Through the first part of the 2014 NFL season, tight ends have played an uncharacteristically important role in fantasy football leagues. As Week 4 begins, owners have important decisions to make about who to start and who to sit.
Last year, just one tight end finished the season in the top 25 in receiving yards, and no players at the position were in the top 10. Through three weeks and the Week 4 “Thursday Night Football” game of 2014, five tight ends are among the NFL’s top 22 receivers.
Most of this year’s top tight ends began the season under the radar. While Jimmy Graham is among the leaders for a fourth straight season, the likes of Niles Paul, Delanie Walker and Larry Donnell aren’t usually at the top of the list.
To start Week 4, Donnell had of one of the best fantasy games of any pass catcher in 2014, recording seven receptions for 54 yards and three touchdowns. Will any other tight ends put up similar numbers on Sunday or Monday?
Below are players to watch at the tight end position in Week 4, including potential sleepers and starters that could have a poor game.
Battling an injury to start the season, Davis has been one of the most disappointing tight ends in 2014, catching seven passes. Some owners might be wary of him in Week 4, considering he missed San Francisco’s last game and was limited in practice on Thursday. However, he’s told reporters that he’s feeling good, and he’ll take one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses on Sunday. He’s a must-start against Philadelphia, and could score multiple touchdowns.
The second-year player has been a major part of the high-powered Eagles offense, but he could be in for a down week against the 49ers. He caught just two passes in his last game, and will face a tough San Francisco defense on the road. The 49ers held Witten to just 14 yards in the season opener, and Ertz could experience a similar day in Week 4.
Witten usually isn’t the best tight end in the game, but he consistently ranks among the top five by the end of the season. That hasn’t been the case in 2014, as he’s failed to surpass the 100-yard receiving mark or get into the end zone. Even if the veteran is no longer in his prime, he still has some big games left in him. Sunday night could be the perfect spot for him to put up big numbers, playing against a Saints team that is terrible on the road and allowed 647 total passing yards in their first two road games.
Heading into Week 4, Julius Thomas was the only tight end to record more fantasy football points than Bennett in 2014, according to Yahoo! Sports. Don’t expect the Chicago Bears’ tight end to continue that success this week. He faces the Green Bay Packers, who’ve only allowed 65 total yards to tight ends in three games. Jay Cutler usually has trouble with the Packers, and Bennett could be in for a subpar performance.
Fleener had his best game of the season in Week 3, and he might do even better in Week 4. He was targeted seven times against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and eight times in the opener. The Tennessee Titans have a strong secondary, which could force Andrew Luck to look for Fleener more often. The Indianapolis Colts offense continues to get better each week, and it could result in a big game for the tight end.