Tight End continues to be a difficult position to predict, especially with Rob Gronkowski failing to produce in his first two games back on the field. Throw in bye weeks for a few of the better options (like Jimmy Graham) and this is a difficult week to maneuver through. Let’s take a look at the options and try to determine who are the best for Week 5:
Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – at Baltimore
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – at Cleveland
Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – at Detroit
Dennis Pitta – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Washington
Martellus Bennett – New England Patriots – at Cleveland
Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
Hunter Harvey – San Diego Chargers – at Oakland
Zach Miller – Chicago Bears – at Indianapolis
Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Houston
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – vs. Philadelphia
Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals – at Dallas
Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Cincinnati
Jesse James – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. New York Jets
Jacob Tamme – Atlanta Falcons – at Denver
Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns – vs. New England
Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Chicago
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Chicago
Will Tye – New York Giants – at Green Bay
Zach Ertz is expected to return this week, and he does so with a prime matchup as the Lions have already allowed 6 TD to opposing tight ends. There is a little bit of risk in any player who is returning from injury, but be prepared to fire him up as a TE1 given the upside.
If we truly believed that Rob Gronkowski was 100% he would be an easy selection for the top spot on these rankings. The problem is that in his two games since returning to the field he’s been targeted just 3 times and has often been asked to block. Is it possible that the reason he’s been deployed as such is due to an underlying health issue? Or has it been an effort to give more protection to lesser QB, with the team ready to deploy him fully with the return of Tom Brady? We’d hope that it’s the latter, but there are enough concerns that he is suppressed slightly.
If Antonio Gates is able to return the outlook of Hunter Harvey takes a hit. That said, Harvey’s made the most of his opportunity with 9 catches for 133 yards and 1 TD over the past two weeks. He’s certainly carved out a role and is a viable TE1 if Gates is unable to play.
Over the past two weeks Cameron Brate has been targeted 18 times (10 receptions, 113 yards, 2 TD). As we often say opportunity is half the battle, though a matchup against a Panthers defense that has allowed opposing TE to rack up 254 yards and 4 TD doesn’t hurt either.
Expected back this week, Tyler Eifert could help to solve the Bengals’ red zone struggles. Expect him to be an integral part of the offense immediately, so get ready for him to quickly emerge as a TE1 option (though be conservative this week).