Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 3 Edition

Niles Paul has been on fire, but will his production continue into Week 3?

Predicting the amount of volume a streaming tight end option will get in a given week is always a tricky endeavor. But when two of my weekly recommendations finish as top-11 tight ends for the week, I'm more than happy with those results.

Week 2 was vindication for all those fantasy owners out there who have bought into the tight end streaming philosophy, as late-round options vastly outperformed the cost associated in acquiring them.

Travis Kelce was indeed given more opportunity, as was promised by head coach Andy Reid, and he did very well with it, finishing with 4 catches for 81 yards. Delanie Walker probably won weeks for a few fantasy owners, ending Week 2 with an impressive 10-catch, 142-yard and 1-touchdown line.

On the other hand, Dwayne Allen put up a doughnut, and both Jermaine Gresham and Jeff Cumberland were non-factors.

Looking ahead to Week 3, let’s keep swinging for the fences with some under-owned tight end options.

Niles Paul, Washington Redskins

Owned - ESPN: 1.0%, Yahoo: 7%
Week 3 numberFire Rank: 13th (tied)

So it appears that Niles Paul’s Week 1 performance wasn’t just a one-off type of thing.

After Kirk Cousins entered the game for the injured Robert Griffin III, Paul began eviscerating the Jacksonville secondary and finished with 8 catches, 99 yards, and a touchdown. Paul led the team in targets (11) and looked natural catching the football and in the open-field.

Heading into the season, it was Paul’s teammate, Jordan Reed, who was garnering all the attention in Washington as the tight end breakout candidate. Reed is currently battling a hamstring injury, which has given Paul his opportunity to get starter snaps.

Reed is apparently “day-to-day”, and if he returns, Paul’s volume almost certainly will take a hit. But until Reed gets back onto the field and proves he can stay healthy for any amount of time, it’s safe to bank on Paul, who is currently the 25th best player in terms of Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) among all players, regardless of position so far this season.

Washington’s Week 2 opponent, Philadelphia, currently ranks 12th best in fantasy points per game allowed against tight ends, presenting a tough matchup. But don’t worry; Paul should still perform.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Owned - ESPN: 2.0%, Yahoo: 38%
Week 3 numberFire Rank: 13th (tied)

If you’ve read my first two installments of this season-long series, you should be aware of my affinity for Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce. I’m still waiting for the greater majority of the fantasy community to catch up.

In Week 2 against Denver, Kelce turned in a 4-catch, 81-yard line, and almost scored a touchdown in the process. He's now averaging 18.6 yards per reception on the season, and ranks as the fourth-best tight end in terms of Reception NEP per target, which shows in detail how efficient he has been given his volume.

Kelce received praise from head coach Andy Reid as well as quarterback Alex Smith following his Week 2 performance, which hopefully indicates bigger things on the horizon for the freakishly-athletic tight end.

Kansas City travels to Miami this week to face a Dolphins’ defense that ranks 14th in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends, but with Jamaal Charles injured, the Chiefs will be starving for playmakers.

It’s only a matter of time before Kelce becomes an every-week TE1 and finds his way off of this list. Don’t be late to the party.

Larry Donnell, New York Giants

Owned - ESPN: 1.4%, Yahoo: 22%
Week 3 numberFire Rank: 16th

Anyone who has watched the 2014 version of the New York Giants offense can attest to the ugliness manifesting itself in the Meadowlands on Sundays. The Giants currently rank 28th in scoring offense, averaging just 14 points per game, showing that Ben McAdoo’s offense still hasn’t been fully realized by his personnel. While there isn’t much to be excited about on the offensive side of the ball, tight end Larry Donnell could be considered the line bright spot.

Last week, numberFire’s Keith Black urged fantasy owners to keep an eye on Donnell, and it looks like he was on to something.

Donnell currently leads the Giants in targets, catches, and receiving yardage, and looks to be the absolute first option if and when the Giants find their way to the red zone. He also ranks fourth in terms of Reception NEP among tight ends thus far in 2014.

The Giants face Houston on Sunday, as Donnell looks to break through against a Texans’ defense that ranks first in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Eli Manning is obviously looking his way often, so roll with it.

Deeper Streamers

Zach Miller (vs. Denver), Jared Cook (vs. Dallas)