Week One DFS Dont’s: Tight Ends
Now that the Kicker and Defense is out of the way, let’s start looking at real Football players. Tight end is one of the most volatile positions in NFL DFS. The drop off from top tier players like Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce to the next is dramatic. I look for value at this position. Specifically, I want players with medium/low salaries that can produce double digit points. Without further delay, let’s examine which tight ends are part of my week one DFS dont’s.
Eric Ebron – Fanduel Price $5,500
2016 could not have been more frustrating for season-long owners of Eric Ebron. Yet again, he failed to reach one thousand yards receiving. And, he had one more touchdown reception than I did last year. Not to mention, Ebron has a propensity for getting and staying injured.
On the other hand, there will be a plethora of red zone targets up for grabs with Anquan Boldin’s departure. I think he will no doubt have more than one touchdown this season and more than 711 yards receiving. However, his match up with the vaunted Cardinals secondary is a huge problem.
In 2016, the Cardinals secondary was elite against tight ends. Through their first eight games, the Cardinals never surrendered more than five catches and 53 yards receiving. Not to mention, they allowed zero receiving touchdowns to tight ends. They even pitched a complete game shutout against the Jets in week six. Meaning, they didn’t allow a single tight end to register a stat.
I know Ebron is talented. I know he plays in an offense that throws the ball at least 30 times a game. But, I have no confidence that he will produce against this elite unit, or, that he’ll even be healthy enough to play the whole game. There are plenty more attractive options at tight end this week. Given his situation, Eric Ebron was the easiest member of my week one DFS Dont’s among any position.
OJ Howard – Fanduel Price $5,400
The hype around OJ Howard astounds me. Have we already forgotten that Cameron Brate, the Buccaneers starting tight end, tied for leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns among tight ends? Yes, I know that Hunter Henry, a backup rookie tight end, was who he tied with. However, this situation is different.
Antonio Gates has clearly lost a step or two. This gave Henry the opportunity to get on the field and demand targets. Brate on the other hand is a young player at his position and has a tremendous red zone chemistry with Jameis Winston. I do believe at some point this year Howard overtakes Brate, but not the first week of the season.
Not only is Howard not the starting tight end, he would at best be the third receiving option if he was. Mike Evans led the NFL in targets last season and DeSean Jackson wasn’t brought in to be a decoy on half the snaps.
Apart from Howard’s current situation, rookie tight ends historically don’t start strong and rarely score 100 non-PPR points in a season. By non-PPR standards, the three best rookie seasons in NFL history by tight ends are Rob Gronkowski in 2010 (114 points), Cam Cleeland in 1998 (104 points), and Jeremy Shockey in 2002 (102 points).
Two of those three players will go to the Hall of Fame at their positions and for the record, only Cleeland, who I know you’ve never heard of before, scored double digit points in his rookie debut. If you want to compete in GPP’s or large tournaments, you’ll need your tight end to score double digit points.
If I haven’t made a strong enough case yet, this is sure to convince you. OJ Howard, the backup tight end, is $200 more expensive than the starter Cameron Brate! You are literally throwing away money for less production if you decide to roster OJ Howard. It only makes sense that Howard will go off now that I’ve taken such a strong stance, but the evidence suggests he belongs on my week one DFS Dont’s.
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