The tight end position can be a tough one in fantasy football. In the offseason, we can labor for months to identify the right ADP value pockets. We can take a stab at the position that gives even the most successful fantasy football managers agita. This past Sunday alone, consensus redraft TE1 overall Travis Kelce (19.9 PPR points) outscored Darren Waller, T.J. Hockenson, Kyle Pitts, Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert….combined. Oof.
One-off spots can be tricky if you miss on draft day, but waiver wire grinders who have followed this article all season have added players like Pat Freiermuth, Dan Arnold, and Tyler Conklin. All three have been very useful these past few weeks and look poised to be TE1s or very close to TE1 status every week moving forward. We also discussed Dalton Schultz and Dawson Knox as potential adds earlier in the season. Both have had multiple big weeks.
The main takeaway is not that this article is perfect in recommendations- we have had a lot of hits but also some misses. But fantasy players who keep grinding the waiver wire week in week out will be more successful than players who phone it in after the draft.
This past weekend was a decent one. Week 10 was undoubtedly more fantasy-friendly than Week 9, and it was reassuring to see Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have a bounce-back night after some stagnant performances. It was also great to see the return of Christian McCaffrey. Personnel-wise, we saw an Odell Beckham trade (LA Rams) and a return of Cam Newton to Carolina. And like all weeks, we will need to deal with injuries. Aaron Jones will miss a few weeks with a sprained MCL (my guess would be after the bye week unless Green Bay wants to rush him back. Robert Woods had a far worse blow as he will miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL.
We have only two teams on bye weeks this week – The Rams and The Broncos. Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Darrell Henderson managers will have to pivot to other options, but two teams on bye is a breeze after bye-mageddon.
As a look ahead, Week 12 will have two teams on bye as fantasy heavy hitters Kansas City and Arizona will be off. Week 12 will also have the Thanksgiving day triple header. Make sure you are planning a week ahead for your Mahomes and Kelce replacements.
Justin Fields (Bears)
Justin Fields may have been cut during his bye week. His trajectory is pointed up after his two best performances of the season and more rushing opportunities than we saw in his disastrous early starts. Pick up Fields whether you will start him or not. You do not want to see him put up big late-season performances for your leaguemates.
Mac Jones (Patriots)
Another rookie to consider is Mac Jones. He’s coming off of a three TD game in a beatdown of Cleveland and now faces a horrendous Atlanta Falcons defense. This seems like a smash spot for New England in primetime. He should be considered a solid high-end QB2 this week.
Cam Newton (Panthers)
The prodigal son has returned. Cam Newton shared the field with P.J. Walker in his first game back in Carolina and took little time to make an impact, rushing for a TD in vintage Newton fashion. He also passed for a TD to Robby Anderson.
Cam Newton is a national treasure pic.twitter.com/PHWZZen48E
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) November 15, 2021
Newton is a low ceiling play with a solid floor because of his rushing upside. This week, he is a viable streamer against Washington in a bit of a homecoming game against his former coach Ron Rivera.
All Handcuff RBS
Any high-end handcuff that would see similar volume to the starting RB should be rostered whenever possible at this time of the season. This past week we saw D’Ernest Johnson and A.J. Dillon step in when their starters went down and put up big fantasy points. Let potential volume break all tiebreakers when it comes to stashing an RB vs. a luxury bench player like a second defense, backup QB (in most leagues), or even a backup TE in a shallower league. A few players who stand out are Samaje Perine, Sony Michel, and if he is somehow available, Alexander Mattison.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Patriots)
I had so much Rhamondre Stevenson to start out the season, only to cut him in multiple spots after a nonexistent start. Like many, I have deep regrets as it could be Rhamondre SZNson. He saw an un-Belichickian Snap Share and produced a dominant performance with two TDs on 24 touches. He is big, agile, AND is a threat in the passing game. Damien Harris missed practice on Monday and will most likely be out for Thursday’s smash spot against Atlanta. If he is available in your league, he is worth an “a lot of whatever you have left” type bid.
Alex Collins (Seahawks)
Chris Carson remained out despite being talked up by the coaching staff. Alex Collins is a boring play, and Seattle is struggling to score, but he is the lead back right now in a Russell Wilson–led offense.
