My plans for TE this season have completely changed with the ACL injury to Chargers TE Hunter Henry. I planned on drafting him in every league. The situation and draft slot would allow me to select him in the middle rounds and get what I believed to be high-end production. I can’t justify spending a high pick on Gronk due to age and injury concerns. Since I live in Wisconsin, Jimmy Graham will go earlier than usual. Jordan Reed is always hurt and I can’t take him with a mid-round pick anymore. Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, or Delanie Walker will be my starting TE. I also love Dolphins rookie TE Mike Gesicki in a dynasty format. Rookie TE’s often struggle to make an impact due to adjusting route running and blocking schemes. Gesicki in a seasonal league is a TE2 with upside. The players listed below are guys I will track in camps to see where to slot them on my draft board.
Bears TE Trey Burton
There are $32 million reasons Burton should be on your radar this season. Burton is projected to play the Travis Kelce role in Matt Nagy’s offense. Just because Burton is playing the Travis Kelce role in the offense doesn’t mean he’s going to produce like Travis Kelce. I’m a fan of Burton, but will certainly have another solid TE on my roster. Mitchell Trubisky didn’t seem to be able to read the whole field last season. A Jared Goff type jump in Year 2 is possible. I like Burton more as my TE2, than TE 1.
Rams TE Gerald Everett
2nd round pick from South Alabama caught just 16 balls for 2 TD in his rookie season. The Rams have weapons in the receiving crops with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Everett offers more size and could emerge as a red zone threat in 2018. I’m targeting him in a dynasty league and as a late round flier in seasonal leagues.
49ers TE George Kittle
5th round pick did some damage in Weeks 15 (4-52), 16 (3-42-1), and 17 (4-100). I picked him up late after Hunter Henry was knocked out for the season. The 49ers with Jimmy G at the helm look to have an emerging offense. Pierre Garcon has never scored more than 6 TD in a season. Marquise Goodwin played well late, but at 179 lbs could struggle in the red zone. I plan to target Kittle in PPR leagues as a TE2.
Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones
Popular waiver wire claim after catching 3-54-2 against the Texans in Week 11. The following week RSJ dropped 4-72-1 vs. the Jaguars then poof the production was gone. RSJ is a converted WR from Texas A&M and scored a 27 on the Wonderlic. How much of the workload RSJ, Christian Kirk, and Chad Williams can take is something to track closely in camp.
Lions TE Michael Roberts
Scored 16 TD in his senior season at Toledo. With Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo as the main competition on the depth chart, Roberts has a chance to carve out a role in the Lions passing attack. Improvements in blocking will be the key to more playing time.
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
Played like Trash by throwing 7 TD combined in his last 3 games. Jadaveon Clowney with quote of the year.
Giants RB Wayne Gallman
13 catches combined in the last 2 weeks. Deep league PPR Flex vs. the Cardinals.
Patriots RB Mike Gillislee
Gets dusted off being inactive in the last 6 games. Facing former team wouldn’t surprise me if Hoody and McHoody don’t try to get Gillislee up to speed in case Burkhead can’t return for postseason.
Ravens WR Mike Wallace
Scored in double figures in PPR formats for 3 consecutive weeks. Colts have allowed 61 completions of 20 yards and 11 over 40 yards. Deep speed is Wallace calling card.
Chargers TE Antonio Gates
3rd on team in red zone targets since Week 10. Future Hall of Famer will dazzle us with his play vs. the Jets. Next Stop Canton.
Rams K Sam Ficken
Takes over with Greg Zuerlein going on IR. Titans provided enough of a challenge to stall some drives.
Home vs. the Browns. DeShon Kizer has thrown for 9 TD 19 INT and a 59.3 Passer rating.
Bears LB Lamarr Houston
Best known for tearing his ACL celebrating a sack dance, then getting cut by the Bears. Has returned to the Windy City with 4 sacks in his last 3 games.
Nuggets PF Trey Lyles
4-game week with three road games. Thunder, Wolves, Blazers, Warriors. Lyles is a big that has hit 13 from downtown in his last 4 games. Also a solid free throw shooter. Will help with shooting and do enough in the defensive stats meriting the pickup. The return of Nikola Jokic didn’t cut into Lyles minutes as they shared the floor. Short term add they should be owned until Paul Millsap returns. Available in 90% of ESPN leagues.
Suns SG Isaiah Canaan
15 points 7 assists and 5 boards in his Suns debut. Injuries are the path to Canaan’s playing time. Daily fantasy owners may want to roll the dice on Canaan while he’s getting minutes. Phoenix is a disaster, but there are fantasy relevant. Canaan is owned in 1.1% of ESPN leagues. 4-games this week on the road with the Mavericks and Clippers. Then at home with the Grizzlies and Wolves.
Jazz C Epke Udoh
4-game this week on the road with the Rockets and Thunder. Returns home for matchups against the Spurs and Thunder. Udoh is a short-term add with Derrick Favors dealing with an eye injury along with being in NBA concussion protocol. Daily players looking for Blocks and Boards may want to roll with Udoh. Owned in 2.2% of ESPN leagues.
Eagles QB Nick Foles
Giants have allowed the 2nd most passing yards in all of football. Foles has weapons around him and a solid scheme. Could help owners that lost Wentz or have been playing QB Roulette all season.
Packers RB Jamaal Williams
Scored in double digit points in the PPR format in 5 of his last 6 games. Also scored a TD in 3 straight games. Panthers give up just 89.5 yards per game on the ground. With Aaron Rodgers returning, Williams should still see a solid workload.
Packers WR Jordy Nelson
Hasn’t scored a TD since Week 5. Hasn’t had a game over 35 receiving yards with Brett Hundley under center. Those that rode the storm out with Nelson will be rewarded this week.
Bonus WR Dede Westbrook
Goes off vs the Texans. Speed kills.
Raiders TE Jared Cook
Cowboys allow on average 5 catches and 53 yards per game to opposing TE.
49ers K Robbie Gould
9 field goals combined in his last 2 games. 49ers have the semblance of an NFL offense and Gould has reaped the benefits.
Rebounds in Cincinnati vs. the Bengals banged up offensive line. Big days for Griffin and Hunter off the edge.
Panthers DE Julius Peppers
9.5 sacks this season on a snap count. This Future Hall Of Famer will be amped up to play his former team and get to A-Rod.
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo
On the road vs. the Texans. Garoppolo made quick decisions and displayed accuracy last week. The Texans have been a disaster vs. the pass since Week 8. Deep league play or DFS worthy.
Cowboys RB Alfred Morris
Takes on the G-Men on the road. Big Blue has allowed a league worst 130.7 yards per game on the ground. Ben McAdoo having more time to spend on his Gordon Gekko/ Pat Riley hairdo won’t fix holes in the defense.
Browns WR Josh Gordon
11 targets for 4 catches and 85 yards in his return last week. This week faces a Packers defense that has allowed an opponent’s passer rating of 98.2. Injuries in the secondary won’t help matters for the Packers. I believe Gordon plays a huge role in Cleveland’s first win of the season this week.
49ers WR Marquise Goodwin
Texans have allowed 23 receiving TD this season. Goodwin is a solid flex-play.
Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The Broncos are 2nd worst in yards allowed to opposing TE. Playing in Denver isn’t what it once was. ASJ will easily outproduce what he has in the last 2 weeks combined. (4 catches 34 yards)
Chargers K Travis Coons
Chargers have dazzled me with their play the last 3 weeks scoring 101 points combined.
Redskins are in free fall mode.
Have intercepted a pass in 8 of 12 games including 5 straight. On the road vs. the Dolphins. Doubtful Jay Cutler ends that streak.
Browns LB Joe Schobert
7 games of 10 or more total tackles. Tied for 2nd in the NFL in total tackles with 113.
Dolphins QB Jay Cutler
Looks to stop a 3-game losing streak vs. the Bucs who have allowed a 98.8 opponents passer rating. Cutler has thrown 5 TD in his last 2 games in garbage time.
Falcons RB Tevin Coleman
Tough matchup on Monday Night Football in Seattle, but worth a flex play as Falcons lead back this week.
Ravens WR Jeremy Maclin
11 catches for 151 yards and a TD in his last 2 games. Maclin frequently battles soft tissue injuries, but coming off the bye should be in lineups vs. the Packers.
