Evan Engram a risky fantasy play for Week 1

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp

The 2018 NFL season is finally underway. With this, Fantasy Football owners are frothing from the mouth as they finally get to see their players in action. If you roster neither a Philadelphia Eagle nor an Atlanta Falcon, the wait remains until Sunday, which gives you time to perfect your starting lineups. With these extra hours, decisions must be made in order to rid your starters of any flaws. For those who roster tight end Evan Engram, you are strongly advised to look for alternative options for week one.

During his rookie season, the New York Giants’ first round pick proved capable of flourishing at the professional level. In 11 starts the, then, 23-year-old recorded an impressive 64 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns, leading rookie tight ends in all three categories.

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Giants

With these numbers, Engram ranked fifth amongst tight ends in fantasy by seasons end. Now, heading into year two, owners are expecting the Giants standout to build upon his rookie success. While this is a fair expectation to have, don’t anticipate anything special during their opening matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Last season, the Jaguars were unequivocally one of the best defenses in the league, ranking within the top five in almost every statistical category. In regard to Fantasy Football, Jacksonville finished the year as the number one defensive unit, accumulating 208 total fantasy points. When a player would face-off against this Jags defense last season, it was almost a guarantee their fantasy ceiling was hindered significantly, specifically those at the tight end position.

According to pro-football-reference.com, last year Jacksonville was the fourth best defense against tight ends in regard to fantasy points allowed. For the entire season, the team let up only 616 receiving yards and a mere four touchdowns to opposing tight ends. On average, going up against the Jags, those at the position recorded only 5.7 fantasy points-per-game. With this, the odds are not in Evan Engram’s favor to have a great outing in Big-Blue’s season opener.

As previously stated, Evan Engram had a very impressive campaign in 2017. A big reason for this was due to his high usage rate. With season ending injuries to both of New York’s top targets (Odell Beckham J.r and Brandon Marshall), quarterback Eli Manning was forced to look elsewhere for receiving support, thus making Engram a hot commodity on the Giants offense. Now, with OBJ’s return, along with Sterling Shepard’s increased role and the addition of supposed rookie phenom Saquon Barkley, Manning will have an influx of talent to toss the ball to which, obviously, will cut into Engram’s target share.

Evan Engram is a talented player in the NFL who, in year one, proved to be a big threat to opposing defenses. Frankly, there is no question the man can ball and, thus, should be rostered in almost every fantasy league. This article is not meant to sway people away from targeting Engram as a potential starter in their lineup for this season. This is, however, a warning to those who DO roster him to, if  possible, stash him on the bench in week one.

With a tough matchup against a stout Jacksonville defense as well as no longer being the teams go-to offensive option, Engram may stumble out of the gate in 2018. While he should be expected to finish the season as a solid starting tight end in fantasy leagues, expectations must be curbed in week one against the Jaguars.


Possible replacements for Engram in week one:

  • Cameron Brate, TB (owned in 24% of leagues) 
  • Benjamin Watson, NO (owned in 36% of leagues)
  • Charles Clay, Buf (owned in 55% of leagues)
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