by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Injuries… Injuries… Injuries… All fantasy football owners have to deal with them, but has any position been hit harder thus far than tight end? This week we saw a few more potential Top 10 options go down, with Tyler Eifert and Will Dissly being lost, many are left to get creative out the spot. Who is a good gamble to take? We may dig deeper into that later this week, but for now let’s take a look at our rankings heading into Week 5:
- Zack Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Minnesota
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Indianapolis
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – at New Orleans
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Jacksonville
- George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
- Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – at Los Angeles Chargers
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – at Philadelphia
- Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers – at Detroit
- Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – at New England
- Vance McDonald – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Atlanta
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Kansas City
- Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – at Pittsburgh
- Rhett Ellison – New York Giants – at Carolina
- Ricky Seals-Jones – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
- David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore
- Benjamin Watson – New Orleans Saints – vs. Washington
- Antonio Gates – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Oakland
- Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills – vs. Tennessee
- Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
- Jesse James – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Atlanta
- Since Week 1 Rob Gronkowski has disappointed, failing to eclipse 51 yards in any game and not finding the end zone. Could the return of Julian Edelman and seeing Josh Gordon’s role grow help to open things up and allow him more room to operate? You would think so, and while it’s easy to be down on him don’t make that mistake.
- While the Saints have been among the elite defenses against opposing tight ends over the first four weeks, who have they faced? O.J. Howard did make some plays in Week 1, though he was targeted just twice. Since then the “best” tight end New Orleans has shutdown was David Njoku. In other words, don’t overemphasize the stats and look for a reason to downgrade Jordan Reed, who has significant upside.
- Travis Kelce is going to be a solid option, and he’s not one that you are going to sit, but the Jaguars should prove to be a top matchup. Let’s not forget that they completely silenced Rob Gronkowski earlier this year and have allowed just 135 receiving yards to opposing tight ends.
- As expected George Kittle was the safety valve for C.J. Beathard, turning 8 targets into 6 receptions, 125 yards and 1 TD. While we wouldn’t expect quite those numbers each and every week, he’s going to play a big role in the offense and is emerging as a viable TE1 in all formats and a potential Top 5 option.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins hasn’t posted gaudy numbers, but he has been targeted at least 4 times in each of the first four games and has a favorable matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. For those desperately looking for an injury replacement he has the potential to produce.
- Other favorable sleepers for the week include Austin Hooper, Rhett Ellison and Ricky Seals-Jones, who all have matchups their teams can exploit. Obviously there’s risks, especially with Hooper/Ellison (who aren’t locks to receive targets given the other weapons around them), but without many dependable options you may not have a choice.
- Eric Ebron has been targeted 21 times over the past two weeks and has 3 TD over the first four games. Those are impressive numbers and there’s no doubt that he’s the team’s #1 tight end (there’s no timeshare with Jack Doyle going on, even when he’s healthy). The Patriots are going to represent a tough matchup, but given the injuries at the position his opportunities simply can’t be ignored.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: