Fourteen tight ends caught touchdown passes in Week 6, but only five could muster up the four more points needed to hit double digits. Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz caught two each. Gronkowski tacked on 83 yards to capture the top points total for tight ends. Ertz only gained 18 yards on his two receptions, allowing the Giants’ rookie Evan Engram (82 yards and a touchdown) to sneak ahead of him for the second-highest tight end fantasy score. Cameron Brate and Dion Sims were the other tight ends who scored in double-digits. So who starts and sits in Week 7?
Start this guy: Austin Hooper, ATL at NE
Austin Hooper led all Falcon receivers with seven catches and nine targets last week. That gives him 16 targets in two games, which is a new twist in the Falcon offense. With Mohamed Sanu potentially out again this week and facing an opponent who does not guard tight ends well, Hooper is in for another good fantasy day. A touchdown would allow him to break into the top ten scorers.
Sit this guy: Jason Witten, DAL at SF
San Francisco doesn’t have the best defense in the league, but they have the best fantasy defense against tight ends. In the game before their bye week, Witten led all Dallas receivers in targets, catches, and yards. It’s not happening this week. Resist the urge as the 49ers hold him to two catches for 11 yards.
Start this guy: Nick O’Leary, BUF vs TB
Tampa Bay has a top-ten fantasy defense against tight ends. It won’t matter against the Bills. I believe the Bucs’ tight end defense is low because they allow the most points to wide receivers. Who needs to throw to a tight end? Buffalo needs to throw to a tight end who is more like a slot receiver in their offense than a tight end. O’Leary caught six of his seven targets after Charles Clay went down in the Bills last game. Clay is listed as day-to-day but is not expected back this week. Pick up and play O’Leary.
Sit this guy: Cameron Brate, TB at Buffalo
Buffalo allows less than five points per game to tight ends. That continues this week as Tampa Bay comes into town. I expect the Buccaneers to struggle against a well-rested Bills defense up near the Canadian border. Brate goes without a touchdown this week, and that is enough to drop him out of the top tight end performers.
Start this guy: Jimmy Graham, SEA at NYG
Death, taxes, and a touchdown by a tight end against New York every week. In New York’s surprise victory against the Denver Broncos, the Giants still allowed five catches on eight combined tight end targets, one of which was the late touchdown reception by third-stringer Jeff Heuerman. Jimmy Graham will probably be the recipient of this week’s tight end score against the G-men, although we cannot rule out the possibility of Luke Wilson grabbing a second.
Sit this guy: Tyler Kroft, CIN vs PIT
Rookie Tyler Kroft has been filling in admirably for the injured Tyler Eifert so far, but this week he runs into the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The Steelers only allow 5.1 points per game to tight ends. Coming off an impressive shut down of the Chiefs in their stadium, Pittsburgh will be riding high in their home contest against the Bengals.
Week 7 flash in the pan prediction:
Rookie George Kittle teams up with former college teammate and the 49ers new starting quarterback, CJ Beathard, for two touchdowns in the upset of the week against Dallas.
Full disclosure: about last week
As the old song says, two out of three ain’t bad. Last week, I had the right team but the wrong tight end scoring for Denver. I correctly picked the TE-10 in Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but Ryan Griffin came up short of a TE-1 level score. I sat second-best Evan Engram, but correctly sat Ed Dickson and John Gresham. So, I’m calling it 4-for-6.
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