After last Monday night’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith let it be known (via ESPN New York.com) that tight end Kellen Winslow had expressed frustration on the sideline with his diminished role in the game. The veteran tight end played just 19 snaps, catching a touchdown on his only target, while Jeff Cumberland had three receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown as the No. 1 tight end for the Jets.
Winslow has a history of knee issues that has limited him in practice during the week thus far this season, and he will now be suspended for the next four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Cumberland is in line for an even bigger role going forward, but should fantasy football owners have him on their radar?
Cumberland went the first two games of the season without a catch or even a target, but he has seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns over the last three games as he and Smith appear to be building some rapport. The Jets added preseason darling Zach Sudfeld last week after he was waived by the New England Patriots, but how his role will change during Winslow’s suspension is unclear at best right now.
Looking toward the Jets’ next four games before they have their bye in Week 10, we find the Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 6), New England Patriots (Week 7), Cincinnati Bengals (Week 8) and the New Orleans Saints (Week 9) on the docket. In terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends, all four teams are in the top half of the league (ESPN scoring) against the position entering Week 6, with the Steelers and the Saints in the top 10.
I don’t expect Cumberland to suddenly become an elite fantasy tight end, but his stock is trending the right direction right now. That makes him worth a look as a TE2 or potential bye week replacement in 12 and 14-team leagues, even with some tough matchups coming.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.