7 Takeaways for Week 14 – The TE Opportunity Report

In our series of Opportunity Reports, RotoViz will examine the weekly production of position groups through the lens of the Fantasy Efficiency App. A primer on how to use this app can be found in the Week 1 report.

We’re examining opportunity and efficiency using historical line of scrimmage data to establish the expected fantasy point value of targets (and comparing actual fantasy points to that expected value).

Here are the acronyms you’ll see in this article:

  • reEP – Receiving Expected Points
  • reFPOE – Receiving Fantasy Points Over Expectation
  • reFPOEPT – Receiving Fantasy Points Over Expectation Per Target

There were some interesting performances from lesser-owned tight ends this week. Since I’ve covered a lot of the bigger-name guys in previous reports — and with the playoffs coming up and some notable high-profile TE injuries lately — I’m going to try to focus on potential streamers. Previous reports should have you covered if you’re looking for info on top guys.

With that said, here are my takeaways for Week 14:

The Hail Mary Hero

Richard Rodgers had a great game going even before he brought in the Hail Mary that crushed every Detroit fan’s dreams, but after doing so he finished at 17.69 reFPOE, almost three times as much as the next best TE performance of the week. With eight targets, 22.9 percent of the market share, and 12.51 reEP, Rodgers was certainly involved. It marked his fifth straight game with at 7.77 reEP, which is a pretty healthy stretch of work. He sits fourth among TEs in total reEP over that five-game stretch.

For the playoffs, Rodgers has two tough matchups sandwiching a Week 15 tilt with Oakland. The Raiders have certainly improved against the position since their early-season struggles, and notably held Travis Kelce in check last week. But they’ve continued to allow a high number of scores to TEs – they’ve now allowed 11 total, and have conceded a TD to a TE in 9 of 12 games.

Rodgers’ uptick in usage is certainly a positive trend. His production last Thursday night would seem to indicate the consistency of his workload shouldn’t level off. But in Week 14 the Packers play the Cowboys, who have performed well against the position this year, and who just held Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed to a combined eight catches for 103 yards on 17 targets over the last two weeks.

If you have him or are looking at adding him, Week 15 is the recommended start.

ASJ

At first glance, Austin Seferian-Jenkins had an uneventful return to the lineup in Week 13. He saw six targets for 10.21 reEP, but posted -4.11 reFPOE. But RotoUnderworld had this interesting note on ASJ’s performance:

Those six targets and that 10.21 reEP seem a lot more impressive when you consider he only played 21 snaps. And as RotoUnderworld mentioned, the upcoming New Orleans matchup is a great spot. The Saints rank 32nd in DVOA against TEs, per Football-Outsiders. There are well-founded concerns about how healthy ASJ is, but he’s clearly an important part of the passing game, and we can only assume his snap count will continue to rise. There’s a ton of upside here if ASJ were to play close to a full slate of snaps, but he should be able to produce against New Orleans even if that’s not the case.

Great Scott!

Everyone’s favorite cheap DFS TE from Week 13 found the end zone, putting up 6.1 points over his 10 reEP. Scott Chandler saw seven targets in the absence of Rob Gronkowski, and was clearly a valuable part of the much-depleted passing game, even with the return of Danny Amendola. Over the last two weeks he now has the fourth most reEP among TEs, and as I mentioned last week he gets high-value targets.

For as long as Gronk is out, Chandler is clearly an option for fantasy teams. Because he stayed somewhat involved while Gronk was healthy, he’s one of the few healthy options that has actually been seeing playing time with the offense all season. There’s no reason to believe he won’t get his share of the available targets, and he has a decent matchup with Houston in Week 14 before a plus matchup with Tennessee in Week 15.

