by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
While the injuries have mounted to the position fantasy owners got a boost in Week 6, with the surprisingly quick return of O.J. Howard as well as Greg Olsen also getting back onto the field. With Evan Engram also nearing a return and a few other situations evolving, suddenly tight end doesn’t seem like as much of a black hole. Where should we be focusing for the current week? Let’s take a look:
- Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Carolina
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Cincinnati
- David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – at Tampa Bay
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – at Chicago
- George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Buffalo
- Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New York Giants
- O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Cleveland
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
- Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – vs. New England
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – at Philadelphia
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – at New York Jets
- Evan Engram – New York Giants – at Atlanta
- Ricky Seals-Jones – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Denver
- C.J. Uzomah – Cincinnati Bengals – at Kansas City
- Geoff Swaim – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
- Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills – at Indianapolis
- Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Cleveland
- Jeff Heurman – Denver Broncos – at Arizona
- James O’Shaughnessy – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Dallas
- The workload for David Njoku has taken a significant step up over the past few weeks, going from 7 targets to 10 targets to 12 targets. Part of it has been to the receiving corps being banged up, and there’s a good chance that they aren’t healthy this week either. Even if they were you would expect Njoku to be a go to option against a defense that has allowed the most points per game to opposing tight ends. Overall he may not be elite, but for this week (and potentially the next few) he has that potential.
- Is it time that we face the realization that Rob Gronkowski simply isn’t going to have the type of impact that was expected of him? While he did rack up 97 yards in Week 6, he was targeted just 4 times (tying his season low) and he hasn’t scored a TD since Week 1. Obviously there’s too much upside to ignore, but it makes sense to temper expectations.
- After a surprisingly big Week 5 (9 catches for 77 yards), Austin Hooper followed it up with another big performance. Taking on Tampa Bay he was targeted 10 times, racking up 9 catches, 71 yards and 1 TD. The injuries to Calvin Ridley and Mohammad Sanu likely played a role, but it also gives insight into what to expect moving forward. There’s always the risk that Hooper’s opportunities go elsewhere, but he’s suddenly a viable TE1 (at least for the short-term).
- There appears to be a good chance that Evan Engram returns to the Giants’ lineup this week in a matchup that could yield a big passing performance for Eli Manning and company. Of course the Giants could look to get Odell Beckham heavily involved and we all know Saquan Barkley is a budding superstar. There’s upside, but the unknown opportunities in his first game back is going to keep Engram limited to being a back end option.
- While Trey Burton hasn’t necessarily posted gaudy numbers, the Bears will need to go pass heavy to keep up with the Patriots and the tight end has caught TD passes in three of his past four games. Considering the questions hovering over the position, that makes him as good of a play as anyone.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: