Tuesday - Feb 19, 2019

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Big Bodies- Rise of the Tight End

Trying to bring original ideas to a game where sports news replays itself out over and again is very challenging. I read info from many sites but few shape my ideas and opinions like watching a game and breaking down the players. I won’t bore you with trivial info or news that other sites are reporting. I have my own ideas about how things are going to shake out this year.

This week I am focusing on the big men at the Tight End position.

Tight Ends Observations:

Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen is the next breakout player for Carolina. Although last week Cam Newton was locked on to Steve Smith, do not expect that to be a major theme this season. Most believe that Jeremy Shockey is the main tight end in the offense. However, Olsen is a much more agile target. He has the ability to get deeper and poses more mismatches due to his size and speed combination.

This week you will see Steve Smith blanketed by Green Bay defenders. I have a feeling that Olsen and Shockey will be the biggest factors receiving this week. Newton will have problems with pressure and it will be difficult to move the ball on the ground versus an aggressive linebacking corp.  The edge goes to Olsen since he has the ability to stretch the field and can sit down in the seam.

A quarterback’s best friend under duress is the tight end.

At some point the running game has to get moving, It’s not this week in case you were wondering. Outside of Cam Newton taking off once the receivers are down field, you aren’t going to see much in the way of a ground attack.

I suspect that Carolina will use the screen and short passing game to move the chains. That being said, DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith have the best opportunity to take it to the house in the quick hit, short passing game. The Green Bay defense is more likely to give up the dink and dunk yardage rather than the big play. I see either Newton finding the end zone with his legs or finding one of his two big targets inside that can post up their big bodies like NBA front men.

Cleveland Browns

Evan Moore is not a tight end. You probably wonder what I am talking about?  Evan Moore is a converted wide receiver from Stanford. He is again the second tight end in the Browns’ offense. Do you see a recurring theme here? Moore has the hands that most tight ends would give their eye teeth for. At 6’6″, 250 lbs, Moore runs in the mid 4.6 seconds in the 40. He plays a heck of a lot faster than that. Last week he found the end zone and before you consider me a numbers chaser, I’ve had my eye on Moore since 2004 when I watched him with fellow pro TE Alex Smith (Tampa, Philadelphia, and Cleveland) at Stanford Cardinal games. Smith is actually behind Moore on the Browns depth chart.

The best info is that the Browns now have an offense and although it may take a while to get everyone involved, It’s happening. Colt McCoy is developing pretty darn fast and by mid season, I expect starter Ben Watson and Moore to have similar numbers. Moore is a former hoop star a la Antonio Gates.

He understands the position much better than others, has the speed, and leaping ability to get to the ball while shielding it from defenders.

Washington Redskins

Fred Davis played admirably two seasons ago as starting tight end Chris Cooley went down with an injury. He became relevant for a  four week stretch, weeks 12-16 of the 2009 season. During that span he amassed 17 catches for 209 yards and 5 TDs. You will be hard pressed to find those numbers today, but if the last two weeks of 2010 and Week 1 of this year is an indicator, then there is no loss of faith in his abilities.

Chris Cooley again has an injury to his knee and I would be plugging him in this week versus a patch work defense that gave up 422 yards passing to Carolina last week. Rex Grossman is extremely hot right now as well. All the more reason to insert him.

St. Louis Rams

Talk all the smack you want about Lance Kendricks from the Rams. He had nerves, subsequently dropped balls, and looked like a rookie last week. That is so last week. I will tell you that by week 10 of this year that he will be owned in most leagues. He does so many things well that it will be hard to keep him out of the end zone.
 
Mike Sims-Walker is not the go-to guy in St. Louis. Mark Clayton is not ready just yet. Danny Amendola is obviously hurting. That leaves Brandon Gibson, Danario Alexander, and Kendricks. Carnell Williams is going to get a ton of looks in the passing game as well. Kendricks will live up to the billing this week. The Rams will have to throw the ball quite a bit to stay in the game with New York. Call me crazy, but
I believe.

Detroit Lions

Brandon Pettigrew is a  solid player overshadowed by Calvin Johnson. He isn’t a bad redzone option. It just seems Johnson is a better one. Don’t let that stop you from looking Pettigrew’s direction. He did get six targets last week and converted four for 57 yards. Is that worthy of a start? That depends on your expectation level. My expectation is that the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense which gave up 63 yards and two TDs to Scott Chandler is suspect. Is that enough to see starting Pettigrew this week? You decide.

Houston Texans

Owen Daniels had a poor start. So poor in fact that I considered making a move. After I came to my senses, I realized that a one week dud is still an overall stud. Daniels did cost me plenty last week, but the match-up bodes well this week against a Miami defense that surrendered 13 catches 189 yards and two TDs to tight ends in Week 1.

Who has two thumbs and loves the match-up this week? 
This Guy.

Tight ends are cheap ultimately, but the right match-up makes the difference this week. I am not suggesting that you play musical tight end. Find a guy that you have confidence in and pay attention to targets/catches ratio. I stayed away from the elites except for Daniels because I own him and love his chances this week.

Best of luck this week choosing your big body tight end. May you choose one that doesn’t block, but catches one and crosses the stripe.

Questions/Comments/Concerns to michaelfsarmento@gmail.com

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