Daily Fantasy Football Tight End Primer: Week 12
The great thing about daily fantasy football is that so much changes every week, with matchups, salaries and projected ownership all varying -- sometimes significantly -- from main slate to main slate.
At numberFire, we have a plethora of tools to help you as you build your lineups, and something we've added this season is an in-depth look at the four core positions. In this piece, we'll break down the tight end slot on FanDuel's main slate.
Here we go.
We've reached it -- the low point of the DFS season for tight ends.
With Travis Kelce and Hunter Henry on bye, Austin Hooper and Evan Engram injured, and George Kittle and Mark Andrews playing in island games, this main slate is stripped of most of the tight end goodness that's out there.
What's left is just two tight ends projected for more than 7.6 FanDuel points, per our models.
Ertz is one of them, and he is at the top of our tight end rankings for the week with a projection of 11.8 FanDuel points, 1.5 clear of our TE2. We forecast Ertz to lead the position in catches (5.7), targets (8.7), yards (61.33) and touchdowns (0.47).
After a mid-season slump, Ertz has been red-hot over his last two games, seeing 11 targets in each and putting up FanDuel totals of 20.8 and 13.9 points. Those games came against elite defenses in the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears. The Seattle Seahawks present a friendlier matchup as they are giving up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (11.3).
Ertz is under-priced relative to his recent usage, and his salary has actually fallen by $100 since Week 8 despite the back-to-back 11-target games. If you're paying up at tight end this week, he's the best bet.
Ryan Griffin, Jets ($5,600)
So, I guess Griffin is good.
He's definitely getting solid opportunity. In the past five games in which Chris Herndon didn't play, Griffin has accounted for 20.8% of the New York Jets' red zone targets, and he has played at least 80% of the snaps in every Herndon-less game this year. Griffin isn't just a red zone dude, either, as he went for 109 yards a week ago.
The floor is low with Sam Darnold spreading the ball around, but we have Griffin projected for 0.29 touchdowns this week, fourth-best at the position.
Value Dart Throw
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins ($5,100)
Among tight ends priced at $5,000 or below, Gesicki is the best point-per-dollar value, according to our projections.
He's seen exactly six targets in three straight games, and he's accounted for a 15% target share in that span, which is the second-highest clip among Miami Dolphins pass-catchers.
The Dolphins will likely see another negative game script this week as they're 11.0-point underdogs against the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland has allowed the 12th-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (10.6), and their defense should be weakened without Larry Ogunjobi and Myles Garrett.
Cleveland's offensive stars will likely be popular plays this week -- namely Odell Beckham and Nick Chubb -- and if you load up on Browns, you can run it back with Gesicki. We project him for a respectable 7.0 FanDuel points, making him our TE5.
Darren Waller, Raiders ($6,200)
Since a spike game in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers (28.1 FanDuel points), Waller has been pretty blah, with outputs of 8.1, 6.2, 5.5 and 10.1 FanDuel points over his last four. After seeing at least seven targets in six of his first seven outings, Waller has been targeted just 14 times across his last three games.
That should keep him from being super popular this week.
There's also the fact that Waller is $100 more expensive than Ertz, which doesn't make a ton of sense based on recent production. Given Ertz's good matchup and big-time volume of late, the majority of people spending up at tight end will likely choose Ertz over Waller.
Oh, and the Jets, Waller's foe this week, give up just 7.2 FanDuel points per game to tight ends, the fourth-fewest.
So we've established some reasons why people won't be all over Waller this week, but here's why you should think about using him.
The most obvious reason is that he's one of the few good tight end options available, with our models projecting him for 10.3 FanDuel points and making him the best non-Ertz choice by 3.0 points. And while his targets have dipped over the last four, he's still tied for the team lead in target share (18%) in that span while also sporting the second-highest average depth of target (7.7) on Oakland in that time.
Also, this game has some shootout potential. The total of 46.5 is the third-highest clip on the slate, and the betting public is expecting more points than that, with 61% of the money being on the over, per oddsFire.
Waller is a great pivot off Ertz and could deliver the goods at lower ownership, though he won't be too low owned given the lack of quality options at the position.