Written By: Josh Crocker – Follow Josh on Twitter @jccrocker
– Charles Clay against Cleveland –
Charles Clay is in the ever-available category of TE streamers. Although he has flashed and shown off his athleticism from time to time, what he does with the ball in his hands typically isn’t too exciting. The stars on Clay’s resume are to next to snap count and targets. And, those are big items for a tight end. Clay has a top 10 target share among TE’s, even if it is on a low-volume passing offense. With an average of 5 targets per game in his last 6 outings, Clay has the opportunity to make a day without getting into the endzone. When the Bills are in the redzone, Clay gets about 1 in 5 targets, so he brings the possibility of a TD to the table as well.
The real reason to like Clay this week is the matchup. The Browns are allowing about 7.3 points per game to TE’s. Against the Browns TE’s are seeing close to a 20% market share of receptions and scoring 0.5 touchdowns a game. Jason Witten had a huge game against the Browns being targeted 10 times for 134 yards and a TD. The two offenses share some similarity with their run first mentalities. Dez Bryant probably takes away more red zone chances from Witten than any of the Bills receivers, so arguably Clay has a better chance of finding paydirt than Witten did. The Bills also have one of the best pass rushing units in the league, according to Football Outsiders, and have been able to pressure the QB on over 7% of plays. They’re lining up against a porous Cleveland O-line that shares responsibility in the number of QB’s that have been injured standing behind them. To make a long story short, I think this week’s Browns QB will be under a lot of pressure and turnovers are a likely result. TE’s need trips to the red-zone, and turnovers make short fields.
The Bills’ team total of 26.25 further supports Clay’s credentials as a potential streamer. The weather may also play a role as light snow is expected. The Bills just got done playing a snow game against the Steelers, and it means there will be more running than usual, and that the pass game is likely to be shorter. It may not be a great week for Sammy Watkins in the snow, but I think Clay will get a few looks.
– Vernon Davis against Carolina –
It would surely be sweeter if Davis wasn’t the second-best TE on his team, but in a passing attack like the Redskins there’s room for more than one of these weapons to thrive. Davis is filling the TE 2 role nicely for his team and it has been nice to see a good player find another nitche. As far as pure talent goes, I would still put him in the top half of TE’s. On the bright side, Reed draws the best TE defender the opponent has to offer. I think this is just where Davis is in his career, a great #2. Last week was a little rough with only 2 targets, but the Eagles have been tough against TE’s all season.
The Panthers are another story, allowing the second most points to the position. They’re also allowing 1.8 passing TD’s per game on the season, more than about 25 other teams. Against Carolina last week it was not Antonio Gates who found the end zone, but Hunter Henry. TE’s also found the promised land against these Panthers in Weeks 13,12, and 11. This 16th ranked pass defense will have their hands full against the team that targets the TE more than any other.
Washington/ Carolina also sports the highest over under on the Week 15 slate at 51 points combined. The game also has one of the more favorable weather forecasts with a 0% chance of precipitation and winds of 5 mph. This is fertile fantasy soil.
– Will Tye against Detroit –
As a deeper pick I think Tye is worth a shot. The Detroit defense still isn’t good, they’ve just figured out that playing very slowly limits their exposure. The Giants have a decent team total of 23 and the ability to strike quickly even if their time on the field and number of possessions is kept on the low side of things. The Lions are giving up the most points to TE’s on the season, but in the last 5 weeks they’ve fallen to 21st. The factor that could tilt this game in the favor of the Giants is their defense. The Lions’ play it slow and stay on the field tactic depends on their offense’s ability to maintain drives. Last week against Dallas the Giants made one of the most reliable offensive engines in the league sputter. Stafford also suffered a finger injury, and if he’s not at 100% against a good defense, this Lions defensive unit could get exposed for what it is. Tye stands to benefit.
Written By: Josh Crocker – Josh can be found on Twitter @jccrocker