Of the four skill positions, tight end has definitely been the toughest one to fill this season in Fantasy.
Running backs get all of the headlines, but there has been a serious dearth of consistent, productive tight ends this season, beyond the top three or four.
However, because we've come to accept mediocre production from the tight end position, we don't seem to panic quite as much about the risers and fallers here. Whereas running backs pretty much dominate the waiver wire in most leagues, many Fantasy owners are content to treat tight ends like kickers or defenses, streaming every week in the hopes that you get enough to get by.
Well, I say Fantasy owners deserve better, and Zach Ertz and Eric Ebron can give that to them. Both put together strong performances in Week 9 and have a chance to make a difference down the stretch for Fantasy players, making them well worth looking to add on waivers.
In Ertz's case, his performance Sunday isn't exactly an outlier. He has struggled to make much of an impact this season, especially since coming back from a rib injury in early October, but we've seen him play at an extremely high level in the past. In fact, Ertz was exactly the kind of difference maker Fantasy players hope for down the stretch last season, when he racked up 450 yards on 35 receptions in the final four games. He wasn't able to carry that into this season, but he has proven he can before, and his eight-catch, 97-yard performance on Sunday might be a sign that he is about to go on another nice run.
Ebron has never had that kind of run before, but he is in just his third season and has had injury issues of his own throughout his NFL career. However, the former N0. 10 overall pick is showing signs of figuring things out recently, with 14 catches for 171 yards over his last two games, including 92 yards Sunday. Sometimes it takes tight ends a while to get going, but Ebron seems to have hit his stride, and there's no doubting his has the physical ability to be an elite tight end. Maybe this is the start of something big.
Of course, difference makers at the running back position are still at a premium, and we've seen Chris Ivory be one before. Never for a full season, mind you, as he ran out of steam in the second half last season after dominating in the first. However, he ran hard Sunday and showed some of that ability that made him so valuable a year ago. Ivory dominated the work in the running game, racking up 107 yards on 18 carries, including an impressive 42-yarder, matching his longest of the season. This isn't a great situation, because the Jaguars' offense is rarely in a place to run the ball heavily and Ivory still has to share work with T.J. Yeldon, but Sunday was a nice reminder that he is the type of running back who can create a lot for himself, and may be a nice value play down the stretch after he found himself on waivers in thousands of leagues.
If you want to chalk up DuJuan Harris's big game in Week 9 to easy competition, you won't find much disagreement out there. Harris knifed through the butter-soft Saints' defense for 142 all-purpose yards, including a team-high 59 on 10 carries. He found the end zone on a 47-yard touchdown catch, and this one was the best argument for this just being the result of incompetent defense, as he simply outran everyone on the Saints to score on a swing pass out of the backfield. Still, this are NFL players, and it's not like every running back goes out and has a game like this against the Saints. With Carlos Hyde working his way back from a shoulder injury, this may just be a one-game thing for Harris, but he showed more on Sunday than any of the 49ers' other replacements for Hyde have so far. With Hyde's status for Week 10 against the Cardinals very much up in the air, you'll want to put in a bid for Harris after a game like this.
We thought we knew how the Jaguars' passing game would shake out this season. Allen Robinson would obviously be the No. 1 target, while Allen Hurns would provide big plays as the second option. That isn't quite how it's worked out. Instead, it is Marqise Lee who has emerged as, if not Blake Bortles' favorite option, at least second among equals this season. Lee, whose career high in receiving yards was 422 as a rookie in 2014, topped that mark with his performance Sunday, as he racked up 84 on four receptions to bring his season total to 442. He is now tied with Robinson for second on the team in receiving yards, and his 34 receptions through eight games rank second on the team as well. Lee has yet to find the end zone, but otherwise his production looks a lot like Hurns and Robinson's, and it's not clear the other two are clearly ahead of him in the offense. That doesn't make Lee a starting-caliber Fantasy option, but there is probably enough volume in this Jaguars' passing game to make Lee worth owning at this point.