Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 6 Edition

Week 5 was an interesting one for NFL tight ends. What can we expect moving into Week 6?

When reviewing the top six fantasy tight ends from Week 5 -- Antonio GatesTyler Eifert, Gary Barnidge, Jacob TammeLarry Donnell and Brent Celek -- "chaos" is the first word that comes to mind.

We already knew that the tight end position is extremely volatile from week to week for fantasy purposes, but when Rob Gronkowski -- our rock and guiding light at the position -- barely cracks the top 10, it registers as a particularly crazy week.

My three recommendations from last week -- Owen Daniels, Richard Rodgers and Ladarius Green -- finished as the TE43, TE13 and TE14 on the week.

Daniels became the only tight end in 2015 not to register a top-two fantasy finish against the Oakland Raiders, failing to secure a single catch on five total targets. Even though the doughnut was disappointing, I believe this will be an outlier for tight ends facing the Raiders this season. 

Let's dive into Week 6.

Richard Rodgers

Owned – ESPN: 43.5%, Yahoo: 46%
numberFire Positional Rank: 19th

As I discussed in last week’s article, Richard Rodgers is the third pass-catching option in an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers offense. This, my friends, is a very advantageous position to be in as an NFL tight end. 

Rodgers led the team in targets in Week 5’s win against the Rams and now has 14 targets over the last 2 games. With Andrew Quarless still nursing an MCL sprain, Rodgers will continue to see the majority of snaps as well.

The Packers have a massive 34-point implied team total this week against San Diego, a team that has surrendered the 11th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends on a per-game basis this season. 

Rodgers’s 6.2 yards per target suggests he is fairly touchdown dependent, but being a relatively highly targeted piece of this high-powered offense makes him a viable streaming option nearly every week.

With ownership levels bordering on 50 percent and the chance of a multi-score game on the horizon, it would be wise to pick Rodgers up before the general public gets totally catches on. 

Gary Barnidge

Owned – ESPN: 37.5%, Yahoo: 51%
numberFire Positional Rank: 10th

I will be the first to admit that I did not see this one coming, but it’s clear that the Browns view Gary Barnidge as a focal point of their offense, evidenced by his 32 targets so far this season. Josh McCown has attempted 92 throws over the last two games, which will only increase Barnidge’s fantasy value if it continues.

His efficiency metrics are also extremely encouraging. He ranks second in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) among all tight ends and first in Reception NEP per target among 28 tight ends with 15 or more targets.

It’s a bit worrisome that the Browns have just a 17-point implied team total according to Vegas, but with no other legitimate red-zone threat in the passing game, Barnidge has a good shot at contributing to his team’s scoring on Sunday.

The matchup this week against the Denver Broncos is not a particular juicy one. They are allowing just 5.7 PPR points to opposing tight ends this season, but the high target total over the first five weeks for Barnidge at a position that is notoriously difficult to predict usage make him a viable option for those looking to stream the position. 

Larry Donnell

Owned – ESPN: 56.4%, Yahoo: 45%
numberFire Positional Rank: 11th

As one of the most difficult to predict tight end options in fantasy, it’s tough to write up Larry Donnell. And even though I’ve rarely been able to get this one right, there are a few factors that make him a relevant option for this week’s streaming conversation.

Donnell has seen the 10th most targets among all NFL tight ends through 5 games, and is attached to a Giants offense averaging 26.4 points per game. He has at least 3 receptions in every contest so far this season and owns a 70 percent catch rate.

On the flip side, his efficiency has not been overly impressive, ranking 19th in Reception NEP per target among 23 tight ends with 20 or more targets.

Donnell’s Week 6 matchup is a tough one as well. The Eagles have been extremely stingy against opposing tight ends thus far, allowing just 4.0 PPR points per game, third best in the league. But with both Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle sustaining injuries in last week’s win over San Francisco, Donnell may be in line for an increase in targets by default should either wide receiver be limited.