Tight end, as always, is one of the most fungible positions in fantasy football. After the handful of elite talents, the pool quickly shrinks into a void of interchangeable spare parts. If you miss out on one of the top tight ends (and even that is shaky, as Rob Gronkowski owners can attest this week), you’ll probably be using the waiver wire multiple times to fill your starting spot this season.
Since the position is such a crap shoot, some of these waiver claims will likely be misses. On the other hand, the wire is where all the unexpected breakout candidates at tight end come from. Gary Barnidge and Ben Watson went undrafted in all serious fantasy leagues last year, but they ultimately paid off for owners who paid attention to the waiver wire.
So, as you get ready to rage-drop Coby Fleener, or patiently wait for Tyler Eifert to come back, check out these worthy streaming options at the position. All players are owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! standard leagues.
Virgil Green, Denver Broncos (27 percent)
Green got a lot of preseason ink for his connection with Trevor Siemian, and although he was quiet in Week 1 (four catches, 28 yards) his red zone presence seems apparent. Green would’ve had an easy touchdown last Thursday night, if not for an incredible defensive play where Kony Ealy tipped the ball out of the air. Green won’t have huge yardage games, but he’s a good bet to find the end zone against the Indianapolis Colts this week.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (27 percent)
With Sammy Watkins’ foot a major concern, somebody else has to step up in the Bills’ offense. Clay had a decent 2015 with 51 catches, 528 yards and three touchdowns, and depending on how often he’s used (just three targets in Week 1), he should be a passable TE2 against the New York Jets on Thursday night.
Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders (19 percent)
Walford got some preseason hype heading into his second year, but it didn’t translate into production last Sunday. Walford finished with just three catches for 25 yards, which is more than a little disappointing on a day where Derek Carr racked up 319 passing yards. The good news is that Walford is the starting tight end and easily beat out Mychal Rivera, who was a healthy scratch. He’ll have another chance to reward fantasy streamers when he faces the Atlanta Falcons this week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9 percent)
Talent has never been ASJ’s problem, but staying healthy and focused have. After a tumultuous offseason and depth chart concerns, ASJ ended up catching his only target for a 30-yard touchdown against the Falcons. That’s the kind of fantasy upside he brings — the ability to find the end zone on any given play. Is that enough to start him every week? No, and he played well behind Cameron Brate on Sunday. ASJ’s floor is zero, but his ceiling is enough to keep him on fantasy watch lists. The Arizona Cardinals await him next.
Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (less than 1 percent)
Pitta’s career looked like it was over after he suffered two fractured hips in two years. He not only came back to play again, but he may have the starting job sewn up. Pitta played 56 snaps, well ahead of Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams. He looked pretty good, too, catching three out of four targets for 39 yards. Pitta’s always had good chemistry with Joe Flacco (he caught seven touchdowns in 2012, his last healthy year), and with the Cleveland Browns on deck this week, he’s worth a dart throw in deeper leagues.