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Fantasy Football: Week 7 Tight End Matchup Report

Tight ends were heavily involved in the action in Week 6. There was a dozen tight ends who had at least seven targets, and fourteen tight ends who caught at least one touchdown pass. Rob Gronkowski returned from his Week 5 absence and showed why he’s the best in the business, as he torched the New York Jets for 83 yards and two touchdowns. His counterpart in that game, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, finished tied for seventh in standard leagues in Week 6. Of course, he would’ve finished second behind Gronkowski had he not had a touchdown overturned on a ridiculously terrible call, but I’m not bitter or anything. Moving on…

We have a full slate of quality tight ends available in Week 7. Only Detroit and Houston have a Week 7 bye, and neither has an elite tight end option. The leading fantasy point scorer among Texans and Lions tight ends in Darren Fells, and I sincerely hope you have a better weekly option on your roster than Darren Fells. Let’s take a look at which tight ends should see a bump (or dip) in their potential fantasy production based on their Week 7 matchup.


Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver BroncosHunter Henry is beginning to show the type of promise that resulted in him being projected by many in the fantasy community as a high-upside pick going into the season. Over his last two games, Henry has had 132 yards and a touchdown, including a career-high 90 yards in the Los Angeles Chargers’ Week 6 victory against the Oakland Raiders. He may finally have usurped the starting tight end position from Antonio Gates. Henry has dominated looks lately compared to the future Hall-of-Famer, out-targeting Gates 15-4 over the last two games.

Henry now faces the Denver Broncos, who have surrendered an average of 66.6 receiving yards to opposing tight ends this season. They’ve also allowed three touchdowns to tight ends. Philip Rivers’ favorite target, Keenan Allen, will likely be matched up against Chris Harris, Jr. in the slot. Rivers may have to look elsewhere in the passing game this week, and I think Henry will be targeted quite a bit in this matchup. I like Hunter Henry to be a TE1 and possibly a top-five TE in Week 7.

Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks at New York GiantsJimmy Graham has come on strong as of late after a slow start to the season. In his last three games, Graham has 17 receptions for 170 yards and a touchdown. Following a Week 6 bye, Graham and the Seattle Seahawks take on the New York Giants. The Giants finally ended their dubious streak of allowing at least one tight end to record a touchdown and have at least 40 yards receiving in each game this season. However, even in their best effort of the season, they still allowed Jeff Heuerman (I’ll give you a minute to click the link to confirm that he’s an actual NFL tight end) to catch a touchdown pass.

Graham had been dealing with an ankle injury before Seattle’s Week 6 bye, but the extra time off may have given him an opportunity to get back to full health. Graham should have no problem imposing his will against New York in this matchup. I expect Jimmy Graham to be a top-5 tight end in Week 7.

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings vs. Baltimore RavensKyle Rudolph has been the biggest beneficiary of recent injuries to Stefon Diggs and, to a lesser degree, Dalvin Cook. After seeing a sharp decline in targets and production over the first quarter of this season compared to 2016, Rudolph has looked more like the 2016 version over the last two weeks. He has 11 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown over the course of his last two games, seeing a whopping 18 targets in the process.

This week, the Minnesota Vikings face the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore has already given up six touchdowns to tight ends this season, trailing only the New York Giants in that category. With the status of Vikings’ wide receiver Stefon Diggs in question once again leading into Week 7, I expect Rudolph to be heavily involved in this matchup. Even if Diggs does play, the matchup is simply too good to ignore. I believe Kyle Rudolph will find his way into the end zone in this game, making him an ideal Week 7 start.

Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots – Once upon a time, there was a tight end named Austin. He played against the Patriots and scored a touchdown. No, this isn’t the tale of Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ Week 6. Mainly because he caught two touchdowns. OK, ok, I’ll stop. Either way, this will be the tale told of Atlanta’s Austin Hooper following his upcoming Week 7 trip to New England to face the Patriots. New England has allowed a touchdown catch by a tight end in five of six games this season, and they’ve allowed opposing tight ends to collectively crack 45 yards receiving in each game.

Much like Kyle Rudolph, Hooper has seen a recent spike in production due to an injury to a wide receiver. In Hooper’s case, it’s Mohamed Sanu, who missed last week’s game due to a hamstring injury suffered in Week 4. Hooper has accounted for 12 catches and 98 yards in his last two games. Sunday night’s Super Bowl rematch has a massive 55-point implied total, and Hooper can only benefit from the game’s shootout potential. I believe Austin Hooper ends up as a top-10 tight end in Week 7.


Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills – On one hand, I touted Cameron Brate as a massively undervalued tight end heading into the season, so I want to enjoy the fact that he’s currently the overall TE3, and TE2 on a per-game basis. On the other hand, I rostered him in exactly zero money leagues. Do as I say, not as I do, I suppose. In any event, Cameron Brate has run roughshod over NFL opponents this season. He has scored a touchdown in an NFL-high four straight games. But his Week 7 forecast is a little murky.

First, there’s Tampa Bay’s quarterback situation. Starter Jameis Winston has a sprained AC joint and his status for Tampa’s Week 7 tilt against Buffalo is very much in doubt. Going from Jameis Winston to Ryan Fitzpatrick would obviously lower Brate’s ceiling, but the matchup itself isn’t great either. The Buffalo Bills are one of just six teams who have not allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown so far in 2017. It would be hard for a Cameron Brate owner to bench him given his recent hot streak, but I expect the Brate Train to slow down just a bit in Week 7.

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers – Jason Witten has been wildly inconsistent thus far in 2017. He still checks in as the overall TE8 despite already having a bye week. This week, he and the Dallas Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers. Witten’s potential Week 7 volume figured to be enhanced by the absence of running back Ezekiel Elliott. However, Elliott’s looming six-game suspension has once again been temporarily postponed. With Elliott now eligible, I expect to see him receive a massive workload for the next couple of games.

Witten now looks to be a relatively low-volume option in a difficult matchup. San Francisco has been the stingiest defense in the NFL against tight ends this season, allowing just 209 yards without a touchdown this season. Jason Witten will not be a major factor in Week 7, and should not be started as anything more than a dart throw in Week 7.

Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City ChiefsJared Cook has been trending in the wrong direction recently ahead of Oakland’s Week 7 game on Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Cook had 46 receiving yards in Week 4, 25 in Week 5, and just 14 in Week 6. He has not scored at all during that span and even lost a fumble to boot. His 1.9 total fantasy points over his last two games puts him in a tie for fifty-first among tight ends.

He now faces Kansas City on a short week. Kansas City has shown vulnerability against tight ends at times this season, particularly following the loss of safety Eric Berry, but they have still not yet allowed a tight end to score a touchdown this year. The entire Raiders’ offense has struggled lately, and I don’t anticipate that changing this week. Fantasy owners should be able to find a better Week 7 option than Jared Cook.


Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville JaguarsJack Doyle had a very up-and-down outing in Indianapolis’ Week 6 loss to Tennessee. On the bright side, Doyle had seven catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. However, he had trouble holding onto the football on more than one occasion, including losing a costly fumble in the second half. Ball security issues aside, Doyle is in line for a good game in Week 7. Indianapolis faces the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville has elite perimeter defenders in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, which means Colts’ wide receiver T.Y. Hilton may be in for a long day. If that is the case, we may see Doyle emerge as Jacoby Brissett’s most-targeted pass catcher once again in Week 7. I think Jack Doyle is a sneaky top-10 tight end option this week, and I would start him with confidence in this matchup.

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