2016 Draft Kit

Tight end matchups for the divisional round: Sleepers and busts

In the regular season, the matchups highlighted here included only the top 10 and bottom 10 matchups in the league.

Now that we have narrowed the field down to only the best teams the matchups are a lot less clear. There’s only one good matchup at a lot of positions. Last week, I limited these matchups to just good and two bad matchups per position.

This week I’m going to list them all. Despite not having a lot of great matchups, we still need to fill out a full roster. And there’s going to be a lot of variance. Maybe a middle-of-the-pack matchup is all you care about to make a WR2 startable in your lineup.

So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about presentation. I’m not going to give you good and bad matchups this week. You get one list per position, eight-ish players. They are listed in order of best to worst. The best-to-worst listing is based on Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Averages for QB, RB, WR1, WR2, WR3/4, TE and RB (Rec.). K and DEF are ranked based on season-long schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed.

Matchups: QB | RB | WR1 | WR2 | WR3/4 | TE | K | DEF | RB (rec)

Divisional round boom-or-bust projections

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Tight end

Owen Daniels/Crocket Gilmore vs. New England — If you are making a contrarian play against all of the Rob Gronkowski lineups, this is probably a good place to look. The Patriots allow 65.6 yards per game to tight ends, tied for the most among teams left in the playoffs. They are the fourth-least effective team in the NFL against TEs, according to DVOA. And they’ve given up the 10th-most fantasy points per game (12.0) to opposing tight ends in the last five weeks.

Julius Thomas/Virgil Green/Jacob Tamme vs. Indianapolis — Here’s another place to look if you’re building an anti-gronk lineup. Thomas is about as tempting a play as you can get. He is 100-yards-and-3-TDs waiting to happen when he’s healthy and the Broncos are slinging the rock. Unfortunately, neither of those things are happening lately. Green had a big game last week and if Thomas aggravates his injury or is ineffective I wouldn’t be surprised if he got in the end zone again. The Colts allow 58.2 yards per game to tight ends and in the last five games they allowed 15.5 fantasy points per game to tight ends — third most in the NFL.

Rob Gronkowski vs. Baltimore — You don’t need a good matchup to start Gronk and it’s good because while the Ravens rank 13th in DVOA, they only allow 49.3 yards per game to tight ends and are middle-of-the-road in fantasty points allowed to the position of late.

Greg Olsen vs. Seattle — The Seahawks rank only 15th in DVOA against TEs so there may be a vulnerability here. However, they allow just 41.4 yards per game to the position — the least among playoff teams left. They also allowed just 7.8 PPR fantasy points per game to tight ends in their last five, ranking them 27th.

Dwayne Allen/Coby Fleener vs. Denver — The Broncos allow 60.8 yards per game to tight ends and in the last five weeks allowed the fourth most fantasy points (15.3 per game) to the position. I feel like either or both of these tight ends might be sneaky plays because the Broncos are so stingy against wide receivers. Allen is powered by touchdowns. Fleener is better all-around.

Andrew Quarless/Richard Rodgers vs. Dallas — Quarless and Rodgers get few targets because the Packers have stud receivers. They may find more open space against he Cowboys. Dallas allows 65.6 yards per game to the position — tied for most among playoff teams left. Over the last five weeks they’ve allowed the 5th-most fantasy points (15.1 per game) to tight ends.

Jason Witten vs. Green Bay — The Packers allow 55.9 yards per game to the position but over the last five weeks they’ve allowed just 8.0 PPR fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Luke Willson/Tony Moeaki/Cooper Helfet vs. Carolina — I don’t see any reason to roster these players even without the matchup onsideration. The Panthers allow 51.4 yards per game to tight ends and in the last five weeks have given up 9.4 fantasy points per game to them.

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