Written By: Josh Crocker – Follow Josh on Twitter @jccrocker
– Vance McDonald @ CHI –
I’ve been finding that there’s a definite connection between the QB streamers of the week and the TE’s. There are more options at TE, so it doesn’t alway go that way, but in this case it definitely does. With the rise of Mr. Kaepernick to what is basically locked and loaded into my lineups, some of the offensive pieces around him are also on the rise. None of the names in San Francisco, besides Hyde, are really household names, and that might be part of the reason McDonald has been able to find some sunlight. Vance has seen 6 or more targets since week 7, and has been the leading 49er’s receiver for the last 2 weeks. He isn’t just a catch, get hit, and fall down TE and has the ability to stretch plays. According to playerprofiler.com he has a Production Premium of +21.6 (which compares his production in similar down and distance to others at his position) and the #1 Target Premium stat of +58.9. He’s adding a lot of value to the opportunities he gets, which is fantastic.
The Bears are not an extremely favorable matchup against TE’s. The Harris Index shows a somewhat insignificant bump of 0.7 fantasy points above average for opponents lining up as TE’s However, our friends at Football Outsiders tell us that when we adjust for strength of schedule the Bears are 24th against TE’s by DVOA. So, their points allowed stats may be held down by a lack of serious threats from their adversaries. The Bears are allowing the 11th most points to the position in the last 5 weeks, and they have given up a TD to a TE in each of the last 3 weeks. Those numbers seem promising. Thinking about how Vance might handle this matchup, I looked back at other team’s they’ve played that are on the less hospitable side of their treatment of TE’s. In week 10 against ARI, who is allowing nothing to TE’s, he had 4 catches for 50 yards. He’s getting the targets, he has the ability to break a long play, & the opponent this week really isn’t all that scary. I think he could pay dividends on the risk you take by picking him up.
– Vernon Davis @ ARI –
It’s been a few years since we say the “old Vernon” of the 49ers, but now he’s playing for a team that has scored more TE fantasy points than any other, including the Patriots. It’s fair to say that he’s the lesser half of the TE stable in Washington, but with Reed recovering from a grade 3 AC joint separation Davis falls into a “touches by default” situation. This season we’ve had a chance to see how the Redskins would handle this. With Reed out week in 6, Davis had 2 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD against PHI who has been pretty stingy against the TE. When Reed was out again in week 7 against Detroit, Davis had 6 catches for 79 yards. Since week 7 it seems like this offense has only gotten hotter. The absence of Reed may be some cause for concern against a tougher Arizona defense in Week 13, but this team has a lot of weapons.
ARI is very good against TE’s, but again Davis was able to make a respectable day against PHI in the absence of Reed. It’s not ridiculous to think he could see a boost in targets and production. Really, I think Vernon is a TE you stash for later on down the road if you’re a bit skeptical about the return of Reed and you have the roster space.
– Ladarius Green v NYG –
This is a stash. Jesse James is still a part of this offense, but Ladarius Green is clearly the more exciting player. Currently Green is only playing 26% of snaps to James’ 76%, and I really can’t tell you if that has more to do with the health of Green, or if that’s just his role on this team. I would also admit this has a certain Jared Cook feel to it. The Steelers are certainly an offense that we want pieces of. I find it hard to believe that we’d be as excited to watch Sammy Coates drop passes if he played for any other team in the NFL. So far we’ve seen Ladarius get targeted 9 times and on the limited number of snaps he’s playing that gives him a Hog Rate of 45%, meaning that he’s targeted on 45% of the snaps he’s played. That’s pretty amazing. It could also mean that the Steelers are really only putting Ladarius out there when they have an expressed intent of targeting the TE, but he still has to run a route and get the separation to turn 5 of those 9 targets into catches. Jesse James’ Hog Rate is a whopping 7.6%
The Giants represent a fairly mediocre matchup for the TE, but I wouldn’t feel good about putting Green into my lineup until the snap share has become a lot more even or favors him. I see the potential for him to become a starter, but it’s hard to ignore that value of a huge person like James just standing in space in the endzone. If you play in a TE premium league, dynasty, or just a league with long benches he may be worth picking up to wait and see what happens. He could end up being Jared Cook, or he could be the late season star that this season seems to be missing thus far.
Written By: Josh Crocker – Josh can be found on Twitter @jccrocker