2015 Fantasy Football: Week 1 DFS Tight Ends
Welcome back everyone to a new season of Daily Fantasy Football at DraftKings. I’ll be here every Thursday to provide recommendations for Tight Ends for your weekly lineup. This week is the perfect week to take a dip into the Daily Fantasy pool as you can win $2,000,000! Daily Fantasy can help you with lineup decision for your season-long league and give you another team to root on during the weekend.
This is a great week to check out DraftKings and pick up a new way to play fantasy football.
DraftKings Tight End Recommendations
If you’ve never played on DraftKings before, you can get a deposit bonus by signing up. And there are different options to pick from at DraftKings for any skill level.
Week 1 is perhaps the toughest week to figure out which matchups are the best and which to avoid as we don’t have any current season data to rely on for this week. We’ll need to look at last season and adjust for any of the personnel additions and subtractions.
Finally, a gentle reminder on the scoring for Tight Ends – this is a PPR site so remember that when selecting players. The full scoring for Tight Ends is at the end of this column.
Tight Ends can also be used in the flex position at DraftKings. However, with the entire world of RBs and WRs at your disposal, Rob Gronkowski is probably the only TE you’d consider as a flex option.
Let’s take a look at a couple of options at each price point. For those who are new to the column, I’ll generally look at a couple of options in each pricing tier broken out based on the socioeconomic status of 1970s sitcom families. And I’ll always cover Rob Gronkowski.
I’ll mention Football Outsiders a lot over the season – the passes per game and yards per game stats I use are from Football Outsiders. Here is the link to Football Outsiders’ 2013 stats. FO stats for 2014 are here, and I like to use the defense versus types of receivers to fill out my rosters. When the season starts, we’ll see the 2015 stats here.
Before we start, we have quite a spread between the penthouse and the outhouse as the most expensive TE is $7,000 (Rob Gronkowski) and the bottom of the barrel sits at $2,500. Generally, the cheapest offensive player is $3,000, and we’ll probably see the floor increase as the season goes on. But, this week, we can do some real dumpster diving.
Teams on bye: None
As we are always looking to improve here at the Fantasy Fix, we’ve added a new feature to highlight the top totals (over/under) in Vegas for the week.
The top over/under totals for Week 1 (according to Vegas Insider consensus):
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (o/u 56 points) – Monday night
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (o/u 52 points) – Thursday night
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (o/u 51.5 points) – Sunday
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (o/u 50 points) – Sunday
The Gronk Tier
Rob Gronkowski | Patriots | $7,000 – See below. Gronk and the Pats play in the NFL opener on Thursday night.
Jimmy Graham | Seahawks | $5,600 – I want to see how he’s going to be used in a Seahawks’ offense that’s never featured the TE (or receivers in general). I’m off him this week completely.
Greg Olsen | Panthers | $5,300 – The Panthers offense seems like a bit of a mess as it seems they have named Ted Ginn, Jr. and Corey “Don’t call me Philly” Brown as their starting WRs. Olsen looks like their only reliable pass catcher and could be an option in the red zone (though you have to be careful for Cam Newton vulturing TDs in close).
All in the Family
Travis Kelce | Chiefs | $4,800 – Kelce’s matchup (based on last year’s numbers) doesn’t look great as Houston was the sixth best against TEs according to DVOA and gave up a paltry 38.8 yards per game to the position. The Chiefs have a new toy in WR Jeremy Maclin, so I might be tempted to wait to see how he is used and how it impacts Kelce. Kelce is generally matchup-proof, so I wouldn’t mind him in your lineups, but there is a lot of value to be had this week down below.
Julius Thomas | Jaguars | $4,500 – He’s out this week so don’t you put him in your lineups.
Martellus Bennett | Bears | $4,300 – There should be a lot of points scored in this game and Bennett is probably the healthiest TE or WR on the Bears right now. The Packers gave up 7.3 targets and 55.7 yards per game to TEs last year so the matchup is good. But, as with Travis Kelce, there are probably better options below.
Jason Witten | Cowboys | $4,000 – Witten looks like he’s running in molasses at this point in his career. But, he’s still one of Tony Romo’s favorite targets. And with the current lack of consensus about the Dallas RB, Witten could be a red zone target this week.
Jordan Cameron $3,800 | Dolphins – This is one of my favorite videos from last season and it shows the ineptitude of the Washington defensive backfield. They haven’t done much to improve it, so Cameron makes a solid play against this laughable team (and organization).
