As we roll into Week 17 on the NFL slate, the fantasy football tight end position has been remarkably thinned due to injury, attrition, and changing roles for some players. If you don’t have an elite option or are playing in a league where you need a salary break, here are five options that aren’t typically among the most expensive or owned options in the league but that have nice upside to finish the season strong:
Ryan Griffin-Houston Texans
Griffin has stepped into the vacancy left by injuries to Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham and filled in nicely as an outlet in the Texans passing attack. The last two weeks he has a total of 11 catches for 128 yards and has converted every single pass thrown his way over that span. This week, he and the Texans close out their disaster of a season against the Titans who allow the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends making Griffin a nice flier candidate with some upside as he looks for his first NFL touchdown in his rookie season out of UCONN.
Delanie Walker-Tennessee Titans
Walker is a big part of the Titans attack and has been gathering steam as a low-end TE1 as the season comes to a close. He struggled with a concussion for a few weeks but has been very productive when on the field especially when working with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Walker scored a TD in his last game against Houston in week two, and Houston has struggled to defend opposing TE’s making him a good candidate for a strong finish.
Charles Clay-Miami Dolphins
Clay and the Dolphins need to win to have a shot to get in the playoffs so it’s a good thing they’ll have Ryan Tannehill back under center as they face the Jets on Sunday. It’s also good news for Clay who is one of Tannehill’s most often-used targets. In his previous meeting with the Jets, he had 80 yards on seven catches. Clay is a low-end TE1 especially after totaling just five catches the last two weeks, but I think he’ll bounce back with a solid game to finish the season.
Marcedes Lewis-Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags just don’t have many reliable receivers left which has led to an increase in looks and production for Lewis in the last four weeks. He’s found the end zone in each of those games and has been over 50 yards the last two weeks against the Bills and Titans. This week, he and the Jags finish the season in Indy to take on the Colts who usually do a good job against opposing tight ends. There just isn’t many other options for Chad Henne, so I think Lewis still ends up with a solid game.
Christian Fauria-Detroit Lions
Fauria looks lined up to finish his rookie year with a solid game as the Lions take on the Vikings beat-up secondary. The Vikings allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and Fauria will get the start with Brandon Pettigrew out for the season. He’ll also get some more attention with Megatron likely to sit this one out. Fauria has developed throughout the season both as a red zone option and a target over the middle. He’s a long-shot, but one that could pay off in a big way in a good matchup.