by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Tight end is one of the toughest positions to figure, isn’t it? While we all know who the truly elite options in the league are, it’s that Second and Third tier guys that seem nearly interchangeable. Let’s take a look at how things currently look heading into Week 8:
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Chicago
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
- Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints – vs. Green Bay
- Julius Thomas – Denver Broncos – vs. San Diego
- Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – at Denver
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
- Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears – at New England
- Jordan Cameron – Cleveland Browns – vs. Oakland
- Charles Clay – Miami Dolphins – at Jacksonville
- Owen Daniels – Baltimore Ravens – at Cincinnati
- Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts – at Pittsburgh
- Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Indianapolis
- Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. St. Louis
- Scott Chandler – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- Jared Cook – St. Louis Rams – at Kansas City
- Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at Arizona
- Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Washington
- Coby Fleener – Indianapolis Colts – at Pittsburgh
- Jace Amaro – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Julius Thomas didn’t score a TD in Week 7?!?! In fact he also had just 4 receptions for 27 yards and hasn’t been above 66 yards since Week 1. Obviously he’s developed into a TD machine, with 9 TD on the season, and while the matchup with the Chargers is a tough one (26 receptions, 268 yards, 1 TD to opposing TE) he still needs to be viewed as one of the best.
- While Jimmy Graham did nothing in Week 7, the fact that he played (even in a limited role) is key here. Look for him to see his role expand in Week 8 and he should remain one of the better options in the league (barring news that he’s not quite healthy).
- The Seattle Seahawks have allowed 8 TD to opposing tight ends this season, most in the league. Greg Olsen, meanwhile, has been targeted 59 times (most among TE) leading to 41 receptions, 493 yards and 5 TD. There’s only been one game where he was below 5 receptions or 60 yards and is coming off his first 100 yard game of the season (8 receptions for 105 yards). It’s hard not to consider him among the best in the league for any week, let alone this week.
- Over the past two weeks Jordan Reed has been targeted 17 times, leading to 13 receptions for 146 yards. It doesn’t matter who is under center (whether it’s Colt McCoy, Kirk Cousins or even Robert Griffin III) and the Cowboys have been among the worst teams at stopping tight ends this season (50 receptions are most in the league and 7 TD are just one behind the league leaders). Consider him a must play in all formats.
- While Jordan Cameron is coming off a terrible performance (which was surprising, considering it was against Jacksonville), there’s a good chance he bounces back strong against the Raiders. Don’t shy away from him off the one poor performance.
- Is Charles Clay getting healthy? He’s coming off his best performance of the season (4 catches for 58 yards and 1 TD) and should be able to continue it against the Jaguars. It’s worth valuing him like a low-end TE1.
- Dwayne Allen continues to share targets with Coby Fleener, making him touchdown dependent. He does have a favorable matchup against the Steelers, so he is in the TE1 range, but he’d be a lot better off if he were dominating the targets.
- At this point how do you trust Jason Witten? He’s watched Gavin Escobar’s role grow significantly of late, including scoring 3 TD over the past two weeks. Obviously we don’t want to write him off, but he needs to show us something before we trust him.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: