Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Eric Ebron in Week 16?
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Eric Ebron was one of the trendy sleeper fantasy football tight ends coming into this season. He had the pedigree, though he had not yet produced up to his #10 overall pick stock. He had been mostly a bust given that draft stock, but he had shown growth as a playmaker and this was to finally be the season he put it all together. While he hasn’t been the breakout tight end some (myself included) thought he would be, he has had several serviceable weeks. He has the targets and the yardage, but it’s just touchdowns that have eluded Ebron. While Ebron is ninth in yards per game, he is only 49th among tight ends on a touchdown per game rate (among the top 100 tight ends in yards per game). His touchdown production is a massive outlier for Ebron this season, and it has dragged down his fantasy value.
It’s not like Ebron is getting one or two long catches on a handful of targets that make his yardage value out of line, either. He has at least five targets in every game he’s played this year but one, and he has averaged six targets over his last three games. He pulls down his targets with a reasonable frequency as well, getting twelve receptions in his last three games. That makes him a solid floor PPR play, but will he get touchdowns?
That’s yet to be seen against the Cowboys defense. They have yielded the sixth-most fantasy points this season to tight ends, which has been done mostly through yardage. The high yardage floor represented by Ebron mixed with the high yardage floor yielded by the Cowboys makes for a solid floor play for the tight end position. He doesn’t require much upside, however, as only six touchdowns have been scored against the Cowboys by tight ends this year, and four of them were by two tight ends. Four tight ends have gotten eight-or-more targets against the Cowboys, however, and all of them have scored touchdowns. That is decent news for Ebron, but Anquan Boldin steals a good number of “tight end” targets given his size and role.
Ultimately, Ebron is a great floor play this week if you need someone who won’t crater your lineup. If you started with Odell Beckham, and still have, say, Tom Brady to play, he is a great option to slot into your lineup because he’ll get a steady 6-9 points, with touchdown upside. If you’re an underdog, however, you’ll probably want someone like one of the San Diego tight ends, given their great matchup with the woeful Browns.