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Fantasy Football: Five Worst Tight End Playoff Matchups


December 7, 2016

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We have already explored the best and worst matchups for quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs in the fantasy football playoffs. Now we turn to the tight ends with the best and worst schedules from weeks fourteen through sixteen. Like the previous articles, the ranking next to the team will represent the average rank of the teams at allowing fantasy points per game, so the higher, the better. You will find below the bottom five matchups for tight ends for the rest of the season.

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Seattle (Jimmy Graham)
at Green Bay, versus Los Angeles, versus Arizona (average rank: 21.67)

Here we go, the most talented tight end has the fifth-worst matchup down the stretch, including a brutal killer of a slug-fest against Arizona. However, Green Bay is a great matchup, but the Rams are an awful one. It’s going to be tough to bench Graham, especially given his string of strong performances since week nine against Buffalo. Temper expectations, and if you have another tight end on your roster, you may have to bench Graham or accept that the Cardinals may yet again hold him to under 5.5 fantasy points (his 5.3, by the way, is the most the Cardinals have allowed this year). At the same time, he has five scores in five games, so he may get the first TE TD the Cardinals allow.

Baltimore (Dennis Pitta)
at New England, versus Philadelphia, at Pittsburgh (average rank: 22.67)

Dennis Pitta’s touchdown regression was a good story, for one week. Now the Ravens’ tight end is going to snap back to reality as the Ravens get a brutal string of opponents.

The Steelers in week sixteen are #16, and that is the best matchup he gets from here on out. His target volume can overcome the matchup, but it’s going to be a tough go of it for Pitta from here on out.

New Orleans (Coby Fleener)
at Tampa Bay, at Arizona, versus Tampa Bay (average rank: 22.67)

Fleener is going to shrink back to being a backburner piece for Drew Brees. He had a good bounce back game against the second-worst tight end defense in the league, but before then his high-water mark since week seven was 59 yards, and he had one score in the same span.

Brees is smart and has tons of weapons at his disposal. The Buccaneers have also been better-than-you-think good lately against the pass.

Green Bay (Jared Cook)
versus Seattle, at Chicago, versus Minnesota (average rank: 23)

Jared Cook is bad, and his matchups are bad. I wrote all about how believing in Jared Cook is fallacious here. Now he gets the second-worst matchup schedule for tight ends this season, including all three ranked at twenty or higher. If you want to squint and convince yourself to start him, more power to you, but everything continues to be stacked against Cook’s fantasy relevance.

Tennessee (Delanie Walker)
versus Denver, at Kansas City, at Jacksonville (average rank: 26.33)
This is probably the toughest pill to swallow in any of these matchups, as the Titans are due for some issues, playing against the #23, #30 and #26 defenses against the tight end, and Mariota tends to shy away from Walker in these matchups.

Still, Walker has scored in two of the last three, and for some of us (like myself), we may have no other choice than Walker. Luckily, he is more Mariota’s top receiver than a regular tight end in the offense. Still, it’s going to be a rough go from here until week sixteen.

Sneaky Bad – Washington gets the eleventh-worst rank against tight ends for the rest of the year, but they get #31, #1 and #24 in consecutive weeks. Start Jordan Reed or Vernon Davis in week fifteen, but I would have trouble trusting either in weeks fourteen and sixteen. However, you may have no choice but to trust Reed.

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