3 Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming Options for Week 1
Streaming at your tight end spot in Week 1? In this economy?
Then again, everyone's lineup is different. Once you get past the first seven or eight tight ends off the board, it's tough to be confident before we learn more about target shares and usage. And there are 16-team leagues, 2TE leagues, and TE premium leagues where the stakes are different. Are you really confident starting Austin Hooper on the road against the Baltimore Ravens in his first start in a new offense?
Throughout the season, this column should/will/must be your go-to resource for identifying tight ends to stream in a pinch. After a cursory look at 12-team Yahoo! roster percentages, everyone listed will be rostered in fewer than 60% of Yahoo! leagues.
For now, we'll lean more heavily on last year's data, of course, baking in offseason news and changes. The more we learn about how defenses defend tight ends this season, the stronger these predictions will become.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Roster Percentage: 55%
Dallas Goedert just barely qualifies under the roster % threshold here, though it's shocking he's available in that many leagues. Despite Zach Ertz not missing a game through Week 16 last year, Goedert graded as the half PPR TE12 by points per game. That ranking would jump to TE10 if you remove Evan Engram and Will Dissly from the sample, since neither played more than eight games last year.
While the receiving corps looks different in Philly... are we sure it actually is? Alshon Jeffery isn't practicing. Exciting rookie Jalen Reagor was 'limited' on Wednesday, and his shoulder injury is susceptible to an in-game setback. DeSean Jackson will definitely be out there, but the remaining receivers are likely Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
Per Sharp Football Stats, the Philadelphia Eagles ran 12 Personnel (two tight ends) on 52% of plays last year, which was far and away, the highest rate in the league. For reference, the gap from Philly to the second-highest rate, is the same as the gap from 2nd to 23rd.
With Jeffery out, Reagor banged up and the same coaching staff in place, it's reasonable to project Goedert for another heavy snap share. Which is great, because his opponent Washington Football Team, allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends last season.
Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roster Percentage: 36%
It feels like forever ago, but Eric Ebron is just one season removed from finishing as the TE4. You can probably guess who finished in the top three.
Coming off a bit of a lost year marred by ankle injuries, Ebron gets a fresh start for the Pittsburgh Steelers after signing a 2-year, $13M contract. As the 15th-highest annually paid tight end in the league and with negligible in-house competition, Pittsburgh signed him to be its starter.
Pittsburgh, too, is coming off a lost year. But Ben Roethlisberger has looked fully healthy in camp, which seriously elevates the projection for this entire offense. In 2018, Pittsburgh had the eighth-best passing offense, based on Adjusted Net Expected Points per Pass. Big Ben was the QB2 that season. As long as he's on the field, this team is going to score points.
Ebron gets a Giants defense that allowed the 10th-most points to tight ends last year. Pittsburgh has the sixth-highest implied team total on the slate. Staring at ample opportunity in an offense we expect to score points, Ebron is a viable streamer with legitimate season-long appeal.
Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers
Roster Percentage: 15%
The TL;DR synopsis: 34-year-old Greg Olsen ranked 5th in snaps and was the TE12 with Kyle Allen as his QB last year. Teddy Bridgewater is a massive efficiency upgrade, Thomas is athletic and has been productive when called upon. The Carolina Panthers brought in Joe Brady to call the offense, aka the architect of the greatest offense in college football history.
Basically, there's a lot to like. And although there's plenty of target competition in this offense, we don't know how the targets are going to shake out after Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore. We do know, however, that Teddy is more of a short and intermediate area passer, which is where Ian Thomas operates. We also know that the Las Vegas Raiders allowed the 6th-most points to tight ends last year.
This game has a strong 48-point total, and Thomas is in a role that's much juicier for fantasy production than meets the eye. Those in the tight end doldrums should look his way, with the hope that this is the beginning of his breakout.