RG84

Since Ryan Griffin‘s return to the lineup following Houston’s Week 9 bye, he’s easily been the most heavily targeted TE in an offense that was formerly not utilizing the position much. He’s scored in each of the last two weeks, and might be an intriguing option for some. Let’s look at his weekly numbers:

Week Opponent Targets MS reEP reFPOE
10 CIN 6 0.182 8.02 -1.42
11 NYJ 2 0.059 2.67 -0.07
12 NO 5 0.185 8.08 9.12
13 BUF 5 0.116 7.94 3.96

Recall that T.J. Yates started Week 11 against the Jets, so that certainly could account for his different utilization that week. But even acknowledging that, I’m not going wild for a TE who is seeing five targets a game and had a spike in efficiency largely driven by TDs.

Griffin’s Week 14 matchup against New England is his worst remaining, as Week 15 and 16 against Indianapolis and Tennessee are both good situations for TEs. I wouldn’t trust him this week, but his workload is worth keeping an eye on.

Seattle TEs

I mentioned last week not to count on Luke Willson to replace Jimmy Graham‘s hefty market share directly, and in Week 13 it was actually Cooper Helfet who led Seattle TEs in targets.1

If you haven’t heard of Helfet, note that he did get some run with the Seahawks last season. For this year, Helfet’s 24 targets and Willson’s team-high 40 render them both unusable in fantasy despite combining for five scores. It’s safe to say we should expect this offense to treat TEs similarly to how they did last season, and that means very little in the way of predictable fantasy success. Seattle’s TEs are a hard pass.

Tye Guy

With the news of Larry Donnell being placed on Injured Reserve, Will Tye is the Giants’ starting TE for the duration. Similar to what we did with Griffin above, let’s take a look at his weekly numbers since Donnell went down:

Week Opponent Targets MS reEP reFPOE
9 TB 6 0.15 9.21 -5.31
10 NE 7 0.159 12.17 -1.57
12 WAS 8 0.157 11.2 2.2
13 NYJ 4 0.118 5.32 4.68

Call me crazy, but I kinda dig it. The reEP is much more impressive than Griffin’s numbers, and suggests that Tye is being used in higher-leverage situations (i.e. the red zone). He’s posted these numbers without scoring, and his efficiency has improved each week which could maybe be an indication that he’s gotten more comfortable in the offense.

I might be reaching there as it could pretty easily be called random occurrence as well, but at least he’s shown plus efficiency in his most recent games. All four of these were below average matchups for TEs, and while he’ll face three more below average matchups in the playoffs, both Week 14 and Week 16 are closer to neutral. In other words, there’s not much to be gleaned from the schedule, but it’s certainly not getting drastically worse.

If your options are limited, Tye’s clearly a guy who can put up 10-12 points, and who wouldn’t be a bad bet to find the end zone eventually.2

Big Workloads, Poor Efficiency

Two formerly-more-interesting-in-fantasy names had interesting workloads in Week 13, but both were very poor in terms of efficiency:

Coby Fleener – 8 targets, 13.24 reEP, -7.24 reFPOE

Jared Cook – 9 targets, 13.85 reEP, -8.65 reFPOE

These were the third and fourth biggest workloads by reEP in Week 13, notable to say the least. And that type of negative efficiency has nowhere to go but back toward the mean. If either was to be even marginally positive in terms of efficiency, there would be some value here, given these workloads.

But therein lies the problem. Neither has seen this many targets since Fleener’s 11 back in Week 8. Cook has seen at least six for three straight weeks, but has no double-digit fantasy totals in that stretch. It’s unfortunate because both have plus matchups in Week 14. If you are mining this far down, I’d give the nod to Cook for his more consistent recent usage.

That’s all I have for this week’s report. Check out the Fantasy Efficiency App for more information. If you were looking for information on the big name guys before the playoffs, drop your questions in the comments or find me on Twitter.

  1. He had four to Willson’s three.  (back)
  2. Given the relative value of his targets, as noted above.  (back)

Ben Gretch

Writer. Podcast host. Former and still occasional editor. Previous work at Rotoworld, Draft Sharks. Work cited at NFL.com, Washington Post. Probably a little too obsessed with fantasy football.
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