NFL DFS: Week 17 TE Report
FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Travis Kelce (DK – $7,200/FD – $7,700): Kelce helped Fantasy owners reach the championship rounds of the high-stakes market with two massive showings in Week 11 (10/127/1) and Week 13 (12/168/2) with the latter coming against the Raiders. Unfortunately, his play wasn't impactful in the Fantasy playoffs (7/77/1, 7/61, and 5/54). Last week Patrick Mahones missed him on a wide open long TD, which would have pushed him over the 20-point mark in PPR leagues. Travis already set career highs in catches (98), receiving yards (1274), and TDs (10) while posting six games with over 20.0 Fantasy points in 2018. Oakland is 27th defending TEs (73/1009/9 on 97 targets) while already showing disaster downside in five games (CLE - 6/101/1, IND - 10/133/3, SF - 5/116/1, BAL - 6/118, and KC - 15/207/3). Kelce will be active in this matchup pointing to another 25+ Fantasy points.
Vance McDonald (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,600): McDonald only has 27 catches for 297 yards and three TDs on 42 targets over his last nine games. He's failed to gain over 50 yards receiving in any contest over this span while also having no game with more than four catches. His only game of value came in Week 3 (4/112/1) with some success in Week 6 (7/68) against the Bengals. Cinci allows the fourth-most Fantasy points to TEs (80/931/10 on 104 targets) with six teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points at TE. With Antonio Brown battling a knee issue, Vance may see a bump in chances in this favorable matchup.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Zach Ertz (DK – $6,700/FD – $7,800): Ertz rebound from two short weeks (5/38 and 3/22) to post an impact game (12/110/2) in Week 16. He now has five games with double-digit catches and five games with over 100 yards receiving. He set the NFL record for catches (113) for the TE position last week while also posted career-high results in receiving yards (1148) and TDs (8) in 2018. Zach averages just over ten targets per game with strength in his catch rate (74.3) continues to be top shelf. In Week 13, he had nine catches for 83 yards on ten targets against the Redskins. Washington sits 9th in TE defense (63/657/4 on 92 targets) with no team scoring over 18.0 Fantasy points from the TE position. Fade for me after his big game.
Rob Gronkowski (DK – $5,100/FD – $5,800): The Patriots had Gronkowski on the field for 79 percent of their plays last week, but he didn't have a target in the game. Rob only has two games of value (7/123/1 and 8/107/1) in his 12 starts in 2018. In Week 12, he caught three of seven targets vs. the Jets. New York has third best TE defense (45/523/5 on 71 targets) with only one poor game (IND - 6/107/2). Let's just say we have huge trust issues with Gronk in this game. New England doesn't need him to win, and his overall game isn't where it needs to be.
Cameron Brate (DK – $3,600/FD – $4,900): Over five games with starting snaps, Brate only has 11 catches for 91 yards and three TDs on 19 targets. He still doesn't have a game with more than three catches or more than 40 yards receiving. The Falcons are 13th defending TEs (67/700/5 on 98 targets) while allowing only two TDs to TEs over the last nine games. Six of their last nine opponents scored fewer than 10.0 Fantasy points from the TE position. Brate has a Week 16 Kyle Rudolph smell to him.
Austin Hooper (DK – $3,500/FD – $5,200): Hooper stumbled home over his last six games (20/175/1 on 27 targets). His best game (9/71/1) of the season came against the Bucs in Week 6. After 15 games, Austin has 66 catches for 593 yards and four TDs on 82 targets. Tampa sits 22nd vs. TEs (78/965/5 on 103 targets). The Bucs had the biggest struggles vs. TEs in Week 2 (PHI - 15/151) and Week 3 (5/119/1). A TE hasn't scored against the Bucs over the last seven weeks. Hooper isn’t playing well with a low volume opportunity. Fade.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Kyle Rudolph (DK – $4,400/FD – $6,000): Last week Rudolph had his best game (9/122/2) of the season by a wide margin, which was ignited by 44-yard Hail Mary at halftime. Over his previous eight games, Kyle only had 24 catches for 227 yards and no TDs on 36 targets. The Bears held him to two catches for 13 yards in Week 11. After 15 games, he has 60 catches for 615 yards and four TDs on 77 targets while ranking close to his 2017 stats (57/532/8). Rudolph averages only 5.1 targets per game. Chicago is 12th against TEs (65/622/4 on 105 targets) with no TDs allowed to the TE over the last ten games. Even with a low salary, I wouldn't chase last week's points with Kyle in Week 17.
