by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Tight end has become a little bit of a frustrating position, with the injuries mounting and the dependable options becoming few and far between. There could be help coming, with Greg Olsen seemingly likely to return and Evan Engram potentially back as well, while a few others are doing their best to truly emerge. Who can we depend on? Who are the best options? Let’s take a look:
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – at New England
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Kansas City
- Zack Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at New York Giants
- Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers – vs. San Francisco
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – vs. Carolina
- George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – at Green Bay
- Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – at New York Jets
- Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – vs. Seattle
- Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Arizona
- Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – at Miami
- Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Atlanta
- David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – vs. Los Angeles Chargers
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – at Washington
- C.J. Uzomah – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Pittsburgh
- Geoff Swaim – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Jacksonville
- Vance McDonald – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cincinnati
- Antonio Gates – Los Angeles Chargers – at Cleveland
- Ricky Seals-Jones – Arizona Cardinals – at Minnesota
- Nick Vannett – Seattle Seahawks – at Oakland
- Rob Gronkowski showed signs of turning things around in Week 5, putting up 75 yards (his most since Week 1). With a shootout against the Chiefs expected, coupled with their struggles against opposing tight ends (453 yards and 1 TD), would it be surprising to see Gronkowski pile up the points in Week 6? While the numbers aren’t quite what we’d have hoped, the upside is simply too high for the coming week.
- The Jets may have performed well against opposing tight ends thus far, but Eric Ebron has been targeted at least 10 times in three straight games as he settled into being the primary safety valve for Andrew Luck. Ebron has scored 3 TD over his past two games and is coming off his best performance of the season (9 catches, 105 yards, 2 TD). While you may want to be cautious given the matchup, it’s simply impossible to.
- George Kittle has racked up at least 79 yards in four of five games this season and should continue to get that type of opportunity with C.J. Beathard under enter. He’s not a truly elite option, as he has scored just 1 TD, but opportunity is going to be key at tight end. There’s no questioning the chances Kittle will get, though the fact that Green Bay has yet to allow a TD to an opposing tight end does cap his value slightly.
- It was a surprising Week 5 performance for Austin Hooper, who got 12 targets and turned them into 9 catches and 77 yards. Taking on a Tampa Bay defense that has been the worst in the league at defending opposing tight ends, would it really be a surprise to see him continue the production? Consider him a good “gamble” to take, especially given the health issues that have developed at the position.
- Speaking of health issues, it appears that Greg Olsen is going to return to the Panthers active lineup for the coming week. We’d be conservative for Week 6, since we don’t know how much usage he’ll actually get, but the upside is there if you are desperate.
- Geoff Swaim has shown signs over the past three weeks, with 11 receptions. The matchup against the Jaguars isn’t ideal, and even during his “breakout” performances he hasn’t surpassed 55 yards. It’s hard to consider him anything more than a low-end TE1 (and a better fit as a TE2).
Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: