Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes. Anybody can tell you to start the Deshaun Watsons, Mark Ingrams, and Chris Godwins of the world. That’s not what I’m doing here. I’m looking deeper at legitimate mostly-borderline candidates who owners may truly be contemplating using in lineups. Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean I advocate playing some of these guys over your weekly studs.
Start of the Week: Aaron Rodgers vs. Redskins: The overall QB12 in fantasy points per game, Rodgers has been extremely hit or miss most weeks. He’s coming off a four-touchdown slaughtering of the Giants a week ago, finishing Week 13 as the QB1. It was Rodgers’ first multi-score game since Week 8. And his 243 passing yards were his most in that span. Rodgers has big booming fantasy weeks to his name in 2019, but he also has a bunch of low-end QB2 performances, so this isn’t the Rodgers of years past. However, this does look like another spot for Rodgers to pop off. Washington is 20th in pass-defense DVOA, 30th in opponent completion percentage, 23rd in opponent yards per attempt, 23rd in passing touchdowns allowed, 22nd in opponent QB rating, and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to the position. Despite the upset loss, Kyle Allen was able to work his way into a QB8 finish against the Skins last week. Sam Darnold was the QB7 with 293 yards and four scores in Week 11. Washington is 30th in opponent plays per game, and Green Bay’s implied team total of 27.25 points is third-highest of the week. Rodgers and Davante Adams should be very popular in daily fantasy as upper-echelon plays.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Jets: Since reclaiming starting duties in Week 6, Fitzpatrick has produced some serious spiked weeks. He’s coming off 365 yards and three scores as the QB3 last week against the Eagles, a week after putting the QB5 day on the Browns. Fitzpatrick has multiple touchdowns in five of his last seven starts and said Wednesday that his “confidence is at an all time high.” It’s shown on the field with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki playing the best football of their careers. This is a #RevengeGame for Fitzpatrick after spending 2015-16 with the Jets, winning 10 games his first season before getting run out of two after the second. The Jets are a true pass-funnel defense, checking in at 21st in DVOA against the pass compared to No. 2 versus the run. Gang Green is 19th in passing yards allowed and 18th in passing touchdowns surrendered while checking in at 15th in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. When these two teams met in Week 9, Fitzpatrick put up a flawless 288 yards and three touchdowns as the overall QB6. The Jets have faced one of the easiest QB schedules since then, seeing Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, Derek Carr, and Andy Dalton. Fitzpatrick is better than all of them at this stage of their respective careers. Dolphins-Jets sports a 45-point total, seventh-highest of Week 14, and the Jets are 25th in opponent plays per game.
Carson Wentz vs. Giants: Wentz is coming off his biggest statistical game since Week 1. In Miami last week, Wentz put 310 yards and three touchdowns on the board en route to the QB4 finish. It was his first multi-touchdown and 300-yard game since Week 6. It’s mostly been a season to forget for Wentz, but the Eagles still somehow have a chance at the NFC East title. And Wentz gets another gorgeous fantasy draw Monday night. The G-Men are 30th in pass-defense DVOA, 25th in passing yards allowed, 27th in opponent completion rate, dead last in opponent yards per attempt, 25th in passing touchdowns allowed, 28th in opponent QB rating, and 27th in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks. Wentz gets the Giants twice over the final four weeks. New York allowed four touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers last week as the QB1. Mitchell Trubisky produced the QB9 day against the Giants in Week 12. And Sam Darnold was the QB7 in Week 10 ahead of the Giants’ Week 11 bye. Dak Prescott was the QB8 in Week 9. Matthew Stafford had 342 yards and three scores in Week 8 as the QB5. Five straight QBs have logged top-nine fantasy finishes against the G-Men. Wentz’s supporting cast is as healthy as it’s been in a long time with Alshon Jeffery coming off a 9-137-1 game to go along with Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Nelson Agholor. Jordan Howard should also gain clearance from his shoulder issue as soon as this week. Wentz is a high-floor play with the Eagles’ implied total of 27.5 points good enough for the second-highest of the week. Philly is No. 5 in offensive plays per game and will be playing up in pace against the Giants.
