Saturday, December 26, 2020

Week 16 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 16. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting tight end.

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

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

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

{Note: This will be our final Start'em, Sit'em of 2020, but we will post Week 17 rankings.]

Week 16 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (vs. CAR)

Since Week 6, Thomas has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in six of nine weeks. Since that point in the season, Thomas has scored the third-most fantasy points behind only Travis Kelce and Darren Waller.

Thomas has been consistent and performed well all season. In fact, Thomas is one of two tight ends (T.J. Hockenson is the other) with at least four targets in 14 games this season.

Over the past three weeks, however, Thomas has had two of his best games of the season. Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, Thomas had 13 catches for 101 yards on 15 targets, all of which were season highs. Thomas had 9/98/1 on nine targets against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the stingiest defense to opposing tight ends this season, in Week 13.

In his past three games, Thomas has averaged 9.3/80.7/0.3 on 10.3 targets per game. That compares to an average line of 3.1/29.8/0.4 on 5.5 targets per game from Weeks 1 to 12.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (vs. TEN)

Fantasy managers would like more targets for Tonyan, but he has made the most of his targets from Aaron Rodgers. The breakout tight end has scored in five consecutive games and finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in each of those weeks.

During that five-week span, Tonyan has yet to exceed five targets, but he has caught 22-of-23 (95.7% catch rate) targets. Tonyan is tied for the NFL lead among tight ends in touchdowns (10) with Kelce.

The Tennessee Titans have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. The Titans have allowed the fourth-highest catch rate (74.4%) to opposing tight ends.

SLEEPER - Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (at NYJ)

Despite being a massive disappointment in 2020, there is reason for optimism with Hooper in Week 16. Last week, Hooper had five-week highs against the New York Giants in targets (six), receptions (five) and yards (41) and scored a touchdown. Despite having a target share of 10.53% (or less) in three of his four previous games, Hooper's six targets equalled a target share of 28.57%, a season high for Hooper.

There is a concern that the Browns will take the air out of the ball in what should be a blowout against the New York Jets, who got their first win of the season last week. If the Jets are able to keep this one close, it bodes well for Baker Mayfield, Hooper and the passing attack's fantasy outlook.

Even if it's not close, the Jets have been the worst team in the league at stopping opposing tight ends. The Jets are bottom three in the league in terms of Y/R (12.22) and TD% (17.65%) to the position.

Week 16 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (at ARI)

George Kittle (foot) may return in Week 16. As coach Kyle Shanahan says, "[i]f he's good, I plan on him playing."

Even with Kittle out of the lineup, Reed has been a TD-or-bust or option (like many tight ends, to be fair). Since he's scored in two of his past three games, he has finished as a top-12 performer in Weeks 13 and 15.

Over his past four games, however, Reed has exceeded two catches and 18 yards only once. The Arizona Cardinals have limited opposing tight ends to the sixth-fewest fantasy points this season.

Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (at KC)

The good news is that Hurst ended a seven-game scoring drought in Week 15 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even so, Hurst turned his four catches into only 21 yards.

From Weeks 11 to 15, here are his weekly receiving lines: 0/0 (two targets), 4/48 (eight), 1/9 (four), 1/7 (three) and 4/21/1 (five), respectively. Hurst is the TE31 over that span with a total receiving line of 10/85/1.

Drafted as a back-end TE1 before the season, he's been too unreliable to trust in Week 16.

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