Quick Ups: Darren Waller
Tight End is arguably the most frustrating position in Fantasy Football. In years past, Tight End has been extremely top heavy with a majority of owners being forced to stream the position and throw a Hail Mary dart throw into their starting lineups week to week. In 2019, we’ve seen an injection of talent and production come over the Tight End landscape with the likes of Evan Engram, Mark Andrews, flashes from T.J. Hockenson, and a resurgence from Greg Olsen. Possibly the most impressive example of the Tight End position returning to prominence has been from Darren Waller of the Oakland Raiders. In this Quick Ups article, I’ll point out his most impressive stats and show how he can sustain this momentum in becoming a mainstay on our fantasy rosters.
At 6 foot 6, 255 pounds, Waller is a monstrous former Wide Receiver, ideally suited for the “move” TE role we’ve seen become so valuable in the NFL. Waller has been playing outside, inside, catching screen passes, post routes, catching the ball in the flat as well as flexing his muscle on contested throws up the middle. He’s quickly become a do-it-all necessity as the focal point of Oakland’s passing game.
Through 3 games, Waller has amassed 26 receptions on 29 targets for an 89.6% catch rate. Those 26 catches are second in the league at any position through 3 weeks. He has made himself a necessity in this Oakland offense.
Waller’s 267 receiving yards rank 3rd at his position and 10th in the league. With only 174 Air Yards on those 267 yards receiving he’s shown a penchant for gaining yards after the catch, as evidences by his 150 YAC. His yardage total looks even more impressive with his average depth of target of only 6 yards.
The only thing holding him back from being TE1 overall is Touchdown production. At this point he has zero touchdowns, but with his 30% overall target share and seeing 25% of the Raiders’ red zone targets we should see progression when it comes to Touchdowns for Waller.
With the buy window firmly slammed shut, there are shards of glass all over the floor. Owners savvy enough to have drafted Waller or those who scooped him up off waivers early in the year can comfortable take off their socks and walk right across that broken glass without getting so much as a scratch. Barring injury, he will remain a locked in, set and forget TE1 for the rest of 2019, and potentially beyond. Quick ups to Darren Waller.