Welcome to the NFL DFS TE Coach, where we identify the best tight ends for our DraftKings and FanDuel lineups!
What’s up my peeps? We are “face-to-face” with Week 6 of the NFL season. Given the recent uptick in positive Covid tests around the league, “face-to-face” might not be an appropriate term when it comes to social distancing. Do you remember how last week was “weird” with regards to rostering tight ends in NFL DFS? Well, let me refresh your memory.
For the most part, given the value on the slate, you could roster any beefcake option you wanted. Nailing the right choice was the difference between winning and losing. We’re faced with another “weird” week when it comes to tight ends, but not in a good way. The main slate doesn’t include Travis Kelce (KC), George Kittle (SF) or Darren Waller (LV). Well, damn.
When you’re looking for the ultimate tight end, you want someone who is on the field for a large percentage of the offense’s snaps, runs routes for most of those snaps (instead of blocking), is heavily targeted (especially in the red zone), and plays for a team that is expected to put up lots of “real life” points. It’s hard to check off all of those boxes. Unfortunately, Kelce, Kittle and Waller are the three guys who usually meet the criteria every week. There’s a saying about “cream rising to the top,” but I’m not sure if there’s a saying that describes what’s left after you remove the cream and put it on a different slate. We find ourselves with a lot of “boom or bust” options this week, so player’s salaries (when choosing cash game options) and ownership projections (when choosing tournament options) will be key.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Mark Andrews (BAL) – FanDuel $7600 / DraftKings $6500
Due to the lack of “beefcake” options at the position, Andrews is this week’s default number one tight end option in tournaments. He’s actually been my favorite tournament tight end option several times this season, so the choice is an easy one. He topped the list last week and came through with six receptions on nine targets for 56 receiving yards and one touchdown against Cincinnati. He’s seen six or more targets in three of his five games this season, confirming his role as the number one receiving option for the Baltimore Ravens.
This week, he faces a Philadelphia Eagles team that is ranked 29th in DvP versus tight ends and has given up the second-most receiving touchdowns to the position (5). He has 22.8, 20.7 and 17.6 fantasy point outings this season, largely in part to his ability to find the end zone. If he puts up a similar performance this weekend, you’ll need to have him on your team if you want to win anything (current DraftKings ownership projection of 9.31% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 8.22%).
Jonnu Smith (TEN) – FanDuel $5800 / DraftKings $5200
With the Tennessee Titans receiving core banged up for one reason or another (predominately Covid related), Smith came through big time in last week’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills (five receptions on seven targets for 40 receiving yards and two touchdowns). Smith appears to be the team’s number two receiving option even when everyone is healthy (7, 5, 8 and 7 targets through four games this season), so the return of guys like Adam Humphries (TEN) won’t sway me from using him as my primary option in cash games this week. While I expect Derrick Henry (TEN) to have a big game, there should be more than enough “fantasy goodness” for Smith to leave his mark against a Houston Texans defense that ranks 15th in DvP versus tight ends (current DraftKings ownership projection of 10.38% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 9.15%).
Evan Engram (NYG) – FanDuel $5600 / DraftKings $4900
Despite scoring on a six-yard rushing touchdown last week against Dallas, Engram disappointed on the receiving end, coming down with one reception on two targets for 16 yards and zero touchdowns. Truth be told, I’m willing to overlook this, as there’s only so much he could do with two targets. When you look at his game logs and see that he’s been targeted seven, eight, five and 10 times prior to Sunday’s outing, you can clearly see last week’s game was an outlier. If you laid eyes on Engram during the game, you saw that he looked good. Unfortunately, you don’t get fantasy points for “looking good.”
Engram has a shot at redemption this week against a Washington defense that ranks 28th in DvP versus the position and allows the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. He has an excellent opportunity to turn those “style points” into actual fantasy points, so give him a look when rounding out your tournament lineups (current DraftKings ownership projection of 6.15% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 4.29%).
