Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em: Week 4 Fantasy Tight Ends

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Charles Clay is listed below as a "start" for Week 4. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 4 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Travis Kelce and Clay, you should start Kelce -- and in turn, bench Clay.

So, while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 4 Fantasy Football TE Start'em


TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (at ATL)

Scoring the fifth-most fantasy points (TE4 in PPR) among tight ends, Clay has totaled 13 catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season. His 18 targets equates to 23.08 percent of the team's targets and that ranks fourth among all tight ends.

Only Jason Witten (25.00%), Zach Ertz (24.56%) and Rob Gronkowski (23.36%) have higher target shares among tight ends. Meanwhile, LeSean McCoy (20, 25.64%) is the only Bill to see a higher percentage of targets than Clay.

The Falcons have yet to allow any big games to opposing tight ends and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season, but the Bills are 8.5-point underdogs on the road and could throw more often than usual. Through three weeks, the Bills have thrown the ball only 47.31 percent of their plays -- only the Ravens have thrown the ball on a lower percentage of plays.

Given his high target share and expectations for a higher percentage of pass plays in absolute terms, Clay has an opportunity to finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end for the third time in four weeks this season.

TE - Evan Engram, New York Giants (at TB)

Through the first three weeks of the season, Engram has been plenty involved in the passing attack. He has a minimum of four catches, five targets and 40-something yards in every game this season. That may not seem terribly impressive, but there are only 11 players in the league that have done that in each of the first three weeks of the season and only one other tight end (Ertz). In PPR formats, he has finished as a top-14 fantasy tight end in every game this season.

TE - Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)

Similar to Engram, Cook has a minimum of four catches and five targets in each of his team's first three games. On the year, Cook has a total of 13 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets. With at least 20-percent target share in back-to-back weeks, it's possible Cook sees a similar volume of targets in Week 4 given the difficult matchup on the outside for the team's top receivers (Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree).

While the Broncos arguably have the best defense in the NFL, they have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends early this season. In their past two games, both Jason Witten (10/97/1) and Clay (6/39/1) finished as top-eight weekly performers.

Note: Like Clay and Engram, Cook is available in a significant number of Yahoo! leagues if you typically stream the position. Cook is owned in 53-percent of Yahoo! leagues while Clay and Engram and owned in 63 and 45 percent of leagues, respectively.

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Week 4 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em


TE - Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (vs. BUF)

A popular breakout candidate heading into his second season, Hooper has been a model of consistency with exactly two targets in each of the team's first three games. Of course, that type of consistency isn't something that fantasy owners will appreciate unless he's scoring 88-yard touchdowns like in Week 1.

Over his first three weeks, Hooper has finished as fantasy's TE1, TE51 and TE38 with less than one full fantasy point in standard-scoring formats in each of the past two weeks. Until Hooper starts to see a higher volume of targets, he's dependent on a big play to not be a total flop. Especially given the quality of streaming options this week (as noted above), he needs to be on your bench this week.

TE - Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (at SEA)

Doyle has just two catches in two of three games and has finished outside the top-12 weekly tight ends in every game this season. With a tough matchup against the Seahawks, he appears outside my top-12 weekly fantasy tight ends for Week 4 as well. Based on implied totals from Vegas odds, no team is projected to score fewer real points this week than the Colts (14.50).

TE - Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. PHI)

Henry (97) and Antonio Gates (110) have played a relatively similar number of snaps, but I expected Henry to have the larger share as opposed to the other way around. One concern for Henry's fantasy outlook is that he has been used as a blocker on 52-of-97 snaps (53.6 percent). By comparison, Gates has run routes on nearly twice as many snaps as Henry (81 to 45).

It wouldn't surprise me if Henry becomes more involved as a receiver going forward and perhaps he still finishes the year as a top-12 fantasy tight end. Through three weeks, however, he has had two goose eggs with zero targets and a 7/80 performance. The weekly inconsistency makes him too difficult to trust for now.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 4

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