Streaming Tight Ends: Week 1 Targets

Streaming Tight Ends: Week 1 Targets

By TJ Hernandez (Associate Editor), last update Sep 8, 2015

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TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

Follow TJ Hernandez on Twitter: @TJHernandez.

Week 1 is finally upon us, which means it’s time to make roster decisions. For owners who waited on tight end, there is a real chance you are already thinking about a tight end by waiver wire (TEBWW) strategy, also know as tight end streaming. Maybe the draft didn’t go to plan or your late tight end target has a ton of upside but doesn’t look particularly reliable in the first week. Regardless of your how your draft shook out, there are waiver wire tight ends ready to be plugged into your starting lineup.

As a refresher, or for those new to TEBWW, the strategy goes like this: Each week I will suggest tight ends that are likely available in your league and worth considering as starting candidates. Especially early in the season, the goal is to land a tight end who can turn into an every week starter. Even if that starter doesn’t emerge, projected usage, defensive matchups and metrics such as Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) will guide my picks to produce what we hope equates to TE1 fantasy production.

In 2014, this very methodology, with aFPA as the backbone for the TEBWW strategy, produced optimal tight end streamers that averaged 13.5 PPR fantasy points per game, a total that would have finished 7th among all tight ends in fantasy scoring last season. I will track my picks again this season and hopefully finish even better than last year. To ensure that streaming options are readily available in most leagues, tight ends must be unowned in at least 40% of Yahoo leagues.

Before opting for a tight end streamer, or making any roster decision, always check 4for4’s weekly rankings to make sure that no high ranking player is available in your league.

On to my Week 1 picks:


Larry Donnell (NYG) @ Dallas

Larry Donnell was an early streaming target in 2014 who became a starter on many fantasy rosters, and he is one of my favorite under-drafted tight ends (50% owned in Yahoo leagues) to emerge as a TE1 this season. Though his production waned down the stretch last year, Donnell finished the season with 92 targets, the ninth most among tight ends. As we know, targets have a stronger correlation to tight end fantasy points than any efficiency metric.

With Donnell’s likely volume, comes touchdown upside. Only Green Bay ran more red zone plays than the Giants last season, and only two teams threw more in the red zone than New York. 28 of those red zone targets went to tight ends, the third most red zone targets to the position in the league. In a game with the third highest over/under of the week (50.5), and with the Giants likely to be behind (5.5 point underdogs), New York should be throwing early and often.

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