Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 4 tight ends

Week 3 showed that not even the greatest minds of NFL fantasy football can predict everything… but that won’t stop us from trying!

When I have to double-check what team someone plays for, it usually means it was a tough week for fantasy prognosticators. Such was the case in Week 3. Even though I knew where Luke Wilson, Ryan Griffin, Lance Kendricks, and Marcedes Lewis played, it had been so long since I’d heard their names, I checked to make sure.

Will more names of football’s past show up on the leaderboard in Week 4? I hope not because you’ll recognize all the names here.

Start this guy: Seth DeValve, Cleveland (vs Cincinnati)

Cleveland makes tight ends a regular part of their offense. Seth DeValve has worked his way open for a good amount of plays already this season. There is no reason to expect that to stop against the Bengals.

Quarterback DeShone Kizer is quick to look for his big targets, especially against good defensive backfields. Few accuse Cincinnati of having a good defensive backfield, but they have top-third points-to-wide receivers ranking even after facing the Packers.

David Njoku outscored DeValve last week by scoring a touchdown, but DeValve still had more targets and overall yards, which is the norm.

Sit this guy: Jesse James, Pittsburgh (at Baltimore)

James saw only four targets last week against Chicago. In fact, Ben Roethlisberger only distributed targets to Le’Veon Bell, James, and three wide receivers on the day. It is possible that James was not getting open against the Bears defense. Things will not get any easier this week against the even better Baltimore Ravens. Even after letting Marcedes Lewis score three times last week, the Ravens are a tough opponent for tight ends.

Last week was the fluke for Baltimore. James is not walking into three touchdowns this week.

Start this guy: Ben Watson, Baltimore (vs Pittsburgh)

Watson scored Baltimore’s only touchdown last week in London. He caught all three targets, but like the rest of the Baltimore offense, his output was disappointing before the touchdown.

Still, Baltimore is another team where tight ends are an integral part of the offense. Joe Flacco targeted teammate Nick Boyle twice, too. And Pittsburgh does not play tight ends particularly well, at least when it comes to fantasy points. Put Watson down for more yards and another score in Week 4.

Sit this guy: Delanie Walker, Tennessee (at Houston)

We already predicted that Delanie Walker’s targets would go down a little with the addition of wide receiver and backfield targets for Marcus Mariota. Last week, another tight end, rookie Jonnu Smith, scored a touchdown. The rookie is not a threat to Walker’s starting tight end job, but Houston’s defense will threaten his productivity in Week 4. The Texans are the second-best defense against tight ends. Look for a better option.

Start this guy: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay (vs NY Giants)

Much has been made of rookie OJ Howard’s share of snaps, but Cameron Brate remains the preferred target of quarterback Jameis Winston. Last week, Winston threw four times to Brate and only once to the rookie. There is a lot to be said for the level of trust a passer has with his targets.

But the real reason Brate is a must-start is that the NY Giants are in town. If not for a lost fumble last week, Zach Ertz would have been the third tight end in three weeks to score double-digit points against New York. As it was, he was the third in a row to score a touchdown. Cameron Brate will be the fourth.

Sit this guy: Evan Engram, NY Giants (at Tampa Bay)

Engram is a talented receiver, but he is still a rookie. He could not keep up with the Giants hurry-up offense last week, getting hit with multiple motion and alignment penalties. He also seems to lack drive when things were not going well. He is a player who has never known losing, which might be a factor.

The only thing he has going for him is a head coach who is too stubborn to remove under-performing players. (see: Ereck Flowers, Paul Perkins) But Eli Manning did not throw to the rookie during the Giants comeback Sunday, which may be a sign of things to come for Engram.

Week 4 flash-in-the-pan prediction

Michael Hoomanawanui helps get the ball rolling for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints with a 40-yard touchdown reception. He finishes with 12 fantasy points on the day and becomes an instant cult hero in London where they will chant his name for weeks, which is quite remarkable since most of his fellow North Americans can’t pronounce it.

Full disclosure from Week 3:

Along with the rest of the NFL fantasy world, I still don’t understand how Jacoby Brissett could throw for 300 yards and only give ten to Jack Doyle. Jesse James did slightly better but did not make the top ten. Nor did he make the top 20… or 30…

On the other hand, I hit with TE-7 Jared Cook and all three of my sits were on the money. This week, we’re going 6-for-6. I can feel it!

Things change pretty quickly in NFL fantasy, so check in often at RealSport for all the latest updates and advice. And remember, if you have any NFL fantasy questions, you can send them to [email protected] and we’ll answer them in our Mailbag post every Wednesday!

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