Which no-name tight ends are worth a start this week in place of Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz?
With the Eagles, Chiefs and Raiders (and Ravens) on bye, along with Chris Hogan and Dez Bryant dealing with injuries, and a suspension for Mike Evans, you got to wonder who is left to fill out those wide receivers and tight end spots for your fantasy teams in Week 10? Here are some to consider starting and a few names you may want to stay away from, even with so many options unavailable in the first place.
Good Calls for Week 9...
Start T.Y. Hilton (29.5 fantasy points) – Another one of those “squeaky wheels get the grease” type of games. The Colts said they were going to get Hilton the ball, and they did.
Sit A.J. Green (0.6 FP) – He wasn’t going to do anything against the Jaguars anyways and he knew it. Maybe that’s why he got himself thrown out of the game.
Bad Calls for Week 9...
Start Will Fuller (3.2 FP) – I should have revised my start/sit offerings once I heard the Deshaun Watson news. But hopefully you were smart and didn’t start Fuller anyways.
Start Cameron Brate (0.9 FP) – In a game that should have been a shootout, the Buccaneers basically never showed up.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia
START THESE WRs...
Robby Anderson, NYJ (at TB)
Anderson and his quarterback, Josh McCown, have been largely ignored for most of the season. But they are making it harder and harder to not pay attention to what is happening in New York. Over the past four weeks, Anderson has averaged 11.1 fantasy points per game, catching three touchdowns in that stretch. He has taken over the role of the lead target from Jermaine Kearse. Anderson has gone for more than100 yards receiving twice and could do so again this Sunday against the generous defense of Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers give up 25 fantasy points to wide receivers each week. Start Anderson with confidence.
Golden Tate, DET (vs. CLE)
Even though Tate was supposed to miss some time, he’s been ripping it up the last three games, scoring 12 or more PPR fantasy points in each game. Tate plays out of the slot, where the Browns really struggle – six touchdowns to slot receivers allowed so far this season. Look for Tate to have another huge PPR fantasy game on Sunday.
Jarvis Landry, MIA (at CAR, Mon.)
As usual, Landry has been a PPR monster, even with Jay Cutler as his quarterback. He’s caught at least five balls in each of his first eight games, and he’s now scoring touchdowns too, with one in four of his last five games. Landry is another target with an excellent matchup this week as the Panthers have allowed seven touchdowns on the year to slot receivers.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Robert Woods, LAR (vs. HOU)
It sounds weird to say, but Woods is the best receiver on a Rams’ passing attack that ranks in the top 10 in the NFL. Woods saw five targets last week, his lowest in a month, but he finally hit pay dirt and had a second TD after the Giants blew their coverage and let him run free for 52 yards. Woods is a solid flex play in a week when a good amount of receivers (Oakland, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Baltimore all on bye; Mike Evans suspended) missing.
SIT THESE WRs...
Brandin Cooks, NE (at. DEN)
The Eagles just scorched the Broncos for 51 points, passing all over their vaunted defense. But, maybe, just maybe, the Eagles have a better offense than the Patriots, and without Chris Hogan, Denver will shut down Cooks. It very well could be one of those games when James White catches 11 passes. Consider benching Cooks, even if the Broncos don’t seem as scary as they used to be.
Jordy Nelson, GB (at CHI)
Poor Jordy Nelson fantasy owners. Without Aaron Rodgers, Nelson is basically useless. So far with Brett Hundley throwing him the ball, Nelson is averaging a lowly 4.9 PPR points per game. Furthermore, the Bears have allowed just one wideout (Antonio Brown) to rank better than 35th against them at home.
