting better. He’s well coached. He runs tons. He scores rushing touchdowns. He’s at home. He’s against the Jets. He’s playing like Lamar Jackson right now without a Joe Flacco breathing down his neck.
And I have to throw in this last ridiculous take. Allen has never lost to the New York Jets! Seriously, don’t overthink it. Play him if you are still streaming and hope he’s the Week 4 version of Mitchell Trubisky.
Case Keenum (DEN) vs. San Francisco 49ers
He’s not very good, but better than he was. He’s getting better. Sound familiar? Look, Denver needs to basically win. Their defense is good. Their offense is ok. They have momentum.
He is the perfect choice for the safe guy. Higher floor, relatively low ceiling, but he still could have his breakout game. The 49ers looked competitive most of the season, but now they have joined their AFC neighbors, the Raiders, vying for drafting first in next year’s draft. If you are feeling frisky, then you might want to go Nick Mullens. He is seeking a starting role next year so he is also in play, but is not nearly as safe as Keenum.
Dark Horse: Derek Carr (OAK) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
He’s not very good, but better than he was. He’s getting better. Do I need to get another shtick? The real question is can he put two awesome weeks in a row? Probably not.
That’s why he’s my dark horse. In fairness, he’s doing quite well considering his supporting cast. But the matchup is good and Oakland is at home. The Raiders are starting to look like a fun team to watch because they’ll keep it close but still lose — classic 2018 Grudenomics.
So now on to the lowly tight end discussion.
Here’s a bit of trivia for you. What do Levine Toilolo and Demetrius Harris have in common? They were both top-10 tight ends in Week 13. The previous week they combined for less than two fantasy points.
Here’s another. What do Ian Thomas and Adam Shaheen represent? Both were their team’s top tight end, not Greg Olsen or Trey Burton. Olsen got hurt and Burton pretended not to play.
Have you heard of Scott Simoson? Neither have I, but he had more fantasy points than David Njoku this week. So did Lee Smith. In fact, Smith had more fantasy points than Rob Gronkowski, Kyle Rudolph, and Cameron Brate.
Basically, the tight end position has always been a hot topic of disgust. I have been disappointed this year like last year, like the year before, but maintained my patience for the most part. But now after Week 13, I can proclaim emphatically that the position is indeed a dumpster fire. Everyone was touting Njoku and Brate this week. Together they combined for fewer points than Jordan Thomas, who scored less than two fantasy points the week before.
In summation: 10 out of the top-15 tight ends were not on many people’s fantasy teams. The sad conclusion? Nine out of those 10 will probably do nothing this week.
This inconsistency makes you wish you had drafted either Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, or George Kittle. Or perhaps it makes you want to start a campaign to ban tight ends from your league period. Seriously, you might as well find 20 available tight ends from your waiver wire, write each name on a piece of paper, put them in a hat, pull the first one out and go with that. Yeah, I wish I had the cajones to trust that process this past week and draw Anthony Firkser.
I decided this much. I am discussing tight ends differently. Maybe that will bring a bit of tight end streaming luck now that the playoffs are upon us. It can’t hurt, can it? The format will look at volume-based choice and efficiency-based choices.
Tight End Streamer of the Week (based on volume): C.J. Uzomah (CIN)
Based on volume, Ricky Seals-Jones would be a low-end TE1 based on his 56 targets this year in 12 games — that’s 4.67 targets per game. Unfortunately, his catching percentage is less than 50%, which for a tight end is abysmal. To put this into perspective, no one has less than a 61% catch percentage with at least 20 targets. Perhaps that is why RSJ is only averaging only 2.9 points per game according to FF Today. Also only having one touchdown all season surely hasn’t helped.
Chris Herndon has 40 targets in 10 games this season — four targets per game. His catch rate is much better — 70% even with having two below average quarterbacks. His volume has increased ever since the Jets staff decided that he was their de facto number one tight end. This has made him moderately successful, scoring an average of 5.3 points per season which includes three trips to the end zone. He’s like the Case Keenum of streaming tight ends.
The problem is he has hit his high point. He has not caught a touchdown in several games and his usage has plateaued. And he’s against the Bills. They have a good defense period and this includes against tight ends.
Therefore based on the volume model, my choice this week is Uzomah. Although he has had four fewer targets than RSJ this year (52), remember he was sharing snaps with the Tylers for the first few games. Therefore, he actually has a higher target percentage than RSJ without the “Tylers Effect” factored in.
A.J. Green just got carted off the field. What does that mean? More targets for Uzomah. Maybe even double-digit targets like two weeks ago. Just remember you are not getting Zach Ertz. Just be happy he gets a modest stat line from his hefty volume on a team that likes to lose lately.
Tight End Streamer of the Week (based on efficiency): Adam Shaheen (CHI)
Dan Arnold is very tempting in New Orleans. He isn’t on the field that much which is depressing. But when he is on the field, he has been very productive. He’s the number one pass-catching tight end on the Saints lately, supplanting old man Watson and leapfrogging the once-touted Josh Hill. Even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has improved these past two weeks, they are still a bad defense.
The problem is it is tough to trust the Saints lately. Anyone has a chance to shine and be the star. Just ask angry Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas owners. That being said, D’Arnold has looked like a tight end resembling Travis Kelce with the ball rather than the 2018 version of Jimmy Graham.
Another guy that has been great when used is rookie Dallas Goedert. The only thing standing in his way is Zach Ertz. I guess that is a big problem. Despite this, Goedert has averaged 4.5 fantasy points per game — less than half a point from David Njoku believe it or not.
I had a gut feeling this past week that Kareem Hunt, James Conner, and Ertz were going to get hurt. I was right about Conner, sort of right about Hunt, and I am writing this before the Eagle’s Monday Night game. I am no injury whisperer, but Ertz has not played an entire season in the past four years when he has been the most dominant.
He also has never topped 1,000 yards. He’s just under 900 for the season and hasn’t missed a game. I don’t wish injury on anyone, but if Ertz does go down, then Goedert would turn into the tight end Spencer Ware rest of season. And if Ertz plays, Goedert can still boom at any time.
The guy I am thinking that will surprise all this week is Adam Shaheen. I would be very surprised if he was mentioned on any waiver wire pickup article or show. The question is why Shaheen? My answer: Why not?
As we know anyone can sprout anytime. What I like about Shaheen is he is on the Bears. He’s a more traditional tight end that plays more snaps than Trey Burton, who is specifically on the field to catch. Speaking of which, Mr. Burton has not caught much lately. In fact, it wouldn’t be incorrect to suggest that he has been a 2018 bust considering where he was drafted back in September.
Also, Shaheen is a big target who likes to find the end zone. Sure, he will not get volume like Burton, but he is back and is on the upward trajectory. I know it isn’t the time of the season to take a chance now that the playoffs are upon us, but you’ve read it here. I think Shaheen will be the tight end to own in Chicago going forward this season.
Keep your eye on this guy: Jaylen Samuels (PIT)
If Samuels is available in your Yahoo league, he would be the guy I would pick up first. If you play in an ESPN league, try to pick him up, regardless. However, he’s a TE/RB combo, which makes him so enticing. Conner might not be out at all, but if Pittsburgh were smart, they would rest him for at least two weeks.
If that is the case, Samuels would be a great flex play. I don’t think he will get the volume like Conner, but he could. He’s only competing with Stevan Ridley — that’s no reason to think Samuels will get less than a 60% share if he plays. He’s actually a more complete player than Conner, hence the duel tag. And did you see his touchdown against the Chargers? Dude is elusive. Imagine having an extra running back on your starting roster in Week 14… wow!
So in conclusion, here are my top-five tight ends to stream. If you can get Samuels in a Yahoo league, make him your tight end this week. If not, go with volume over efficiency but don’t be surprised if one of the boom-bust guys booms.
- Jaylen Samuels (only in Yahoo leagues)
- C.J. Uzomah
- Chris Herndon
- Adam Shaheen
- Dan Arnold
- Dallas Goedert
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Marc Mathyk is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Marc, check out his archive and follow him @Masterjune70.