3 Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming Options for Week 5
Things got pretty weird in Week 4. The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game was moved off the main slate, and the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers had to move their game altogether due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests within the Tennessee organization.
But if you're here, you knew that already. It's time to give the people what they want, nay, crave -- tight end streamers. The good ones.
It was, thankfully, a light-ish week for tight end injury news. O.J. Howard suffered an Achilles injury, freeing up Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate for (marginally) more snaps and routes, and Jordan Akins suffered a concussion.
Throughout the season, this column should/will/must be your go-to resource for identifying tight ends to stream when you're in a pinch. Based on monitoring 12-team Yahoo! roster percentages, everyone listed will be rostered in fewer than 60% of Yahoo! leagues.
As bye weeks kick in, identifying usable streamers will become even more valuable. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are on bye this week, though we'll also need to monitor the Tennessee Titans situation (Tennessee is scheduled to play the Buffalo Bills).
For now, we'll lean more heavily on last year's data, of course, baking in early-season 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. It usually takes a good six weeks before positional points allowed data is somewhat reliable.
We're not exactly shooting fish in the barrel with tight end streamers, but we'll aim for more successful plays in Week 5.
Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns
Roster Percentage: 53%
Austin Hooper just makes the cut here, and it's likely he was dropped by many fantasy managers after a dismal first 3 weeks. While it helped that Hooper scored on Sunday, we're not necessarily chasing the touchdown but rather the improved usage.
Hooper saw a season-high seven targets in Week 4, good for a blistering 23.3% target share. That's unquestionably TE1 usage if it sticks, and it matches up with Hooper's 86.1% snap rate, which is fifth among tight ends. It also doesn't hurt that his quarterback is playing better of late. Baker Mayfield has a 6:1 TD to interception ratio over his last three games and is throwing a touchdown on a career-high 6.1% of his attempts this year.
Hooper now has a date with the Indianapolis Colts zone defense, which encourages shorter tight end targets. Indy may appear a tough matchup on paper, but it's really important to look beneath the surface of the matchup, especially when it comes to covering tight ends. The Colts have faced Tyler Eifert, Kyle Rudolph, Adam Gase, and Jimmy Graham to date, so not exactly a murderer's row.
It's also notable that Nick Chubb is headed to IR. It's possible that with Chubb out, the offense skews slightly more pass-heavy in the coming weeks. That makes Hooper worth picking up for more than just short-term value, as he gets to face the Cincinnati Bengals, Las Vegas Raiders, Houston Texans, and Philadelphia Eagles in Weeks 7 through 11.
Greg Olsen, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Roster Percentage: 22%
This is not fun, sexy, or any other cool adjective. I get it. But... I've already recommended Jimmy Graham this year, so might as well keep it going with dusty old dudes.
Again, we're chasing opportunity and good usage. Greg Olsen is running 42% of his routes out of the slot (per PlayerProfiler), and he's notably tied for the team lead with three targets inside the 10 yard line.
Olsen also ranks eighth in catch rate among tight ends, and he's playing with a quarterback that will be top-three in projected touchdown passes every week moving forward. That alone qualifies him as a streamer.
The matchup should be good, too. The Minnesota Vikings got dog-walked by Mo Alie-Cox, let Jonnu Smith drop 5 for 61 in Week 3, then permitted a tidy 5 for 67 on 5 targets to Houston Texans tight ends in Week 4.
There are worse ways to chase touchdowns at the position this week (and every week). This game opened with a blistering 58-point implied total, tied for highest on the week.
Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roster Percentage: 27%
We've been down this road before with Eric Ebron, but it's possible it just took a few weeks for him to get adjusted to his new offense. Ebron is coming off season-highs in targets, catches, and yards after dropping 5-52-1 on 7 targets in Week 3.
It's likely Johnson is due back coming off the COVID-induced Week 4 bye, but Ebron still has a great matchup. He gets to face the Philadelphia Eagles, fresh off getting absolutely trucked by George Kittle on Sunday night. Philly also gave up Logan Thomas' career game in Week 1 and allowed three touchdowns to Tyler Higbee in Week 2.
Bonus: Dalton Schultz, Drew Sample, Darren Fells, and Evan Engram
I felt obligated to list Dalton Schultz here, since he technically meets the threshold (52%). He's an every-week TE1 in this absurd Dallas Cowboys offense, and there's no reason he's still available on over 40% of waiver wires. If he's there, scoop him up.
The aforementioned Jordan Akins concussion breathes deep streamer life into Darren Fells. Fells has a touchdown this year and another end zone target, and Akins is sneakily 12th among tight ends in snap share (pending Week 4 results). Jacksonville is not a shy-away matchup and has a strong 54.5 total early in the week.
I'm not sure if he's good, but Drew Sample is getting legitimate TE1 usage. He led all Bengals skill position players with an 85% snap rate on Sunday, and team #watchthetape will tell you he had two end zone targets. If you read the linked article, Joe Burrow went back to him after Sample had a TD ripped out of his hands on an excellent play by Myles Jack. Joe Burrow is second in the NFL in pass attempts, and that should continue as the Bengals are heavy underdogs against the Baltimore Ravens this week.
Moving past streaming for a final note, Evan Engram is a screaming buy in both season-long leagues and DFS lineups. Engram's fantasy manager is likely frustrated with his to-date TE26 (pending MNF) scoring.
But as EstablishTheRun's Adam Levitan notes, Engram has faced a brutal schedule, his underlying usage is ideal, he leads the team in target share, and his upcoming schedule is golden. With Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard not siphoning off targets, an Engram explosion is likely imminent. Buy now while his price is in the basement.