Kirk Cousins vs. Lions: Cousins has multiple touchdowns in four straight games and seven of his last eight. Since the calendar flipped to October in Week 5, Cousins is the overall QB7 in fantasy points per game. One of those was a 337-yard, four-touchdown flaming of the Lions in Week 7. Detroit is 26th in pass-defense DVOA, 30th in passing yards allowed, 25th in opponent yards per attempt, 28th in passing touchdowns given up, 31st in interceptions, 26th in opponent QB rating, and 25th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Cousins should be able to do whatever he wants against this defense that is also 29th in adjusted sack rate. Volume would be the only concern, but with Dalvin Cook nursing a sore shoulder and the Vikings needing wins, perhaps OC Kevin Stefanski will ride Cousins in this soft matchup. Mitchell Trubisky shredded the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving to the tune of the QB7 week. Dak Prescott went bonkers with 444 yards and three scores two weeks before that. And even Derek Carr got in on the fun with 289 yards and a pair of scores versus Detroit in Week 9. The Lions are 27th in opponent plays per game. Minnesota’s implied total of 28 points is the week’s highest.
Drew Brees vs. 49ers: The overall QB19 in fantasy points per game on the year, Brees’ days of a lock-and-load every-week fantasy starter are long gone. Last Thursday night, Brees managed just 184 yards and one touchdown on 30 attempts against the lowly Falcons. The Saints are winning with defense and their running game this season while Michael Thomas does work racking up easy catches. 49ers-Saints should be an exciting game, but the 44.5-point total is merely middle of the pack in what could end up being a defensive slugfest. The Niners are No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 1 in passing yards allowed, No. 2 in opponent completion percentage, No. 1 in opponent yards per attempt, No. 4 in passing touchdowns allowed, No. 2 in opponent passer rating, and No. 2 in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. With LT Terron Armstead and LG Andrus Peat injured, Nick Bosa and company should wreak havoc, forcing Brees to get rid of the ball even quicker than normal. The best way to combat this pass defense is to finally get Alvin Kamara off the mat and into the end zone as the focus of the offense. Brees isn’t a quarterback I’d want in the opening week of the fantasy playoffs. The Niners are No. 4 in opponent plays per game, and the Saints play at the eighth-slowest offensive pace.
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Gardner Minshew vs. Chargers: Minshew replaced Nick Foles after halftime last week and has reclaimed the starting job a mere 2.5 games after giving it back to Foles. Foles is a statuesque pocket passer with zero movement skills as a sitting duck behind an offensive line that can’t protect him. Minshew minimizes pass-pro difficulties with quick feet and a sense of playmaking ability. His playing style is borderline erratic, leading to up-and-down box scores. In particular, Minshew has a serious fumbling issue with 12 on the year. He’s at least brings entertainment value to the table. The Chargers are a bottom-third 22nd in pass-defense DVOA, but they play so slow on offense and face the fewest plays per game on defense, leading to a No. 4 spot in passing yards allowed and No. 7 in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. Minshew can mess around and toss multiple touchdowns and run in another, but he’s not a streamer I’d be wanting to myself to in the opening round of the fantasy playoffs. Chargers-Jaguars has a 43-point total, fifth-lowest of Week 14, and Jacksonville’s implied total of 20 is the week’s eighth-lowest.
