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Tight End Help Going Forward

If you’re anything like me and drafted a “value” TE late in the draft this year, you’re probably scrambling to find consistency at the position heading into the playoffs (or just trying to make the playoffs). I probably don’t have to tell you the position is way down when you look at the viable options top to bottom, but even the Top 3 TEs this year are way below where they were at this point last season in terms of fantasy points:

2007 Weeks 1-8

2008 Weeks 1-8

A. Gates

93.9

70.3

J. Witten

78

66.9

T. Gonzalez

74.6

54.9

In this edition of Digging Deeper, we’re going to analyze and project the Top 8 TE options for the rest of the season who might still be available on the waiver wire in your leagues.

1) Tony Scheffler – If you’re in a reasonably competitive league, odds are that Scheffler has been stashed on someone’s bench the last three weeks. But if he

is available, grab him now, as he’s expected back this week or next. Despite missing three total games so far (two to injury, one to bye), he’s still the 12th-best TE in terms of total fantasy points in the league. He’s had consistent yardage totals so far in games he’s played, and out of the eight TEs here, he has the third best fantasy schedule from here on out, according to FFToday’s Strength-of-Schedule rankings for TEs, at +.8%.

Denver’s offense should get back on track with overall lackluster defensive opponents sprinkled in throughout the rest of the season in

Miami,

Cleveland,

Atlanta, KC and

San Diego.

2) Visanthe Shiancoe – Of the eight TEs ranked in this article, Shiancoe has the second easiest fantasy schedule for TEs from here on, out according to FFToday’s Strength-of-Schedule rankings for TEs, at +65.7%. Cupcakes against TEs coming up include

Green Bay,

Jacksonville and

Detroit. Visanthe is currently the 8th-best overall TE in terms of fantasy points, and has scored a TD in two of his last three games. With a veteran QB like Gus Frerotte, there will be check-downs a-plenty on passing plays, and Shiancoe should benefit. As well, teams will continue to load the box against Adrian Peterson, and when you combine that with Peterson’s red zone woes, Shiancoe should see plenty more looks.

3) Bo Scaife – Bo has been on a relative tear recently in terms of receptions and yardage, hauling in a total of 15 passes for 164 in his last three games. The problem is that he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 3, and it doesn’t look much better going forward. The Titans continue to pound the rock, especially near the goal line with LenDale White. White has a league leading 10 TDs between RBs

and WRs. Fat jokes aside, he has been very effective in plowing the rock for short-yardage TDs, and with a 7-0 record, I don’t see the Titans changing that up much. The yardage should still be there for Scaife though, as he has the third-easiest schedule of this bunch the rest of the way at +52.8%. He faces easy defenses versus TEs coming up against

Green Bay,

Jacksonville and lowly

Detroit.

4) Heath Miller – With the return of Willie Parker to the lineup, defenses will begin to focus more on

Pittsburgh’s rushing attack, especially in the red zone. This should open it up somewhat in the passing game for Heath, but still temper expectations with a -63.4% SoS coming up the rest of the season against TEs. However, you could do worse, and many of the TEs in this tier are very close in production (and that should continue). Another word of caution: Miller plays against the vaunted

Baltimore and

Tennessee defenses in weeks 15 and 16, which are championship weeks in many leagues.

5) John Carlson – Carlson’s stock is almost completely dependent upon the return of Matt Hasselbeck, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if Matt’s coming back anytime soon. Hasselbeck has a bulging disk in his back that’s affecting his knee, giving him a “dead leg” feeling. That sounds like a serious problem to me. He hasn’t been medically cleared to play yet and has been officially ruled out for Week 9.   You’d think with

Seattle’s season pretty much down the drain, they won’t risk bringing back Hasselbeck, perhaps for the rest of the season. Add that to by far the worst SoS for TEs coming up of these eight players at a dismal -105.3%, and it doesn’t look good. However, Carlson is the most gifted and talented TE of this group, and Holmgren likes to pass, so the situation could actually be worse. In fact, two of their last three regular season games are against

Arizona and

St. Louis, two defenses giving up a good amount of points. I’m surprised Carlson’s numbers haven’t been better than they have been recently, even with Seneca Wallace under center.

Seattle’s WRs are hurt and Wallace isn’t a great down-field passing QB. Carlson will be targeted in the red zone more than any other

Seattle receiver, but the trips there will be few and far between until Hasselbeck is back under center.

6) Anthony Fasano – The least talented of the eight, Fasano surprisingly is the 7th-best TE in terms of fantasy points this season. Chad Pennington likes to throw to TEs. However, he’s had only five catches the last three games for a measly 54 yards. Also, don’t forget that one of his three TDs came off a trick pass from Ronnie Brown earlier this season, so his total overall numbers are slightly inflated. His big Week 1 and Week 3 games are looking more and more like flukes every week. His upcoming SoS against TEs isn’t looking good either at -49.9% for the rest of the season. However, TE SoS can be fickle at times because the Dolphins are facing some overall weak defenses coming up in

Denver,

Seattle,

Oakland and

St. Louis, as well as

San Francisco and KC in weeks 15 and 16.

7) Billy Miller – Billy is the wildcard of the group, even more so than John Carlson.   Much like Carlson, Miller’s value is based completely on the health of Jeremy Shockey, which seems to be a big mystery right now. Groin injuries linger, and Shockey saw limited snaps last week in

London, catching only one pass for six yards. Miller, on the other hand, was in the entire game, hauling in seven passes for 82 yards. It’s obvious that the

New Orleans’ TE, whoever it is, will produce good numbers. If Shockey continues to be hobbled, bump Miller up to the top of this list. The Saints have the easiest SoS versus TEs of this bunch the rest of the way with an astounding +72.3%. Don’t forget, it was just two weeks ago that Shockey lashed out at the Saints for mishandling his groin injury and possibly did more damage to it, so keep a close eye on Miller the rest of the way.

8) Kevin Boss – Sheer logic would tell you that Boss should be posting big numbers as the only viable receiving TE the Giants have, but it just hasn’t happened. He’s coming off a good 34-yard, one-TD game in Week 8, but he needs to show more consistency in the offense before you rely on him. The Giants’ upcoming SoS against TEs isn’t terrible at -32.5%. Let’s see if Boss can keep it going the next few weeks with more defensive attention being given to Plaxico Burress, but temper expectations if you’re going to try your luck with him.

 

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