Fantasy Football Position Streaming
Written By: Josh Crocker – Follow Josh on Twitter @jccrocker
The TE waiver pickups seem to be especially good this year. At the same time Gronk has been out, & Jordan Reed hasn’t really delivered on ADP. So, it has been interesting and a lot of people are looking for TE’s. I expect to see a lot of movement in ownership numbers going forward, and we’ve already seen Dennis Pitta jump up from completely unowned to 55%. At the same time a TE who was previously too highly owned, but had a quiet start may now be available.
Here we go!
– Kyle Rudolph –
The Kyle Rudolph fan club is full of people who really really oatmeal. He’s not exciting, he’s not catching bombs or tearing down the middle of the field with the ball in hand. But let’s focus on what he is. For starters he’s the only TE on his team who’s on the field for more than 30% of snaps, and he’s on for 94.2%. He’s also the 2nd most highly targeted TE with 26 targets on the year, behind only Greg Olsen with 27. Last but not least he’s the #1 TE in terms of red zone target share (playerprofiler.com) with 57.1% of his team’s red-zone targets. He checks all the boxes and has a legitimate chance to be in the top 12 at his position if he continues to do so.
This week his Vikings host the Giants. I think the Giants will really struggle against the Vikings D, and it’ll be business as 10 target usual for Rudolph. Put him in your lineup. I dropped Dwayne Allen to pick him up and I’m not looking back. Jack Doyle is splitting the TE targets even with Allen running more routes than he ever has.
– Zach Miller –
Miller got off to a slow start in 2016 with Cutler, but now has new life with a change at QB. Under Hoyer, Miller saw an uptick in targets going from 5 to 9, and turned that into 78yds and 2 TD’s. I think this (9 targets, not 2 TD’s) may be the new normal with Hoyer under center. Miller is also the overwhelming snap leader on his team with 78.7%. He was drafted by fantasy owners in August because the TE role in the Bears offense should be a valuable position to inhabit, and perhaps with a change in the leadership in this offense it will be.
To add fuel to the Zach Miller fire they’ll be facing the team that is currently giving up the most points to TE, the Lions. In 3 weeks of football the Lions have given up 5 TD’s to opposing TE’s and a combined 179 yds, for about 60 a game. In a contest that figures to be pass happy I can’t see many scenarios where Miller isn’t targeted multiple times. The Bears will be starting Jordan Howard at RB, and while I like his tape I don’t think they’re ready to lean on him, or really capable of suddenly becoming the type of clock grinding team that might suck the life out of Miller’s slice of the offensive pie. If someone in your league dropped him, pounce.
– Cameron Brate –
It looks like the Buccaneers have finally had enough of the very talented mess that is ASJ, and Brate has stepped into the starting role. In his 2 TD game against LA he really didn’t do anything special. He was on the field, in the right place, and he’s a big target. His lack of specialness may seem unencouraging, but it’s also repeatable. In the first game after the release of his former teammate, Brate was targeted 10 times and now represents a 31% share of the Tampa Bay red zone targets. That’s not something you can find in free agency every week.
The matchup against Denver is tough, and Denver has not been kind to the TE allowing only 5.5 points per game. I seriously doubt that the Denver game plan mentions limiting Brate, but they’re a talented defense and they’re capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, so Brate may have a quiet day. On the other hand, nobody knows what this TE share really looks like post ASJ. I think it’s wiser to pay attention to 1 week of real data than to hold onto a preconception of Brate being waiver wire trash. If this is Brate’s role and the players above him on this list are taken, this could be a chance to pick up a week-to-week starter. It could be worth a bad week against Denver. We don’t know that that’s what Brate is for sure, but fantasy football is incomplete information. If you wait until this is certain he’ll be long gone.
– C.J. Uzomah –
In Eifert’s absence a new face has emerged, and that face belongs to C.J. Uzomah. Despite the expectations surrounding Tyler Kroft, Uzomah has been on the field about twice as much. In the first 3 games he has been targeted 5, 8, and 4 times. Opportunities are there on a Bengals team that is running the 8th most pass plays in the NFL. He hasn’t caught a TD yet, but Tyler Eifert certainly found that this team was willing to target a capable TE in the red zone. If the targets keep up, eventually he will find pay dirt.
Perhaps most importantly, he will be facing the Miami defense that can be had. Martellus Bennett is the only TE to find Miami’s end zone so far, but Barnidge made a decent day with 66 yds on 6 catches without scoring. And, his team is expected by the oddsmakers to score a healthy 26 points. All Uzomah needs is one look his way near that end zone from the QB who is throwing the 6th most red-zone attempts. If you’re digging this deep, this isn’t a bad place to take a chance.
– Jack Doyle –
I have to admit that I’m a person who really thought they were getting a great value taking Dwayne Allen late. Coby Fleener is gone, 100% of the TE targets will belong to Dwayne. Then along comes Jack Doyle, raining on my Dwayne Allen parade. But we have to admit that he’s a thing. Even with Allen running more routes than he ever has Doyle is getting targeted as many as 6 times per game. The loss of Moncrief has freed up some target share, and also put the Colts in need of a possession receiver. That’s not a description that really fits with TY or Dorsett, so Andrew Luck has been turning to the TE.
Surprisingly, the Jacksonville Jaguars have only given up one good game to a TE, and that was Antonio Gates. I think that’s significant, because they, like the Colts, are a prolific passing attack with vertical threats who just lost their possession receiver. I think relying on “TE points allowed” beyond what common sense seems to tell us, especially this early in the season is a bad idea. The Colts offense ranks 5th in points and 8th in yards, going up against a Jags defense that’s allowing the 8th most yards (but only the 25th most points, somehow).I think that barring turnovers, the Colts will be marching up and down the field, and both Allen and Doyle will at least have a chance to get theirs.
Written By: Josh Crocker – Josh can be found on Twitter @jccrocker