There are not a ton of surefire TE1s. If you either miss out on the upper-tier of tight ends or if the high-upside guy you drafted does not meet his potential, that’s OK. You just have to take a different approach and stream tight ends. There are a number of different things to take into account when streaming tight ends. It takes a lot of work, but you can still win a championship while executing it and perhaps even have an advantage over your opposition.
The first thing you take into account, even before considering his matchup, is your tight end’s offense. More importantly, his quarterback. Everyone wants their receivers to be working with a solid quarterback, but it’s important to note that tight ends can produce significant stats often without the help of an elite signal caller. A quarterback with a subpar arm can benefit a tight end due to a likely high number of short passes. Similarly, an inexperienced or backup quarterback can boost a tight end’s value because the QB will rely on him to be a safety blanket. This must be judged on a case-by-case basis.
The next thing to consider is, of course, the matchup. First and foremost, check out the Fantasy Points Allowed Tool before your lineups lock. It shows you exactly how many fantasy points each team gives up to each specific position. Often times, teams with excellent, shutdown cornerbacks will struggle against tight ends because the offense has to utilize them more in order to beat the defense. Another factor could be the opposing team’s pass rush. When facing a team with an elite pass rush, the quarterback won’t have as much time to let the deep routes develop. Thus, he must target his tight end on the shorter routes when he’s under fire.
An opponent’s injuries are always important to monitor as well. Keep an eye out for ailing linebackers and safeties. Players at those positions who are skilled in pass coverage are usually responsible for stopping tight ends.
If you decide to stream your tight ends, it is best to keep a few on your roster. Give yourself some options by taking a couple of them in the later rounds of your draft. The waiver wire will should also have a plentiful selection, especially early in the season, as most fantasy owners don’t roster more than two TEs. Many just stay with one.
Don’t be afraid to roll with the hot hand. If one of your guys develops into a consistent TE1, stick with him. There is no need to be stubborn. Get the most out of that great value you found in the final few picks of your draft or on the open market. A handful of tight ends make the big jump from free agent fodder to fantasy-relevant commodity pretty much every year.
This is rare, but one other thing to look for is players who are tight end eligible but can contribute in other ways. Certain tight ends will earn a goal-line carry or line up at fullback from time to time. And occasionally, those who play wideout will also be TE eligible. Again, such players are few and far between, but we like to cover all the bases in order to give you the greatest opportunity for success.
If you’re not going to get a top-five tight end, using this strategy is not a bad idea. Why waste a valuable draft pick on an iffy player at a position where the non-elites don’t score all that many points? It’s always nice to have a Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce, but streaming at tight end certainly has its advantages.
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