Nick Mensio

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Week 5 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Friday, October 6, 2017




TIGHT END

Start of the Week: Martellus Bennett at Cowboys: Bennett has been a relative disappointment as the TE16 through four weeks. He has dropped a number of passes, but there’s plenty of reason for optimism. Bennett is tied for fourth among tight ends averaging seven targets per game and gets a plus spot against a Dallas defense that has long struggled to defend tight ends. The Cowboys haven’t faced any premier players at the position, but rookie Evan Engram went 4-45 in Week 1 and Rams second-year TE Tyler Higbee set new career-highs across the board with a 3-47 line on six targets last week. Packers-Cowboys has the highest total of the week at 52 points, and we’re going to want a lot of pieces of this game. Bennett is someone Aaron Rodgers came out and said this week that the Packers need to get involved more. He’s a rock-solid TE1 play. He could also have some extra motivation in this one after Bennett spent the first few years of his career buried in Dallas. Bennett sounded off on Jason Witten and head coach Jason Garrett last year.

Starts

Austin Seferian-Jenkins at Browns: Since coming off his two-game suspension to open the season, Seferian-Jenkins has played 77% of the snaps and drawn a total of 11 targets, catching nine of them for 77 yards. It’s nothing flashy, but it’s solid volume at a shallow position like tight end. ASJ now gets a prime matchup against a Browns defense that coughed up two touchdowns each to Jesse James in Week 1 and Tyler Kroft in Week 4. Cleveland has allowed the most catches, second-most touchdowns, and second-most fantasy points to tight ends. ASJ is a viable streamer in redraft leagues and can be paired with Josh McCown as an ultra-cheap QB-TE stack in daily formats.

Hunter Henry at Giants: Henry was being drafted as one of the top fantasy tight ends over summer. Through four games, it has been extreme highs and lows for the sophomore. He wasn’t targeted in Week 1 and then broke out for a 7-80 line in Week 2. The following week, Henry wasn’t targeted again and then scored a touchdown in Week 4. If the same pattern plays out, Henry won’t be targeted this week, but that’s unlikely to happen in such a good spot. The Giants have a pair of lockdown corners in Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and that forces a lot of passes inside to tight ends. The Giants have surrendered the second-most catches for the second-most yards and most touchdowns and fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Bolts insist on using a timeshare with Henry and Antonio Gates, but Henry is the far better option to accumulate volume and make plays. Both are decent bets for touchdowns.

Evan Engram vs. Chargers: Engram has been a rare rookie producer at a position that rarely sees first-year success. Engram is tied for second with Rob Gronkowski in seeing 7.5 targets per game behind leader Zach Ertz at nine. Engram has yet to catch fewer than four passes for 45 yards in a game and is fresh off a six-grab Week 4 against the Bucs on 11 targets, and that was with all of the Giants’ skill players healthy. With no running game to speak of, Engram is essentially an extension of the run game for the Giants. The Chargers have stamped out tight ends to this point, but Engram’s role and volume have been too secure to not continue to plug him in lineups.

Sits

Jason Witten vs. Packers: Witten had massive 7-59-1 and 10-97-1 lines in Weeks 1 and 2 against the Giants and Broncos, but he has predictably come crashing back down with just two total catches for 12 yards on six targets the past two weeks versus the Cardinals and Rams. Both were tough matchups for tight ends, and the Packers present a similarly-tough draw. Green Bay has allowed the second-fewest catches for the third-fewest yards and no touchdown to opposing tight ends. Those tight ends have included Jimmy Graham and Zach Miller. Witten is a threat to score in the red zone, which always makes him at least a high-end TE2, but there are better streamers available this week despite the high Vegas total of 52 points in Packers-Cowboys.

Eric Ebron vs. Panthers: Truthfully, Ebron shouldn’t even be owned in 12-team leagues right now. But he was a popular summer breakout candidate, and those types are hard to let go. A quarter of the way through the season, Ebron is on pace to catch just 44 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He’s basically been invisible outside of the first half of Week 2 against the Giants. Dropped passes remains a big issue for Ebron, and Matthew Stafford started throwing the ball more to No. 2 TE Darren Fells last week, who caught all four of his targets for 40 yards. Ebron managed just 27 yards and two grabs on his four looks. Carolina has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends despite allowing a 4-80 line to Rob Gronkowski in Week 4.

Jimmy Graham at Rams: Graham has been another big disappointment early in the season. He has just 142 scoreless yards on the season despite seeing 26 targets. 133 of those yards have come in the past two games, however, but Graham runs into a tough matchup against the Rams. Los Angeles has defended the tight end pretty well for years due to athletic linebackers and safeties. The Rams did allow a wide-open James Hanna to score a long touchdown last week in Dallas, but they locked down Jack Doyle and Jordan Reed in previous weeks. Graham is a borderline TE1/2.



Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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