by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
At a position that has been filled with questions, seeing one of the top two options sitting out due to a bye week makes things feel that much more difficult. Throw in a potential injury to O.J. Howard, who has emerged this season, and some difficult matchups complicates things further. With fantasy seasons hanging in the balance who should we be trusting? Let’s take a look:
- Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New York Giants
- George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – at Tampa Bay
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
- O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. San Francisco
- Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – at Baltimore
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – at New York Jets
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
- David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
- Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Miami
- Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – at New Orleans
- Vance McDonald – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Denver
- Chris Herndon – New York Jets – vs. New England
- Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Miami
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
- Evan Engram – New York Giants – at Philadelphia
- Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – at Detroit
- C.J. Uzomah – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
- Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans – at Houston
- Jeff Heuerman – Denver Broncos – vs. Pittsburgh
- Nick Vannett – Seattle Seahawks – at Carolina
- Over his past three games George Kittle has been nearly the equal of Zack Ertz, with the exception of finding the end zone (only 1 TD). Kittle has become a major factor in San Francisco’s passing game (8+ targets in three of the past four games) and he’s also been producing (83+ yards in three of four games). With a favorable matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have allowed the second most points per week to opposing tight ends, you could argue Kittle belongs atop these rankings. Whether he’s #1 or #2, he’s clearly emerging as one of the best options available.
- With Colt McCoy set to take over as the Redskins’ quarterback, it’s easy to envision him leaning on Jordan Reed. The two showed a good rapport in Week 11, as Reed was targeted 11 times and turned it into 7 receptions, 71 yards and 1 TD. Couple opportunity with a matchup he could exploit (Dallas has allowed the fourth most points per week to opposing tight ends over the past four games) and there’s a lot to like.
- We’ll have to monitor the ankle injury that O.J. Howard suffered in the fourth quarter of Week 11, but if he’s healthy he’s going to be considered a must use option as he continues his emergence as one of the best tight ends in the league. Make sure to check his status as the week progresses as there definitely are questions hanging over him.
- A healthy Rob Gronkowski should be among the best options in the league, though even when he’s been on the field he’s consistently struggled in 2018. That said the Patriots are going to have something to prove, after getting blow out by the Titans in Week 10 and then having their bye week to let the loss stew. We’d expect them to come out firing on all cylinders.
- Njoku has seemingly disappeared in recent weeks, including 1 target in Week 10 and 0 targets in Week 8. However he has an extremely favorable matchup with the Bengals and coming off the bye week you would think that the Browns’ staff will have had the opportunity to game plan on how to incorporate him more. While he’s not a must use, the upside is there to consider him a low-end TE1.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: