by Ray Kuhn
We have reached the finish line. The fantasy football season which is a marathon, sprint and game of survival all at the same time, but Week 17 is finally here. For those of you who are still alive in your league, there literally is no next week and all of the chips are on the table. If not and you are just taking a crack at DFS to add a little bit of intrigue to the game, here is how the Tight Ends rank to close out the season:
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – at Miami
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
- Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns – vs. Pittsburgh
- Julius Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Houston
- Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at New York Giants
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Oakland
- Ben Watson – New Orleans – at Atlanta
- Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
- Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cleveland
- Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers – at Denver
- Will Tye – New York Giants – vs. Philadelphia
- Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Washington
- Zach Miller – Chicago Bears – vs. Detroit
- Jacob Tamme – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
- Clive Walford – Oakland Raiders – at Kansas City
- Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
- Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – at Chicago
- Richard Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – vs. Minnesota
- After losing last week to put an end to their undefeated season, the Panthers now need to win this week to secure home field advantage in the playoffs. That means they will likely be relying heavily on their best offensive weapon, aside from Cam Newton, Greg Olsen. So far this season Olsen has 1,088 yards on 75 catches along with seven touchdowns. Along with the rest of the team he had a down day with just four catches for 40 yards. He has been a reliable performer all year, and prior to last week his worst game was back in Week 4 against Tampa Bay (his opponent this week). Overall the Buccaneers are in the middle of the pack against tight ends and I would give Olsen another shot this week as he is still one of the top options.
- The Giants are at the top of the list when it comes to points scored by opposing tight ends, and Zach Ertz looks to be finding his groove. This past week even after Sam Bradford misfired on what would have been a 60 yard touchdown and he fumbled, Ertz still ended up with 13 catches for 122 yards. It was clear that Bradford’s focus was on his tight end as he targeted Ertz 17 times a week after he caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Ertz didn’t score his first touchdown of the season until a few weeks ago and over the past three weeks he has 26 receptions for 298 yards.
- If you have been streaming tight ends or are looking for a cheaper option, then Zach Miller is worth a look. Detroit is in the top five when it comes to allowing points to opposing tight ends and he has emerged in Chicago’s offense. Alshon Jeffrey was out of the lineup last week and Miller benefited as he was targeted eight times, catching seven of them for 69 yards. With nothing to play for this week it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jeffrey rested again and Miller targeted just as often. Last week made it three straight weeks that Miller was a intricate part of Chicago’s offense as he has 18 receptions for 211 yards in that stretch.
- Fantasy owners have been essentially waiting his whole career for Austin Seferian-Jenkins to live up to his expectations, but it has not happened yet. Don’t fall victim to just looking at the box score, as his touchdown (his first since Week 1) came on a last minute, garbage time Hail Mary. In six games this season Seferian-Jenkins has 18 catches for 290 yards and while there is potential, there are certainly more secure options.