Charles Clay | $3,700 | Bills – Clay’s matchup is good and he has a “rookie” QB under center. His prognosis sounds a lot like….the next guy who is $300 cheaper….
Delanie Walker | $3,400 | Titans – This sounds odd, but I might not pay more than $3,400 for a TE (and in reality I’m probably going to go dumpster-diving this weekend). If I wanted to pay more than the minimum, Walker might be the place to go. He’s got a rookie QB (can Walker be the security blanket?) and a good matchup (the Bucs were 23rd in DVOA versus TEs and gave up 7.4 targets and 58.9 yards per game to TEs last year). It’s always risky taking a TE with a rookie QB, but Walker’s a solid play this week.
Josh Hill/Benjamin Watson | $3,400/$2,600 | Saints – I’ve lumped these two together as they have a cherry matchup against one of the worst defenses against TEs over the last couple of years. The problem here is that the preseason hasn’t give us a clear picture of their usage. Watson has looked like he’ll play as a three-down TE with Hill coming in in two tight-end sets and in goal line looks. If the prices were reversed, I’d be all over Hill, but as they are I think Watson is the only play as you can find similar TEs with Hill’s upside at lower price points.
Larry Donnell | $3,200 | Giants – You may remember Donnell from such films as the “First Four Weeks of 2014” where he came out of nowhere to fill that TE void. You may also remember him from the last 13 weeks of 2014 when Odell Beckham, Jr. returned to the lineup and Donnell was on milk cartons throughout the five boroughs. ODB is healthy, which trumps Donnell’s great matchup against a Dallas team that struggled against the TE. Fade Donnell this week.
Richard Rodgers | $2,500 | Packers – Ooo-la-la! A minimum salary tight end in a game with an over/under greater than 50 points against a team who was the worst (in DVOA) against TEs last year? The Bears also gave up 7.4 targets per game to TEs last year and 60.4 yards per game. Sign me up! There was talk of Rodgers gaining some importance in the red zone this year and there is no time like Week 1 for it to happen.
Brett Celek | Eagles | $2,500 – With “starter” Zach Ertz ($3,600) injured and likely less than 100% for Monday’s tilt (if he plays at all), Celek is a solid option at the minimum. There should be points galore between the Eagles and Falcons and Celek might just pick up a TD from being on the field.
Crockett Gillmore | $2,500 | Ravens – No, Maxx Williams isn’t the starting TE in Baltimore (he can’t stay healthy). And it’s not Dennis Pitta (who can’t stay healthy either, but it’s amazing he’s back out there trying). It’s Crockett Gillmore. Gillmore’s matchup looks tough as the Broncos were fifth in DVOA against TEs. However, they did give up a lot of chance (8.1 targets per game) and yards (60.6 per game). So, in an offense with Steve Smith and a bunch of has-beens and never-weres, Gillmore could see some targets especially in the red zone.
And that’s it for this week (though my Thursday preview is below). If it isn’t clear from the column above, I’m not paying for TEs this week. I’ll probably pick from one of the $2,500 options with Rodgers being the most likely. I wouldn’t go above Delanie Walker ($3,400) this week in general unless you feel very strongly about a matchup.
Thursday Game – Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
With Tom Brady back and the Steelers defense likely not up to the Steel Curtain moniker, we could see the Pats score 50 points (and the Steelers might not be too far behind). The over/under right now is 52 for the game – second highest on the board. As a result, Rob Gronkowski ($7,000) is an option for those folks playing the Thursday slate. This week it probably comes down to Gronk or the cheapest option you feel comfortable with. The Steelers were fifth worst last year in DVOA against TEs, but gave up an average of 6.6 targets and 47 yards per game which is just about league average.
The Steelers have Heath Miller ($3,500) who has lost all of his speed (if he had any). However, with Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant both out for this week, Miller could be Big Ben’s number two weapon (especially in the red zone). He’s not likely to hit the 100 receiving yards bonus, but he could find the end zone in what should be a shootout. New England was also pretty poor against the TE last year giving up eight targets per game and 65.5 yards per game (third worst).
Good luck in Week 1!
DraftKings Tight End Scoring
10 Receiving Yards = +1PT (+0.1PT per yard is awarded)
Reception = +1PT
Receiving TD = +6PTs
100+ Yard Receiving Game = +3PTs
Fumble Lost = -1PT
2 Point Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch) = +2PTs
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD = +6PTs
The full DraftKings scoring system is here.