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What to do with Jonnu Smith, Delanie Walker in Week 9 fantasy football

If Delanie Walker is sidelined again, can Jonnu Smith be fantasy viable in back-to-back weeks?

Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith celebrates with quarterback Ryan Tannehill after a touchdown during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

You know how morning shows on most radio stations have some sort of “Beat the Bank” type game? The sort of thing where a listener calls in and keeps pressing their luck until they either stop with the money they’ve already collected or tragically bust out? That’s how most people feel about ever going back to the well with a value TE in consecutive weeks. Far be it from me to say that that general idea isn’t warranted, but I do tend to think Jonnu Smith is a unique case. I mean, prior to even playing a snap in the NFL, Smith had fantasy analysts drooling with the highest SPARQ score among all rookie tight ends in 2017; bettering the likes of Evan Engram, David Njoku and Gerald Everett. With Delanie Walker still not practicing on his injured ankle, Smith is simply getting the long overdue opportunity to show he’s a real talent.

The numbers back up the hype. Coming into Week 9, among all non-bye options at TE, Smith possesses elite marks in both catch rate (83%) and yards gained per route run (1.80). In fact, in the latter, Smith trails only the heavyweights of the position, with his figure falling short of only Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Darren Waller, Hunter Henry and Travis Kelce. With new Titans QB Ryan Tannehill targeting tight ends on 28% of passes in his two starts and Smith coming off a six-catch performance last weekend, there’s almost no reason to think his success can’t continue this Sunday against Carolina.

Fantasy Football Analysis, Tennessee Titans TE Jonnu Smith

Smith played 73.0% of Tennessee’s offensive snaps in Week 8. He got a red zone look and converted it into a touchdown. There’s just no way you’re going to find 12 options better than Smith in a season-long format if Walker is officially ruled out again, especially with the Panthers conceding 11.5 yards per target to tight end across the past four weeks. Don’t fear the small samples.

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