Start or Sit David Njoku
He’s one of the most talented young tight ends in the league in a revamped offense, but is he trustable? Should you start or sit David Njoku as the Cleveland Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers?
The preseason is over, and it’s time to start thinking about your 2018 fantasy football week one lineup. That means fantasy football owners get up on Sunday morning and proceed to rearrange their lineup six-or-seven times before begrudgingly hitting submit, and hoping for the best. Here at Football Absurdity would like to cut that process down to just impotently rejiggering your lineup four-or-five times. Each week, we will highlight multiple players at each position (ignoring Kicker and DST, as one should) and we ask the question: start or sit <player>? I wish I could take it easy on myself and say to start Rob Gronkowski and sit Darren Fells every week, but life isn’t easy (and neither are fantasy football start or sit questions), so we take a look at players on the periphery.
As anticipated, David Njoku didn’t do a whole heck of a lot last season. It was anticipated as most tight ends do relatively little for fantasy football their rookie years. He scored just one touchdown in the last eleven games of the season and posted fewer than 20 yards in seven of those eleven games. The problem is Hue Jackson’s tight end usage. He had a top-twelve tight end season with Tyler Eifert in 2015, but his average TE1 finish is the #23 tight end overall. While Njoku is the most talented guy he’s slotted in there, he doesn’t necessarily have offenses friendly to the position. What then, of his quarterback? Tyrod Taylor’s three seasons as a start resulted in TE18, TE16, and TE17 seasons. That means useful production from time-to-time, but nothing slam dunk. Call his tight ends matchup matchup-based plays when deciding whether to start or sit David Njoku.
With that in mind… This isn’t a matchup you try to exploit. The Steelers allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season. There are a lot of boxes they tick off that you don’t want to see in a matchup-based tight end play. First, only Gronk and Delanie Walker topped 58 yards against them last year. Walker had 92 and Gronk ended with a massive 168 receiving yards. Second, only Adam Shaheen and Tyler Kroft scored touchdowns against them, meaning you can’t get a quick six of those seven points you bank on when streaming a tight end. Finally, they return a great number of their defenders, who should be getting even better in 2018.
It’s a mess of a situation for Njoku, who didn’t show that he was exemplary in 2017. He plays in an offense that doesn’t focus on the tight end, and he has an awful matchup this week. You may not have a chance to fade David Njoku if he’s already on your roster, but if you have it, take it. The answer to the question, “should you start or sit David Njoku,” is: Sit.
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