Tom Brady vs. Chiefs: Brady finished as the QB5 last week in Houston, but it was easily the most garbage time-aided fantasy performance of Week 13. Brady was stuck below 200 yards into the second half when Houston jumped out to a multi-touchdown lead. Brady then picked apart Houston’s soft prevent defense with a bunch of dump-offs to James White and short hookups to Julian Edelman to finish with 326 yards and three scores. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how one gets there, and Brady got there in fantasy. However, Brady has looked cooked for much of 2019. Father Time is beating on Brady’s door. He has no weapons on the outside and zero arm strength. The Chiefs are No. 6 in pass-defense DVOA, 16th in passing yards allowed, 11th in opponent completion rate, 11th in opponent yards per attempt, 14th in passing touchdowns given up, and No. 8 in opponent QB rating. Kansas City’s major weakness is its run defense, checking in at 30th in DVOA and getting its teeth kicked in week in and week out. New England will have a chance to control the ball on the ground and try to keep Patrick Mahomes off the field. This game’s 48.5-point total is the highest of the week, but Brady has been involved in plenty of high-total games all year, yet is still the QB15 in fantasy points per game. He’s a solid two-QB league option, but Brady has six 0-1 touchdown passing games over his last nine contests with just three 300-yard outings and four sub-250 yards days in that span.
Start of the Week: Devonta Freeman vs. Panthers: In his first game back after missing two with a foot injury, Freeman was in on 66% of the snaps and handled 21-of-30 backfield touches in the Thanksgiving night loss to the Saints. The volume and snap share were promising for Freeman headed into one of the easiest matchups he’ll see in 2019. Still without a rushing score to his name this season, Sunday will be Freeman’s best chance at halting that skid. Carolina is dead last in run-defense DVOA, dead last in opponent yards per carry, dead last in rushing touchdowns allowed, dead last in fantasy points given up to running backs, and 29th in rushing yards allowed per game. Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson just hung a combined 23-228-3 rushing line on Carolina in the Redskins’ upset road win last week. And since the Panthers’ Week 7 bye, enemy backs Latavius Murray (7-64-1), Aaron Jones (13-93-3), Derrick Henry (13-63-1), Tevin Coleman (11-105-3), and Raheem Mostert (9-60-1) have all found the end zone. Freeman’s explosion appears sapped at 27 years old and back-to-back seasons with lower-body injuries. He’s 26th among 28 qualified RBs in Pro Football Focus’ elusive rating, better than only Sony Michel and Frank Gore. But there’s still enough to like here to warrant RB2 status. Atlanta’s implied team total of 25.25 points is sixth-highest of the week, and the Kawann Short- and Dontari Poe-less Panthers are 24th in opponent plays per game. Carolina and Atlanta are both top nine in offensive pace and top six in offensive plays per contest, so this has some shootout appeal if the Kyle Allen-guided Panthers can hold up their end of things.
Patrick Laird at Jets: With Kalen Ballage going down after 11 snaps with an Achilles’ injury last week, Laird ended up getting in on over 59% of the snaps against the Eagles. Ballage is now on I.R., and the Dolphins are turning to a Laird-Myles Gaskin-Zach Zenner backfield. Laird handled 14 touches in the upset win, scoring a touchdown, but obviously left a lot to be desired as a runner with his 10-5-1 line. Still, he’s a proficient pass catcher after spending time at wideout during his Cal days. The Jets field a strong run defense, checking in at No. 2 in DVOA, but they’ve allowed the third-most catches to the position. This is where Laird can beat them after he went 4-43 on five targets as a receiver versus Philly. Joe Mixon (4-26), Jalen Richard (6-47), and Derrius Guice (1-45-1) have all met or beat expectations as pass-catchers against Gang Green over the last three weeks. The Jets also officially placed stud ILB C.J. Mosley (groin) on I.R. this week. Laird should see heavy snaps on all three downs, and this game has some shootout appeal with a 45-point total. The Jets are 25th in opponent plays per game. Laird isn’t as exciting in standard formats, but he gets a nice boost in half-PPR and full-PPR leagues.
Austin Ekeler at Jaguars: Since Melvin Gordon’s return to the team in Week 5, Ekeler is the overall RB13 in half-PPR points per game, so he’s still getting “his” as Philip Rivers’ checkdown specialist. Gordon is in a much better spot due to his command of the early-down carries against this soft Jaguars run defense that checks in at 31st in DVOA and 28th in rushing yards allowed, but Ekeler is still averaging over 11.6 touches per game with at least 13 in three of the last four games. Jacksonville is 27th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Peyton Barber found the end zone twice for the Bucs last week. Derrick Henry smashed the Jaguars for 175 yards and two touchdowns the week before. And both Jonathan Williams and Marlon Mack went over 100 yards for the Colts in Week 11 with Mack finding the end zone. This defense has fallen apart since its bye and just placed stud LB Myles Jack (knee) on I.R. Thursday. This game doesn’t have a ton of appeal with a 43-point total and both teams top nine in opponent plays per game, but the Chargers’ backfield duo make for strong RB2 options with upside. At least one should visit pay dirt, and both scoring is well within the realm of possibilities.
James White vs. Chiefs: White is coming off easily his best game of the season against the Texans when he turned 22 touches into 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The 14 rushing attempts were easily a new season high while his eight grabs were one shy of a new season best. White’s 78% playing time clip was his highest since Week 8 of last season. Meanwhile, Sony Michel saw his lowest snap rate of the year at just over 17%, though game script obviously played a huge factor in this with the Patriots falling behind by several scores in the second half. Michel, however, has been one of the least productive backs in football this season. Among qualified backs at Pro Football Focus, Michel is second-to-last in elusive rating, only better than Frank Gore. Michel doesn’t deserve to see the field. And Rex Burkhead played just four snaps last Sunday night. White flashed his big-time playmaking ability and is more than capable as a runner. The Patriots would be smart to feature him more over the final month and into the playoffs. The Chiefs are 30th in run-defense DVOA, 30th in rushing yards allowed, 31st in fantasy points surrendered to running backs, and have given up the seventh-most catches to the position. White is in a good spot no matter how his playing time shakes out.
Derrius Guice at Packers: Guice’s Week 13 breakout against the Panthers was one of the week’s bigger storylines after he posted a 10-129-2 rushing line. However, the Panthers are dead last in run defense, and Guice’s 29.7% playing-time clip was his lowest of the season. Adrian Peterson out-snapped (23-19) and out-carried (13-10) Guice while Chris Thompson also played 23 snaps. This is a three-way running back by committee in one of the league’s worst offenses that heads out on the road again as significant 13-point underdogs. Guice and Peterson are early-down plow-horses with Thompson dominating the pass-game and catch-up mode work. Green Bay is 28th in run-defense DVOA, but the Packers should blow the Redskins out of the building. Washington is dead last in plays per game and pace, so it’s not like this is an offense that can carry multiple pieces. This feels like a Terry McLaurin game for the Skins. It just feels dangerous chasing Guice’s gaudy Week 13 numbers in a much tougher road test with the Redskins implied to score a Week 14-low 14.25 points. Guice is a low-floor RB3/FLEX for me until the Redskins stop feeding Peterson carries and let the sophomore take the backfield reins.
Tevin Coleman at Saints: Since his four-touchdown smashing of the Panthers in Week 8, Coleman has been the overall RB47 in half-PPR points per game. Guys like Gus Edwards, J.D. McKissic, Nyheim Hines, and Peyton Barber have all outscored Coleman in that span. Coach Kyle Shanahan finally pulled the plug last week, playing Coleman on a season-low 18.2% of the snaps and giving him just five carries, which Coleman turned into six scoreless yards. Raheem Mostert took over lead-back duties with a 19-146-1 rushing line on 72.7% of the snaps. Mostert has always produced when given a chance and has earned a longer look. Matt Breida is also slated to return from his ankle injury this week. There’s an outside shot Coleman even gets healthy scratched this Sunday if the Niners prefer Jeff Wilson and don’t want to activate all four backs. Coleman doesn’t play special teams. Even if Coleman was still getting carries, this matchup is pretty tough. New Orleans is No. 6 in run-defense DVOA, No. 3 in rushing yards allowed, and No. 4 in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Coleman is a full-blown sit for the first round of the fantasy playoffs and may be a drop candidate by this time next week.
Ronald Jones vs. Colts: The cover boy of this column last week, Jones got the start and the first couple carries against the Jaguars, but quickly faded to the bench after Peyton Barber capped a first-quarter drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. Barber scored again from one yard out, and Jones ended up whiffing on a pass-protection assignment in the third quarter. He never saw the field again after that, as Barber produced the RB7 week. Coach Bruce Arians said Jones remains the starter, but that could be in name only. Barber has again entered the situation, and Dare Ogunbowale has handled third-down, pass-game, and catch-up mode work all year. This three-man committee is best avoided this time of year. The Colts are 21st in run-defense DVOA but No. 9 in rushing yards allowed and No. 5 in fantasy points surrendered to running backs. Only four defenses allow fewer plays per game, as coach Frank Reich’s squad is No. 6 in time of possession. Play volume could be a concern for the Bucs, but the bigger issue is Jones’ lack of playmaking in recent weeks and his iffy playing time. Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin should obviously remain stapled to lineups for the fast-paced Bucs.
Start of the Week: Jamison Crowder vs. Dolphins: Crowder played a 10-week high 86.1% of the snaps last week against the Bengals and drew his most targets (9) since Week 1. The bad news is he dropped three passes and finished the day with a 2-8-0 receiving line. Chalk it up as a bad day. This is a major bounce-back spot for the Jets’ slot man. Miami is dead last in pass-defense DVOA and 30th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Since Sam Darnold returned to the lineup from mono in Week 6, Crowder is averaging 6.9 targets per game and has three touchdowns over his last five games. He leads the Jets in red-zone targets. When the Jets and Dolphins met back in Week 9, Crowder hung an 8-83-1 line on Miami as the week’s overall WR10. Fellow slot receivers Jarvis Landry (10-148-2), JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-103-1), and Cole Beasley (3-16-1) have scored touchdowns against the Dolphins since the team’s Week 5 bye. This is a slump-busting spot for Crowder in a game that has serious shootout appeal. Both defenses are bottom 11 in opponent plays per game, while the Jets and Dolphins have both had big offensive weeks over the last month. This game’s 45-point total is quietly the week’s seventh-highest.
Tyler Boyd at Browns: In Andy Dalton’s first game back under center following the disaster of Ryan Finley, Boyd turned 10 targets into a crisp 5-53-1 receiving line against the Jets. In games Dalton has started, Boyd has target counts of 11 > 10 > 11 > 6 > 14 > 7 > 14 > 9 > 10 for an average of 10.2 per contest. That’s WR1 usage right there, and Boyd catches another plus draw against Browns slot CB T.J. Carrie Sunday. Carrie is Pro Football Focus’ No. 119 cover corner out of 125 qualifiers, allowing a 72.5% catch rate and four touchdowns in his coverage. A.J. Green (ankle) remains out, but John Ross (clavicle) is expected back off I.R. Ross isn’t a high-volume receiver, so Boyd should be in line for his 8-10 weekly targets in a tasty individual matchup. Albert Wilson caught a season-high six passes out of the slot against the Browns in Week 12. Cole Beasley put a 4-74 line on Cleveland two weeks before that. And Julian Edelman blasted the Browns for 8-78-2 in Week 8. Boyd and Joe Mixon remain the only usable Bengals skill players this week with Cincinnati implied to score just 16 points.
