Remember back after the 2020 NFL Draft, and we couldn’t believe the Green Bay Packers chose not to give Aaron Rodgers more pass-catching options? Instead, they opted for a backup quarterback, backup running back, and a backup tight end that head coach Matt LaFleur referred to as a fullback. Now, I am not going to say they made the right choice whatsoever, but maybe they knew something we didn’t see when it came to the talent of TE Robert Tonyan. If Tonyan wasn’t already on fantasy football radars, he for sure in now after his blowup game on Monday Night Football. Knowing the Packers have a bye week, should fantasy managers grab Robert Tonyan off fantasy waivers now or pivot to someone who can help managers in Week 5?
Robert Tonyan explodes in a three-touchdown performance on primetime
“But Aaron Rodgers doesn’t use his tight ends.”
Have you looked at this roster, especially last night? Davante Adams was out with an injury, Allen Lazard is on the Injured Reserve list after undergoing core muscle surgery, and their best option was Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Someone has to step up for Rodgers and the Packers offense, and Tonyan threw on his cape and put on a Superhero-type performance that will echo in the annals of Lambeau Field for decades to come.
Maybe that is a bit of hyperbole, but it was still damn good. Tonyan caught all six of his targets for 98 yards and three touchdowns. Among non-quarterbacks, Robert Tonyan’s fantasy stats showed that he was the fourth-leading scorer behind Joe Mixon, George Kittle, and Odell Beckham. That said, Tonyan has quietly been doing this all year.
Tonyan, who went undrafted out of Indiana State, had seven catches on eight targets for 75 yards and two touchdowns heading into this week and was already well on his way to a career season. He’s now tied for the most receiving touchdowns in the league this season with Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans at five.
No, Robert Tonyan’s fantasy outlook isn’t that of a high-volume type of player, but even with his limited target share (10.1%), he has shown to be more than effective. He is certainly someone who needs to be on all of your rosters given the Packers roster.
Can Robert Tonyan’s fantasy production continue after the bye week when Adams is back on the roster?
This is the largest issue facing fantasy managers as they will be placing waiver claims in the coming days. We all need to decide whether to pick up someone up for this week or to find long-term value. Week 5 is the first week when we have planned bye weeks. Both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers have the week off, meaning that if you go after Tonyan, he will not be available until Week 6.
Also, Adams will be back in the lineup as he barely missed playing on Monday. Giving him an extra nearly two weeks made all the sense in the world and aided in Robert Tonyan’s fantasy explosion.
Looking at Tonyan’s season when Adams has been in and out of the lineups allows us to put things into perspective. Remember, Adams last played in Week 2.
Week 1: 0 targets, 0 catches, zero…you get the point
Week 2: Three targets, two catches for 25 yards, and one touchdown
Week 3: Five targets, five catches for 50 yards, and one touchdown
Week 4: Six targets, six catches for 98 yards, and three touchdowns
Averaging 62% of the offensive snaps, it is safe to say that he has benefited greatly by the lack of other options. As we mentioned above, Lazard was also out for Week 4, which undoubtedly aided in Robert Tonyan’s fantasy blowup.
Amazing, for a player sitting near the top of the NFL in touchdowns, his redzone target is low. Tonyan has seen targets inside the 20 four times and just once inside the 10-yard line and 5-yard line. His 9.09% target share is tied for fifth on the team with fellow TE Mercedes Lewis.
I came into this thinking that Robert Tonyan’s fantasy production was set to have a massive drop, but I think this might be a legit thing in the future. I’m not saying that you need to expect three touchdowns every game, but there is some real touchdown upside each week. The Packers are targeting either their running back or tight end on 63.64% of their redzone attempts through four weeks.
Rodgers won’t throw to someone who he doesn’t trust. After using the first few weeks to help build the chemistry between them, I believe Tonyan is the real deal in fantasy.
Should you target Robert Tonyan knowing he will be on a bye week?
Yeah, I think you do go after him, but this is all team dependent. If you have a reliable tight end option this week, throw some FAAB on Tonyan or use a claim on him and stash him for when he returns. Finding useful tight ends in fantasy is hard and doesn’t come around very often. I think you need to strike while the iron is hot and get him on your team.
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