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Worst DFS tight end plays in Week 3

Tight ends are nothing close to sure-bets. The position’s production is volatile, so you better minimize the risks. Avoid these names in their tough Week 3 DFS matchups.

Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against Washington at Lincoln Financial Field on September 8, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Even for a position at which salaries are not over the roof, there are some guys not worth the risk on DraftKings’ Week 3 main slate. You can always throw a dart at a low-valued tight end and score bit time points every week. Such is the volatility, and that’s why you should definitely fade these three players this Sunday.

Zach Ertz, PHI (vs DET) - $5,700

You can see Ertz’s situation from two angles in terms of could happen with him in Week 3. The Eagles won’t have DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Dallas Goedert due to injury. On the other hand, Ertz only had eight catches on 16 targets (!) and could muster just 72 yards against the Falcons—that is, a paltry 4.5 Yards per Target. Volume matters, yes, but if whoever gets targeted as much as Ertz doesn’t make anything from those passes, it would amount to nothing.

More concerning is the fact that Ertz will be facing the No. 1 defense against tight ends this season. The Lions have allowed a ridiculously low 5.9 DKFP in two games, to go with three receptions and 29 yards. That is what I call strangling the opposition. And with such a few options on attack available, Detroit will have it easy to focus on Ertz and lock him down all game long. Don’t fall for Ertz’s seemingly good situation. It’s a trap.

Vance McDonald, PIT (at SF) - $4,300

I know what you’re thinking. In a short outing backing up Ben Roethlisberger, new Steelers QB Mason Rudolph connected with McDonald four times for two touchdowns. Remove those scores from McDonald’s game and he would have ended with an average-at-best 10.8 DKFP. Although McDonald has been efficient so far, he’s playing at the edge and in an unsustainable way. He has nine receptions on just 11 targets and his 78 yards through Week 2 rank 12th among tight ends. Now you get why I’m fading him this weekend: McDonald’s value comes down to those two easy scores (from the 3- and 8-yard lines on offense) against the Seahawks.

Not until we see more of Rudolph at the helm will I bet on McDonald. He should be the second or third most-targeted player of the rookie quarterback, though, but we don’t have enough reps to affirm that yet. This week’s matchup isn’t the easiest neither for Rudolph nor McDonald. San Francisco has only allowed three touchdowns through the air while intercepting five passes, and they have limited tight ends to 74 yards on 11 receptions. McDonald could exit the weekend quite frustrated.

Eric Ebron, IND (vs. ATL) - $3,700

If you have read the blurb about Zach Ertz’s expectations for Week 3 above, you already know what Atlanta did to him in Week 2. If you haven’t, well, the Falcons limited one of the best and highest-volume tight ends to eight receptions and 72 yards on 16 targets. Eric Ebron is far from Ertz in pure talent. His 2018 career-best numbers screamed regression and indeed he’s going south already. Entering Week 3, Ebron has just 13.3 DKFP. He has caught 4 passes on 7 targets for a touchdown. Remove that score and his DKFP per game average would be 3.65. Do you consider such a player rosterable at all?

On top of his mediocre performance is the fact that Jack Doyle is a much more active asset than Ebron in the Colts offense (70 percent of the snaps to Ebron’s 44 percent). Atlanta was torched on the ground by Dalvin Cook in Week 1 and the Eagles ran for 46 yards against them in Week 2. It is more than probable that Indianapolis favors the running game against the Falcons (Marlon Mack has all of the upside in the world), and look for sure-thing receivers when passing. It doesn’t look like Ebron’s weekend (nor season, if you stretch it a little).

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is chapulana) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.