FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Travis Kelce (DK – 7,000/FD – $7,800): Kelce delivered an impact game (10/127/1) in Week 11 against the Rams. He now has four games with over 100 yards receiving and seven TDs. Travis caught five passes or more in his last ten games while averaging 9.2 targets per game. The Raiders are 18th in the NFL vs. the TE position (46/689/6 on 60 targets) with disaster risk in four games (CLE – 6/101/1, IND – 10/133/3, SF – 5/116/1, and BAL – 6/118). Pretty much any team with a pass catching TE has had success against Oakland. Excellent matchup while expecting 100+ yards with a chance at multiple TD.
Jared Cook (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,200): Cook has a TD in two straight games, but he came up short in catches and receiving yards for the fourth game in a row (2/20, 4/52, 3/31, and 2/32). Jared has five TDs with two impact games (9/180 and 8/110/2), which came over the first four weeks at home. He averages 6.4 targets per game. Kansas City allows the third most Fantasy points to TEs (61/812/5 on 89 targets) with two teams delivering impact games at TE (PIT – 8/164/1 and LAR – 9/112/2). A chaser game favors Cook while still having concerns with Oakland’s ability to move the ball consistently. Viable if your shopping at TE at this level.
Cameron Brate (DK – $3,700/FD – $4,900): Brate was on the field for 70 percent of the TE snaps for the Bucs in Week 12, which fell in line with O.J. Howard’s opportunity over the first 11 weeks. He caught three of his four targets for 26 yards and a TD. Over the last nine games, Cameron failed to gain over 35 yards receiving in any game with four TDs and only 28 targets while being the number two TE for Tampa in all but one game. The Panthers allow the most Fantasy points to TEs (65/713/8 on 84 targets) with failure in six games (NYG – 9/109, WAS – 8/84/1, PHI – 13/181/1, BAL – 7/67/1, TB – 7/68/2, and PIT – 5/52/2). I fully expect a season-high in catches and receiving yards with a TD in a game that should have some scoring by both teams.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
George Kittle (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,800): Kittle is the fourth highest scoring TE with his best asset in 2018 coming in his ability to make big plays (14.7 yards per catch – ten catches over 20 yards with three of those passes gaining over 40 yards). His best four games (6/125/1, 5/98/1, 4/108/1, and 9/83) all happened in the state of California. Over the last two games with Matt Mullens behind center, George has 23 targets while averaging 7.6 chances per game on the year. Seattle sits 8th in TE defense (38/414/4 on 51 targets) with the most problems in Week 10 (LAR – 5/40/2) and Week 11 (4/79/1). Below par matchup and the Seahawks should plan to limit his chances in this game.
Eric Ebron (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,600): For the Fantasy owners that don’t own Ebron, he just won’t go away while getting a rebound in chances with Jack Doyle now out for the season. Eric played well in two of his last three games (3/69/3 and 5/45/2) with the first game coming against the Jaguars. Ebron has 12 TDs on the year while catching only 44 balls on the year and averaging 6.5 targets per game. His only other impact game came in Week 5 (9/105/2). The Jaguars are league average defending TDs (42/512/7 on 63 targets) with much of their failure coming in three of their last four games (PHI – 5/58/2, IND – 8/133/3, and PIT – 4/30/1). Luck loves to throw to the TE, but Jacksonville won’t let Ebron beat them again. Avoid in the daily games, but I hope he plays well as I won him on a ton of teams in the season-long games.
Jonnu Smith (DK – $3,300/FD – $5,300): Over the last four games, Smith has 13 catches for 185 yards and three TDs on 15 targets while receiving over 75 percent of the TE snaps. The Jets have the third best TE defense (29/365/4 on 51 targets) with only one poor game (IND – 6/107/2). Gaining momentum, but this isn’t a great matchup. His low salary does still give him a chance to surprise if he continues to add value in TDs.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Chris Herndon (DK – $3,200/FD – $5,600): Herndon had a career-high seven catches in Week 12 leading to 57 yards on eight targets. Over his last six games, Chris has 21 catches for 267 yards and three TDs on 27 targets. The Titans have the best TE defense (41/390/0 on 59 targets) in the league with only one team having success (PHI – 12/125). Poor option in Week 13 with plenty of failure risk.
NEUTRAL (ALL FORMATS)
Rob Gronkowski (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,700): Last week Gronkowski scored his first TD since Week 1 while catching only three of his seven targets for 56 yards. Rob has four catches or less in six of his last seven games with only one impact game (7/123/1) on the year. This week he remains limited in practice with a back issue while expecting to play on Sunday. The Vikings played well vs. the TE position over the last four games (0/0, 3/29, 2/13, and 5/52) after showing risk in five games (5/90, 7/99, 12/126/1, 6/95, and 5/37/1) of their seven games to start the year. Overall, Minnesota is 14th defending TDs (49/598/3 on 71 targets. Not in the best form while playing against a top tier defense. Fade for me in the daily games.
