4 Ideal Late-Round TE Pairings for 2016 (and Where to Draft Them)
When it comes to the TE position, there are a few strategies to take into consideration before walking into (or bellying up to your computer for) your draft. More than any other position, TEs see a large amount of disparity between the top few players at the position and the remainder of the pack. Drafters can choose to pay up and grab one of the top few guys, wait a bit and draft a mid-grade serviceable TE with upside, or decide to stream the position with a pair of TEs based on their particular matchups.
Known to us as a TE by committee, this piece will provide you with a visual idea of how various streaming pairings will look on your roster should you decide to employ this strategy in your upcoming drafts. By looking at 4for4’s Hot Spots: Team Level SOS by Position, we can gather some ideal TE tandems who, together, can potentially achieve TE1 numbers based on their teams’ schedule construction.
For this article, I am only looking at TEs ranked outside of the top-12 under the assumption that drafters are utilizing later round players for streaming purposes. A tight end committee is perhaps the most useful in leagues with very deep rosters, where owners have the wiggle room to carry more than one TE during portions of the season. If roster space is limited, this may not be the best way to attack the TE position.
If you are thinking about going this route in any of your upcoming fantasy drafts, selecting one of these TE duos could give you the edge over your league mates, who might not consider this line of research. So grab your favorite beverage, kick back and check out some streaming pairings that I think could prove to be beneficial to your team in 2016.
All ADP data in this article comes from our ADP page, which shows an average of CBS, ESPN, MFL, NFL and Yahoo! ADPs. Rankings are drawn from John Paulsen’s expert rankings, and for this study I am using ranks found in the PPR format.
Jared Cook, Packers with Zach Miller, Bears
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Based on the composition of the Packers and Bears schedules together, these two TEs can combine to potentially achieve solid TE1 numbers this season. Cook is sitting at a very conservative TE23 in our PPR rankings, with Miller is at TE14. You’ll notice that Green Bay begins the season with three teams that are weak against the TE position; Jacksonville, Minnesota and Detroit, followed by their bye in Week 4.
Chicago’s first three matchups are versus two teams that play the TE position the strongest and one that is moderately strong. However, in Week 4 while Cook and the Packers are enjoying their bye week, the Bears will face the Lions, who fall in the weakest category against TE, followed by two more weeks of moderately weak opponents.
Based on current ADP, here are the ideal spots to draft this TE tandem:
10-Team League: Cook 21st Round, Miller 19th Round
12-Team League: Cook 17th Round, Miller 16th Round
Charles Clay, Buffalo with Clive Walford, Raiders
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I’m a fan of Charles Clay (TE17) this season, in general, but you will notice that he begins the year against several teams that play the TE position very tough. By pairing him with Oakland’s Clive Walford (TE25), whose season starts with three easy matchups, you can then roll out Clay who has a fairly cushy schedule for the remainder of the season. You may want to hang on to Walford through Week 7, as he faces a moderately easy defense while Buffalo’s opponent, Miami, is stingy against the TE position. After that, it’s smooth sailing for Clay and his emerging QB, Tyrod Taylor.
This is where you should plan to target this appealing TE duo this season based on their current ADP:
10-Team League: Clay 20th Round, Walford 22nd Round
12-Team League: Clay 17th Round, Walford 18th Round
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks with Jordan Cameron, Dolphins
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There was a time not long ago when we would never even contemplate streaming Jimmy Graham. However, things have changed since his move to Seattle and the 18th ranked TE has become part of the streaming conversation. The Seahawks begin the season with two out of their first four games versus teams who play tough against the TE, followed by a bye in Week 5. Meanwhile, Miami was blessed with a schedule that gives them an easy road until Week 7, so as the 19th ranked TE, Jordan Cameron makes a great play at the start of the season.
For this pairing, here is where you should think about drafting Graham and Cameron based on 4for4’s current ADP:
10-Team League: Graham 11th Round, Cameron 20th Round
12-Team League: Graham 9th Round, Cameron, 17th Round
Jason Witten, Cowboys, with Antonio Gates, Chargers
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Both of these TEs can arguably stand alone as your TE1 this season, however with a combined age of 70, it may be the best course of action to stream them together. San Diego’s Week 1 matchup is in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium, not only a difficult place to play, but against a Chiefs team that is one of the stingiest against TEs.
Jason Witten and the Cowboys open the 2016 season at home versus the New York Giants, a team that projects to give up the second most fantasy points to TEs. Dallas follows up with several neutral games and one moderately easy matchup, while the Chargers get four moderately easy to very weak opponents, allowing you to play the hot hand between the two TEs.
Witten is ranked at TE15 and Gates sits with a rank of TE13. Based on their current ADPs, this is where you should aim to draft them:
10-Team League: Witten 17th Round, Gates 11th Round
12-Team League: Witten 14th Round, Gates 9th Round