Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming: Week 15 Edition
We have seen throughout the 2015 season that, no matter how good a matchup might be, low-owned tight ends often fail to meet expectations. It’s a difficult thing to accept, but one that is inherent in this business.
The good news is that Richard Rodgers caught another touchdown last week against Dallas, his second in as many weeks. The bad news is that it was Rodgers’ only reception. Finishing as the TE20 on the week, Rodgers’ 7.3 PPR points probably didn’t mortally wound your fantasy squad, but it certainly didn’t help much either.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins was relatively underwhelming in a sterling matchup against the New Orleans Saints, hauling in three of his six targets on the day, finishing with just 6.1 PPR points.
And while Owen Daniels did turn in a better performance in his second go-around against Oakland, he caught just 3 passes for 43 yards, finishing as the TE21 on the week.
Just one week away from championship rounds in most fantasy leagues, my hope is that the majority of you reading this are still in the hunt for a title. Here are three tight end options available on most waiver wires for Week 15.
Owned – ESPN: 25.9%, Yahoo: 23%
numberFire Positional Rank: 9th
Oh, Eric Ebron, the bane of my existence.
While that may be a bit overdramatic, let’s be honest: Ebron has let us down in peach matchups before. His seemingly constant battle with dropped passes makes him a tough guy to trust, especially when our fantasy season could literally be on the line in Week 15.
But when considering all the factors surrounding this Lions’ pass-catcher this week, we are forced to consider him.
After being out snapped by Brandon Pettigrew in Weeks 12 and 13, Ebron will once again have next to no competition for snaps as Pettigrew has been placed on season-ending IR after tearing his ACL. In the five games that Ebron has played without Pettigrew on the field, he has averaged nearly twice as many fantasy points per game (5.2 compared to 9.9).
The Saints are still very weak against the tight end position, allowing 12.6 PPR points per game to opposing tight ends, most in the league. Detroit owns a healthy 22.25 implied team total in a game that could likely shoot out against New Orleans.
It’s tough to feel super-confident in Ebron, but his upside in this matchup is immense.
Owned – ESPN: 43%, Yahoo: 50%
numberFire Positional Rank: 18th
Ever since entering the NFL in 2013, Zach Ertz has frustrated a ton of fantasy owners with his uneven production. Held without a touchdown until Week 13 of this season and failing to top 50 yards receiving in all but four games, his irregular fantasy scoring has carried over into 2015.
Concerns about playing time have been somewhat diminished over the last two weeks, as Ertz has played 82 percent of the Eagles offensive snaps, outpacing Brent Celek fairly easily over that span (60 percent).
Ertz currently ranks 18th in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target among the 25 tight ends with 50 or more targets this season. And while his efficiency numbers don’t inspire overwhelming confidence, he has seen 25 targets over the last four games, giving us hope that the opportunity for production should exist moving forward.
Compared to the last few seasons, Arizona has been much improved against opposing tight ends in 2015 but is still allowing 7.2 PPR points per game to the position.
As home underdogs with a 21.75 point implied team total, the Eagles' offensive pieces are intriguing fantasy options this week, making Ertz makes a nice streaming play.
Owned – ESPN: 19.5%, Yahoo: 20%
numberFire Positional Rank: 20th
The emergence of Zach Miller onto the fantasy football landscape has been one of the bigger surprises this season. Even before Martellus Bennett was placed on season-ending IR with a rib injury, Miller was producing at a fairly high level.
Although his catch and yardage totals have been a bit wonky over the last six weeks, he has caught a touchdown in four of those six games, including two touchdowns in Week 10 against St. Louis. Touchdown production from tight ends is hardly ever bankable, but it’s tough to ignore what Miller has done in the second half of the season.
In the two games played without Martellus Bennett, Miller has played 97 percent of the Bears’ offensive snaps and will likely continue to see a vast majority moving forward. He also ranks fourth in Reception NEP per target among the 22 tight ends with 20 to 40 targets this season.
The Bears have a lowly 16-point implied team total against Minnesota this week, a team allowing just 7.3 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
Despite the low total and middling matchup, Miller is in position to see a target bump without Bennett in the mix and rivals Alshon Jeffery as the team’s best red zone pass-catching option.
You could do much worse than Miller this week.