Daily Fantasy Football Tight End Primer: Week 14
The great thing about daily fantasy football is that so much changes every week, with matchups, salaries and projected ownership all varying -- sometimes significantly -- from main slate to main slate.
At numberFire, we have a plethora of tools to help you as you build your lineups, and something we've added this season is an in-depth look at the four core positions. In this piece, we'll break down the tight end slot on FanDuel's main slate.
Here we go.
Kelce is the top option at the tight end position this week, per our models, as we project him to score 14.7 FanDuel points, 1.5 more than anyone else.
It's hard to pinpoint an actionable split for this Kansas City Chiefs offense since we've barely seen them at full strength this season, but a week ago, KC had Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins going and Kelce paced the team with nine targets. For the year, Kelce is tied for the team lead in target share (23%) while accounting for 24% of the air yards, per AirYards.com, both of which rank in the top four among tight ends.
Our models have Kelce atop the tight end projections in targets (9.47), catches (6.22), yards (86.75) and touchdowns (0.49) this week. The matchup with the New England Patriots is a rough one, but the Chiefs put up 40 and 31 points in their two meetings with the Pats a year ago.
George Kittle, 49ers ($6,700)
Kittle's projection of 13.2 puts him right there with Kelce as those two are in a tier of their own this week, going by our numbers.
He also has a tough matchup, hitting the road to do battle with the New Orleans Saints, but his usage keeps him in play in any spot. In four games in which he and Emmanuel Sanders have been healthy, Kittle is tops on the San Francisco 49ers with a 26% target share. For the season, his 28% air yards share and 25% target share both rank first among tight ends.
While Kittle hasn't ripped off as many big plays as he did a campaign ago, his 344 yards after the catch are second-most at the position, and he'd gone for 11.6, 16.9 and 21.9 FanDuel points prior to last week's 2.4-point dud in the rain against the Baltimore Ravens.
Darren Waller, Raiders ($6,200)
Waller has a sweet matchup this week against a Tennessee Titans team that ranks in the top 10 for most yards, touchdowns and FanDuel points per game (10.9) allowed to tight ends.
After a bit of a midseason swoon, Waller has seen seven, six and nine targets across his past three outings, and he went for seven grabs and 100 yards last week versus Kansas City. His season-long usage is still elite at the position -- third in both target share (23%) and air yards share (25%) -- and he's really the only trustworthy fantasy piece of the Oakland Raiders' passing game as boom-or-bust Tyrell Williams has seen just a 17% target share over the last three games.
Waller is this slate's TE3, per our models, as we forecast him to score 11.4 FanDuel points.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins ($5,400)
Gesicki is in the midst of a breakout, and it stems from a boost in usage with Preston Williams on the shelf.
In four games sans Williams, the second-year tight end has logged a 16.8% target share and has played at least 81.9% of snaps in every game. He's turned the opportunity into decent production as he's found the end zone in each of the last two games.
Value Dart Throw
Ian Thomas, Panthers ($4,000)
Thomas is an appealing value option if Greg Olsen is out. After taking a blow to the head and exiting early in Week 13, Olsen has sat out practice so far this week, and he's looking unlikely to play against the Atlanta Falcons.
While interim coach Perry Fewell said the Carolina Panthers would use multiple tight ends if Olsen sits, Thomas has played a big role in the past when Olsen has been sidelined. As a rookie in 2018, Thomas went for at least 46 yards in four of Carolina's last five games. In Olsen's injury-shortened game in Week 13, Thomas ran 28 routes and saw four looks.
At this price, Thomas is a great punt play if Olsen doesn't suit up.
Mark Andrews, Ravens ($6,600)
Andrews has a chance to slip through the cracks this week. Most people paying up at tight end will likely opt for Kelce, Kittle or Waller. It makes sense, too, as Andrews has a difficult road matchup with the Buffalo Bills and is part of a run-first Baltimore Ravens offense.
The matchup certainly is brutal as Buffalo is allowing a league-low 5.8 FanDuel points per game to tight ends. Andrews' usage and status in this Baltimore offense can allow him to deliver in this spot, however.
Over the last four weeks, Andrews paces the Ravens in both target share (22%) and air yards share (28%). He's got four touchdowns over that span and hasn't dipped below 45 yards in any of the four games.
Using Andrews this week means overlooking the bad matchup as well as some possible weather concerns, but this weekend could be a chance to get the lone trustworthy asset among Lamar Jackson's pass-catchers at fairly low ownership. It's at least worth thinking about. We have Andrews projected for 11.3 FanDuel points, making him our TE4, just 0.1 point behind Waller.