Instability. It's the mantra of the tight end streaming fantasy owner. I urged you before the season to forgo the early-round Jimmy Grahams and Tony Gonzalezes and wait until the last rounds of your draft to take a tight end with more value, especially Week 1, and if you followed this strategy, there's a good chance it yielded big results. Five of the top-12 Week 1 tight ends had average draft positions outside of the preseason top 12, and 55% of the top 20 week-one tight ends were not drafted until the later rounds of your draft if at all.
Week 1 Results
Orange Julius, known to some as Julius Thomas, is currently second amongst all tight ends in fantasy points with a breakout 110-yard, two-touchdown performance. Kellen Winslow, who hasn't been fantasy relevant since the Lincoln presidency, found a connection with Geno Smith and racked up 79 yards and a score. Brent Celek went all Magnum PI on the Redskins on Monday night, with over 10 first week fantasy points.
My Week 1 streaming candidates - guys you should have pinpointed in your drafts - included Jared Cook, Brandon Myers, Martellus Bennett, Jermaine Gresham, and Fred Davis who finished 1st, 8th, 11th, 27th, and 30th respectively amongst tight ends. For perspective, Jimmy Graham (12th), Tony Gonzalez (13th), Greg Olsen (18th), and Antonio Gates (20th), and Kyle Rudolph (33rd) performed well below their lofty expectations.
A One-Night Stand, Not a Girlfriend
Rejoice if your tight end helped lead you to victory last week. Remember, though, that your Week 1 tight end is a one-night stand - hopefully an amazing one - and not a girlfriend. You're not necessarily keeping this player for the long term, so there's no need to fall in love. Unless, of course, you drafted Jared Cook. You must embrace instability and get the best tight end out there for Week 2. Notice that I didn't say "the best tight end"; I said "the best tight end for Week 2." Tight end streaming is a weekly effort to find the maximum value at a position filled with possibilities.
Week 2 Streamers
Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (owned in 15.2% of ESPN Leagues)Every offensive player on the Eagles picked up at least 200 yards and scored seven touchdowns against Washington on Monday. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it sure felt that way. Chip Kelly's offense was in high gear for most if the evening, and not only was it fun to watch, but it has brought greater value to all of the Eagles offensive contributors. Celek, aka Magnum PHI, chipped in with 56 yards and a touchdown, and he did this with only two catches on three targets. Because of his extremely efficient game, Celek finished with a ridiculously high receiving net expected points per target of 1.76, which tells us how many real points he contributed to the Eagle's offense on Sunday per target. Celek had a more than solid receiving NEP per target of .56 in 2012, and we project that he has the same probability of scoring a touchdown in week two as Jermichael Finley.
Fred Davis, Washington Redskins (owned in 41.3% of ESPN Leagues)Fred Davis did not do much against Celek's Eagles, finishing with only two catches and 22 yards, but I wouldn't give up on him as a streaming candidate just yet. The Redskins had a lot going against them week one. Both RGIII and Davis were playing their first game after returning from major leg injuries. The tempo of most of the game was dictated by the Eagles offense, and it felt like the Skins never found a rhythm. Keep in mind that Davis had 325 yards in only seven games last season, and he posted an impressive .79 receiving NEP per target. Look for the chemistry between Griffin and Daivis to return in Week 2. A watch out, and it could end being a major one as the season moves forward, is fellow tight end teammate Jordan Reed. Reed saw more targets than Davis in Week 1, but this could have been a result of the Redskins playing from behind.
We think Davis has a better chance to get in the end zone this weekend than Brandon Myers and Jordan Cameron.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (owned in 15.4% of ESPN Leagues)
Gresham was super efficient on Saturday, catching all five passes thrown his way. However, he only accumulated 35 total yards. Look for his yards per catch to increase against defense that just lost inside linebacker and defensive anchor Larry Foote for the season to a ruptured biceps. Foote will be replaced by Kion Wilson and rookie sixth-round pick Vince Williams, which means there be more room than usual in the middle of the field for Gresham to make an impact. Even in his disappointing performance last week, Gresham ended up with a receiving NEP per target of .61, a number that usually correlates with a better fantasy performance. Look for this Bengal to put up starter-like numbers during Week 2.