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What to do with Noah Fant in Week 12 fantasy football

Fant has one of the week’s most difficult positional matchups in the form of the Bills. Does the rookie have the volume share to overcome that obstacle?

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant looks on before the start of a game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

There are several reasons to not play Noah Fant in Week 12. Buffalo has essentially been tight end kryptonite this season, allowing the fewest targets (4.2), the fewest catches (2.9) and the fewest PPR fantasy points per game to the position. In fact, only one TE has garnered more than 50 receiving yards in a single contest versus the Bills so far in 2019: Jonnu Smith in Week 5. Still, its not like Smith was a vital part of the Titans’ game plan that afternoon, as the third-year tight end caught only one pass for 57 yards. Add in an inexperienced quarterback in Brandon Allen, and the deck seems pretty stacked against Fant.

However, in my opinion, offensive inclination trumps defensive trends when it comes to TEs. Even in a poor matchup, I want to lean on the players that are actually involved in their own passing attack, and its difficult to deny that Fant has recently been a featured player. In the two weeks Allen’s been under center, the Broncos have directed 35% of their pass attempts towards tight ends - the third-highest rate in football across that span of time. Take it back a week further, and the rookie’s been on the field for at least 80% of Denver’s offensive snaps in three-straight contests and possesses a team-high 27.4% target share in that stretch of action. Buffalo’s defensive tendencies certainly give one pause, but that kind of volume is rare at Fant’s position.

Fantasy Football Analysis, Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant

While the matchup is clearly not ideal, Fant’s defined role in the Broncos’ system is incredibly enticing. I think that alone would make me view the first-year TE as viable in Week 12, yet it doesn’t hurt that the position will likely be missing a ton of top-flight options on Sunday. Austin Hooper (knee) has already been ruled out and Evan Engram (foot) is trending towards not playing again, while both Travis Kelce and Hunter Henry are on bye. Plus, if you’re playing DFS, George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Eric Ebron are all off the main slate. If you think you can find 12 tight ends more appealing than Fant amidst that chaos, be my guest.

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