Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 1 Edition

It's Week 1, and there are lower-owned, tight end options who can be plugged into your fantasy lineups.

The long, long wait is finally over. Week 1 of the NFL regular season is here, and that means I will be providing streaming tight end recommendations for your fantasy football squads each and every week here at numberFire.

You can check out the review of my 2014 streaming picks, with some quick sneak peaks to what we can expect this season.

Once again, we will be searching for waiver-wire tight ends who are 50 percent owned or less in both ESPN and Yahoo fantasy leagues. Ownership rates do vary from site to site, but for the most part, my recommendations will be viable on both of the main re-draft sites.

In Week 1, we will be focusing on players that find themselves in new, beneficial situations, on offenses that have high projected team totals, with quarterbacks that we know have the ability to produce fantasy goodness for their pass-catchers.

On to the streamers:

Richard Rodgers

Owned - ESPN:19.3%, Yahoo: 11%
umberFire Projected Rank: 20th

Admittedly, this call has a lot to do with the 151 targets from 2014 that are now up for grabs with Jordy Nelson sidelined for the rest of the season. Randall Cobb, and some mashup of Davante Adams, James JonesJeff Janis and Ty Montgomery will certain get fed, but I think there’s room here for Richard Rodgers to see action as well.

Rodgers doesn’t have great metrics, but Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson took him in the third round of the 2014 draft, so that should count for something considering his track record for talent evaluation.

He was middling in terms of Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target, our main efficiency metric here at numberFire, finishing 12th among 24 tight ends that saw 20 to 40 targets last season. There’s also the fact that the Green Bay tight ends turned in just three top-12 fantasy finishes last season -- two of which came from Andrew Quarless who is still on the roster.

All that said, there is an opportunity for targets being delivered by Aaron Rodgers against the Chicago Bears, who ranked dead-last in PPR points allowed to tight ends in 2014. He’s no guarantee, but a Rodgers-to-Rodgers end zone connection is certainly a possibility. 

Larry Donnell

Owned - ESPN: 57.9%, Yahoo: 50%
numberFire Projected Rank: 16th

Larry Donnell was a streaming staple in 2014, registering less than four catches in just six games all season. He was also a great example of the touchdown volatility inherent to the tight end position (minus Rob Gronkowski), tallying 50 percent of his season touchdown total in Week 4.

No one would mistake his performance last season as that of an efficiency superstar -- he ranked 23rd in Reception NEP per target among 27 tight ends with 50 or more targets -- but his relatively consistent target volume (especially in PPR formats) is something that we as streamers cannot simply ignore.

Odell Beckham figures to be a target hog, but after him there is not much certainty as to who will absorb the rest of the volume. Question marks surround Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz, making Donnell a logical choice to see work.

The Giants are 5.5 point underdogs against Dallas, but are still projected to score 20 points. Dallas ranked fifth-worst in PPR points allowed to opposing tight ends, making them a prime streaming target. And if Dallas cannot control the time of possession the way they did last season, added play volume should also help Donnell’s cause.

Josh Hill

Owned - ESPN: 29.8%, Yahoo: 43%
numberFire Projected Rank: 31st

Earlier this off-season, Josh Hill was all the rage among the fantasy football community. Presumably stepping in to the pass-catching role vacated by Jimmy Graham in a Drew Brees/Sean Payton offense is a pretty sweet deal.

Much like the situation in Green Bay, Graham’s absence in New Orleans frees up 125 targets. Add in the 83 targets aimed at the now departed Kenny Stills last season, and there is opportunity for Hill to ascend.

An undrafted player from Idaho State, Hill’s athletic profile is stellar, and he was extremely efficient last season on his limited targets finishing second in Reception NEP per target among 28 tight ends that saw between 10 and 30 targets in 2014.

New Orleans’s Week 1 opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, were dreadful against opposing tight ends last season, surrendering nearly 10 PPR points per game. The Saints are projected to score 21 points according to Vegas, and a red zone score from Hill could be in the cards -- apologies for the bad pun.