One of our streamers scored 15.7 PPR points in week 7! This is not a drill!
It’s also not something we should get too excited about, as the player in question was Hunter Henry. I stressed last week that Henry would be a one-week streaming option before entering the realm of every week starter. This has happened, and if you didn’t land him, you need to move on and find someone else to plug into that toxic spot on your fantasy roster.
Let’s 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.
DALLAS GOEDERT (AVAILABLE IN 79.6% OF ESPN LEAGUES) vs. BUFFALO BILLS
Dallas Goedert sits behind Zach Ertz on his teams’ TE depth chart, yet this has not stopped him carving out a fantasy-relevant role for himself in recent weeks. He’s been assisted by the Eagles reliance on 12 personnel. The Eagles have deployed two TEs on 36% of their offensive snaps in 2019, according to Sharp Football — the second-highest rate in the NFL.
He’s played at least 59% of the Eagles snaps in every game since Week 4 and has been productive in this span.
Goedert has 160 receiving yards in 2019, with 101 of them coming after the catch.
The Eagles’ Week 8 opponents, the Bills, have not been hurt much by TEs this season. In their last six games, they’ve only allowed 6.4 PPR points per game to the position. However, teams haven’t targeted their TEs more than five times in any of these games. Only the Ravens have sent more targets the way of their TEs than the Eagles this season (81 targets). Plus 82 of the 108 receiving yards the Bills have allowed to the TE position in their last two games have come after the catch. Can you hear that? It sounds like Dallas Goedert’s music.
KYLE RUDOLPH (82.1%) vs. WASHINGTON
Remember the days when Kyle Rudolph was a viable fantasy option? They were fun times, weren’t they? Well, for those of us who love nostalgia, he may be preparing for a big show in Week 8.
Rudolph had his best fantasy outing of the season in Week 7, snaring five of his six targets for 58 yards and a touchdown. In fact, just saying it was his best game doesn’t really do justice to how little he has contributed as a pass-catcher this season.
Rudolph has still been involved for the Vikings, playing on 90% of their offensive snaps this season. His more explosive teammate, the rookie Irv Smith, has appeared on only 50.2%.
Rudolph’s big game in Week 7 came after the Vikings lost wide receiver Adam Thielen early in the game. Thielen looks to have avoided serious injury but is not likely to be fit to go on Thursday night against Washington. This should mean Kirk Cousins will lean on players like Rudolph behind Stefon Diggs as he looks for revenge against the team that paid him $45,996,600 over the first six seasons of his career.
Teams have looked to attack Washington with their TEs in recent weeks. In their last five games, Washington’s opponents have targeted their TEs an average of 7.8 times per outing. That’s the ninth most in that span. Christmas is still some way off, but it would be good if Rudolph could deliver some goodies this week.
JONNU SMITH (99.8%) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Veteran TE Delanie Walker had been suffering from an ankle injury prior to the Week 7 game against the Chargers. He tried to grit his way through the match, but ultimately the injury forced him from the game. The Titans coaching staff are “frustrated for Walker,” but time moves on. So must they, and so must we. In his stead, Jonnu Smith had his second game of 50 or more yards in his last three, finishing as the TE14 on the week.
Smith hasn’t been awful in his career in games he has played without the steady presence of Walker. He hasn’t been great either, though.
The Titans are, in case people hadn’t noticed, a run-based offense. They have the 6th lowest pass to run ratio in the NFL this season with 1.25. Conventional wisdom would suggest that a backup TE would offer little value to them this week. However, the Titans will lock horns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. The Bucs are allowing a mere 2.9 yards per rush attempt this season, the lowest in the NFL. By contrast, they’ve allowed a league-leading 304.5 passing yards per game. And they’ve been owned by TEs.
The Bucs have allowed an average of 6.6 receptions for 88.6 yards to TEs in total over their last five games. Titans “new” starting QB Ryan Tannehill has sent nearly 83 percent of his career pass attempts less than 15 yards downfield, which is where Jonnu has seen 86.3% of his career targets. This could be a match made in heaven, in a setting to die for.