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph
Has 5 or more catches in 5 straight contests. Rudolph should continue to offer steady production.
Redskins K Nick Rose
Should be a high scoring affair with the Saints.
I’m much higher on the Chiefs defense than rankers I’ve looked at this week. The Giants are a dead team walking. Kansas City has had clunkers in 2 of their last 3 games. Coming off the bye I anticipate Kansas City to generate turnovers and do some damage on special teams.
Chargers MLB Denzel Perryman
10 total tackles in his return. The Bills with a rookie QB making his first NFL start will try to run the ball leading to more tackle opportunities for Perryman.
Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jets have allowed the most TD passes in the NFL. Even without Mike Evans, Fitzmagic is a streamer in a revenge game. My bye week fill-in for Carson Wentz.
Giants RB Orleans Darkwa
49ers have allowed the most 1st downs on the ground with 72. Darkwa is seeing a majority of the workload and is worth a flex this week.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Texans pass defense has been a mess. Kupp leads the team in red-zone targets and finds the end zone this week. I’m playing Kupp over Will Fuller and Josh Doctson.
Texans TE CJ Fiedorowicz
Expected to come off the IR this week. Tom Savage doesn’t have the arm to drive the ball down the field. Fiedorowicz could catch quite a few check downs.
Steelers K Chris Boswell
Should be busy vs. the Colts.
Have allowed 17 points or less in last 4 games. The Rocket Scientist should be able to force Brock Osweiler to turn the ball over.
Browns DE Myles Garrett
Has played in 3 games and has 4 sacks. Lions have allowed 26 Sacks and Garrett gets to Stafford.
Raiders QB Derek Carr
Picks apart the Dolphins pass defense that has allowed the 2nd highest completion percentage in the NFL.
Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake
Faces a Raiders defense that allows 120 yards-per-game on the ground. Drake is worth a deep league flex play despite committee backfield.
Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas
Has scored as many TD as me in his last 13 games. That changes with Brock Osweiler under center vs. the Eagles. Yes, I know it sounds silly.
Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook
Coming off IR, I have a sneaking suspicion Westbrook will be involved vs. the Bengals.
Giants TE Evan Engram
Rams are a tough matchup, but who else will Eli Manning throw to. Engram has 11 catches for 142 yards in 2 TD in his last 2 games.
Saints K Will Lutz
8 or more points in every contest this season.
Faces the 49ers and CJ Beathard’s 65.2 passer rating.
Cardinals CB Tyrann Mathieu
Just 1 interception so far this season. I believe Honey Badger snags a C.J. Beathard floater. In previous matchup with 49ers had 12 tackles and a Sack.
I am always looking to maximize the talent on my fantasy teams. My bench spots are held for value or upside. Sounds simple, but what is on my bench can’t be used to defeat me. I’m having trouble filling out my last WR spots on all 5 of my teams. Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook is a player I have picked up in advance of his Week 9 return for all of my teams.
Westbrook started the year on IR with a core muscle injury suffered in the meaningless final preseason game. The Heisman finalist didn’t bust out until his senior season at Oklahoma to the tune of 80 receptions, 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns. This preseason Westbrook looked good with 13 catches for 288 yards and 2 scores. Granted, Preseason stats can be misleading based off what stringers played against. His 6 ft 178 lb frame along with character concerns are a few of the reasons Westbrook slid to the 4th round.
As a fantasy player, I’m looking for opportunity. Head Coach Doug Marrone has used a strong defense and running game to get the Jaguars to a 4-3 at the time of this post. The Jaguars receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired. Marquise Lee and Allen Hurns have combined for 50 catches 708 yards and 2 TD. At some point teams will force the Jaguars to have to win a game throwing the ball. I often look at matchups for teams coming off the bye. Teams get a chance to self evaluate and then get ready for the upcoming opponent.
With 2 weeks to get Westbrook up to speed, don’t be surprised if he’s a popular name after Week 9. The Biletnikoff winner showed enough in the preseason and the opportunity is there. If you have the roster space, I strongly recommend cutting some dead weight to stash Westbrook.