Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 15 Edition
Even though the Vikings won last week, it’s hard to explain the lack of usage for Kyle Rudolph. Even though he’s returning from injury, it seems obvious that incorporating him would be beneficial. The matchup was there, and Rudolph is obviously a talented player – but even that doesn’t always equal success.
Jermaine Gresham caught a touchdown and finished as the ninth-best best PPR tight end last week, rewarding owners who gambled on him. Jordan Cameron did see five targets but finished with just 8.1 PPR points, clearly suffering from the now-departed Brian Hoyer’s poor play.
Scott Chandler, who found his way into the deeper streamers section, had a nice outing, finishing with 8 catches and 81 yards on 11 targets. Even though he is very much a “dad-runner” – shout-out to my man JJ Zachariason – he has proven to be a usable commodity in fantasy when presented with a positive matchup.
If you’re still alive in your re-draft leagues this week, the stakes are pretty high. Let’s look for some streaming options that can give you a leg up on your playoff opponents.
*If Jordan Cameron is available in your league, he would be my number-one streamer this week.*
Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
Owned - ESPN: 43.4%, Yahoo: 30% Week 15 numberFire Rank: 17th
This week’s St. Louis-Arizona matchup not only signals an intra-divisional showdown with playoff implications but also signals that small part of the NFL schedule where we can feel soft and fuzzy inside about starting Jared Cook at tight end.
Well, maybe not soft and fuzzy but at least not overly nauseated.
Last week, Cook finished as the fifth best PPR tight end, securing a 4/61/2 line on just 5 targets. He now has seen five or more targets in three of his last four games and is becoming a primary weapon in the Rams’ late-season renaissance.
But what should draw our attention is the tremendous matchup. Not only are the Cardinals ranked 26th in points allowed to opposing tight ends - 9.35 per game - but in Cook’s four career games against Arizona, he has averaged 3.5 catches, 75.8 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns per game.
When everything lines up like this, the fantasy gods will sometimes step in and ruin things, but I’m willing to go with good process and plug Cook into my fantasy-playoff lineup.
Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders
Owned - ESPN: 20.1%, Yahoo: 26% Week 15 numberFire Rank: 19th
I’ll admit that it’s not easy trusting any individual piece of the Oakland offense for fantasy purposes. For as bad as the team has been this season, Mychal Rivera has been the most consistent offensive player for the second-half of the schedule.
Last week against San Francisco, Rivera had a monster day finishing with 7 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. He secured every target he saw and has now received seven or more targets in five of his last seven games. Derek Carr obviously trusts him, and we should too.
Rivera ranks just 17th in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) among all tight ends, but it’s hard to argue with his usage in the offense, especially considering the unpredictability at the tight end position.
Oakland travels to Kansas City this week in a revenge game for the Chiefs. The Chiefs are tough against tight ends – ranking 11th – and hold the 14th best pass defense according to our metrics.
Despite the tough matchup, Rivera could be in for a nice game if he gets peppered with targets during the latter stages of a game the Raiders figure to be trailing in.
He’s worth a look.
Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
Owned - ESPN: 15.5%, Yahoo: 47% Week 15 numberFire Rank: 22nd
After missing the last two games due to injury, Charles Clay saw a modest target share in Miami’s 28-13 loss to Baltimore last week. He finished with 2 catches for 41 yards on just 3 targets. But with a full week of practice, it’s a good bet that Clay will see more usage this week.
From an efficiency standpoint, Clay only ranks 18th in Reception NEP per target among tight ends with at least 50 targets, but there are reasons for optimism heading into week 15.
In Weeks 9 through 11, Clay caught five, seven, and five passes respectively, making him a good PPR option. This week against New England, Miami could very easily find themselves trailing early, theoretically setting Clay up for plenty of targets in catch-up mode.
New England has been fairly generous to opposing tight ends, allowing 8.88 points per game, including five touchdowns to tight ends in the first 13 games of the season.
Clay is definitely streamable, especially in PPR leagues.