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We’re all streamers in the dark days of bye weeks.
Your league mates, even those intent on rolling out the same lineup every week, no matter what, are now in full-fledged scramble mode as we all piece together lineups. By weeks, like I said, are a dark time for fantasy footballers.
Regular streamers — or those who committed to playing matchups until they found an every-week starter — have an advantage this time of year. It’s not just the practice of scouring the waiver wire for tight ends facing defenses generous to the position, but the psychological aspects of streaming that offer an edge on the competition.
Those who have streamed tight ends — or defenses and quarterbacks — for the past two months aren’t frozen in fear at the prospect of using a guy owned in less than 1 percent of leagues. Streaming newbies, on the other hand, display clear discomfort with what they see as the desperate act of finding a one-week play.
In other words, dear streamer, you have the edge here. Let’s get into Week 9’s best tight end streamers.
Coby Fleener (IND) at Houston Texans
No one was more bullish on Fleener than I was in the days after he was freed from the value-sucking route running timeshare with Dwayne Allen, who went down with a season ending injury last month. I saw Fleener as a viable every-week starter, as he was sure to see a marked jump in pass routes.
This is why we shouldn’t assume: Fleener is still not running all that many pass routes, totaling 30, 24, and 27 routes over the Colts’ past three games. Most disturbingly, perhaps, he’s been asked to run block 18 times during that span. That’s a lot for a tight end presumed to be an aerial threat.
That could be a byproduct of Pep Hamilton’s fantasy unfriendly offense, or it could be a sign that Indianapolis simply doesn’t see Fleener as an essential part of their passing attack. I’d like to say Fleener will see a jump in targets with the Colts’ loss of Reggie Wayne, though those targets could be absorbed by wideouts Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton.
Fleener, available in 75 percent of leagues, has retained a nice .23 fantasy points per route run (FPPRR), a measure of efficiency using Pro Football Focus’s route running data. That means he should average around seven standard fantasy points per game if he runs somewhere around 30 pass routes.
Tim Wright (TB) at Seattle Seahawks
If you deploy Wright this week, do your sanity a favor and don’t watch the Bucs-Seahawks game.
Wright has been a garbage time savant these past couple weeks, saving most of his fantasy production for Tampa’s now-inevitable fourth quarter scramble mode. Wright, a converted wide receiver, could be the beneficiary of Mike Williams’ season-ending hamstring injury, turning him into Mike Glennon’s default No. 2 option from here on out.
Wright has seen an encouraging spike in route running over the past three games, from 27 routes in Week 6 to 35 in Week 7 to an astounding 51 last week against the Panthers. Probably he’ll never run 50 routes again, but it was good to see he was involved in every minute of the Bucs’ garbage time offense.
Wright’s FPPRR, sitting at a low .18, is less than inspiring. I’d expect that to rise if he does indeed become Tampa’s No. 2 pass catching option. If Wright runs 37 pass routes (his average over the past three weeks), we’d expect him to tally 6.8 standard fantasy points per game.
Seattle’s defense, except for Week Week 4 at Houston, has been stout against tight ends. One hopeful sign for Wright: Rob Housler racked up eight receptions for 61 yards against the Seahawks in garbage time two weeks ago. I could see Wright posting similar numbers, with (hopefully) a score thrown in the mix.
He’s available in 99 percent of leagues.
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