David Njoku (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,500): Njoku delivered four steady games (6/69, 7/55/1, 4/52/1, and 5/63/1) over his last seven starts, but he did come up empty in two of those games (0/0 and 1/18). Over the last five games, David only has 17 combined targets while battling a knee issue that leads to another questionable tag heading into Week 13. The Texans rank 26th vs. the TE position (61/742/6 on 76 targets) with failure defending the TE in the last three games (DEN – 11/127/1, WAS – 7/71/1, and TEN 7/142/1) while also struggling in Week 1 (7/123/1). This matchup sure looks favorable, and Njoku has a low enough salary to produce an edge for a Fantasy owner if he plays well. For some reason, I sense a trap here.
Greg Olsen (DK – $4,100/FD – $6,000): Olsen has been a frustrating player over the last three games (4/40, 2/9/1 and 2/11) after showing some upside in his previous two starts (4/56/1 and 6/76/1) with the latter game coming vs. the Bucs. Greg’s opportunity has only been five targets per game in his last seven contests. Tampa is 28th defending TEs (61/817/5 on 81 targets) with three other teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (PHI – 15/151, PIT – 5/119/1, and ATL – 9/71/1). Olsen should be active in this game with a chance at a TD. The key to his upside will be more balls thrown his way, which seems to be tough with Christian McCaffrey getting so many chances.
Jimmy Graham (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,800): Graham was able to play through his thumb injury last week, but the Packers only had him on the field for 42 percent of their plays as they rotated in two other TEs. Jimmy caught only two of his four targets for 34 yards, which came late in the game. Graham has been a huge hole in Fantasy lineups in four of his last five games (1/21, 1/14, 1/13, and 2/34). Low floor and a lost ceiling until he gets healthy.
Auston Hooper (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,700): Hooper is the 6th highest scoring TE in PPR leagues while coming off two straight short games (4/27 and 5/31) with 13 combined targets. Over a five-game stretch mid-season, Austin caught 34 of his 40 targets for 293 yards and two TDs with two 20-point Fantasy games (9/71/1 and 10/56/1). The Ravens are 20th vs. the TE position (58/709/4 on 81 targets) with all of their TDs allowed coming over the last five weeks. Two teams (CLE – 8/103 and NO – 8/78/1) scored over 20.0 Fantasy points from TEs against Baltimore. Mid-tier matchup with a chance at more looks with the Ravens expecting to rush the QB.
Trey Burton (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,800): Burton gained 40 yards or fewer in each of his last five games (3/18, 2/28/1, 4/40, 1/9, and 4/28) while scoring only one TD on 19 targets. His only impact game (9/126/1) came in Week 7 at home against the Patriots. Trey averages 4.7 targets per game with five TDs. The Giants are about league average defending TEs (61/730/2 on 85 targets) while showing more risk vs. TEs in their last three games (9/83, 7/94, and 10/124/1). Better matchup than most would believe while flying under the radar in Week 13 with a downgrade at QB.
Kyle Rudolph (DK – $3,600/FD – $5,600): Last week Rudolph caught all seven of his targets for 63 yards, which gave him the most success in Fantasy points since Week 2 (7/72) and Week 3 (5/48/1). Over his previous eight games, Kyle gained fewer than 60 yards while extending his scoreless streak to eight games. He averages only 5.2 targets per game. The Patriots allow the fourth-most Fantasy points to TEs (59/7602/7 on 89 targets) with disaster in two games (IND – 12/149/3 and CHI – 9/126/1). New England will try to take away Adam Thielen with double coverage while Stefon Diggs draws the Patriots’ top CB, which gives Rudolph a chance at plenty of dump-off passes with a possible TD if Kirk Cousins is willing to take with the game gives to him. Possible one-off play.
Gerald Everett (DK – $2,900/FD – $4,800): Over the last two games, Everett has five catches for 64 yards and three TDs on six targets highlighted by his game in Week 11 (3/49/2). He continues to get low playing time (under 30 percent over the last four games) while owning second-round draft pedigree. The Lions are 13th vs. TEs (44/514/4 on 62 targets). His low playing time makes Gerald only a gamble in the daily games.
Matt LaCosse (DK – $2,500/FD – $4,700): LaCosse will take over as the Broncos’ top TE after Jeff Heuerman suffered a season-ending injury. Last week Matt caught three of his four targets for 34 yards and one TD while seeing 47 percent of the TE snaps for Denver. LaCosse comes with a minimal resume in college (34/354/6) over the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Cinci ranks 31st vs. TEs (67/752/7 on 87 targets) with three teams gaining over 100 yards from the TE position (IND – 12/124/1, PIT – 14/129, and KC – 6/112/1). His matchup gives him a chance while his resume paints failure risk.