Saturday, December 19, 2020

Week 15 Fantasy Football TE Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Robert Tonyan is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 15 with him as my starting tight end.

Then again, Tonyan may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Travis Kelce and Tonyan, you should start Kelce and, in turn, bench Tonyan.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 15 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (vs. CAR)

Tonyan has exceeded five targets in only one game this season and that game was Week 4. Even so, he's been highly efficient on the targets that he gets from Aaron Rodgers, who is playing at an MVP level.

Over the past four weeks, Tonyan has exactly five targets in every game. Not only has Tonyan scored a touchdown in each of those games, he has a 95% catch rate (19-of-20) over that span. Tonyan has finished as a top-seven fantasy tight end in four consecutive games.

The Carolina Panthers have surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Since Week 6, however, they have allowed eight top-12 fantasy tight ends and only the New York Jets have allowed more fantasy points to the position during that stretch.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (vs. SEA)

Heading into Week 15, Thomas was one of just three tight ends to have at least four targets in 13 games this season. (Darren Waller and T.J. Hockenson are the other two.) On the season, Thomas ranks sixth amongst tight ends in targets (77) and seventh in fantasy points scored (half-PPR).

Despite having difficult back-to-back matchups against the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers, Thomas has 15 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets over the past two weeks combined. Over his past eight games, Thomas has finished as a top-nine fantasy tight end in five weeks.

Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)

If we increase the per-game target threshold to five (from the four used in our Thomas blurb), only two tight ends -- Waller and Travis Kelce (12 each) -- have more five-target games than Ebron (11). In fact, the last game that Ebron did not have at least five targets was in Week 6 (four). Since Week 7, Ebron has averaged 7.38 targets per game (fifth-most at the position).

Ebron had a quiet week in his first matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals with two catches for 38 yards on six targets, but the Bengals have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

SLEEPER: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (at MIN)

For a second week in a row, Kmet had seven targets and a 21.2% target share. In addition, Kmet played a season-high 85% of the team's offensive snaps against the Houston Texans in Week 14. The Notre Dame rookie has now played at least 70% of the offensive snaps in four consecutive games.

Even though it was Jimmy Graham (not Kmet) that scored the touchdown last week, Kmet has now played more snaps than Graham in four consecutive games and drawn more targets in back-to-back games. While it's a middle-of-the-road matchup for Kmet in Week 15, his usage puts him on the TE1 fringe.

Week 15 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (at ARI)

In a difficult matchup against the New Orleans Saints in Jalen Hurts' debut as a starter, Ertz had two catches for eight yards on three targets. Meanwhile, Dallas Goedert had four catches for 43 yards on six targets. Goedert now has six targets in five consecutive games and a 25/294/2 line on 35 targets over that span.

On the season, Ertz is averaging career lows across the board -- 7.8 Y/R, 27.1 YPG, 53.8% catch rate -- and he has just one touchdown on 28 receptions. Until we see more from Ertz, I would keep him on my bench.

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (at NYG)

Assuming that Hooper returns in Week 15, he should remain on your bench. In his previous four games (Weeks 10 to 13), Hooper has a total of eight catches for 81 yards and one touchdown on 11 targets. That's especially disappointing given that all four were plus matchups.

The New York Giants have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (vs. SF)

Schultz has a minimum of three targets in all 13 games this season and he's averaged 5.6 per game. In addition, he has at least four catches in nine of 13 games. Since Week 8, Schultz is tied for the seventh-most receptions (26) and 10th-most targets per game (5.5) amongst tight ends.

While his volume puts him in the streamer mix in a good matchup, he has arguably the worst matchup on this week's slate of games. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the 49ers.

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