Jesse Pantuosco (@JessePantuosco): First of all, congrats. If you’re consulting this article for advice, that means you probably made the fantasy playoffs. Now let’s get serious for a minute. Tight end is already a thin fantasy position but this week it’s going to be even thinner with Rob Gronkowski suspended and Delanie Walker (ankle) trending in the wrong direction.
Looking at other positions, JuJu Smith-Schuster is also suspended for Week 14 while Joe Mixon and Amari Cooper are both looking doubtful for Sunday. Things are even looking a little murky for Matthew Stafford, who is in danger of missing his first game since 2010. If it’s any consolation, it looks like fantasy owners will be getting Chris Hogan and Greg Olsen back this week.
So with all that information at our disposal, how would you approach a must-win Week 14? Are there any tight end streamers you see as usable fill-ins for Gronk/Walker or maybe a low-owned waiver-wire type who could take the place of Mixon or Smith-Schuster? I raise the question because 1) it’s Week 14 and I’m running out of Roundtable ideas and 2) one of my best teams has both Gronk and Smith-Schuster on it, so I’m curious to hear your responses.
Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin): Unfortunately, it is probably too late in the week to grab any of the real waiver options. Perhaps Giovani Bernard, Kerwynn Williams, or Peyton Barber slipped through the cracks in a few leagues, but I would doubt it in competitive situations. Matt Forte remains glued to the wire, however, and could end up being a pretty good option this week. He is averaging 15 touches over his last three games and has produced three touchdowns during that run. With the Broncos defense dealing with several injuries up front, Forte should have some success if he gets the work.
At tight end, Stephen Anderson would be my answer. Even with Will Fuller looking likely to return, Anderson should absorb most of the snaps at tight end while also seeing work in the slot with Bruce Ellington and Braxton Miller both sidelined. It is unlikely he gets 12 targets again, but he should see enough volume to warrant back-end TE1 consideration against a defense that has given up four touchdowns to the position in as many games.
Rich Hribar (@LordReebs): I agree with Ray that Anderson is the top TE streamer. He ran 73.3 percent of his routes from the slot last week per Pro Football Focus, where he received seven targets. And as Ray mentioned, Houston lost both of their slot receivers last week and San Francisco has flat out stunk versus tight ends since losing Jimmy Ward and Jaquiski Tartt to season-ending injuries.
Ricky Seals-Jones is also a name worth mentioning. I know nobody truly wants to get in bed with him because of his low snap rate, but if you look under the hood, he’s being used when he’s out there, which suggests that Arizona has a package of plays in place specifically for him. On a per route basis, he’s been targeted 5-of-5, 6-of-13 and 5-of-12 times over the past three weeks, which is telling usage per opportunity and not as fluky as it would appear. Of course, Seals-Jones is still more of a longer play because his ceiling is about 5-6 targets right now, but he definitely gets a plus matchup this week against a Tennessee defense that has allowed a TE1 performance in four of its last five games. I’d rather take a swing at his upside than continuing to trot out someone like Charles Clay, who isn’t even being used.
Also, Trent Taylor deserves a mention for those grasping at straws in deeper leagues. Jimmy Garoppolo peppered Julian Edelman in the middle of the field when he was with New England and also worked the interior last week at Chicago with Taylor nabbing all six of his targets. There are touchdown limitations here, but as a deep PPR stab, you could do a lot worse.
Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat): I’m going to third Stephen Anderson being the top tight end streamer. Tom Savage has locked onto his tight ends time and again. C.J. Fiedorowicz got hurt last week and Anderson immediately went bonkers. Athletically, Anderson sort of profiles as a poor man’s Jordan Reed. I also agree that Ricky Seals-Jones is the clear-cut No. 2 option.
I’m really glad Reebs brought up Trent Taylor. Any time someone goes 6/92 in their first game with a new quarterback, it’s worth taking notice. Taylor is sort of a match made in heaven with Garoppolo’s quick release skill-set. Garoppolo can hit his slot receiver the second he flashes open.
I also really like Garoppolo as a streamer this week. He played a great game against a decent Chicago defense last week and this week presents a much better matchup against a burnable Texans secondary. Marquise Goodwin should have a chance to make some big plays this week.
Pantuosco: I think another situation to monitor is in Jacksonville where some owners may feel the need to pivot off Russell Wilson, who gets a brutal matchup against the Jaguars’ league-best secondary. Let me start off by saying, I don’t necessarily recommend this. Wilson has been a legit MVP candidate and arguably the best quarterback in fantasy over the past month-plus. In season-long leagues, I’d probably take my chances with him, even in a less-than-ideal matchup.
But if you’re feeling skittish—Kirk Cousins against the Chargers is another player I’d consider benching this week—I think Blaine Gabbert could be a sneaky good play against Tennessee. Defensively, the Titans have been a punching bag all year, allowing 22 touchdown passes (seventh-most), 284 completions (second-most) and 242.3 passing yards per game (eighth-most). Gabbert has been a mixed bag in terms of fantasy production but he still has Larry Fitzgerald (second in the league in catches) and let’s be honest—if Tom Savage can hang 300-plus yards on this defense, anyone can. Oh, and John Brown should be back this week, if that matters to anyone.
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