3 Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming Options for Week 2
Oh, baby. Week 1 actually happened. Even if 2020 is #cancelled, it's an exciting time to be a fantasy football player.
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 Week 1 data points, plus offseason news and changes. The more we learn about target shares and how defenses defend tight ends this season, the stronger these predictions will become.
I'll stop yelling. Admittedly Ian Thomas was a dud, as his target share didn't materialize liked I'd hoped, and Eric Ebron didn't do much in a game in which Ben Roethlisberger only threw for 229 yards. Let's aim for more Goedert-like success this week.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
Roster Percentage: 2%
Now dubbed LT3 by Evan Silva of Establish The Run, Logan Thomas was always the pick to be this year's Darren Waller. His role feels even more secure after leading the Washington Football Team in targets and getting into the end zone in Week 1. Sure, it's just one week, but it's good company to join Goedert and Darren Waller as the only tight ends to lead their team in targets.
Thomas now gets an enticing matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, which was the best tight end streaming defense in football last year. Or is it worst? Either way, tight ends scored easily the most points against Arizona last year.
Arizona just ran a league-high 82 plays, and as 6.5-point underdogs, Washington will be forced to throw a ton. Thomas is usable as a streamer right away, but with another good performance, he'll already be on the TE1 radar for the rest of the year.
OJ Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Roster Percentage: 18%
With all the buzz on Rob Gronkowski this offseason, O.J. Howard became the forgotten man in his offense. His performance may have gone under the radar on Sunday, but Howard posted a very solid line, with 4 receptions, 36 yards, and a touchdown on 6 targets.
Notably, per Sharp Football Stats, Tom Brady targeted tight ends on 29% of his throws on Sunday, the 5th-highest rate in the league. Meanwhile, Howard's next matchup, the Carolina Panthers, just allowed an even higher 32% target rate to Las Vegas Raiders tight ends.
After watching Gronk try to dad run his way through cement on Sunday, I think it's clear we were hyping up the wrong Buccaneer tight end this summer. Like Thomas above, Howard has a chance to be a great rest-of-season pickup, as well. He's already on the TE 1/2 fringe for Week 2.
Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets
Roster Percentage: 51%
As you'll notice is the trend in this article, Herndon enjoyed a really solid target share on Sunday (despite a brutal matchup). Sam Darnold looked his way on 21% of his throws, tied for the 11th-highest rate in the league.
That's a notable jump from 2019. With Herndon essentially gone for the year, Darnold only targeted tight ends on 11% of his throws (again, all tight end target rates thanks to Sharp Football Stats).
While you might be thinking Week 1 is the small sample size blip, I'd argue it's more of the norm. With Herndon healthy (and only a rookie), Darnold targeted tight ends on 20% of his throws in 2018. The New York Jets quarterback only has an established rapport with Jamison Crowder and Herndon, and notably just placed Le'Veon Bell and Denzel Mims on injured reserve.
It's reasonable to think Herndon can maintain this elite target share moving forward. And since he produced nearly 10 PPR points in a tough matchup, brighter days are ahead.
BONUS: Jordan Reed, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Roster Percentage: 2%
It's peak #2020 that it's only Week 2 and Jordan Reed is somehow in a streaming article. And yet, here we are. With Deebo Samuel on IR and rookie Brandon Aiyuk questionable at best for Sunday, Reed is starting at potential massive volume almost by default.
The matchup should be good, too. Despite facing Josh Allen, the Jets defense had the ninth-worst Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points per play in Week 1. In contrast, the Jets ranked fourth-best against the run by numberFire's metrics, creating a potential pass-funnel defense.
It's also worth noting that in Kittle's two missed starts last year, his backup, Ross Dwelley, played over 89% of the team's offensive snaps. As healthy as he will be all season, Reed is staring at a potential massive role and target share in an offense with the ninth-best implied team total on the week. He's worthy mid-week stash in case Kittle is ruled out.