Don’t get me wrong, I love Waleed. I think he’s a great guy. He’s funny as all get-out, and he has a sweet afro. Unfortunately, his fantasy football prognostication skills are a little lacking this week. He says that you should start Ryan Griffin against the Cleveland Browns. That sounds like a nice idea, right? Wrong. It’ll be a disaster and one you should get away from faster than a Browns fan exiting FirstEnergy Stadium in the third quarter on gameday.
There’s a lot of ways to slice-and-dice it and look at why Ryan Griffin will have a great little game Sunday against the Browns. They give up literally the second most fantasy points to tight ends. They’ve given up given up the sixth-most yards and second-most touchdowns. They don’t even know how to spell “Tight End.” Like I said, the list is endless. But there’s a very simple reason why Ryan Griffin won’t have production on Sunday: it’s hard to get production when you don’t catch the dang football.
Griffin hasn’t been a huge part of the Texans’ game plan the last couple of games, and they’ve done extremely well. He’s actually had the second most targets (with a whopping nine targets), but he and Watson can’t get on the same page on anything downfield. His four catches are mostly short-to-intermediate stuff, and Griffin lacks the athleticism to do anything with them. Despite owning 13.8% of the targets over the last two games, he’s responsible for only 6.7% of the yards.
During Watson’s big breakout, they’ve also turned into a big play offense, averaging 6.2 yards per play (good for third over the last three games). The big play isn’t conducive to Griffin’s skill set, so it makes sense he’s a guy to get a few yards at a time as a release valve. What happens, then, when the Texans get into the red zone, where tight ends make their hay? Certainly, Griffin comes to the forefront? Well, Deshaun Watson’s eighteen red zone pass attempts rank behind twenty other quarterbacks, including Mike freaking Glennon. Griffin has only three of these targets.
It’s entirely possible that Ryan Griffin has a good game on Sunday, but I would not bet on it. He’s a marginal talent who does not get any useful red zone targets on an offense that’s humming. When they get into the red zone, it goes everywhere else, meaning he’s unlikely to get a touchdown. He could get you sixty yards against a woeful Browns defense, but a touchdown? I wouldn’t bet on it. Go ahead and start him if you want a decent TE2, I guess.