The tight end position has been absolutely wrecked by injuries this year in fantasy football. Delanie Walker was lost for the season, Greg Olsen got hurt again, Jack Doyle has been out with a hip injury, Evan Engram is out, and Tyler Eifert and the emerging Will Dissly both had season-ending injuries on Sunday. O.J. Howard is now out for 2-4 weeks with an MCL injury. Rob Gronkowski is nursing an injury heading into a short week.
If you feel like you have been snake-bitten, you are not alone. But let’s look at some options, where you can try to piece together short-term solutions and matchups.
The #1 option this week is Vance McDonald (52%) if you want a good matchup start right away who can then be a starting option going forward. McDonald has been targeted 5 times each week since he returned in week 2, and has caught 9 passes the last two weeks. The Atlanta matchup is against a team that is decimated at the safety position and was giving up big plays in the passing game.
Cameron Brate (15%) is the upside play in the near short-term, if you can piece together something else this week, since Tampa is on the bye week. With Howard out, you probably have 2-3 weeks of Top 6 tight end production after the bye week.
The rest of the tight end matchups are addressed further below, and there are several that present a chance at points this week. Here are the rest of the recommendations.
Nyheim Hines (34%) has been the most productive Colts back to date, which is damning with some faint praise. But he’s been useful as a receiver and so if you are in a PPR format presents a flex option out of the backfield.
Corey Grant (12%) is your sneaky matchup play with Fournette’s re-injury. Obviously, if T.J. Yeldon is somehow available you want him for the matchup against KC, but Grant should eat as well. Grant had 19 carries/targets to Yeldon’s 29 in the two games Fournette missed, so it’s not like Yeldon has been used as a feature back. The Chiefs’ defense is giving up the most points to opposing running backs. Grant is a matchup start this week in the RB25-30 range.
Mike Davis (1%) probably earned more playing time, but Chris Carson should be back. Maybe he carves out time instead of Rashaad Penny but I’m not sure he has great value if this is a committee.
Nick Chubb (44%) broke some big runs but still only had three carries this week, so he’s a future lottery ticket if his usage increases.
Ronald Jones (27%) was active and got more carries than Peyton Barber in the blowout loss to the Bears. They have a bye week but he’s a low-end risk worth seeing if he improves and becomes the lead back coming up in Week 6.
If you want to go really deep, Lamar Miller has not looked good this year and the Texans’ running game is struggling. D’Onta Foreman started the year on PUP still recovering from last November’s Achilles injury but could be a decent gamble to get carries over the second half of the season.