I'm not sure why, but tight ends are the most stressful part of fantasy football for me. I overthink the position, due in large part to me conflating them too closely with wide receivers, and end up just rotating so many players through that starting spot during the course of a season. Unless I draft Travis Kelce, that is, and then I'm pretty good leaving him in that spot all year. Luckily, this is a gambling column, not a fantasy column, so I don't have to worry about this position in relation to anything else. Here's a prop bet for a tight end in every major timeslot today, along with how I think their games will end against the spread.
1 PM-Buccaneers at Panthers
It's strange that I ended up choosing to focus on tight ends this week, as some of the strongest in the league at this position aren't even playing this week, but whatever, I can't repeat positions too soon.
One tight end that I predict to struggle, by no fault of his own, is Tampa Bay's Rob Gronkowski. Despite a few glimmers of his New England days, including a three game 50+ yard streak, Gronk has been overshadowed by Tampa's solid receiving staff led by Mike Evans. His role has been further diluted with Tampa's addition of Antonio Brown, who despite a lackluster performance in his return against New Orleans, will be eager to make a big impact on this Bucs team.
In terms of the game overall, I think Carolina will put up a fight. They covered a double-digit spread against the Kansas City Chiefs last week, and all of their wins this season have come as underdogs, with a 5-2 record against the spread. However, with the spread being within a touchdown, I don't think Brady is going to keep it that close. On the Panthers side, their defense will not be able to handle the sheer amount of weapons Tampa has on the field at one time, and an offense without Christian McCaffrey is not going to be able to pick up the slack. If your book brings the spread over 7 points, go with the Panthers, but until then, take Tampa.
My Pick: Rob Gronkowski UNDER 39.5 yards (-106)
ATS: Buccaneers -6.5 (-110)
4:05 PM-Broncos at Raiders
Darren Waller has had a career season for Las Vegas, quickly rising to one of the better tight ends in this league. In terms of fantasy, he has quickly become a hot commodity in a position where standouts are a dime a dozen, and at age 28, still has some decent years left to be one of the better tight ends of the decade. Look for Waller to get a decent amount of targets against a mediocre defense against tight ends. With the line set at 52.5 yards, I think taking the over is a safe bet.
When looking at the spread, there's been some interesting shifts throughout the course of this week. Over the past few days, the lines have shifted a whole point and a half in the Broncos favor, with the latest odds from MGM Sportsbook set at -3.5. The Raiders defense is definitely a big reason for this shift, as they have allowed fewer than twenty points only once this entire season. While Denver's offense has definitely improved over the course of the season, I think they still have a long way to go, so I don't think taking Vegas in this one is too risky. Check any shifts before you place your bet.
My Pick: Darren Waller OVER 52.5 yards (-106)
ATS: Raiders -3.5 (-110)
Sunday Night Football-Ravens at Patriots
Speaking of tight ends on teams that don't use them to their full potential, Mark Andrews' stats in 2020 vastly undersell how solid of a player he is. When Lamar Jackson is your quarterback, it's hard to get a lot of yards if you're not consistently the best target on the field. That's not a knock on Lamar as a player, it's just that he likes to run the ball. His teammates, including Andrews, know that, and it doesn't seem to be much of a problem. That is, unless you're Marquise Brown. Considering it's Lamar vs. Cam tonight, expect a lot of ground game, and take the under on Andrews.
In terms of the spread, it's been a rough season for New England. They let the Jets cover, for gods sake. Going into Sunday night, a large portion of this Pats defense is injured, which provides Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens offense to have a field day for themselves as well as your fantasy teams. The spread is currently within a touchdown, and that's pretty much a steal. Look for Baltimore to cover and then some.
My Pick: Mark Andrews UNDER 33.5 yards (-106)
ATS: Ravens -7 (-115)