In his last week as a viable streamer, Will Dissly did us all proud in Week 4. With 18.7 PPR points against the ever so tight end friendly Cardinals, Dissly finished Week 4 as the overall TE2. Dissly is now owned in 67.3% of ESPN leagues, making him out of our reach for the time being. But I’ll forget what he did over the last two weeks.
The other TE streaming suggestions from last week were not terrible, I should stress. Eric Ebron saved his fantasy day with a late touchdown, somewhat atoning for his three earlier drops. He finished with 11.8 PPR points, good for TE13, on a day when his teammate Jack Doyle also chipped in with 12.2. Dawson Knox was stuck in a defensive slugfest between his Bills and the Patriots but still scored 8.8 points. This was a TE18 finish. This was far from a disastrous outing, considering that Evan Engram only managed 9.4. But it wasn’t great either.
Let’s take a look at the choices for the week ahead. As always, we’ll be focusing on players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues at the time of writing.
I suffer from a wide range of ailments, as my friends will tell you. One affliction that I apparently have managed to steer clear of is “take lock.” This you can see by the presence of three players that I’ve already touted this season. None of them came through in that week, but I refuse to be petty and overlook them because they “hurt” me before, given their situations in Week 5.
JIMMY GRAHAM (AVAILABLE IN 64.3% OF ESPN LEAGUES) vs. DALLAS COWBOYS
Jimmy Graham emerged from a two-week dirt nap to finish as the overall TE3 last week. He saw nine targets against the Eagles, the second-most targets he has seen in a single game since signing for the Packers prior to the 2018 season.
Graham may enjoy a similar workload in Week 5 if Davante Adams is forced to miss time, or even play at less than 100% fitness, following a toe injury on Thursday. This would certainly help him against the Cowboys, who have stiffened up against TEs since their Week 1 butchering at the hands of Engram.
In the past, Graham’s prowess as a red-zone weapon would have been a good enough reason to stick him into a lineup despite a less than favorable matchup. But this season the Packers, when targeting Graham at all, have been looking to him down the field. Graham is No.7 among TEs in terms of air yards this season.
Graham has been boom or bust in equal measure this season. If he can finally string boom weeks together, then he’s a player you may be glad you called upon.
TYLER EIFERT (82.3%) vs. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Yes, Tyler Eifert has a mere 11 receptions through four weeks of the season. Five of those came in Week 1, with a mere six in the three games since. This has not escaped my attention either. Yes, Eifert has not amassed more than 27 yards in a single game so far in 2019. I am aware of all of these things.
I am also aware of the fact that the Bengals and Eifert are playing the Cardinals in Week 5.
It may seem like I’m picking on the Cardinals, and trying to go out of my way to tout any and all TEs that happen to be playing against them in 2019.
That’s because I am.
They are truly terrible at defending TEs, I mean horrendously bad. The numbers will continue to bear this out.
In order to make this look a little less like Cardinals bullying, Eifert has run at least 25 routes in three of his first four games of the season. Given the Bengals extremely pass-happy approach on offense and the fact that Eifert is a TE playing against the Cardinals, if he doesn’t approach 10 PPR points this week I may have to quit him.1
NOAH FANT (91.9%) vs. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Broncos defense began to show signs of life on Sunday against the Jaguars. Truth be told, so did the offense. A player who is starting to look like he belongs on an NFL offense is rookie TE Noah Fant.
Fant has two top 15 weeks in PPR formats in his first four games as a pro. He’s not been awful, as his ranks can attest to.
Only seven TEs have run more pass routes than Fant this season, and he is running a route on 61.4% of his snaps. So he’s out there as a potential weapon for Joe Flacco, who throughout his career has shown that he loves his TEs as much as the world loves Johnny Cash.2