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Delanie Walker’s yawner of a Week 16 stat line offer a useful lesson in a player’s range of outcomes.
Walker, my favorite championship week tight end streamer, had a mouthwatering matchup against a Jaguars’ defense that had allowed almost seven receptions per game to tight ends in November and December. Walker, in short, had a lot going for him in Jacksonville.
The Tennessee tight end, according to our fantasy points per route run (FPPRR) breakdown, should average 6.2 standard fantasy points (10.4 PPR points), and against the Jaguars, he tallied four receptions for 35 yards on six targets.
Walker’s 3.5 standard points were disappointing but not altogether shocking, and that’s the point: a player scoring more than half his expected average is hardly shocking. It was firmly in the range of outcomes, as was nine points — Walker’s total had he added a touchdown to his meager yardage total.
That lowly Week 16 stat line was due in large part to the Titans suddenly and unexpectedly using Walker as a blocker for 22 of his 51 offensive plays against the Jaguars. He only ran 26 routes, well below his seasonal average.
Walker also dropped a long Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the second half of last week’s game. That didn’t help our cause.
Here are a couple streaming options for those who — for reasons unknown — vie for their championships in Week 17.
Charles Clay (MIA) vs. New York Jets
Let’s start with something I never thought I’d write this late in the season: Clay is fantasy football’s seventh highest scoring tight end. With a solid Week 17 outing, he could finish inside the top-five. That’s borderline incredible for a guy who was drafted in zero leagues.
Clay inexplicably has nine targets over the Dolphins’ past two games after going berserk in Weeks 13-14, when he caught 14 balls for 177 yards and two scores. His recent lack of usage in Miami’s passing attack certainly takes the shine off Clay.
rotoViz rates Clay’s Week 17 matchup against the Jets as the fourth most favorable, and the GLSP app projects Clay for a median of 6.5 points against the Jets, with a high of 10. Clay, a better play in PPR leagues (like Walker), has a median expected score of 12.6 in that format.
The Jets aren’t exactly the Cardinals in their generosity toward enemy tight ends, but tight ends average a healthy 8.9 schedule-adjusted fantasy points against New York through 16 weeks. Only seven defenses are worse. Gang Green has severe pass coverage deficiencies, as indicated in Pro Football Focus ratings: safety Jaiquawn Jarrett is ranked 44th among safeties in coverage, and the Jets’ linebackers are ranked 26th and 38th, respectively, in coverage.
I have Clay pegged as a top-8 Week 17 play.
Ryan Griffin (HOU) at Tennessee Titans
Griffin is only playable if Garrett Graham misses another game for the Texans. The Titans are sneaky awful against tight ends, giving up 14.2 adjusted PPR points per game — seventh most in the league. Many teams have targeted tight ends rather heavily against the Titans because Tennessee’s cornerbacks have proved suffocating for much of 2013.
The good news for Griffin: he caught all five passes thrown his way last Sunday against the Broncos, totaling 66 yards. He led the team in receiving. Griffin, who has caught every pass thrown his way this season, snagged six balls for 62 yards in Week 15 against the Colts.
The bad news: the Texans franchise is a dumpster fire of apocalyptic proportions, and no one is immune to its value-destroying effects. Not even Andre Johnson, sadly enough.
Griffin’s size-speed combination is a matchup nightmare for safeties and linebackers alike. If Matt Schaub can run some semblance of a functional offense against the Titans, I think Griffin can be a top-5 play.
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