Zach Pascal at Bucs: With T.Y. Hilton (calf) out last week, Pascal played 100% of the snaps against the Titans and turned a season-high 10 targets into seven catches for a career-high 109 yards. In games Hilton has missed or been unable to finish, Pascal has receiving lines of 2-53-1 > 4-72 > 5-76-1 > 2-26 > 2-17 > 0-0 > 7-109. The 2-26 game was with Brian Hoyer under center. Pascal has been in on over 95% of the snaps the last six weeks. The Bucs are 19th in pass-defense DVOA, 31st in passing yards allowed, and dead last in fantasy points given up to wideouts. Dede Westbrook (5-60-1), Chris Conley (4-57), Calvin Ridley (6-85-1), Russell Gage (8-76), Michael Thomas (8-114-1), Christian Kirk (6-138-3), Larry Fitzgerald (8-71), Andy Isabella (3-78), Tyler Lockett (13-152-2), and DK Metcalf (6-123-1) have all exceeded expectations versus Tampa Bay since its Week 7 bye. Hilton is almost certain to miss Sunday’s game against the Bucs and is “unsure” if he’ll be able to play again this year. Both the Colts and Bucs are top nine in offensive plays per game while the Bucs are 28th in opponent plays per contest. Pascal should again flirt with double-digit targets as a rock-solid WR2.
James Washington at Cardinals: With JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee, concussion) missing the last three weeks, Washington has played 157-of-200 offensive snaps (78.5%) with receiving lines of 3-49 > 3-98-1 > 4-111-1, and the latter two came with Devlin Hodges under center. Hodges and Washington have gone duck hunting together the last two weeks, and the rookie UDFA quarterback openly admits it has helped with their chemistry on and off the field. Washington is providing a downfield threat for Hodges, who is taking more shots than Mason Rudolph did as the starter. The Cardinals just cut CB Tramaine Brock this week, and top CB Patrick Peterson hasn’t looked anywhere close to the player he’s been in his career after missing the first six weeks of the season on the suspended list. Peterson is Pro Football Focus’ No. 108 cover corner out of 112 qualifiers since he returned to the field in Week 7. Arizona is 29th in pass-defense DVOA, dead last in passing yards allowed, and 27th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. The Cardinals are also dead last in opponent plays per game while playing at the second-fastest offensive pace. The Steelers Offense should see the field a ton Sunday. Washington may not command heavy targets, but he’s a shot-play artist with major upside.
Deebo Samuel at Saints: Samuel played a season-high 96.4% of the snaps last week in Baltimore but ran just 28 pass routes and has seen a total of six targets over the last two games with Emmanuel Sanders and George Kittle back healthy. The good news is Samuel has scored touchdowns in both games. This matchup against the Saints in the Superdome figures to be one of the toughest to-date tests for Jimmy Garoppolo. New Orleans is No. 9 in pass-defense DVOA, and Samuel figures to see quite a bit of top CB Marshon Lattimore when Sanders moves into the slot. Samuel has the most upside of any of the Niners’ wideouts, but Cameron Jordan and the Saints’ top-end pass rush should live in the backfield and give Garoppolo fits all afternoon. San Francisco’s 21-point total is 11th-lowest of 32 teams in action this week. The Superdome is typically a fantasy-friendly environment, but Samuel’s low target share combined with the defensive nature of both of these teams moves him to risky WR3/4 status for me.
Christian Kirk vs. Steelers: Since his 6-138-3 blowup against the Bucs in Week 10, Kirk has receiving lines of 6-41 and 3-23. He has zero touchdowns outside of that Tampa game and just one other game of 80-plus yards. Kirk sees good volume with at least 10 targets four times and zero games of fewer than five looks. But this Cardinals Offense doesn’t push the ball downfield on a consistent enough basis. The Steelers are No. 4 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 7 in passing yards allowed, and 11th in yards allowed to wideouts. Pittsburgh’s ferocious pass rush should live in the Arizona backfield most of Sunday. Kirk’s lack of big games to date along with a tough matchup make him nothing more than a WR4 in the first round of the fantasy playoffs. The 43.5-point total for Steelers-Cardinals is the eighth-lowest of Week 14.
