Thanks, Garrett Graham, for going berserk the one week I leave you out of this space.
Graham, a guy who had all the makings of a top-12 weekly option during Owen Daniels’ absence from the Houston Texans’ lineup, hadn’t done much of anything with the starting tight end gig until last week against Oakland, when he snagged seven balls for 136 yards and a touchdown.
Again, thanks Garrett.
Oakland didn’t stand out as a particularly favorable matchup. The Raiders are middle of the road in defending tight ends, allowing 8.3 schedule-adjusted fantasy points to the position through 12 weeks. They had held tight ends to seven points or less in five or their previous six games.
Our Week 11 streaming options, Coby Fleener and Rob Housler, finished as fantasy’s eighth and 15th highest scoring tight ends, respectively. Housler, once more, showed that he’s a solidified part of Arizona’s revamped passing attack. He was targeted nine times, and caught six passes for 70 yards.
Housler would’ve been well within the week’s top-12 tight ends if so many tight ends hadn’t posted eye-popping stat lines.
We have so much data on which to hang on streaming hats over these next few weeks. 4for4.com‘s useful schedule-adjusted fantasy points offers a clear picture as to which defenses are most generous to tight ends, and a closer look at recent trends — examining the past month, for instance — can help narrow our focus.
Let’s see who the numbers point to in Week 12.
Coby Fleener (IND) at Arizona Cardinals
Fleener, in one of the greatest mysteries of our time, is still floating about on around 65 percent of waiver wires. He predictably became the No. 2 option for Andrew Luck in the wake of Reggie Wayne’s season-ending ACL injury, and the numbers bear that out.
Fleener has drawn 10 targets in each of the Colts’ last two games. He didn’t do a whole lot with his 10 Week 10 targets against St. Louis, but he made proverbial hay with his 10 looks last Thursday in Tennessee. Fleener finished with seven receptions for 107 yards, beating both safety and linebacker coverage several times in the second half.
Much was made of Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington’s return to the lineup last month, and how that might impact tight end production against Arizona. Washington’s coaches have said publicly that Washington is “not a tight end stopper,” and man, has it shown. Tight ends have reeled in an average of 6.4 receptions against Arizona over the past five weeks, totaling five touchdowns in that stretch.
Arizona allows 12.9 adjusted fantasy points to tight ends, second worst in the NFL. Fleener is a top-5 Week 12 option.
Delanie Walker (TEN) at Oakland Raiders
Ryan Fitzpatrick likes Walker. That much is clear after Fitz’s past two games at the helm, the most recent of which saw him target the lumbering tight end 10 times.
Walker caught every single one of those targets for 91 yards and a garbage time score.
Walker sports a .21 fantasy points per route run (FPPRR), a measure of efficiency best applied to tight ends and running backs made possible by Pro Football Focus’ route-running data. While that’s not at all spectacular, a closer look shows a sparkling .33 FPPRR for Walker over the past three weeks.
Oakland, as we mentioned, isn’t horrid against tight ends on the season. Recent struggles, however, shouldn’t be ignored. Eagles’ tight ends caught seven passes for 69 yards and two scores against Oakland in Week 9, and — as we know — Graham lit them up like Clark Griswold’s Christmas tree in Week 11.
All this makes Walker a top-12 option.
Garrett Graham (HOU) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I promise we’re not chasing points here.
Chasing points is what we call it when fantasy owners see a giant stat line, pick up the guy who posted those otherworldly numbers and assume he’ll do the same thing next week. This fails to account for matchup, of course, and often backfires. Don’t chase points, fantasy ballers.
The argument for Graham is simple: no defense allows for schedule-adjusted fantasy points to tight ends than Jacksonville. Five of the past seven tight ends to go against the Jaguars have posted double-digit standard scoring fantasy points.
Perhaps it’s best to temper expectations for Graham following his Week 11 explosion. His fantasy floor is unarguably high, however, against Jacksonville.