Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Tim Wright was the antidote for our bye-week blues. Wright’s 11.8 fantasy points were an a nice, and fairly predictable, contribution to our streaming cause.
Wright, who highlighted our Week 9 streamers, grabbed all four of his targets for 58 yards and an early score against a Seattle defense that has shut down tight ends with gusto through most of this season.
Wright finished the week as the sixth highest scoring tight end. Coby Fleener, our other streaming option, hauled in three receptions for 64 yards — good enough to finish 11th among tight ends last week. Fleener’s stat line was a bit of a disappointment, as most of his Week 9 production came during the Colts’ first drive when Andre Luck connected with Fleener for a 44-yard gain.
Still, Fleener ran a hefty 35 pass routes. We can’t ask for much more from a waiver wire tight end option.
Let’s engage in some analysis paralysis and take a look at Week 10’s best streaming tight end candidates.
Tim Wright (TB) vs. Miami Dolphins
A closer look at Wright’s usage against the Seahawks revealed at least one number that made me squirm: the wide receiver turned tight end ran just 19 pass routes, and blocked a total of 19 times.
Even worse news, perhaps, were teammate and fellow tight end Tom Crabtree’s 12 pass routes (and touchdown reception from the one yard line). Tampa’s offense seemed to deploy a three-wide receiver look for much of last week’s tilt. It’s not a trend yet — Wright ran 51 routes two short weeks ago — but it’s definitely worth noting.
Reliable route running volume is a big part of spotting viable tight end streaming options. It’s the centerpiece of the emphasis of fantasy points per route run (FPPRR), a metric made possible by Pro Football Focus’s route-running data. We should be wary when we see a streamer’s routes take such a dramatic nose dive.
Miami is the seventh worst against tight ends, according to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted points metric. Dolphins linebackers and safeties have kept tight ends in check lately, holding enemy tight ends to a total of eight fantasy points over their past three games.
Garrett Graham (HOU) at Arizona Cardinals
The man I pegged as a top-10 tight end in the wake of Owen Daniels’ Week 5 injury has been anything but in his short time in Houston’s starting lineup.
The Texans’ offense has changed since that heady forecast, with Case Keenum seizing the starting job from Matt Schaub and injuries to Arian Foster and Ben Tate forcing the conservative Houston offense to change their ground-heavy ways.
Graham gave us a glimmer of hope last week against the Colts. He caught four of his five targets for 46 yards on a night that saw him run 29 pass routes — an encouraging number. Graham was asked to block 38 times.
Quite a bit has been made about Cardinals’ linebacker Daryl Washington and his impact on opposing tight ends. Arizona gave up an average of 14.8 fantasy points to tight ends during Washington’s four-game suspension to start the season, prompting teammate Darnell Dockett to text Washington and remind the linebacker that the team would’ve been undefeated after four games had he been there to shut down Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham.
PFF’s pass coverage metric seems to support as much. Washington is rated the third best cover man among inside linebackers.
Asked about Washington’s impact on tight ends, Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles didn’t exactly get behind Dockett’s theory.
“Daryl’s not a tight end stopper,” Bowles said in an interview with ESPN. “Daryl’s a piece to our defense.”
Tight ends facing Arizona have averaged 14.3 fantasy points since Washington’s return to the starting lineup, thanks in large part to Vernon Davis’ Week 6 explosion. XN Sports staff writer Rich Hribar wisely pointed out on Twitter this week that tight ends who pose a vertical threat have had field days against Arizona’s defense. Possession tight ends, like Tony Gonzalez, have not.
I’ll still have Graham among my top-12 tight ends this week. His route running is encouraging, and I trust that Keenum’s gunslinging ways will be good news for every Houston pass catcher.