Streaming Tight End Options for Week 6

Houston Texans tight end Garrett Graham
Houston Texans tight end Garrett Graham
Sep 15 2013 Houston TX USA Houston Texans tight end Garrett Graham 88 celebrates his first quarter touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at Reliant Stadium Matthew Emmons USA TODAY Sports

An injury to a former tight end streamer has given rise to yet another streaming option who, like his predecessor, could easily become an every-week tight end in most fantasy football formats.

Owen Daniels, a Week 1 streaming tight end who was somehow only owned in 75 percent of leagues, has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, meaning he’ll be on the shelf for at least eight weeks with a leg injury that seemed to be much worse than originally thought.

Daniels, as his owners know, had his weekly fantasy ceiling capped by the presence of one Garrett Graham, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound red zone target who has averaged — and I was surprised by every one of these numbers — five targets, 3.8 receptions, and 35.2 yards per game in 2013.

Houston’s offense has prominently featured the tight end throughout Gary Kubiak’s tenure, so it’s not unusual to see decent fantasy production from a secondary tight end. I’d hedge in calling Graham a true backup to Daniels; he was running a hearty 25.6 pass routes per game before Daniels’ injury.

Daniels, amazingly, was running 41.8 routes per contest. Therein lies Graham’s giant value bump: he could be among the very few tight ends — Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron — who consistently runs more than 35 routes a ballgame.

Graham, unlike so many waiver wire options, doesn’t have to sport otherworldly efficiency to prove a viable fantasy asset. He won’t have to make the best of his limited opportunities because, well, his opportunities won’t be limited.

Fantasy Points Per Route Run Breakdown

Gauging the potential fantasy production of a player who hasn’t seen the playing time of a starter should start with an examination of his per-route production, or what we at XN Sports call fantasy points per route run (FPPRR), made possible through Pro Football Focus‘s compilation of route running stats.

Graham has averaged .27 fantasy points for every route he’s run in 2013 — a high FPPRR, not unexpected for a guy who has been featured near the goal line. I think it would be presumptuous to say Graham will run 41 routes per game, just like Daniels, so let’s put his per game route running at 35 routes. I’ve found it’s better to be conservative in these FPPRR projections.

That would put Graham at 9.5 fantasy points per game, or around top-7 tight end production. The full 41-route workload would net an average of 11 fantasy points.

Graham’s Week 6 matchup isn’t fantastic, as the Rams have been among the stingiest defenses against tight ends. Probably that’s because offenses exploit St. Louis in other ways — specifically, opening up 10-foot running lanes for running backs. I have him ranked 11th among tight ends for Week 6, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for treating him like a top-7 option.

A glance at Houston’s schedule tells us that Graham has unquestioned potential to be a top-10 tight end from here on out. The Texans play the Cardinals, Patriots, and the Jaguars twice from Weeks 10-14. Every one of those teams has been generous to opposing tight ends.

Other Week 6 Tight End Streamers

Sean McGrath (KC) vs. Oakland Raiders: McGrath, one of our Week 5 streamers, caught five of the six targets he saw from Alex Smith for 54 yards against the Titans. Not spectacular, by any means, but a solid 10.4-point PPR performance from a guy owned in less than 2 percent of leagues.

The Raiders aren’t among the most tight end friendly defenses, but as long as Smith is keeping his throws between the hashes, and as long as McGrath is running a good number of pass routes in the red zone (he is), I’m going to recommend him as a streaming option. He’s averaging five targets a game since Week 3.

Jordan Reed (WAS) vs. Dallas Cowboys: The uber-athletic rookie who had proven a superior option to Fred Davis before an injury knocked him out of Washington’s lineup in Week 3, says he’ll play against Dallas, a defense that has given up tight end fantasy points by the barrel full. The Cowboys are allowing 14.6 fantasy points to tight ends, and — avert your eyes, Dallas fans — have given up 21.5 points to tight ends over the past two contests.

Reed caught 13 passes from Robert Griffin III through the season’s first few weeks, as Washington’s coaching staff beamed about their rookie pass catcher. You couldn’t ask for a better matchup. Reed is an ideal streamer who is owned in less than 1 percent of leagues.

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C.D. Carter Fantasy Football Analyst
C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.