Trey Burton (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,600): Burton only has 22 catches for 193 yards and two TDs on 33 targets over his last eight games. His only impact game (9/126/1) came at home vs. the Patriots in Week 7. Trey only had one catch for nine yards in his first matchup with the Vikings. Minnesota is 8th in the NFL against TEs (57/679/3 on 81 targets) with seven of their last eight opponents scoring fewer than 10.0 Fantasy points at the TE position. Easy avoid.
C.J. Uzomah (DK – $3,500/FD – $5,500): Heading into last week's game, Uzomah only had 21 catches for 200 yards and no TDs on 39 targets over his previous seven games. He finished Week 16 with his best game (4/49/1) of the season. In Week 6, C.J. caught six of his seven targets for 54 yards against the Steelers. Pittsburgh has risk vs. TEs (24th - 78/881/7 on 112 targets). Six teams scored over 18.0 Fantasy points at TE against the Steelers while playing better in three of their last four games defending TEs (2.00, 4.10, and 3.70). Low upside player who is playing in an injury-plagued offense.
NEUTRAL (ALL FORMATS)
George Kittle (DK – $6,300/FD – $6,700): Kittle has six catches or more in five of his last six games helping him set a higher floor in PPR leagues. Over his last seven games, George has 42 catches for 644 yards and two TDs on 65 targets with one impact game (7/210/1). He trails Travis Kelce by 46 receiving yards for the NFL lead at his position. After 15 weeks, Kittle has 79 catches for 1,228 yards and four TDs. He beat the Rams for five catches for 98 yards and one TD in Week 7. LA is 17th vs. TEs (70/920/4 on 115 targets) with three poor showings (OAK - 11/200, SF - 5/98/1, and KC - 11/130/1). The Rams played better vs. TEs over the last three games (2/22, 5/34, and 2/12). The 49ers have injuries at WR, which gives George a chance at plus targets in this game by default. A bit pricey when adding his lower scoring ability.
Jared Cook (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,000): Cook suffered a rib injury last week, which led to a couple of limited practices this week. After two strong games (7/100/1 and 7/116 - the first game came against the Chiefs), Jared fell off the stat sheet in his last two outings (2/23 and 2/20). He already set career highs in catches (65), receiving yards (868), and TDs (6). His other two games of value came in Week 1 (9/180) and Week 4 (8/110/2). Kansas City allows the most Fantasy points to TEs (81/1016/10 on 114 targets) with struggles in three games (PIT - 8/164/1, LAR - 9/112/2, and OAK - 8/101/2). TEs have seven TDs vs. the Chiefs over the last five games. In play if he has no issue with his health before Sunday.
Evan Engram (DK – $5,300/FD – $5,900): With Odell Beckham out, Engram played up to his expected value over the last three weeks (3/77, 8/75, and 6/87) while averaging almost eight targets per game. Over ten games this year, Engram has 40 catches for 496 yards and two TDs. One of his better games (7/67/1) came in Week 2 vs. Cowboys. Dallas is 19th against TEs (81/823/6 on 111 targets) with huge failure against TEs in two games (PHI - 14/145/2, and WAS - 8/148/1). Viable with the Cowboys expected to pull the goalie on defense at some point in the game, but he'll need to score over 20.0 Fantasy points to pay off.
David Njoku (DK – $3,700/FD – $5,600): Last week Njoku hit on a TD and a long catch to set his best day (3/73/1) since Week 12 (5/63/1). Over his previous eight games, David has 23 catches for 259 yards and two TDs on 32 targets. This season he has 53 catches for 577 yards and four TDs on 81 targets while failing to score over 20.0 Fantasy points in any game. He caught six of ten targets for 69 yards in Week 5 against the Ravens. Baltimore does have risk vs. TEs (23rd - 79/900/6 in 107 targets) with seven of their last 11 opponents scoring over 15.0 Fantasy points at TE.
Chris Herndon (DK – $3,400/FD – $5,800): Herndon had his best game (6/82/1) of his career last week, which broke his six-game scoreless streak. Over his last ten games, Chris has 33 catches for 447 yards and four TDs on 46 targets. He caught seven of eight targets for 57 yards in his first meeting against the Patriots. New England ranks 20th vs. TEs (69/817/8 on 103 targets) with improvement in their last four games (3/38, 0/0, 3/22, and 4/55). The Colts (12/149/3) and the Bears (9/126/1) did have success against the Patriots at the TE position. A chaser game helps his opportunity if you want to shop at this level.