Mark Ingram (Saints)
Mark Ingram turned back the clock with a solid performance filling in for the injured Alvin Kamara. He posted 108 combined yards and TD and was used in multiple ways. Even when Kamara comes back, Ingram should be rostered. He should have a role in every game moving forward and be used as a spot start/ bye week flex play.
D’Onta Foreman (Titans)
I wrote about the Jeremy McNichols vs Adrian Peterson debate in waiver wire wires a few weeks back. The answer may have been ‘option C’ all along. D’Onta Foreman was by far the most efficient Titans back with 78 combined yards. He led the backfield in carries and added 48 yards receiving.
The answer to Jeremy McNichols vs Adrian Peterson debate?
D’Onta Foreman. pic.twitter.com/CLs5do7Wv4
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) November 14, 2021
Do not be surprised if Peterson and McNichols are phased out slightly more and Foreman sees a larger share of the backfield work.
Wayne Gallman (Falcons)
Wayne Gallman filled in for the injured Cordarrelle Patterson and carried the ball 15 times for 55 yards in Atlanta’s huge loss at Dallas. Mike Davis is dust, and if Patterson misses Thursday’s game (highly likely), then Gallman would see a lot of touches against a Patriots defense that gave up 157 combined yards to D’Ernest Johnson. He showed last season that he could contribute in fantasy with solid volume and expect a potential RB2 finish this week.
(Note: Rashod Bateman has been on here for weeks here. If he is somehow available, grab him before anyone else. If anyone cut Darnell Mooney on his bye week for whatever reason in shallow leagues, grab him as well as a priority.)
Van Jefferson (Rams)
Marcus Johnson (Titans)
Deep leaguers will be targeting Marcus Johnson this week after a five-catch, 100-yard performance. Julio Jones is on the IR, and Johnson looks to be the biggest beneficiary. Do not expect these sorts of numbers, but Johnson was second among all Titans WRs in routes one by a considerable margin.
Kenny Golladay (Giants)
Kenny Golladay quietly made his season debut against Las Vegas in Week 9, catching two passes for 28 yards. Your leaguemates may just as well leave him on the wire after that performance plus the bye week, but this seems like a great time to add him. Golladay was a big free-agent signing for The Giants, and the next few weeks, expect New York to try and get him going. The Giants paid him a $17 million signing bonus. Do not kid yourself that the front office would like to see a return on their investment to end the season.
Gabriel Davis (Bills)
Gabriel Davis had his best game of the season with 105 yards receiving. He displayed the same deep ball ability that led him to a strong rookie season last year. This season, he has been well behind the other three Bills WRs, but Cole Beasley is dealing with a rib injury. Davis’ role looks to be growing in one of the league’s best offenses.
Tre’Quan Smith (Saints)
Tre’Quan Smith missed a good portion of the season, but saw some positive signs this past weekend, leading the Saints WRs in routes run, targets and snaps. I will be putting in some bids for him in the hope that his role will keep growing.
— the podfather↗️ (@Fantasy_Mansion) November 16, 2021
Bryan Edwards (Raiders)
Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. Many of us in fantasy have been waiting on Bryan Edwards. He has the combination of draft capital, size, speed, athleticism, and early Breakout Age. What he lacks are consistent production and Target Share. Last week he produced an absolute dud with zero catches against the Giants. This week he flashed again with 88 yards receiving on three catches and found the endzone. The Raiders could potentially do some self-scouting and target Edwards more than the four times he was this past weekend.
Tyler Conklin/Pat Freiermuth/Dan Arnold (Vikings/Steelers/Jaguars)
Logan Thomas (Football Team)
Logan Thomas was unable to make it back from injury after the Washington bye week. This is slightly troubling, but it sounds like he is very close. Back up Ricky Seals-Jones went down with a hip injury and Washington could use Thomas this week. Once he is back, he should be an every-down player.
Cole Kmet (Bears)
Adam Trautman (Saints)
Adam Trautman has shown signs of life with encouraging usage. The second-year player has seen 19 targets over his past three games and had a season-high five catches this past weekend.