If you focus on the fact that I suggested Darren Waller as a streamer in Week 1, even before the Antonio Brown drama at the end of the week, then you would say I had a good first week. So let’s do that. There really is no need to focus on the disappointing outings from Jack Doyle (3.0 PPR points) and Noah Fant (4.4). Waller’s TE7 performance is a win for me and my #Brand.
So which lesser owned tight ends should you consider plugging into your lineups for Week 2? As always, we’ll be focusing on players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues at the time of writing. Let’s meet this week’s contestants.
Vernon Davis (Available in 99.4% of ESPN leagues) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Jordan Reed sat out Washington’s opening game against the Eagles. He suffered a concussion during the preseason, and at the time of writing still has not been cleared for contact. In his stead, Vernon Davis assumed the lead TE duties. He showed flashes of his old self, shedding several Eagles defenders on his way to a 48-yard touchdown. In all, Davis played on 82% of Washington’s snaps.
Davis has been forced into a leading role for Washington on several occasions since joining the team, especially with Reed missing so many games. Davis has not disgraced himself from a fantasy viewpoint whenever Reed has sat out.
For context, 9.16 PPR points per game would be good for 18th most at the TE spot over the last four years.
Davis is widely available, due to the “presence” of Reed and the overall low esteem the Washington offense is held in. However, if there is truly no one else available then he won’t be a terrible play this week. The Giants targeted their TEs (especially Evan Engram) 16 times against the Cowboys last week. They were rewarded with 12 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. Davis is not quite Engram, but assuming he draws the start he won’t disgrace himself.
Darren Waller (73.2%) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
I see absolutely no reason to get off this particular train just yet. Darren Waller enjoyed a marvelous week one for the Raiders against the Broncos, as his Positional Ranks can attest to.
Waller commanded a 31% share of the Raiders targets, reeling in seven of his eight targets for 70 yards. Waller lined up in the slot or split out wide on 22 of his 55 snaps. He is going to continue to be a weapon for the Raiders, and he’s got another desirable matchup in Week 2 against the Chiefs.
Going back to last season, the Chiefs defense showed signs of struggling against TEs. This trend looked to be continuing in Week 1.
I’m not sure how long we’ll get to use Waller before he is lost to the majority of us, and becomes an every-week starter. We should take every chance to enjoy him while we can.
Jimmy Graham (52.4 percent) vs. Minnesota Vikings
I can’t recall the last time Jimmy Graham would have qualified as a streamer, but here we are. Graham can be had in 52% of ESPN leagues. It can’t be denied that Graham has not been the same dominant player since he left New Orleans, and the numbers back this up.
Graham still offers weekly touchdown upside, indicative of his status as the leading red zone touchdown scorer since he entered the NFL in 2010.
The early signs are that Graham could benefit from the new offensive scheme in place with the Packers. He accounted for 21% of their targets against the Bears. His share of the targets was only 15% a year ago.
The Vikings were in the middle of the pack in terms of defending the TE in 2018. TEs accounted for 19 percent of the targets against the Vikings last season. This was the 17th highest rate. They allowed 7.8 yards per reception, the 18th highest mark. Plus they allowed only three touchdowns, with none coming after Week 7. But the Falcons TE’s did take nine receptions for 77 yards off them last week. The prospect of a decent workload, plus the chance of a red zone touchdown, make Graham a name to consider this week.