Week six presents an interesting challenge to DFS players regarding the tight end position. For the first time this season, Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz are all unavailable on this Sunday’s main slate. In addition, tier two players like Jimmy Graham and George Kittle aren’t on this slate either. So with less sure bets at this position than usual, let’s look at which tight ends to avoid in week six.
Eric Ebron: $6,500
NYJ Pass Yards Allowed/Game: 267 (17th) Individual Matchup: Jamal Adams
Something I never thought would happen has, Eric Ebron is the most expensive tight end on the Sunday main slate. Ebron has been fantastic thus far. He’s brought production and some semblance of stability to an otherwise unpredictable position. But sadly, his streak of production is coming to an end.
Ebron’s explosion was the result of a perfect storm that left Andrew Luck with little to no reliable pass catchers. T.Y. Hilton’s absence was clearly a problem for the Colts offense, and, Jack Doyle was not able to suit up for last Thursday’s game against the Patriots. That made Ebron one of three tight ends to record a snap in that game. And in that game, the next closest tight end, Ryan Hewitt, logged 16 snaps while Ebron logged 59. Meaning, the Colts would rarely use a second tight end in formations, and when multiple tight ends were on the field, they were running the football, as both the backup tight ends combined for three catches on their 30 total snaps. Should Jack Doyle suit up, there’s no way Ebron will dominate the snap share relative to his contemporaries.
This Sunday, Ebron will face Jamal Adams in coverage, who has played well against tight ends. To be fair, Adams and the Jets have not faced a tight end who’s featured the way Ebron is. The Jets have played teams who either don’t involve a tight end in their offense, or, deploy multiple tight ends who produce equal to one full-time starter. In the 33 times, Adams has been in coverage this season, he’s been targeted on 21 percent of those opportunities. And when Adams is targeted, he’s surrendering a catch 57 percent of the time, which is 10th among qualified safeties. While Ebron can still produce this Sunday, he won’t get the same opportunities as the most expensive tight end on the slate, it’s simply too much risk for cash games.
David Njoku: $5,500
LAC Pass Yards Allowed/Game: 270 (19th) Individual Matchup: Jahleel Addae
David Njoku finds himself on this list again. His long-term prospects are good, despite not clicking yet with Baker Mayfield. The problem with Njoku this week is that he’s facing the Chargers, who have suffocated tight ends to this point as illustrated by the table below.
Since the Rams don’t have a featured tight end, I took the highest performer between Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett and included that player in this analysis. These numbers are overwhelmingly in favor of the Chargers defense, except George Kittle. In his game against the Chargers, Kittle hauled in an 82 yard touchdown pass in which the closest defender wasn’t within five yards of him at the point of reception. So in fantasy terms, 14.7 of his total 21.5 points were accumulated on one play. One play, one data point, one result, is an outlier when looking at five weeks of fantasy data.
While Njoku does have game-breaking ability like Kittle, he’s not nearly as refined when it comes to route running and understanding zone coverage. On Kittle’s long touchdown, he released inside the defender on the line of scrimmage, then worked back outside on his seam route which allowed C.J. Bethard more room to deliver the football. That route running process seems easy to do. But, the difference in the NFL between big plays and momentum swinging touchdowns are small nuances that Kittle and other players are able to execute. I don’t believe Njoku is as far along in his development as Kittle, thus, I don’t have faith that he can produce in this tough matchup.
Ricky Seals-Jones: $5,000
MIN Pass Yards Allowed/Game: 279 (25th) Individual Matchup: Harrison Smith
There simply isn’t enough information to like Ricky Seals-Jones (RSJ) this week. Josh Rosen’s arrival means that the data with Sam Bradford is useless. RSJ didn’t manage to record a single catch against the 49ers. While he was targeted six times, the inability to convert any of those to catches is concerning. When you couple his lack of production with his matchup against Harrison Smith, RSJ is easily a tight end to avoid in week six.
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