Eric Ebron (PIT) – FanDuel $5200 / DraftKings $4100
Ebron’s “bust” potential was on full display last week against Cleveland, as he managed 8.3 DraftKings points on the day (4.8 FanDuel points). Despite the poor fantasy showing, it really wasn’t a bad “real life” outing, as he came down with five receptions on six targets for 43 yards and zero touchdowns. Let’s face it, it’s hard to showcase your skills when Chase Claypool (PIT) finds himself scoring every touchdown on the team. Several dropped passes and a fumble didn’t help his cause, however, this weekend’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns gives Ebron an opportunity to make things up to us. The Browns are ranked 27th in DvP versus tight ends. That puts him in play as a viable tournament option this week (current DraftKings ownership projection of 5.66% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 3.97%).
T.J. Hockenson (DET) – FanDuel $5700 / DraftKings $5300
Hockenson is doing his best to prove he isn’t a “Week 1 wonder” yet again this season. He hasn’t been able to replicate the 16.6 DraftKings points (14.1 FanDuel points) he put up in the first game of the season, however, there’s reason for optimism. He’s played 82% and 75% of the team’s offensive snaps during the last two weeks (heading into the bye week). Also, he’s come down with at least 53 receiving yards and/or a touchdown in each game this season. I like his chances as a tournament option this week when he takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars (ranked 25th in DvP versus tight ends). Detroit has the second-highest implied team total on the main slate (29.0), so pairing him up with Matthew Stafford (DET) in GPPs would be a wise move (current DraftKings ownership projection of 5.79% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 6.84%).
Trey Burton (IND) – FanDuel $4700 / DraftKings $3100
Burton is my favorite “Kool-Aid” flavor this week. After missing the first three games of the season, he seems to be the number one tight end option for the Indianapolis Colts. Trey drew five targets for two receptions and 16 receiving yards with zero touchdowns against Chicago and six targets for five receptions and 33 receiving yards with zero touchdowns against Cleveland. I know, that doesn’t mean a lot with Philip Rivers (IND) under center on a team that has a “run first” mentality. Mo Alie-Cox (IND) is currently questionable with a knee injury and saw only one target last week against Cleveland. His absence could lead to an increase in the 45% offensive snap share Burton saw in Week 5.
I’m not willing to pull the trigger in cash games, however, he’s cheap and only needs to fall into the end zone once in order to make you look like a genius in GPPs (current DraftKings ownership projection of .71% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 1.48%). The Colts do have an implied team total of 27.0 and stranger things have happened this season.
Robert Tonyan (GB) – FanDuel $6200 / DraftKings $5100
Tonyan makes this week’s write up, not because I think he’s an exceptional play, but you can’t have a tight end catch three touchdowns in one week and not mention him in your article. People want to know what to do with him. For me, the answer is simple. I’m only using him if I’m stacking Aaron Rodgers (GB) and the potent Green Bay offense when they take on Tampa Bay.
I’m not saying Tonyan hasn’t emerged as an important part of Green Bay’s passing offense (13 receptions on 14 targets for 173 receiving yards and five touchdowns over the past three weeks), however, the “big dog” is back this week in the form of Davante Adams (GB). After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, Adams will make his triumphant return and should go right back to dominating the team’s targets, even in a tough matchup (let’s face it, the guy is matchup proof).
I currently have Tonyan as my fourth-highest projected tight end option, however, he has seen his salary increase over the past several weeks. He isn’t expected to see high ownership (current DraftKings ownership projection of 5.44% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 3.39%), however, using him as a standalone tight end option in tournaments is in a high priority for me (Tampa Bay is ranked 12th in DvP versus tight ends).
Hon. mention that almost made the article include Mike Gesicki (MIA) versus the New York Jets (current DraftKings ownership projection of 6.82% with a FanDuel ownership projection of 6.90%). Be sure to include him as part of your Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA) stacks. Don’t pretend like you’re not going to have one.
You might be asking yourselves, “What is a Kool-Aid play?” Well, it’s a player who is very low owned, in a unique spot, and could either catapult you to the top of the leaderboard or send you to the depths of the Atlantic. It’s a pick that’s not for the faint heart. Only drink the Kool-Aid if you truly believe. You might not die, but you will get sick.