Advice

Championship Week Tight End Streamers

Welcome to Tight End Streamers Week 16, the home for fantasy owners without the good fortune to own Rob GronkowskiZach Ertz, and Travis Kelce. It’s the final week of the fantasy season, and this one is for all the marbles.

The Week 15 streaming options got off to a rocky start on Saturday when Adam Shaheen of the Bears was ruled out of the game mere hours before kickoff against the Lions. The outlook improved somewhat when Eric Ebron caught five of his seven targets for 33 yards, including a touchdown, on his way to 14.3 PPR points and a TE8 finish. Jesse James of the Steelers could have been a hero for some, but the vagaries of the catch rule robbed him of a game-winning TD that would have given him another six points. That would have elevated him all the way up to TE20.

If you’ve made it to the title game in your league, congratulations. But you ain’t won anything yet. Let’s get into Week 16.

We’ll be looking at TE options available in at least 50 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. We’ll be making no statements on Travis Kelce and his matchup against the Dolphins, or Zach Ertz as he takes on the Raiders. My three options are all players who have featured already this season, and I’m confident that they can do a job for you again. So let’s crack on.

Ownership figures correct as of time of writing

Ben Watson (available in 88.7 percent of ESPN leagues)

There may be a slight element of point chasing in this, given that Ben Watson did manage a TE6 finish last week with his performance against the Browns. I would also be derelict in my duty if I didn’t point out that Watson would be a much better fantasy asset if he played the Browns every week, as the image below shows.

ben cle

276 PPR points would make Watson the TE1 on the season, by a comfortable margin. Despite a lack of consistent success, Watson has been one of the more efficient options in a Ravens offense that seems to be slowly rounding into shape as the season progresses.

 

ben watson

 

The Ravens take on the Indianapolis Colts this week, and they’ve not exactly been able to shut down TEs this year. In the last four weeks, they’ve allowed 212 receiving yards to TEs, the 11th most in the NFL. This season, seven TEs have reeled in at least four receptions against them, while eight have managed at least 44 yards. They’ve allowed seven TDs to such 2017 studs as Jeff Heuerman, Vance McDonald, and Luke Willson. 

Our Game Level Similarity Projections for Watson offer quite a narrow range of outcomes if we use last week as a guide. 6.3 points would have garnered a TE24 spot, while 14.8 would have been good for eighth. It’s just a shame he’s not playing the Browns.

STD 1/2PPR PPR 1 1/2 PPR
Low 3.8 4.3 6.3 8.2
Median 6.3 8 10.2 12.4
High 9.9 12.3 14.8 17.3

Eric Ebron (69.1 percent)

Eric Ebron has forced his way into becoming a larger part of the Lions offense of late, and this run continued unabated against the Bears. As we can see below, the change in Ebron’s production in the last five weeks is quite striking.

ebron splits

If the season had started in Week 11, Ebron would be on pace for 185 PPR points, a mark good for TE3 this season. He’s seen 14 percent of the Lions air yards during this span, the third most on the team. His production stacks up with some of the better performing TEs in the NFL since Week 11, as we can see below.

ee

He’s been the third-most efficient weapon for Matthew Stafford this season, even when you include his slow start to the campaign.

eric ebron

Ebron and the Lions take on the Bengals this week, a team with below average numbers in fantasy points allowed to TEs, but not exactly a shutdown unit. They’ve allowed the tenth-most receptions to the position in 2017, with six players catching at least six passes and seven topping 44 yards. They have allowed only four TDs, but as already mentioned they do tend to allow a lot of passes to be caught. If they are once again without Vontaze Burfict, Pro Football Focus’s eighth-ranked linebacker in coverage, Ebron has an excellent chance of hitting and even exceeding his GLSP floor.

STD 1/2PPR PPR 1 1/2 PPR
Low 3 4 5.5 7
Median 6.1 8.7 11.7 14.7
High 15.9 20.4 24.9 29.4

Charles Clay (61.3 percent)

Despite his injury troubles, Charles Clay has been Tyrod Taylor’s best and most efficient target in 2017. This is all the more credible given how dysfunctional the offense has been on occasion.

tyrod again

While Taylor is something of a decent streaming option this week against the Patriots, it should be noted that for all his efficiency, Taylor has actually been a better fantasy option when Clay has not played in 2017.

 

tyrod splits

It’s only a small sample size, but it’s worth factoring in when making your decision regarding streaming. The Patriots have allowed the 16th-most receptions to TEs in 2017, but over the last four weeks, they’ve allowed the 18th most. Still, five TEs have amassed at least five receptions against them this season, with six eclipsing 40 yards. You have to go all the way back to Week 6 for the last TE to find the end zone against them, but if the NFL had a more logical catch rule that drought would have ended last week. Clay has a fairly middling GLSP this week, but if pushed he could still do a job for you. Of the three options, he would be at the bottom of the list for me.

STD 1/2PPR PPR 1 1/2 PPR
Low 0.9 1.7 2.6 3.6
Median 3.8 5.7 7.3 8.9
High 4.9 7.8 11.3 14.8

As only sadists play fantasy football in Week 17, this is the final TE streaming article of the 2017 season. I’d like to thank you all for reading, and I hope my advice has been of some use to you throughout the year. Now go out there and bring home a championship.

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By Neil Dutton | @ndutton13 | Archive

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