This week, I am giving thanks for fantasy football managers who have given up on their leagues. These turkeys have made it easier for the rest of us to mash fantasy football players off the waiver wire, stuffing them into our lineup. Over the last few weeks, matchups have solidified and roster moves have rolled off of a cliff. This makes it easy as pie to jam some sleepers into our rosters. To make this list of fantasy football sleeper tight ends, the player must be unrostered in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues. For you deep leaguers, we feature one tight end available in at least 90% of leagues. Without any further ado, let’s go ham on some week 12 fantasy football sleeper tight ends.
Dan Arnold versus Atlanta (39% rostered)
I’m going back to the Postman this week. Yes, he had literally the same number of targets that I did last week, but these things happen. The Jags will be without Jamal Agnew for the rest of the year, and their list of viable targets continues to dwindle. They’re now down to deciding whether to use Laquon Treadwell or Tavon Austin in 3WR sets. The clear plan here is to move more targets to Dan Arnold, who performed admirably when he actually had targets. The 49ers are one of the stingiest defenses against tight ends and started the game with a 13-minute drive, so I am willing to throw out everything for Arnold from last weekend.
The Falcons are a middle-of-the-road matchup, from a top-level view. The nitty-gritty details say that teams just don’t use tight ends against them, with only three tight ends topping five targets against them this year. Those three were Evan Engram, Mike Gesicki, and Adam Trautman. Predictably, Engram was bad, Gesicki was good, and Trautman was just okay. That’s enough evidence to tell me that if Dan Arnold gets targets this weekend, he will score fantasy points. They aren’t good against tight ends; nobody’s used tight ends against them.
Cole Kmet at Detroit (25% rostered)
Kmet has become a part of the Chicago passing game, getting at least five targets in four of his last five games. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t done much with those targets. His high-water mark is 6/87 against Pittsburgh in week nine, but he bottomed out last week with 1.7 fantasy points on two targets. He’s a pure volume play for the Bears, who will likely be without Allen Robinson’s services.
The Lions are a mixed bag against tight ends, and three months into the season I am still not entirely certain how to gauge their performances against the position. They’re tied with the Panthers for the 22nd-worst matchup against the position, but I think that’s because nobody uses tight ends against them. They’ve faced the eighth-fewest tight end targets on the year, which will suppress production (especially since these targets have led to just two touchdowns, the fifth-lowest number on the year). As it stands, however, I am comfortable calling them “not great.” They’ve allowed at least 7 half-PPR fantasy points to tight ends in four of their last five games, including 7.3 fantasy points to Austin Hooper last week.
Ryan Griffin at Houston (1% rostered)
The weekly “just start whoever is going up against the Texans” train rolls on, and this one really stretches the bounds of credulity. Griffin has at least four targets in two of his last three games and scored a touchdown against the Colts. Yep, that’s the best thing I can say about him. This has more to do with the Texans, who gave up 11.1 fantasy points to Anthony Firkser last week, and who give up good-to-great fantasy days to marginal tight ends on a weekly basis. They’ve given up at least 7.5 fantasy points to Chris Manhertz, James O’Shaughnessy, Tommy Tremble, Mo Alie-Cox, Zach Ertz, and Anthony Firkser on the year. And those are just the bad tight ends to do it against them.