Fantasy football rankings, Week 16: Tight ends

Streaming your tight ends really wasn’t the best strategy this year, as it turns out.

It’s time for an unscientific study. I’m in seven leagues this year. I went through the rosters of the 14 championship contenders to see how many of them got away with a shaky tight end on their team.

“Shaky” is, of course, a ridiculously subjective term. Is Jordan Reed “shaky,” or is he just bad? Is Julius Thomas “shaky,” or are we forgiving his injury struggles? I’ll be the first to tell you my list could be picked apart. But in the end, those 14 rosters employed eight tight ends. Of those, six are in our Week 16 top 10, and the other two have spent significant time there.

I did the same with quarterbacks, just out of curiosity. The same 14 rosters employ 10 quarterbacks. The bigger difference is, though, the tight ends are guys who are all prominent to one level or another, while the quarterbacks have a much wider range.

The following chart shows the players in question, with the number of rosters they appear on (if plural) in parentheses:

Quarterbacks Tight ends
Drew Brees (2)
Jay Cutler (2)
Ben Roethlisberger (2)
Mark Sanchez (2)
Tom Brady
Andrew Luck
Kyle Orton
Aaron Rodgers
Tony Romo
Matthew Stafford

Rob Gronkowski (5)
Larry Donnell (2)
Jimmy Graham (2)
Martellus Bennett
Coby Fleener
Travis Kelce
Julius Thomas
Delanie Walker

(Hilarious that neither Peyton Manning nor Greg Olsen popped up anywhere.)

The moral of this little story (such as it is; as I said, this is woefully unscientific): You could get by this season with a dodgy quarterback if you streamed at the right time. The bulk positions – running back and wide receiver – by their nature, allow for streaming. But this year, streaming tight ends? It just wasn’t viable.

With the exception of the guy with Fleener (he started with Dennis Pitta), every championship contender in every league I’m in found a relevant tight end and made it work. The guys who are adding and dropping Mychal Rivera, Owen Daniels and Tim Wright on a week-to-week basis fell by the wayside some time ago.

It’s tough to say whether this will hold true going into 2015. But conventional wisdom coming into this season said that you drafted one of Graham, Gronkowski or Thomas, or you waited deep into the draft, because you could get just about anyone. From what has happened this season, that might not have been correct. So you might need to take special care to draft your tight end next season. (This is also one heck of an argument in favor of Gronkowski as a 2015 first-rounder.)

Now, on to the Week 16 rankings:

Tight end rankings, Week 16

(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)

Rank Consensus Team Opponent DK DC JD SK
1 Rob Gronkowski NE @NYJ 1 1 1 1
2 Jimmy Graham NO ATL 3 2 2 2
3 Greg Olsen CAR CLE 2 4 3 3
4 Martellus Bennett CHI DET 5 3 5 4
5 Delanie Walker TEN @JAC 4 5 6 8
6 Travis Kelce KC @PIT 8 6 4 7
7 Julius Thomas DEN @CIN 6 7 7 5
8 Dwayne Allen IND @DAL 7 8 8 9
9 Jason Witten DAL IND 9 9 9 10
10 Antonio Gates SD @SF 10 11 11 6
11 Jordan Reed WAS PHI 15 10 16 11
12 Coby Fleener IND @DAL 13 18 10 12
13 Mychal Rivera OAK BUF 16 13 13 13
14 Owen Daniels BAL @HOU 14 12 14 20
15 Heath Miller PIT KC 12 17 18 17
16 Charles Clay MIA MIN 11 20 17 18
17 Jared Cook STL NYG 23 14 15 15
18 Kyle Rudolph MIN @MIA 17 19 12 19
19 Jordan Cameron CLE @CAR 22 15 19 16
20 Larry Donnell NYG @STL 18 21 21 14
21 Zach Ertz PHI @WAS 20 16 24 21
22 Scott Chandler BUF @OAK 19 23 23 23
23 Eric Ebron DET @CHI 24 24 20 22
24 Andrew Quarless GB @TB 21 22 24
25 Brent Celek PHI @WAS 22 25
Tim Wright NE @NYJ 25
Marcedes Lewis JAC TEN 25
Josh Hill NO ATL 25
December 17, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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