clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fantasy football rankings, Week 9: Tight ends

New, comments

So many current tight ends have awful downside but lack upside. So when you're diving deep, find what upside there is.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Double-digit fantasy production is a pretty arbitrary threshold. When I'm setting baselines, I could say "at least five points" or "at least 11" or anything I felt like. So any time I discuss a "double-digit fantasy day," I'm not saying it's the be-all end-all of performance thresholds.

That said, it's a really easy and helpful shorthand. To reach double digits as a running back/wide receiver/tight end, a player needs either "100 yards" or "40 yards and a score." I'm comfortable calling either of those a successful day, while "60 yards" or "20 yards and a score" falls below that.

The struggles across the tight end position this year are well-documented, but I'll go ahead and paint the picture again here. The following chart shows all tight ends who (a) are 10-percent owned or greater in Yahoo! leagues, and/or (b) have at least one double-digit fantasy day on their record this year. To make this slightly easier, I've taken out the injured guys like Dennis Pitta or Tyler Eifert, who are still owned enough to qualify.

Player No. of
Double-Digit
Game
Ownership
Percentage
Greg Olsen 5 98
Dwayne Allen 4 75
Martellus Bennett 4 96
Antonio Gates 4 95
Rob Gronkowski 4 100
Jimmy Graham 3 100
Julius Thomas 3 100
Larry Donnell 2 65
Zach Ertz 2 84
Heath Miller 2 62
Delanie Walker 2 86
Tim Wright 2 15
Jace Amaro 1 5
Jordan Cameron 1 90
Scott Chandler 1 6
Charles Clay 1 48
Jeff Cumberland 1 1
Vernon Davis 1 90
Gavin Escobar 1 5
Coby Fleener 1 31
Clay Harbor 1 7
Cooper Helfet 1 0
Travis Kelce 1 76
Niles Paul 1 14
Andrew Quarless 1 2
Jason Witten 1 93
Jared Cook 0 32
Garrett Graham 0 16
Ladarius Green 0 27
Jordan Reed 0 78

Some thoughts:

1. Go Greg Olsen.

2. As great as he was to start the season, Julius Thomas still has only three double-digit fantasy days because his two one-touchdown games were both accompanied by fewer than 40 yards.

3. Jordan Reed's upside has been enthralling for everyone, and it certainly does exist. Still, he hasn't reached double figures in four games this year, and only has done so twice in 13 career games. I still like the guy, but at some point that "like" has to turn into results.

Those were the little takeaways. But the big one, for me, is Tim Wright. Wright's downside as a fantasy player is a flat zero -- he has the chance to catchless in any given game, at least right now. But his upside is far higher than his awful-downside compatriots.

Maybe you have Delanie Walker or Martellus Bennett, the two fantasy-relevant tight ends on a bye this week. Maybe you have Jordan Cameron, who might be out. Maybe you just haven't been able to get anyone who has worked out this season. But I've been seeing any number of questions about tight ends. "Do I use Jace Amaro, Clay Harbor, Charles Clay or Tim Wright?" That sort of thing.

All four of those tight ends -- and a dozen or more others -- have the same downside. Zero. No points. But in a realistic scenario, Amaro, Harbor and Clay have an upside around 10 points. Maybe a few more, but that's about it. Wright, meanwhile, has a couple double-digit games this year, and he also had four last year in 14 games with Tampa Bay. It's not just a New England thing.

You don't want to have to rely on Wright. You'd rather have one of those guys with the "5" or the "4" next to his name up there in the chart. But if that failed, and you're scrambling around with the Coby Fleeners and Jared Cooks of the world, just grab Wright. You might end up dropping him by Thanksgiving, but when the downsides are the same, the upsides are what matter.

On to the Week 9 rankings, where Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee are on bye:

Tight end rankings, Week 9

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

Rank Consensus Team Opponent DK DC JD SK
1 Rob Gronkowski NE DEN 1 1 1 1
2 Julius Thomas DEN @NE 3 3 2 2
3 Jimmy Graham NO @CAR 2 2 4 3
4 Greg Olsen CAR NO 4 5 3 5
5 Antonio Gates SD @MIA 5 4 8 4
6 Dwayne Allen IND @NYG 6 8 5 6
7 Jordan Reed WAS @MIN 10 6 6 7
8 Travis Kelce KAN NYJ 11 7 7 8
9 Vernon Davis SF STL 7 10 12 10
10 Jason Witten DAL ARI 8 14 10 12
11 Zach Ertz PHI @HOU 9 9 15 11
12 Larry Donnell NYG IND 12 11 13 9
13 Jace Amaro NYJ @KAN 18 15 11 18
14 Jared Cook STL @SF 15 18 17 14
15 Heath Miller PIT BAL 17 12 23 13
16 Tim Wright NE DEN 13 16 20 16
17 Jermaine Gresham CIN JAC 25 19 9 17
18 Jordan Cameron CLE TAM -- 13 16 15
19 Clay Harbor JAC @CIN 20 17 21 19
20 Charles Clay MIA SD 23 20 14 22
21 Coby Fleener IND @NYG 14 22 -- 21
22 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TAM @CLE 16 24 18 25
23 Gavin Escobar DAL ARI 22 23 19 23
24 Luke Willson SEA OAK -- 21 22 20
25 Chase Ford MIN WAS 19 -- -- --
-- Ladarius Green SD @MIA 21 -- -- --
-- Crocket Gillmore BAL @PIT -- 25 24 --
-- Niles Paul WAS @MIN 24 -- -- --
-- Lance Kendricks STL @SF -- -- -- 24
-- Garrett Graham HOU PHI -- -- 25 --