Fantasy Football: Week 3 TE rankings

September 22, 2018

Looking for something sustainable when it comes to the Buccaneers’ wholly unsustainable gangbusters fantasy start? Look no further than O.J. Howard.

Howard’s usage has to be one of fantasy’s more encouraging developments through two weeks. Based solely on his talent and draft pedigree, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that he’s played over 71 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, parlayed into five catches for 150 yards and a touchdown — with exactly half of that yardage coming on his 75-yard touchdown Sunday vs. a tough Eagles ‘D.’

Indeed, that monster touchdown showed off Howard’s unique speed for a 6-6, 250-pound tight end, but he also has catches of 35, 20 and 19 yards in the early going — he’s earned his positively D-Jax-esque 30 (!) yard catch average. Lest we forget, he averaged 16.6 yards per grab last season. The guy is a flat-out electrifying playmaker from the TE position, the rarest of rare in any year but particularly in this injury-ravaged season early on.

But Howard enthusiasts like us had to be concerned this offseason when Cameron Brate received a six-year, $41 million extension containing $18 million guaranteed. That kind of deal generally portends a major role. Yet Brate has earned only 38 snaps and failed to secure either of his two targets as the Bucs have favored ’11′ personnel with quickly ascending Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson, off to the fastest start of his career, alongside Alpha WR1 Mike Evans.

Small sample size? Of course. And the Bucs eventually are going to have to run the football successfully, which might mean more two-TE looks. But even once that urgency increases, Howard will be their best blocking asset from the TE position, too, which should at least keep him on the field more than 55 percent of the time like in his rookie season.

Howard is a freakish athlete and rare talent who, like Derwin James one year later, should’ve never slipped into the late teens of the draft (No. 19 overall, two spots after James fell into the Chargers’ lap this past April).

There are undoubtedly a lot of mouths to feed in this upstart Tampa passing attack, but Howard and Dirk Koetter should be licking their chops last week after watching the film of Travis Kelce destroying Pittsburgh’s secondary last week. Howard very well could do the same Monday night.

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots at Lions

2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. 49ers

3. Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. Colts

4. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings vs. Bills

5. O.J. Howard, Bucs vs. Steelers

6. Jordan Reed, Washington vs. Packers

7. Evan Engram, Giants at Texans

8. Jimmy Graham, Packers at Washington

9. George Kittle, 49ers at Chiefs

10. Jack Doyle, Colts at Eagles

11. Trey Burton, Bears at Cardinals

12. Tyler Eifert, Bengals at Panthers

13. David Njoku, Browns vs. Jets

14. Jared Cook, Raiders at Dolphins

15. Will Dissly, Seahawks vs. Cowboys

16. Benjamin Watson, Saints at Falcons

17. Jesse James, Steelers at Bucs

18. Austin Hooper, Falcons vs. Saints

19. Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals vs. Bears

20. Nick Boyle, Ravens vs. Broncos

21. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars vs. Titans

22. Dallas Goedert, Eagles vs. Colts

23. Vance McDonald, Steelers at Bucs

24. Ryan Griffin, Texans vs. Giants

25. Jonnu Smith, Titans at Jaguars

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