PPR Comparison Week 3: The “J” Tight Ends

Fantasy Football 2013[dropcap]E[/dropcap]veryone likes to compare different players as the week’s games approach. We all face the question of who to start over whom. We want the match-ups that give us the highest possible success rate. Sometimes the answer is easy to come by, sometimes it isn’t. This article will try to make those answers a little clearer in an attempt to help you win your weekly fantasy match-ups. Since tight ends will be featured in this week’s comparisons, Fantasy Points Allowed against Tight Ends (FPATE) may be taken into consideration.

Jared Cook @ Cowboys

Tight End

After a career outing in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, Jared Cook was a virtual no-show in the Rams’ 31-24 loss to the Falcons on Sunday. Cook recorded a measly 10 yards on one reception. What’s more disconcerting is that he had just six targets in Week 2, compared to the 10 looks he had in Week 1. While six targets is still respectable, it’s important to keep an eye on quarterback Sam Bradford’s distribution in the weeks to come. If receiver Austin Pettis becomes more involved, as he did in Week 2, Cook may lose a little bit of value.

It’s still premature to hit the panic button on Cook, especially after such a stellar Week 1 game. The Cowboys have been mediocre against tight ends in 2013, so give him at least another couple of weeks to prove Week 1 wasn’t a fluke.

Jordan Cameron @ Vikings

Tight End

Many of us expected Jordan Cameron to have a breakout season in Norv Turner’s new offense, but the success he’s had in the first two weeks of 2013 has been extraordinary. Cameron’s two game average comes to seven catches, 101.5 yards, and .5 touchdowns. The 6’5”, 250 lbs USC product also faces a Minnesota defense that has surrendered 20.5 FPATE.

While the match-up is favorable for Cameron this week, something has to be said about the Browns not having quarterback Brandon Weeden and with their best receiver Josh Gordon returning from his two game suspension. While Cameron should still see his fair share of targets, Gordon will undoubtedly take some opportunities away from the breakout tight end. Still, I consider Cameron a TE1 in Week 3 at Minnesota.

Julius Thomas vs. Raiders

Tight End

Perhaps even more pleasant of a surprise than Jordan Cameron at tight end is Julius Thomas. He scored again in Week 2 against the Giants after scoring twice against the Ravens in Week 1. That trend could very well continue against Oakland this week. The Raiders have allowed a touchdown in each of the first two weeks to tight ends. Additionally, his targets actually increased after his Week 1 coming out party from seven to nine.

What really makes Thomas appealing and exciting to watch is his freakish size and athletic ability. That’s not to mention the attention Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker draw away from him. As long as Thomas stays healthy, he’ll be difficult to stop each and every week. Consider him a TE1 from here on out.

Jason Witten vs. Rams

Tight End

Sunday in Kansas City turned out to be one of the worst professional outings of Jason Witten’s otherwise successful career. One of the most consistent tight ends in league history totaled just three catches for 14 yards. While the Rams haven’t exactly been lenient against opposing tight ends through the first two weeks of 2012, the Cowboys are still one of the most formidable offenses in the league. I expect Witten and company to get back on track at home against St. Louis.

Starting Order

  1. Julius Thomas vs. Oakland
  2. Jason Witten vs. St. Louis
  3. Jared Cook @ Dallas
  4. Jordan Cameron @ Minnesota

As I said earlier, Julius Thomas will be hard for any defense to contain this season, but especially against a sub-par Raiders squad on the road in Denver. I really like Witten to get back on track at home, especially after a tough loss on the road in Kansas City. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Dallas-St. Louis bout turned into a shootout, in which case Witten would benefit.

Jason Witten’s counterpart on Sunday (Jared Cook) should also see an influx in production compared to his one catch Week 2 performance. I expect the prodigal Cook to return to Top 10 tight end status this week in Arlington. As for Jordan Cameron, there are just too many red flags for me to not rank him below the other three tight ends this week. Weeden is out, Gordon is back and the offense in general is likely facing a difficult day at Minnesota.

Other PPR Comparisons:
PPR Comparison Breakdown: Week 2
PPR Comparison Breakdown: Week 1
PPR Comparison: Reggie Bush vs. Chris Johnson (Preseason)

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