On Saturday Chargers’ tight end Hunter Henry lacerated his kidney against the Chiefs and on Tuesday the Chargers placed him on injured reserve. For fantasy owners this is heartbreaking as many leagues are into their championship games. For the season Henry finished as TE11, averaging 9.1 PPR fantasy points per game. Below, I give fantasy owners two possible replacement tight ends that are available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues.
Charles Clay (39% owned)
Final Matchups: @ Patriots, @ Dolphins
Clay has been up and down for fantasy owners this season, including a three week stretch where he missed with a knee injury. However, over his first four games of the season, Clay averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game. Last week against the Dolphins, Clay had five catches for 68 yards and 11.8 fantasy points. Clay has a decent match up this week against the Patriots and a good match up in week 17 against the Dolphins.
The Patriots rank 12th in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 10.8 fantasy points per game. However, the Patriots haven’t face an elite tight end since week one. The Bills passing game is a mess right now and because of that Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have many weapons he can trust. With the Patriots looking to shut down LeSean McCoy, look for Clay to see several check down targets this week.
For week 17, the Dolphins rank 28th in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 14.9 fantasy points per game. The Bills just faced the Dolphins in week 15 and Clay had 11.8 fantasy points, his best performance since week four. In addition, the Dolphins are allowing opposing tight ends to score an average of 14.2 fantasy points per game over their last five games. The Bills might be in a “win or go home” playoff situation in week 17, meaning Taylor will lean heavily on the trusty Clay.
Eric Ebron (31% owned)
Final Matchups: @ Bengals, vs Packers
Ebron has been a flop for fantasy owners most of the season, having as many games under three fantasy points as he did with 11 or more. However, Ebron has been hot the last two weeks, totaling 15 catches for 127 yards, one touchdown and 31.7 fantasy points. Lately teams have focused on slowing down Marvin Jones and Golden Tate opening up more opportunities for Ebron.
While the Bengals do rank 15th in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 11.4 fantasy points per game, they are just 0.7 fantasy points worst than the league average of 12.1 fantasy points per game. However, over their last two games the Bengals are allowing opposing tight ends to score an average of 16.1 fantasy points per game. It appears that the Bengals have quit on head coach Marvin Lewis and the season. Fantasy owners shouldn’t be shocked if Ebron gets in the end zone again this week as the Bengals have allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the last two weeks.
The Week 17 matchup against the Packers no longer means as much with the Packers eliminated from playoff contention and Aaron Rodgers placed on injured reserve again today. However, the Lions could be facing a “win and you’re in” playoff situation against the Packers. The Packers do rank seventh in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 10.5 fantasy points per game. However, over their last three games the Packers have allowed opposing tight ends to average 19.6 fantasy points per game. The Packers haven’t missed the playoffs since 2008 and the team will likely be thinking about offseason vacations in week 17, giving the Lions and Ebron an easy win.