Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 9 Edition

Benjamin Watson again came through in Week 8 for fantasy owners who rolled the dice on him, finishing as the top tight end last week. Does he find himself on this week's list?

Week 8 was chaotic. Anyone with a season-long team knows exactly what I’m talking about. Injuries were widespread, including those of the season-ending variety for both Le'Veon Bell and Steve Smith.

Fantasy scoring for the tight end position was almost as crazy. Both Troy Niklas and a guy named Cameron Brate were top-12 finishers on the week. Jacob Tamme finished ahead of Rob Gronkowski.

The good news is one my recommendations from last week, Benjamin Watson, put up a stellar 9-catch, 147-yard, 1-touchdown, finishing as the TE1 for the week. Heath Miller, listed as a pivot should Austin Seferian-Jenkins be unable to play, also performed well hauling in 10 catches for 105 yards.

The bad news is Seferian-Jenkins did indeed miss Sunday’s game, and Eric Ebron was a non-factor in a game that saw the Detroit Lions get steamrolled by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Week 9 gets challenging with six teams on bye, including two particular teams -- Kansas City and Seattle -- with highly owned fantasy tight end options. For those dealing with this predicament, read on to find out which tight ends are stream-worthy this week.

Heath Miller

Owned – ESPN: 35.8%, Yahoo: 28%
numberFire Positional Rank: 9th

The return of Ben Roethlisberger is huge for the entire Pittsburgh Steelers offense and especially for Miller. In the three full games that Roethlisberger and Miller have played together, Miller has seen 26 total targets and caught 20 passes for 199 yards.

It’s clear that even though Big Ben has an array of offensive weapons to throw to, Miller is a favorite. Now with Bell out for the rest of the season, Miller presumably stands to inherit an even larger workload on short and intermediate routes.

This week lines up perfectly for Miller, as the Steelers welcome the Oakland Raiders to Heinz Field on Sunday.

The Raiders have been tough against the run -- ranking 13th according to our metrics -- but have struggled mightily against the pass, ranking 31st in the league. The Raiders have given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, averaging 13.8 per game. The Steelers also have a 28.5-point implied total based on Vegas odds early in the week, one of the largest on the slate.

It all adds up to a great spot for the trustworthy Miller, one of the top streamers for Week 9. 

Benjamin Watson

Owned – ESPN: 52.4%, Yahoo: 52%
numberFire Positional Rank: 6th

What Benjamin Watson is doing right now is pretty amazing. On the season, Watson ranks second in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target among the 27 tight ends with 30 or more targets, behind only Gary Barnidge.

He’s seen 27 targets in the last three weeks, gone over the 100-yard receiving mark twice, and has scored 3 touchdowns in the last four games combined. And while it’s certainly not good process to assume monstrous offensive outbreaks from the Saints on a weekly basis, last week’s performance against the Giants showed what kind of ceiling a Drew Brees-led offense still boasts.

This week’s matchup against Tennessee is again at home with the Saints currently projected to score 31.75 points. The Titans give up the 12th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, presenting an exploitable situation for Watson.

Expecting another TE1 finish this week will likely result in disappointment, but considering the connection that Watson and Brees have evidently found, and still hovering right around 50 percent ownership in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues, Watson is a fine streaming option this week. 

Jacob Tamme

Owned – ESPN: 5.7%, Yahoo: 6%
numberFire Positional Rank: 13th

Jacob Tamme had a monster Week 8 posting a 10-catch, 103-yard, 1-touchdown line against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although his target total over the last four games (33) may appear unsustainable, his strong efficiency numbers (currently ranking eighth among the 27 tight ends with at least 30 targets) make it difficult to formulate an argument against a tight end combining volume and efficiency in this type of manner.

With Roddy White fading away and Leonard Hankerson possibly on the shelf this week, it’s not absurd to view Tamme as Matt Ryan's number-two pass-catching option behind Julio Jones. And in an offense that’s averaging 26.6 points per game, it’s a great spot to be in for fantasy football purposes.

Atlanta faces San Francisco this week, a defense that has been mediocre at stopping opposing tight ends, surrendering 7.7 points per game to the position. Atlanta holds a 27-point implied total, making Tamme a viable streaming option for those looking for a bye week filler at the tight end position.