Jack Doyle has seen success despite Andrew Luck’s absence.Gary Landers/Associated Press
Better Than Usual
Jack Doyle, IND (at HOU)
Even though the Indianapolis Colts are a mess and QB Andrew Luck still appears no closer to a return from his shoulder injury, Doyle’s solid season continued in Week 8 with his best performance. With so much made about opponent Tyler Kroft and the Cincinnati Bengals, Doyle was the star of the afternoon with 12 receptions for 121 yards and a TD on 14 targets. Over the last three weeks, Doyle has 25 receptions for 215 yards and two TDs on 32 targets.
While his big game helped, Doyle does have at least five receptions in five outings this season, and he leads the team with 42 receptions. Doyle comes into this week with his fantasy value at what might be a career high and a chance to keep his strong play up in a favorable matchup with the Houston Texans.
In the last four weeks, TEs have had the fourth-most fantasy points per game when facing the Texans. Doyle has every chance to remain the most reliable target for QB Jacoby Brissett when a matchup like this calls for it.
Tyler Kroft, CIN (at JAC)
Kroft looked primed for a big day when he faced a maligned Indianapolis Colts defense in Week 8, but he disappointed with five receptions for 46 yards on six targets. Once again, we learned that trusting Dalton is never easy to do, even with the matchup in his favor.
Putting that trust back in Dalton and Kroft isn’t easy to do with the Bengals’ matchup in Jacksonville. The Jaguars pbad defense is one of the best in the league, which is why TEs have struggled against it. In the last four weeks (three games), TEs have just 12 receptions for 78 yards and a TD on 22 targets against the Jaguars. The TE position isn’t deep, especially with six teams on bye, so sticking with Kroft is understandable even if expectations aren’t high.
George Kittle, SF (vs. ARI)
Kittle has been unable to follow up on what looked like a breakout performance in Week 5 when he hauled in seven of nine targets for 83 yards and a TD in Indianapolis. That game was the last Brian Hoyer started before being yanked in favor of C.J. Beathard a week later. Over the last three games, Kittle has had just seven receptions for 84 yards and no TDs on 14 targets.
Kittle will have to play at least one more game with Beathard as the starter, so even though the Arizona Cardinals have been vulnerable when it comes to TEs, Beathard has not been good enough for owners to rely on any member of the 49ers receiving corps. Plus, the Cardinals limited Kittle to two receptions and 35 yards on three targets with Hoyer still playing in Week 4.
Vernon Davis, WAS (at SEA)
According to John Keim of ESPN.com, head coach Jay Gruden doesn’t expect Jordan Reed to play in Week 9 after he left early in Week 8 with a hamstring injury. That opens the door for Davis to provide more production in Reed’s absence, which has worked out well in the past. Reed last sat in Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders, but the Redskins still got five receptions for 58 yards and a TD from Davis in the victory.
In fact, the only other Redskin with at least 50 receiving yards in four games this season is Chris Thompson. While that’s an impressive feat for Thompson and Davis, it’s a big indictment of the rest of Washington’s receiving corps. Davis is second on the team with 312 yards even though he was blanked in Week 1 and Reed has missed just one game so far in 2017. This weekend’s matchup with Seattle is a mediocre one, which means Davis could be a viable option, baduming Reed has to sit.