Getting headbutted in the face last night must have fueled him quite a bit.
During his time with the 49ers, tight end Delanie Walker had a case of the drops. However, with the Titans, he is hanging onto the football, and emerging into a very viable fantasy tight end. After coming off a four-catch, 62-yard, one-touchdown performance on Sunday, I was a bit hesitant to suggest starting Walker on Thursday night. A short weekend, downgrade at quarterback, weak matchup, what was there to like?
Walker dominated right out of the gate, hauling in the first couple of passes for the Titans. He finished catching all 10 of his targets for 91 yards and a late touchdown. Walker dominated the intermediate crossing routes, and at one point, he and Kendall Wright were the only Titans’ receivers to catch a pass. He looked good, and even made some plays after the catch. The fact that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t sling the ball down the field is going to be very beneficial for the fantasy values of not only Walker, but Wright as well. According to Pro Football Focus, Wright’s aDOT (average depth of target) is sitting at 6.9, which is the third-lowest among wideouts. Walker, meanwhile, is averaging 9.8 yards per target. Fitzpatrick on the season is averaging just 7.28 yards per pass attempt. If Tennessee continues this intermediate style of passing offense, Walker can catch anywhere between four and seven balls per game, though he is currently averaging about four. So, after two consecutive strong performances, one question remains.
Can Walker continue to serve as a viable fantasy tight end?
Walker is a very talented player who couldn’t see a lot of opportunity in San Francisco. That changes in Tennessee, with an unproven rookie in Justin Hunter and lost cause Kenny Britt, he may actually be the second receiving option on this team from here on out. In the games where Fitzpatrick has been under center (4), Walker has been targeted a healthy 29 times, hauling in 24 passes. That’s efficient, folks. Initial starter Jake Locker is done for the rest of the season, and believe it or not, Fitzpatrick’s presence is actually good for Walker. The check downs will result in volume for Walker, and Fitzpatrick has clearly been looking for him.
And if that wasn’t enough, his rest of season schedule isn’t too bad, either.
FPPG To TE
Keep in mind that a few of these games could feature Tennessee trailing, which means more passing attempts for the Titans. If you are hurting at the tight end position, go out and grab Walker. He’ll be a high-end TE2 for the rest of the season, and is currently only owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.