DFS Roundtable: Playing It Safe with Tight Ends

The DFS team discusses the safe plays at the tight end position

The tight end landscape has turned into a top-heavy environment. Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are the big names studs with Rob Gronkowski dinged up and coming off three straight dud games. Heading into Week 5 who is emerging from the 'rest of the bunch' has weekly considerations for DFS, any specific options who are set for big Week 5 performances?

James Brimacombe: Jared Cook looks like one of the safest options in a thin tight end group this week. Cook has 35 targets for a 26/370/2 stat line so far this season and will be playing in the second highest O/U game on the slate against the Chargers who just gave up a 6/125/1 line to George Kittle.
I also continue to hope for an Austin Hooper breakout game and I believe this week against the Steelers is the time for it to hit. I will leave this to a GPP only play as Hooper has only averaged 3 catches per game to start the season. The Steelers have allowed 8/85/0.8 stat line to opposing tight ends through four games this season, so fire up some Hooper.

Phil Alexander: Jared Cook is the easy answer, but his price and tournament ownership will be on the rise. Vance McDonald has been thoroughly impressive over the last two games, playing with the physicality that resulted in multiple 30+ yard gains. At just $3,700 (DraftKings), he's the cheapest (viable) way to buy into the team with the highest implied total on the slate. Even if he continues to play on about 50% of the snaps, McDonald is targeted heavily when he's on the field, is a mismatch for linebackers and safeties, and benefits from the attention defenses must pay to Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Dan Hindery: Vance McDonald will be extremely chalky this week against an awful Atlanta Falcons defense. He is badly misplaced on FanDuel at just $4,600. He has 9 catches for 174 yards and 1 touchdown over the last two weeks.

Jared Cook is also a great play. He scored two touchdowns last week and narrowly missed a two-touchdown game in Week 3 as well. He was ruled down at the 1-yard line twice in that game. While his price has risen quite a bit, he is still a decent bargain and looks like the cream of the crop amongst the second tier.

Will Grant: Trey Burton is a guy to keep an eye on as the Chicago passing game has run hot and cold this season, but he’s off this week so this might be something for next time.

Given the volume he had been receiving, it was only a matter of time before Jared Cook found his way into the end zone. He’s being targeted almost nine times a game, and he’s averaging more than six receptions and 90 receiving yards a game. He’s #10 on NFL the receiving yards list ahead of guys like Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr Jr. He needs to be a part of your game plans, especially in cash games.

Justin Howe: Cook is clearly a big part of what Derek Carr is trying to do. Jon Gruden is keeping that attack short and sanitized – even Jordy Nelson’s big plays from two weeks ago came through busted coverages and poor tackling. As a result, Cook looks like a matchup-agnostic seam threat week after week.

I’m also keeping an eye on David Njoku, who again checks in very reasonably salary-wise. The freakish sophomore has drawn seven targets in three of his four games, and Baker Mayfield seems to like him situationally. If he keeps drawing this much attention, he’s bound to produce a monstrous game at some point with those burners down the seams.