Just a few years into Jon Gruden’s second stint as the Raiders’ head coach, the offense features several rising stars and one of the NFL’s most consistent (albeit unspectacular) quarterbacks. That offense faces off against an improving unit in its own right, the Cleveland Browns defense, this Sunday.
For fantasy managers planning to use tight end Darren Waller, the matchup provides some intrigue as well as some complications.
Fantasy Football analysis: Raiders TE Darren Waller
Waller, a former late-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens who entered the league as a wide receiver, has transformed his life and his football career since joining the Raiders. Now a tight end, Waller consistently produces when healthy, averaging nearly seven catches for 58 yards per game in 2020. And while Waller entered the season with only five career touchdowns, he has already matched his season-high in just six games.
The Browns haven’t exactly stymied opposing tight ends either. Through seven games, their defense has allowed 369 receiving yards and four touchdowns to the position group. While not as forgiving as other defenses in the league, Cleveland should give Waller more than a few opportunities for big plays. Waller could also see more red-zone work than he has earlier in the season, something which would necessarily bolster his touchdown chances.
And while Waller dealt with some back issues earlier in the season, he does not appear on the injury report entering the weekend. Barring a random flareup, he will suit up Sunday in Cleveland without any limitations.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Start Waller as a high-end TE1 in all formats.