Need a Tight End for your Fantasy Team?
By: Chinmay Kulkarni
Tony Romo, Ian Eagle, Kevin Harlan, and alike mentioned the phrase National Tight Ends Day on the broadcast a zillion times in Week 7. If I had a tight end for every single time the 2019 minted holiday was stated, I could fill an entire 52-man NFL roster with just TEs. This day, celebrating these larger pass catchers and blockers, was chock-full of impressive performances from tight ends all around the league, from Atlanta rookie/week 7 savior Kyle Pitts, to Mike Gesicki, and even second-string fill-ins such as the Raiders’ Foster Moreau. From a fantasy football perspective, serviceable points in week 7 byemegeddon from the tight end position were not hard to come by.
NFL week 8 is a respite from bye week frenzy, with two tight-end heavy teams on bye – the Ravens and the Raiders. Fantasy football owners looking for quick replacements for Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, or recently injured Dawson Knox (all top 10 TEs) may need to look deep on the waiver wire. However, I’m here to tell you that the solution for bye week woes may come from one of Carson Wentz’s go-to red zone targets, Mo Alie-Cox.
Other than being bench fodder for G to PG-13 rated fantasy football team names, Alie-Cox leads the Colts in receiving TDs. He ranks 15th at the TE spot and cannot be recommended as a weekly fill in at a TE1 position over the likes of Travis Kelce or TJ Hockenson. Could he be used as an emergency TE2 or flex, yes, but as a starter, there’s a weekly bust potential baked into the risk.
Apart from playing NCAA basketball being the only fact broadcasters ever seem to know, our Mr. Fantasy Irrelevant is an excellent addition to plug-and-chug for injuries or bye weeks. Alie-Cox ranks top 3 in passes caught (not including the Colts backfield) and top 5 in targets from Carson Wentz. The chemistry between Alie-Cox and Wentz grows in the redzone – 3 of his 4 TDs come within the opponent’s 20 yards line and stands as a top 3 target from Wentz in the area. Though indicating that fantasy production may be TD-dependent, the fact remains that the Colts look to pass to the 6’6’’, 267lb target regularly in the endzone. Colts OC Marcus Brady has even gone on the record and told reporters that he’ll be ‘more and more involved’ in the offense.
We can’t talk fantasy production till we get past the opponent. The Colts play the Titans in the second matchup of the season. Though the Tennessee defense has grown and evolved from Janoris Jenkins being bad, to Janoris Jenkins being serviceable, the Colts’ offense has steadily improved under the helm of Carson Wentz and Frank Reich – winning 3 of their last 4 games while taking the Ravens to the brink in a rock-fight on Monday Night Football. The Titans are one of the worst units against the wide receiver spot, good against TEs, and stand as middle of the pack against the run. Overall, I think the game plan from the Colts’ coaching staff remains from their week 7 slopfest in Santa Clara – run the ball and throw short – the Carson Wentz special. A good production day for Alie-Cox, as a huge target to notch TDs and 3rd and short opportunities, seems due.
The long-term outlook for Alie-Cox looks promising as well. The Colts have the Jets, Jacksonville twice, and the Texans on the schedule. As the Colts fight for a wild-card spot, the only good remaining defensive units stand as the Bills, Cardinals, and Buccaneers.
Consistent production at the tight end spot is crucial for sustained fantasy success, especially in bye week season. The Mo Alie-Cox stock is on the rise, and now is the best time to buy. Could you do worse at the TE spot, absolutely. As tight end depth depletes and consistent players at the position being only a handful, Mo Alie-Cox may be a play in deeper 10 or more man leagues.