The Streamer's Guide to TEs: Week 1
The Streamer's Guide is a series meant to help those of you who want to stream quarterbacks, tight ends, and/or defenses for some (or all) of the season. Streaming is the process of picking up and starting a player each week who is normally not a starting-caliber (or even roster-caliber) option at their position but who has a good matchup that week. This strategy, if played right, can net you the same amount of points as a mid-tier starter at any of the above positions. It is mainly used if you punted the QB position in the draft, your starting QB gets hurt, or you drafted Andrew Luck. Ready to get started? Let's hop right in!
For streaming tight ends, I look at two things: whether the team is at home, and the projected score of the game. The reason for whether they play at home is pretty obvious, but the reason for the projected score may not be. I look at the projected score because most of the time when a team gets into the red zone, the tight end is an important weapon. Teams who score more are more likely to be in the red zone often. For this week, I came up with 3 guys who might be worth a look in 10 or 12 team leagues.
1. Cameron Brate, TB (@ Mia, Proj: 30-28)
Brate is a super underrated tight end who has been sort of overshadowed by the Bucs' drafting of OJ Howard. However, rookie tight ends rarely make much of a splash, so we can still expect, at least in the first week, for Brate to see more of the snaps. Brate quietly finished 7th among tight ends in standard scoring leagues, so by no means is he a scrub. He is also only owned in 22.7% of ESPN leagues. Additionally, this Buccaneers-Dolphins game could easily be one of the top scoring games of the week and Jameis Winston loves his 50/50 balls, which Brate does a great job of corralling. If you are looking for a streaming tight end for week 1 and Brate is still available, he's your guy. Start him with confidence this week.
2. Charles Clay, Buf (v. NYJ, Proj: 21-17)
Clay is interesting to me for a different reason from Brate: he is the only option on his team other than Jordan Matthews. Yes, I know Zay Jones exists, but he is still an unproven rookie who Tyrod Taylor may not quite be comfortable throwing to yet. Also, he's playing the Jets. That's reason enough to start him right there. Owned in only 3.9% of ESPN leagues, he is very likely available in your league if Brate is taken.
3. Julius Thomas, Mia (v. TB, Proj: 28-30)
Julius Thomas is an interesting guy for me as a possible end-of-the-year top 10 option. Jay Cutler likes taking risks and throwing downfield and 50/50 balls, which are two of Thomas' strengths. Add to that the high scoring game and if you're desperate, he might be worth a look this week. He's as likely as anyone not named Jay Ajayi to score a touchdown in this game, and that's generally what you look for in a streaming tight end.
Thank you for choosing the Streamer's Guide to TEs, and I hope your chosen TE lights it up this week!