NFL DFS: Week 12 TE Report
FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Rob Gronkowski (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,900): The Patriots expect to have Gronkowski back this week after missing three of the last four games with back and ankle issues. After an impact game in Week 1 (7/123/1), Gronk only has 22 catches for 325 yards and no TDs over his last six starts while averaging only 6.1 targets on the year. The Jets have the third best TE defense (26/309/3 on 44 targets) while facing a long list of teams with weaker TEs. New York held the TE position to fewer than 9.0 Fantasy points in eight of their nine games, but the Colts' TEs did post a nice game (6/107/2). The sexiness of Rob in the Fantasy market appears to be gone, but he does still have scoring ability and a favorable salary. Possible value with impact upside after a bye week even in what appears to be a tough matchup.
David Njoku (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,100): Njoku has been frustrating over his last three games. The Steelers shut him out in Week 8, and David only had one catch for 18 yards in Week 10. On the year, he has 36 catches for 368 yards and two TDs on 57 targets with one decent game (7/55/1). Cinci allows the third most Fantasy points to TEs (61/683/5 on 81 targets) with five teams scoring 19.10 or more Fantasy points (IND - 12/124/1, BAL - 8/74/1, PIT - 14/129, KC - 6/112/1, and TB - 5/81/1). A very good upside play this week, and the bye week should have helped him get healthier.
Cameron Brate (DK – $3,600/FD – $4,400): With O.J. Howard out for the season, Brate will be given a nice opportunity going forward. This season the Bucs' TEs have 57 catches for 758 yards and eight TDs on 79 targets. They had a stretch where they scored eight TDs in seven games. The 49ers rank 11th vs. TEs (40/478/4 on 66 targets) with two teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (KC - 9/127/1 and GB - 7/141). San Fran hasn't allowed a TD to the TE since Week 4. Cameron looks to be a nice value at this level with a chance to mid-teen points if he scores a TD.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Jared Cook (DK – $4,500/FD – $5,700): For the fifth time in six games, Cook came up short in catches (3) and yards (31) in Week 12. He did score his fourth TD of the year to help post a steady game in the season-long contest. His two impact games came in Week 1 (9/180) and Week 4 (8/110/2). Over his last six games, Jared has 19 catches for 207 yards and two TDs on 30 targets. The Ravens allowed double-digit Fantasy points to the TE position in seven of their last nine games leading to the 22nd ranking (54/638/3 on 74 targets). Baltimore allowed a TD to the TE in three of their last four games with one poor game in yards allowed (CLE - 8/108). Tough to get excited by the Raiders' offense, but the Ravens' defense allowed 26 points per game over their last four games. Coin flip play while his matchup gives him a pulse, but his offense could post a zero this week.
Evan Engram (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,800): Over his last three games, Engram has 11 catches for 137 yards and one TD on 16 targets. His best game of the season came in Week 2 (7/67/1). In the first two games of the season, Evan was on the field for 89 percent of the plays run by New York. This path was supported in Week 6 and Week 7 (about 85 percent of the plays), but New York's struggles on the offensive line led to him only being on the field for 61 and 32 percent of their plays over the last two games. His value will be higher in a chaser game. The Eagles are second in the NFL against TEs (34/370/2 on 54 targets) with the last eight opponents scoring fewer than 11.0 Fantasy points from the TE position. His low salary gives Engram a chase, but there are too many signs to avoid him here.
Ricky Seals-Jones (DK – $3,100/FD – $5,200): Seals-Jones delivered another frustrating game (one catch for five yards) to Fantasy owners in Week 11. His scoreless streak extended to seven games. Ricky has two catches or fewer in six of his last eight games with two steady games in catches (5/69 and 5/51). The Chargers are 13th in the league vs. TEs (47/455/4 on 80 targets) with two teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (SF - 6/125/1 and CLE - 8/63/1). Tough to believe in him in any Fantasy format.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Antonio Gates (DK – $2,900/FD – $4,900): Gates looked pretty good last week (5/80/1 on seven targets) especially when considering he was a game-time decision. His success was helped by the Broncos overlooking him in coverage. Antonio only has 18 catches for 221 yards and two TDs on 29 targets in 2018. The Cardinals are 6th in the league defending TDs (39/415/3 on 54 targets) with no team scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points from the TE position. A low-level option with more risk this reward.
NEUTRAL (ALL FORMATS)
Zach Ertz (DK – $6,400/FD – $7,600): Ertz had his worst game of the season in Week 12 (2/15), which wasn't his fault as Carson Wentz only looked his way three times. Too many times last week Wentz chose the long bomb rather than take the short dump off pass to move the chains. Zach has four games with over 100 yards receiving with five TDs. In Week 6, he caught seven of his nine targets for 43 yards and a TD vs. the Giants. The Giants allowed between 15.0 and 19.0 Fantasy points to the TE position in four of their last eight games while no TE has been able to deliver an impact game in 2018. Overall, TEs have 51 catches for 606 yards and one TD on 73 targets against New York. Philly needs a big bounce-back game offensively, and Ertz should be one of the keys to their success. Not the best matchup by stats by the Giants, but there are signs that Zach has a chance at an impact game.
George Kittle (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,500): Fantasy owners will have an interesting dilemma with Kittle in Week 12. His salary is $200 less than Zach Ertz, but his resume (50/775/3) is much lower in catches (77) and targets (103) than Ertz. Tampa allows the fourth-most Fantasy points to TEs (55/796/5 on 69 targets) with their biggest failure coming in Week 2 (15/151 on 19 targets) against the Eagles. George has over 80 yards receiving in six of ten games while posting three strong games (6/125/1, 5/98/1, and 4/108/1). As this point of the year, Kittle is the top receiving threat for the 49ers with big play ability. There's a lot to like here with than his higher salary, which may make him tougher to own. Torn as a 20-Fantasy game is viable, but he’ll need more to fill his Fantasy bucket.
Greg Olsen (DK – $4,400/FD – $6,500): Last week Olsen scored an early TD, but he lacked follow through in a game that the Panthers had success passing the ball (357 yards and three TDs). Greg finished with two catches for nine yards and a TD on three targets. Over his last five games, he has 18 catches for 186 yards and four TDs on 24 targets. Seattle struggle with the TE over the last two games (LAR - 5/40/2 and GB - 4/79/1) after holding TEs to 12.20 Fantasy points or fewer over the first eight games. The Seahawks ranks 9th vs. the TE position (36/403/4 on 47 targets). Olsen is scoring TDs, which is half of the Fantasy equation. Over the last five games, he averaged only 4.8 targets per game. Priced in a favorable range to be in the mix with a jump in opportunity if this game gets to be played at a faster pace.
Vance McDonald (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,500): McDonald has a TD in two straight games, but he gained fewer than 50 yards receiving in his last four contest while averaging only 4.75 targets over this stretch. Vance had his best game of the year in Week 2 (4/112/1). Denver is 23rd in the NFL defending TEs (44/640/5 on 71 targets) with four teams scoring 19.0 Fantasy points or more (SEA - 4/116/1, KC - 9/137/1, KC - 6/79/1, and LAC - 7/107/1). McDonald can have value at times while receiving about two-thirds of the TE playing time in Pittsburgh. His matchup gives him some upside especially with the Broncos focusing on defending the Steelers’ top two WRs.
Jack Doyle (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,500): Doyle has 13 catches for 149 yards and one TD on 14 targets in his first three games back in the starting lineup for the Colts while receiving over 80 percent of the TE playing time over this span. Miami is league average defending TEs (46/521/5 on 63 targets) while showing some risk in TDs (5) from Week 6 to Week 8. This season Indy's TEs have 74 catches for 887 yards and 15 TDs on 112 targets. The Colts will score multiple TDs via the TE this week, but Jack isn't a lock to be on the receiving end. My advice is to play two teams with the same lineup while using both TEs on Indy to lock in some upside at a reasonable price.
Eric Ebron (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,500): After 11 weeks, Ebron is the 4th highest scoring TE despite posting a zero last week. Indy had him on the field for 40 percent of the time in Week 11, which was his highest rate since Jack Doyle returned to the starting lineup. Eric has 39 catches for 463 yards and ten TDs on 65 targets with two impact games (9/105/2 and 3/69/3). His drawing card is his scoring ability while his bar in catches and yards is much lower with Indy rotating in TEs.
Jeff Heuerman (DK – $3,400/FD – $5,400): After his breakout game (10/83/1 on 11 targets), Heuerman only had four catches for 20 yards on five targets in Week 11. On the year, Jeff averages 4.5 targets per game with only one other TD. Pittsburgh struggled with the TE from Week 2 to Week 5 (KC - 7/109/2, TB - 9/106/1, BAL - 10/99, and ATL - 10/85), but they held the TE position to fewer 12.0 Fantasy points in their last five games to improve them to 25th in TE defense (58/627/4 on 82 targets). Heuerman has a low resume with questionable targets in most weeks. Nothing more than a flier.
Chris Herndon (DK – $2,900/FD – $5,300): Over the last five games, Herndon has 14 catches for 210 yards and three TDs on 19 targets. The Jets had him on the field for about 64 percent of their plays over the last two games. The Patriots are 27th in the NFL against TEs (50/621/7 on 77 targets) with much of their failure coming in two games (IND - 12/149/3 and CHI - 9/126/1). Possible chaser game works in his favor, but he'll need a TD to be viable at this level.
Nick Vannett (DK – $2,700/FD – $5,000): Vannett has one catch in five of his ten games in 2018 with his only game of value coming in Week 9 (6/52/1). On the year, Nick has 21 catches for 203 yards and two TDs on 33 targets. Carolina allows the most Fantasy points to TEs (61/687/8 on 80 targets) with seven teams scoring over 18.0 Fantasy points. Vannett may very well score this week while seeing a bump in targets.