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Tight End Streamers Week 13 – Shooting for the Moon

Welcome to Tight End Streamers Week 13, the home for fantasy owners without the good fortune to own Rob GronkowskiZach Ertz, and Travis Kelce.

As I’m sure many of us do, I pray nightly to give thanks for Tyler Kroft. After he obligingly cashed in on the Browns generosity to tight ends, he finished as the TE11. If only all other streaming options were as  accommodating. Marcedes Lewis caught just one of two targets on his way to TE41 numbers (one catch for 10 yards), while Adam Shaheen got off to something like a fast start against the Eagles. He was targeted and caught a one-yard pass on the Bears very first offensive play… and wasn’t targeted again. But what about the good news on Tyler Kroft, eh?

So that was last week, what is in store for Week 13? As usual, we’ll be looking at players available in more than 50 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. This means that plumb matchups like Hunter Henry (owned in 62.2 percent of leagues) against the Browns, Delanie Walker (93.1 percent) against the Texans, and Jason Witten (83.8 percent) will not feature here. Before I go further, I will stress that Kroft is once again something of an option this week, as he is available in 59.7 percent of leagues. But he faces a Steelers defense that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to TEs this season. I wouldn’t trust him too much.

Ownership figures correct as of time of writing. 

Julius Thomas (available in 73.9 percent of ESPN leagues)

After a somewhat underwhelming start to his Dolphins career, Julius Thomas has started to put a shift in of late. After 105 yards combined in his first five games, he has surpassed 50 yards in three of his last six, including a 52-yard outing on five receptions last week against the Patriots. Indeed, since Week 8 he is the TE8 in PPR scoring. Using the RotoViz Screener App, we can see some of the players who have produced on a similar level to Thomas.

jthomas

Thomas has managed to be consistent despite the changes at quarterback that he and the other Dolphins skill players have been forced to endure this season.

jt

Thomas finds himself with something of a plumb match against his former team the Broncos. Despite allowing a total of four receptions for 25 yards to TEs in their last two games, the Broncos have been gashed by the position at regular intervals this season. Between Weeks 2 and 10, the fewest yards they allowed to TEs in a game was 61, while they have allowed a receiving score to a TE in five of their last seven games. Thomas has never been a high volume player, with just two games in his career totaling nine catches, but the Game Level Similarity Projection (GLSP) for this week offers an inviting ceiling.

STD 1/2PPR PPR 1 1/2 PPR
Low 0.7 1.4 1.9 2.4
Median 2.1 3.5 4.8 5.8
High 6.3 8.8 11.3 13.8

Ricky Seals-Jones (98.4 percent)

It can be a mistake in fantasy football to chase production. It can also, however, be a mistake to ignore patterns. Despite someone from this website with a name similar to my own writing that Ricky Seals-Jones was probably a safe player to ignore after his Week 11 heroics, he went out of his way to prove me…erm, the writer…wrong.

After three catches from five targets for 54 yards against the Texans, he blew these career-high figures away with four receptions for 72 yards on six targets against the Jaguars. He also found the end zone for the third time in two games. In the aforementioned article, the author noted that maybe Seals-Jones and Blaine Gabbert had that “backups united” connection after serving as third-string together for most of the season. It is hard to ignore the numbers, albeit from just two games together.

sealsjones

Seals-Jones is already proving to be one of the more reliable targets Gabbert has had in his entire NFL career, although once again I must stress it is still early days (and the next graphic is mostly for fun).

gabbert

Regression is obviously on the cards for Seals-Jones, but he should be able to find a little bit more success against the Rams this week. Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has seen his units struggle against TEs over the course of his long career, and despite holding the Saints and Coby Fleener to a single catch last week, they have been generous to the position of late. TEs reeled in 15 receptions in the games between Weeks 9 and 11, with TEs amassing 91, 40 and 63 yards in the games. Seals-Jones’ GLSP score offers immense upside, but even his PPR floor of five points would have secured TE26 last week.

STD 1/2PPR PPR 1 1/2 PPR
Low 2 3.5 5 6.3
Median 7 8.9 9.9 10.9
High 9 11.3 14 17

Charles Clay (52.2 percent)

Ah, Charles Clay, we meet again…still available in a majority of ESPN leagues, Clay was no doubt one of the thousands of people happy to see Tyrod Taylor return to the Bills starting lineup after the Nate Peterman error…sorry, era. Clay responded to the return with his second-highest yardage output of the season (60) and his first double-digit PPR day since Week 4. This week, the Bills welcome the Patriots to upstate New York, and home has been where the heart, and the touchdowns, have been for Clay so far this season.

clay home

Note the difference in PPR points when he is able to take the field in his own stadium.1 In fact, the above trend is not restricted solely to this season. Since coming to the Bills in 2015, Clay has been a much more efficient option at home than on the road.

clay3

The Patriots allowed a receiving touchdown to a TE in five of their first six games this season but have not allowed a single one since. They did allow five receptions to Julius Thomas last week, as well as 52 yards, and the Bills are struggling for healthy and productive pass catchers lately. Kelvin Benjamin has a torn meniscus, Jordan Matthews has just 24 catches, while rookie Zay Jones is wowing the crowds with his 37 percent catch rate. Clay could see a ton of targets this week. Assuming Taylor doesn’t perform a Peterman impression, I’d be stunned if Clay didn’t reach his median GLSP projection, while with rose-tinted spectacles, I could see him seriously challenging for his ceiling.

STD 1/2PPR PPR 1 1/2 PPR
Low 0.6 1.2 1.7 2.2
Median 4.9 7.2 9.4 11.6
High 12.9 16.7 17.7 20.5

 

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  1. It is worth considering how much of that is TD-related.  (back)
By Neil Dutton | @ndutton13 | Archive

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