The NFL has two weeks in the books, and we’ve learned the same thing we learn every year about this time: we don’t know anything. The entropic nature of the NFL season means we are starting to scramble to replace guys who we thought were starters for us. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three tight end sleeper options for your fantasy football teams this week. To make this tight end sleeper list, a player must be on fewer than 50% of Yahoo! rosters as of writing. Each week we make one super-special deep dive pick (10% rostership or lower).
Week 3 Tight End Sleeper:
Jared Cook at Kansas City (48% rostered)
There’s a long-standing saying at Football Absurdity. “Don’t believe his lies.” It’s cribbed from the hit flick Memento. In it, Guy Pearce has a unique memory problem and needs to document everything to remind himself. He takes a picture of Joey Pantoliano and scribbles on the back: “Don’t believe his lies.” For years, we repeated this saying after every Jared Cook breakout game, like some distrustful yogis trying to reach enlightenment. But, I am kind of believing his lies this year. Jared Cook is fifteenth in tight end fantasy points, but he’s one illegal shift penalty away from a touchdown, which would make him tied for sixth in tight end fantasy points on the season. The Chargers clearly want to use him, giving him one fewer target per game than the Chiefs give Travis Kelce. And it’s all legitimate, too. His target share is fourteenth, but the Chargers run so many dang pas splays (44, #6 in the league) that Jared Cook’s target rate feels legitimate. He is becoming That Dude for the Chargers, don’t miss out.
The Chiefs have a tight end problem, as well. They let David Njoku go 3/76 on them in week one. They stymied Mark Andrews, keeping him to just 5/57, but that has more to do with the Baltimore Ravens’ offense than anything else.
Week 3 Tight End Sleeper
Evan Engram versus Atlanta (36% rostered)
Look, I still believe in Evan Engram. I think that his drops issues are overblown (he had hardly any before last year), and the Giants’ offense is humming faster and stronger than we thought. Engram is just 27 and is four years removed from one of the best fantasy football rookie tight end seasons of all time. So, things could turn around for him.
This is also a cake matchup, as the Falcons yielded the second-most fantasy points per game so far this season. They gave Dallas Goedert 4/42/1 in week one, and Gronk 4/39/2 in week two. It’s no shame giving up 40 and a score to those guys, but there’s also no shame in giving that up to Engram. Get Engram on your roster because there’s a chance he’s the hot pickup at tight end after this week. Getting him now lets you beat the waiver wire next week.
Week 3 Tight End Sleeper:
Jack Doyle at Tennessee (4% rostered)
Jack Doyle doesn’t have the highest upside of the tight end sleepers, but he does have a shot at a touchdown, so isn’t that really the same thing? Jack Doyle is quietly eighth in tight end targets, with six per game through the first two, just one per game behind guys like Kyle Pitts and Noah Fant. So, he’s getting the targets, and targets are really good! It’s very difficult for a tight end to get catches without targets. Sorry if you can’t keep up, that’s high-level stuff, I know.
This week, Doyle gets the Titans. They look like a bad tight end matchup on paper, giving up the fewest tight end targets on the year. But, they’ve faced Demetrius Harris and Gerald Everett. The Cardinals’ tight end defense faced fewer targets in their two games (5) than Doyle averages per game. Go ahead and light him up if you’re desperate. He’ll get you something.