Kyle Rudolph did virtually nothing to justify my faith in him last week, as he delivered a dud on Thursday Night. To be fair to Kyle, his team’s firm commitment towards #EstablishingTheRun meant that it was hardly a day for any pass catcher. But my mood was lifted over the weekend by the showings from Jonnu Smith and Dallas Goedert. Smith posted 19.8 PPR points on his way to finishing as the overall TE3 last week, the first top-12 outing of his career. Goedert was TE11 on the week, on the back of his 11.2 points against the Bills. On the whole, a week wherein my streamers were actually worthy of the name.
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. You’ll see two familiar faces straight away.
DALLAS GOEDERT (AVAILABLE IN 67.9% OF ESPN LEAGUES) vs. CHICAGO BEARS
Why wouldn’t I go straight back to the Goedert well? He did pretty much what we wanted him to do last week, and in the process has continued to outproduce his more illustrious teammate Zach Ertz.
TEs haven’t enjoyed the best of fortunes against the Bears so far this season. A TE has amassed at least 43 yards against them in each of their last three games though. TEs have seen an average of 7.2 targets per game against the Bears over the last five games, and in that time the Bears have allowed an average of 55.4 yards per game to the position. Of those 55.4 yards, 29.2 have come after the catch, and that is an area in which Goedert excels. He averages 7.1 yards after the catch per reception this season, N0.3 among all TEs.
He may not see a ton of volume, but Goedert’s efficiency when targeted makes him a player I’m comfortable riding with this week.
JONNU SMITH (97.2%) vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Smith has seen target shares of 11% and 21% in two games since Ryan Tannehill became the starter for the Titans. No player has forged a more efficient partnership with Tannehill in these games than Smith.
It’s worth noting that Smith’s two big games have come against the Chargers and the Dolphins. The Panthers, who Smith and the Titans will face this week, are a vastly different proposition. They are however an animal that has just begun to show some weakness towards the TE spot. In their last two games, they have allowed averages of 16.4 PPR points, 16.8 yards per reception and 50.5 yards after the catch to TEs.
DARREN FELLS (88.4%) vs. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
On paper, it seems hard to trust Darren Fells on a weekly basis. But on the whole, he keeps delivering big games, although when he doesn’t have a really big game he has an absolute stinker. His PPR scores since Week 3 can attest to this.
Fells hasn’t seen more than seven targets in a single game in the above span. He averages only four per game. But in terms of fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) per game this season, he is the TE4. He is also one of Deshaun Watson’s most efficient partners on a per-target basis.
The Texans take on the Jaguars in Week 9. They have only allowed 9.5 PPR points per game to the TE spot over their last five games. This number is vastly affected by the 24.6 PPR points Ryan Griffin of the Jets scored against them last week. They’ve not allowed more than four receptions to TEs in this span. But with Fells, the volume isn’t really something we’re banking on. The bulk of his fantasy appeal comes from his nose for the end zone. Fells has five red-zone touchdowns this season. This is the most in the NFL.
Fells is the longest shot of this week’s options. But every time I have come to write this piece this season and I have dismissed his chances he has proved me wrong. Let’s try and work together here, Darren.