Friday, December 4, 2020

Week 13 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 13. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 13 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 13 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 13 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (vs. PHI)

Three tight ends have at least five top-five weekly half-PPR performances this season. It wouldn't surprise anyone to know that Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are two of the names on that three-player list.

Can you guess the third?

Given where this question is listed, I'm sure you can. Of course, the third tight end to accomplish that feat is Tonyan, who has also done so in back-to-back weeks.

While it is such a TD-dependent position on a weekly basis, Tonyan is tied with Kelce and Tennessee's Jonnu Smith for the position lead in receiving touchdowns (seven) this season. With Aaron Rodgers playing at an MVP level, no team has more passing touchdowns this season than the Packers (33).

If there's a concern with Tonyan, it's that he's exceeded five targets in only two games this season. That said, the Packers have a top-five implied total this week and the Philadelphia Eagles have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to the position. Not only does Tonyan have a career-best catch rate (88.1%), but the Eagles have also allowed the third-highest catch rate (75.32%) to opposing tight ends.

Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. WAS)

As noted above, few tight ends have the ability to produce top-12 numbers in a given week without scoring a touchdown. Through 12 weeks, that has happened 36 times (or 25% of the time). Ebron isn't an exception from this rule as all four of his TE1 performances this season have occurred in games where he has scored a touchdown.

That said, Ebron currently ranks fifth in targets (67) at the position. That has helped to boost his floor in games that he hasn't scored.

Over the past six weeks, Ebron has scored in three games and finished as a top-10 tight end in each of those games. In the other three games, however, he posted respectable finishes of TE15, TE18 and TE14, respectively. In those three games outside the top 12, he was only 1.0, 2.4 and 1.3 fantasy points, respectively, from the TE12 performer of that given week.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (vs. CIN)

Coming off an 8/130/1 (on 11 targets) performance in Week 2, Gesicki frustrated his fantasy managers from Weeks 3 to 8. During that stretch, Gesicki failed to surpass one catch and 15 yards in four of five games. In those four duds during that span, the third-year tight end had either two or three targets.

Since then, Gesicki has a minimum of 35 receiving yards and four targets in four consecutive games. Averaging a career-high 15.0 Y/R this season, Gesicki gets a favorable matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have allowed the third-most Y/R to opposing tight ends (12.82) this season and the fourth-most fantasy points to the position.

While the position is generally a crap shoot after the top few options, Gesicki is inside our top 12 tight ends for the week and a viable start.

Week 13 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears (vs. DET)

Graham had a goose egg on two targets in Week 10. Coming off the team's Week 11 bye, Graham bounced back to his approximate season-long averages with three catches for 32 yards on four targets against the Packers in Week 12.

In his past two games, however, the (now) 34-year-old tight end has played less than 30 snaps in each game, the first two games that his snap count was less than 40 this season. In last week's game after the bye, it was a significant drop in his snap percentage (35%) as his previous low was 58% in Week 10. That has coincided with second-round rookie Cole Kmet playing at least 70% of the team's snaps in the past two games, the first two games in which he's played more than 50% of the team's snaps this season.

As a TD-dependent tight end, Graham has finished no better than the weekly TE20 in his seven games without a score. With the shift in snap counts from Graham to Kmet, that difference may become even more pronounced down the stretch.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (at PIT)

Against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Thomas completed a 28-yard pass, had a three-yard rush attempt and caught all four of his targets for 20 yards and a touchdown. Thomas finished the week as fantasy's TE8 and now has four top-10 performances over his past six games.

Along with T.J. Hockenson and Darren Waller, Thomas is one of only three tight ends with a minimum of four targets in 11 games this season. While the consistency of targets helps to provide a floor for the former quarterback, Thomas gets a difficult matchup this week (and next) against the Pittsburgh Steelers (and San Francisco 49ers). The Steelers have been the league's stingiest fantasy defense to opposing tight ends this season.

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)

Through Week 9, Cook averaged 8.6 fantasy points (half-PPR) per game, which was tied for 10th-most. No longer a viable back-end TE1, Cook has a total (yes, TOTAL!) of one catch for six yards on five targets over his past three games since then. Until Drew Brees returns, Cook's fantasy viability is minimal even though the Atlanta Falcons have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

More positions:

Positional Fantasy Football Rankings:

Check out more of our content: