Just one year ago you were in the same position you’re in today. You had done your research. You had found the best possible players to put in your lineup. And by the end of Week 1, you had won nothing. Turns out highly-priced and best-projected guys don’t always give the best returns.
If you want to build your lineup around an elite tight end (of which there are only three, mind you) then you can pick one of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, or George Kittle and forget about it. But all of them come at a steep price when taking their production into account compared to that of other positions’ players with a higher ROI.
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Fade the following players and look for better value. These guys are not worth their price nor worth gambling on them this week, at the very least. Prices courtesy of DraftKings.
Eric Ebron, IND (at LAC) - $4,100
I don’t think there is enough real estate to describe how bad a pick Ebron can be. Indianapolis has lost Andrew Luck. The Chargers ranked in the middle of the league at defending tight ends last season. Most of all, Ebron is due for a massive regression after having a career- and historic-season last year. The Colts might rely on the running game until Brissett gets some more reps, Hilton will be the go-to receiver and safe option, and Jack Doyle will eat targets from Ebron. An ugly scenario no matter how you look at it.
O.J. Howard, TB (vs SF) - $5,000
If there is a team with a plethora of options on offense it’s Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston will have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Breshad Perriman as potential targets next to O.J. Howard. If Howard is healthy (he missed the final third of last season), he will be a great option on offense, and at this point, he should be. But the competition for targets will be high on a crowded attack. The Bucs are also facing last year’s seventh-best defense against tight ends, so Howard doesn’t merit the price at which he’s available.
David Njoku, CLE (vs TEN) - $3,700
As hyped as the Cleveland Browns are getting into this season, I don’t think Njoku should be highly rostered — at least until we see how all the pieces fit together. Mayfield looks great and can get the ball to anyone. The problem for Njoku is that he will be battling for touches with Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Nick Chubb. In a much slimmer offense in 2018 Njoku wasn’t anything otherworldly, so this year doesn’t look any better for him. Fade him for more players with more potential targets going their way (and anyone not facing last year’s best defense against tight ends this week).
Jordan Reed, WAS (at PHI) - $3,600
This might look obvious to some but even with that, some fantasy GMs will roster Reed even after suffering a concussion in the preseason and his soft health history. The news cycle says he will be available to play Week 1, but at his price and the risk he carries he shouldn’t be on anyone’s radar. Don’t bite on Washington’s offense being barebones at other positions. If the prices had been set by DraftKings closer to the games and not a month ago, his would have been at ground-level if anything.
Mike Gesicki, MIA (vs BAL) - $3,000
Don’t be surprised if Gesicki finishes the week with a good old zero in his fantasy points box. Ryan Fitzpatrick will man Miami’s attack and he likes to throw bombs away, favoring deep threats. Gesicki played all 16 games last season and still managed to finish as just the 63rd-best tight end. He only had two games with six or more fantasy points. In the last eight games of the season combined, he was only targeted 10 times. Oh, and Baltimore’s defense is one of the best-ranked to kick off the season. Nothing good can come out of this one.
Others to avoid: Trey Burton, CHI ($3,900); Jimmy Graham, GB ($3,600); Jack Doyle, IND ($3,400)