With Week 6 now officially here, it’s time to say hello to fantasy football zombie Niles Paul. Many people likely didn’t even know the longtime Washington Redskins tight end was now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But after an injury to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Paul finds himself as an interesting option as a potential bye-week filler or flex play.
On the surface, most people are likely just going to overlook Paul this week, but there’s reason to believe he could be worth using in some fantasy spots. I wouldn’t go crazy rolling him out, but let’s break down the situation for the 29-year-old wideout ahead of the game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Key Stats and Niles Paul’s Fantasy Outlook
For Paul, a good portion of the decision on playing him or not comes down to the matchup and situation this week. All information on fantasy points and statistics for defense vs. position are from ESPN.
- Dallas Cowboys vs. tight ends in 2018: 30 receptions, 249 yards, one touchdown (No. 16 most fantasy points per game)
- Paul played 42 percent of the Jaguars’ offensive snaps in Week 5 (Seferian-Jenkins played), per Football Outsiders
- Blake Bortles has targeted tight ends 45 times through five games
- Paul saw nine targets in Week 5 loss to Chiefs
Paul had a bit of a coming out party in the Chiefs game, catching 7-of-9 targets for 65 yards. What stands out about this to me is that fellow backup tight end, James O’Shaughnessy saw six targets as well. The two nearly played the same number of snaps, and it’ll be interesting to see what the coaching staff opts to do with this split.
Based on upside, though, Paul has a major edge on O’Shaughnessy and could be a name worth monitoring.
Should You Start or Sit Niles Paul?
There are a few issues I have with diving in head-first to the Niles Paul hype. Part of it is that the Jaguars were behind the entire game to the Chiefs, so they were throwing in an effort to come back. There is almost no chance Bortles throws the ball 60-plus times in a game again this season.
With that said, the Jaguars quarterback has thrown it at least 33 times in each game and has gone above 38 attempts three times. With Leonard Fournette sidelined, it leads to Bortles throwing more, which should bode well for Paul and the wideouts.
I’m not all that concerned about the matchup with the Cowboys, and I actually think Paul will receive a respectable number of targets. But Bortles throws to his receivers much more than tight ends, with Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole combining for 25 targets last game.
If you need a bye-week filler for 14-team leagues or larger, I’m fine with Paul. I’d even consider the idea of using him in 12-team leagues, but I’d have to assume there are a few more options on waivers. I really don’t dislike the spot, though, as he should play around 60 percent of the snaps or more, making him a fine option in larger leagues.
Source: Heavy Sports