Wednesday - Jan 27, 2021

Home / Commentary / FLAVOR OF THE WEEK: Jordan Reed, TE, San Francisco

FLAVOR OF THE WEEK: Jordan Reed, TE, San Francisco

This space is generally geared towards young players, but through the ebbs and flows of a season interesting veteran players have a tendency to pop up in the marketplace. The tight end position is often a desolate landscape lacking quality options with this year being no different. There is one cliff after Travis Kelce (195.8 points) and a smaller one after Darren Waller (141.9 points). A muddled mess follows as 13 different players are within two points per game of each other and only one of them (T.J. Hockenson) has been a consistent source of production. He only has one performance of less than nine points per game whereas everyone else has at least three. Who among them can be trusted on a week-to-week basis? I think the answer is none of them.. but this guy is different.

Most at this point are quite familiar with Jordan Reed’s story. He was one of the best tight ends in the game during the last decade, but he could not stay on the field. Reed averaged less than 11 games per year from 2013-18 and topped out at 14. He came into the league with these same issues as he suffered a concussion in each of his three seasons in college at Florida with multiple leg injuries in between. Not all of the 65 games he actually played in went by without incident either. He battled leg injuries throughout a dismal 2014 campaign (11 games, 50 catches, 465 yards, 0 touchdowns) and seemingly never recovered from a 2016 foot injury as recurring problems led him to accumulating just 19 games, 81 catches, 779 yards and four touchdowns across his final two seasons before his seventh diagnosed concussion kept him out of the entire 2019 campaign.

Given all of that, why should you be interested in him? Because of what he did in between and, more importantly, earlier this season. On a per game basis he was the highest-scoring tight end in the game (when healthy!) during 2015 and 2016. True, that was a long time ago and even amidst his high watermark his scoring just rivaled what Darren Waller is doing now, but have his skills actually diminished? We have only seen an unhealthy version of Reed on the field from 2016 on until this season.

Shorthanded San Francisco went into a game against the New York Jets needing playmakers to step up and Reed answered the call pulling in seven catches (eight targets) for 50 yards and a couple of attention-grabbing touchdowns. Expectations were high going into his follow-up against the New York Giants, but his day ended the same way so many others prior did. As he made a spectacular catch in the back of the end zone his knee buckled as he unsuccessfully tried to tap his toe in the end zone, leading him to missing six weeks. He returned in a very limited role as injuries and Covid had even further decimated this roster, but in his second game back he provided some highlight reel catches in New Orleans that leads me to believe there is more to come as San Francisco returns from its bye.

Three of San Francisco’s next four opponents are in the Bottom 10 (Buffalo, Washington, Dallas) in fantasy points against opposing tight ends. I am pessimistic about Tevin Coleman’s chances to return this week, but Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel have good chances to suit up. This oft-injured San Francisco offense is starting to get healthier, which will help lead to more scoring opportunities for Reed to take advantage. Above all else, he looked the part early this season and he looked it again before the bye. The same cannot be said for many tight ends currently being started throughout fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, there is no reason to trust him for more than one week at a time. His history speaks for itself, but as long as he is active and you’re considering unreliable options at the position, Jordan Reed is the best one at your disposal.

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About Mark Chamberlin

A big heart with a little snark. If you've got thick skin then I think we will get along just fine. If not though...