DeSean Jackson, TB (vs. NYJ)
Up until this past week, Jackson has averaged more than seven targets per game, he just hasn’t done much with them, scoring only two touchdowns this season. There’s potential for a long reception at any time, but with Mike Evans out, Ryan Fitzpatrick in at QB, and no running game to speak of, the Jets can focus on shutting down Jackson’s big-play ability.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Keenan Allen, LAC (at JAC)
Phillip Rivers was feeling it a bit before the bye, winning three of four after starting the season 0-4. His connection with Allen was a key part of that stretch, but in Week 10, the Chargers will be better off handing the ball to Melvin Gordon all day. The Jaguars own the best fantasy defense against wide receivers and are among the worst against RBs. Run, Melvin, run. Sit Keenan, sit.
START THESE TEs...
Evan Engram, NYG (vs. SF)
Roll him out again — his 4-70-1 line against the Rams in Week 9 was one of the lone bright spots for an otherwise depressing Giants offense. He’s a top play (he’s also a top-5 TE the rest of the season) against a 49ers defense that has allowed a TD to an opposing tight end in each of their last three games.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (at WAS)
After a slow start to the season, Rudolph hasn’t seen fewer than seven targets in a game since Stefon Diggs injured his groin more than a month ago. Diggs looks to come back healthy after the bye this week, but for now, the Vikings are winning and Rudolph is rolling. Diggs doesn’t play well with injuries, so he could be eased back into the lineup, which means at least one more solid week of Rudolph.
Cameron Brate, TB (vs. NYJ)
Brate might be a bit of a no-brainer as he ranks among the top five tight ends on the year. But this week, he could be Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target on Sunday, thanks to Mike Evans’ suspension. In Fitzpatrick’s only other start this season, Brate had 70 yards and a touchdown. Expectations are that the Buccaneers will attack the Jets at their weakest link, which is their secondary. This could be a very big game for Brate.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
George Kittle, SF (vs. NYG)
Kittle is obligated to catch a touchdown pass this week in order to extend the Giants’ record streak of 10 games in a row a tight end has found the end zone against them. Last week, the Rams’ Tyler Higbee caught Jared Goff’s first pass of the game for a six-yard score and then apparently left the game, the task being done. Denver’s third-string tight end, Jeff Heuerman snuck behind the defense in the final minute to keep it going a few weeks ago. It will happen. Even though Higbee did not catch another pass, the Giants also gave up 40 other yards to Gerald Everett. They allow more than 12 fantasy points per game to tight ends. Start Kittle.
SIT THESE TEs...
Julius Thomas, MIA (at CAR, Mon.)
Thomas had his best game of the season (6-84-1) against the Raiders and was the TE2 in PPR scoring for the week. However, this does not mean he deserves a spot in your starting lineup or even your fantasy roster. He caught two balls for two yards (that’s 1 YPC if you’re scoring at home) in a Week 9 game where the Dolphins trailed early and often and were forced to throw. Thomas’ Week 9 touchdown was not only his first of the season, but his first red zone target in the last four weeks. With DeVante Parker returning from injury there’s just not enough targets to go around. Let Thomas ride the pine this week against a Panthers defense that is stingy against opposing TEs (20th in fantasy points allowed).
Hunter Henry, LAC (at JAC)
No one knows what Henry is going to do on any given week, no one. Maybe some omniscient deity has a grasp on Henry’s usage, but why bother against the Jaguars? He’s had too many two- or three-catch games to feel comfortable rolling him out there against the Jags when there’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tyler Kroft or Jack Doyle potentially available.
Jason Witten, DAL (at ATL)
Atlanta plays tight ends well, giving up the third-fewest fantasy points all season. If Dez Bryant is out of the game, Witten may become a favorite target of Dak Prescott, but the Falcons know that, too. They will frustrate the Cowboys’ star all game and force Prescott to go to the wide receivers. This feels like a typical eight catches on 12 targets for 50 yards type of day for the future Hall of Famer.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jack Doyle, IND (vs. PIT)
This could be a tough week for the Colts all around. Pittsburgh enters the game with a top-five fantasy defense against tight ends, as well as the third-best against quarterbacks and the second-best against wide receivers. Doyle could hit his usual floor of five fantasy points, but don’t expect another big performance this week.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.