by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know how tricky the tight end position has become this season, thanks to injuries and consistent struggles.  There are only a handful of truly trustworthy options, surrounded by others who are extremely high risk.  Who are the players we should be trusting with our fantasy titles on the line?  Who should we be ignoring?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – at Seattle
  2. Zack Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Houston
  3. George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Chicago
  4. Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
  5. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Buffalo
  6. Evan Engram – New York Giants – at Indianapolis
  7. Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts – vs. New York Giants
  8. David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – vs. Cincinnati
  9. Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
  10. Chris Herndon – New York Jets – vs. Green Bay
  11. Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Dallas
  12. Blake Jarwin – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Tampa Bay
  13. C.J. Uzomah – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland
  14. Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
  15. Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – at San Francisco
  16. Vance McDonald – Pittsburgh Steelers – at New Orleans
  17. Gerald Everrett – Los Angeles Rams – at Arizona
  18. Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers – at New York Jets
  19. Dallas Goeddert – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Houston
  20. Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit

Thoughts:

  • What’s happened to Zack Ertz over the past two weeks?  He’s totaled just 8 catches for 60 yards and he’s now gone three straight games without a TD.  Maybe the injury to Carson Wentz, bringing Nick Foles back, has had a bigger impact than expected?  Time will tell, and while we’d expect a rebound performance and he’s impossible to sit he’s no longer the locked in #2 option (though he takes that spot this week).
  • Obviously part of the success has been the absence of Odell Beckham, but since returning to the lineup Evan Engram has finally started to deliver (11 receptions for 162 yards).  With a favorable matchup against the Colts on the horizon he’s definitely a TE1.  Just remember if Beckham returns the risk grows significantly, so monitor the news just in case.
  • When Rob Gronkowski is going well the matchup is irrelevant, but is that currently the case?  While he exploded in Week 14 (8 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD) he took a significant step backwards in Week 15 (2 catches, 15 yards) and draws a tough Buffalo defense.  He has too much upside not to utilize in most cases, but we also can’t ignore the risk.
  • The Cowboys’ Blake Jarwin has suddenly emerged, turning 7 targets in each of his past two games into 11 catches and 101 yards.  Taking on Tampa Bay that seems to be a good fit, though they’ve gone five straight games without allowing a TD to an opposing tight end.  There’s upside and value as a low-end, desperation TE1 but he’s hardly a must use option.

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