Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 12 Edition

Week 11 was a pool of tight end streaming sadness, but Week 12 affords us the chance to get back on track.

Every fantasy football season has its ups and downs. When things go right, we are afforded the opportunity to bask in our (supposed) genius. When things go wrong, however, it’s a reminder that no matter how much we crunch the numbers, study matchups, and put hard work in all week long, the game of football sometimes has other ideas.

Of the three tight ends I recommended last week, Coby Fleener was the only one who recorded two or more catches, finishing with 7.5 PPR points. Our fears about Leonard Hankerson's return were confirmed as Jacob Tamme saw just three targets, finishing with a single catch for 16 yards.

And perhaps most disappointing of all, Eric Ebron failed to record a catch against the Raiders, including a soul-crushing dropped touchdown opportunity.

Once we have wiped the tears from our eyes, all that’s left to do is reload for Week 12. With bye weeks now over, we have a full complement of games to choose streaming options from.

Let’s get to it. 

Heath Miller

Owned – ESPN: 37%, Yahoo: 29%
numberFire Positional Rank: 11th 

As a Steelers fan, I have a deep appreciation for Heath Miller. Despite being 33 years old and relatively un-explosive, Miller is ultra-consistent at what he does.

Now that Ben Roethlisberger is (again) back from injury, the fantasy floor that accompanies Miller is something that we shouldn’t ignore. In the six games Roethlisberger has played this season, Miller has seen 42 total targets, averaging nearly 5 catches for 50 yards per game.

With just one touchdown on the season, we shouldn’t expect a monster game from Miller, but going up against the Seattle Seahawks this week presents a very favorable situation.

Seattle is a classic example of a defense that funnels everything toward the center of the field, allowing the fourth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers while allowing the fourth most points to opposing tight ends. The Seahawks also rank fourth against the run according to our metrics, making it likely the Steelers will be inclined to attack via the pass.

An implied point total of just 17.75 points isn’t great, but assuming Pittsburgh gets red zone chances, Miller could be in line for extremely valuable end zone targets.

Brent Celek

Owned – ESPN: 0.9%, Yahoo: 1%
numberFire Positional Rank: 37th

Zach Ertz suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay making his availability for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions very uncertain. If Ertz does pass protocol this week and starts, Brent Celek becomes a much less desirable option. However, if Ertz is out, Celek is worth a dart throw for those tight end needy fantasy owners.

After totaling just 7 catches in his first eight games this season, Celek has seen a recent resurgence hauling in 11 catches for 213 yards over the last two games.  He is also the sixth-most efficient tight end with 10 or more targets on a per play basis according to our Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.

Sam Bradford was at practice on Monday, but on a short week, we could see another Mark Sanchez start against the Lions. While he was disappointing overall, Sanchez did show a willingness to look Celek’s way, targeting him 10 times last week.

The Lions have struggled to contain opposing tight ends, allowing the ninth most fantasy points per game to the position. The Eagles hold a 24-point implied team total in a game with just a 1-point spread, meaning a shootout could unfold.

Even though Celek isn’t a very sexy play, the opportunity is there for him to inherit a greater role if Ertz misses time. 

Kyle Rudolph

Owned – ESPN: 19%, Yahoo: 40%
numberFire Positional Rank: 30th

In the wake of the Vikings’ 30-13 loss to Green Bay last week, we saw a fleeting glimpse of the ability of one of our favorite streaming options over the last few seasons, Kyle Rudolph.

After seven consecutive games with 2 or fewer catches, Rudolph exploded against the Packers, racking up 106 yards on 6 catches, including a 47-yard touchdown in the first quarter. It’s nice to see that Rudolph can actually run 47 yards on a single play, as I seriously had begun to question what was left of his supposed playmaking ability.

While touting Rudolph this week feels a bit like point-chasing, his matchup against the Atlanta Falcons puts him squarely into the streaming picture.

Much like the Seahawks, the Falcons have been tough against the wide receiver position but weak against opposing tight ends this season. They have allowed the eighth most fantasy points per game to tight ends and have given up three touchdowns in the last four games to the position.

Long touchdowns won’t become a regular thing for Rudolph, but hopefully, last week’s significant bump in targets signals a positive shift for the remainder of the fantasy season.