Cole Beasley vs. Ravens: Coming off his first 100-yard game of the season (6-110-1) last week in Dallas against his former team, Beasley has at least 74 yards and/or one touchdown in six of his last seven games. However, Beasley has been limited to 41 yards or fewer in four of those. He’s been getting by mainly on touchdowns as the overall WR28 in half-PPR points per game since Week 7. The Ravens are No. 3 in pass-defense DVOA, 13th in passing yards allowed, and No. 5 in fantasy points allowed to wideouts over the last five weeks. This pass defense is playing much better since the trade for Marcus Peters and return to health of Jimmy Smith. Out of the slot, Beasley should see a ton of CB Marlon Humphrey, Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 cover corner out of 125 qualifiers on the year. Ravens-Bills should be exciting and a potential playoff preview, but both defenses are elite against the pass and mediocre versus the run. Dual-threat quarterbacks and the running games are the strength of both offenses. Beasley needs to be knocked down to WR4 status with a scary-low yardage floor as the Bills’ No. 2 receiver.
Start of the Week: Jack Doyle at Bucs: Eric Ebron was placed on I.R. ahead of last week’s game, and Doyle ended up playing a season-high 94.3% of the snaps. Doyle’s 39 pass routes were second-most of Week 13 among all tight ends, and he turned them into a 6-73-1 line on a season-best 11 targets en route to the TE3 finish. The Bucs have been clocked by tight ends this season, checking in at 31st in fantasy points allowed to the position, surrendering the fourth-most yards and second-most touchdowns to tight ends. Jaeden Graham (1-53), Jared Cook (2-33-1), Jacob Hollister (4-37-2), Jonnu Smith (4-78-1), and Anthony Firkser (3-43) have all hit the Bucs hard since Tampa’s Week 7 bye. Doyle is now an every-down player running a ton of routes and playing against a terrible defense. He’s a set-and-forget TE1 play.
Mike Gesicki at Jets: From Week 9 on, Gesicki is the TE11 in half-PPR points per game and has scored in back-to-back weeks. Only Greg Olsen has ran more routes over the last five weeks. DeVante Parker and Gesicki have clearly taken over as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s top two pass-game options since the season-ending torn ACL to Preston Williams in Week 9. Gesicki has played over 80% of the snaps the last three weeks. The Jets have handled tight ends well, coming in at No. 4 in fantasy points allowed to the position. But stud S Jamal Adams (ankle) is in danger of missing this one after not practicing Wednesday. When these two teams met in Week 9, Gesicki turned in a perfect 6-95 line on six targets across 61% of the snaps. The sophomore stud athlete appears to finally be finding his form in the NFL and will be a TE1 moving forward.
Ryan Griffin vs. Dolphins: Chris Herndon made his debut in Week 10 but quickly was re-injured and sent to I.R. Since Week 11, Griffin is 11th among all tight ends in routes and No. 8 in yards per route. Griffin has at least five catches and/or one touchdown in five of his last six games, including a 6-50 day against these Dolphins in Week 9. The Dolphins have since placed both starting safeties Bobby McCain and Reshad Jones on injured reserve. Miami is 19th in fantasy points and 27th in catches allowed to tight ends. Griffin remains a top-12 option at the position.
Jacob Hollister at Rams: Hollister has played over 75% of the snaps over the last four weeks and leads the team in red-zone targets since Will Dissly’s season-ending injury. He has at least six catches and/or one touchdown in three of his last four games and should have scored in the Week 12 win over the Eagles, but Russell Wilson badly missed him wide open in the end zone. The Rams have handled tight ends pretty well, coming in at No. 10 in fantasy points allowed to the position, but Hollister is on the field a ton and draws the eye of Wilson in the scoring area. The 48-point total for Seahawks-Rams is second-highest of the week, and the Rams are 31st in opponent plays per game. If the Rams are able to get a lead at home and force the Seahawks to throw the ball more, Hollister could flirt with 6-8 targets.
Due to the lack of quality talent at tight end, it’s impossible for me to argue against anyone at the position. It’s a total crapshoot, and all we’re looking for among streamers are ones who can maybe fall into the end zone. Predicting touchdowns is the hardest thing to do in football. Just finding a tight end who is on the field enough and runs plenty of routes is hard enough.