About this time every year, I like to shine a light on each position
and focus on how they fared among their peers on a weekly basis.
While I am very much a believer that fantasy football is a weekly
game and play the matchups as much as anything when it comes to
fringe players, knowing how each player ranked among his position
group each week is a handy little tool - whether you want a quick
reference guide in your redraft leagues to help set expectations
for a certain player or need an idea on the range of a player's
performances to help break a tie between two or three options in
your DFS lineups.
For the sake of time and space (not to mention my sanity), not
every player that has scored a point appears below. My qualifications
at tight end: at least five games played and one top-18 finish.
(I kept a non-qualifier such as Dallas Goedert below for the sake
of reference.) "Best" refers to the player's highest
weekly fantasy finish, while "worst" obviously refers
to his lowest. "Aver" is the player's average weekly
finish. Squares were left blank when the player was active but
failed to register a fantasy point. Got it? Good.
Travis Kelce (19.0) is averaging 6.1 points more than any other
healthy tight end. George Kittle was giving him a slight run for
his money at 16.4, but Darren Waller's 13.9 average is sadly the
best the position has to offer after that. It's a bad scene when
Robert Tonyan has scored more than six points once since his three-TD
explosion in Week 4 and he still has a solid grip on fifth place
at 12.2. Fantasy owners knew they were getting a significant weekly
advantage at the position when they drafted him this summer, but
seven top-five finishes in nine weeks are probably more than most
of his fantasy owners could have asked for before the team's Week
Evan Engram has been a disappointment in fantasy by most accounts
in 2020. While the bulk of his fellow tight ends not holding up
their end of the bargain is giving him a low bar to cross, his
fantasy owners have to be happy he has delivered three straight
TE1 efforts. (He has been the overall TE13 or better in five of
his last six.) Engram hasn't quite delivered a signature performance
yet, but his 29 targets over the last three games is a good sign
one might be coming soon. Acquiring his services for a relatively
modest price via trade in the next week or so could be just the
push a fantasy team needs to help offset the advantage Kelce's
owner would have if the two teams meet in the fantasy playoffs.
One of the more bizarre things I've seen in my leagues lately
is how often Austin
Hooper has been dropped. He might as well be Engram from about
three weeks ago. The biggest difference between then and now (besides
the appendectomy) is the absence of Odell
Beckham Jr. While it's reasonable to assume Cleveland isn't
going to air it out very often, Baker
Mayfield will probably still average about 30 attempts moving
forward. Who is going to be on the other end of those throws,
including the seven-plus targets Beckham was getting per game?
has mustered only two games with at least nine targets for the
Higgins has nine targets in two games combined if we include
the week OBJ got hurt. Kareem
Hunt has seven targets in the last two games. Harrison
Bryant has eight. HC Kevin Stefanski sold Hooper on Cleveland
this offseason in part because he suggested the former Falcon
would have a Mark
Andrews-like role in this offense. He will have that kind
of opportunity now. Prior to OBJ getting hurt, Hooper scored three
straight TE1 finishes, so we can assume more are coming with Beckham
no longer in the picture. He could easily be the key to many fantasy
owners winning their leagues down the stretch, especially those
owners fortunate enough to get him off waivers as I did.
Even in a bad year for tight ends, Hunter Henry has made it hard
for his fantasy owners to hold on to him. He's provided next to
nothing since the bye after giving his fantasy owners four top-13
performances before it. Hang in there. Add another tight end to
your roster and play him if you have to for now, but this is another
situation where something should pop soon. He is seeing seven
targets consistently and probably would have scored a touchdown
in Week 9 had he not been held after he beat his defender at the
goal line. Considering Donald Parham has scored on both of his
catches this year and Virgil Green had one TD on his three catches
before going on IR, we can probably assume Henry has been a bit
unlucky. It's also worth noting Henry is tied with Mike Williams
for the team lead with three targets inside the 10.
Of note: Kittle has been dropped in at least
a couple of my leagues over the last two weeks. Based on the information
most people seem to have received about his injury, it makes sense.
However, there is at least one medical expert (Dr. David Chao)
who believes there Kittle's
injury timeline has been greatly exaggerated. If I find myself
counting on players like Gerald Everett or Trey Burton to get
by right now and I'm in a deeper league, I'd be willing to stash
Kittle and have a little faith that I could be getting a surprise
around Week 14. ... Along with Waller, T.J. Hockenson may be the
only other tight end that has a chance to rival Kelce the rest
of the way. His ceiling is nowhere near as high as Kelce's, but
he has yet to finish outside the top 20 at his position. Thatís
a nice floor to go along with five top-eight finishes.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.