Should fantasy football owners turn to tight end Jonnu Smith if Delanie Walker is ruled out on Sunday?
Delanie Walker has missed practice each of the last two days with a knee issue, which begs the question: can fantasy football owners turn to Jonnu Smith if the veteran tight end is ruled out on Sunday?
Despite Walker’s absence from practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, we expect the veteran tight end to suit up on Sunday. Walker has made it clear in the past that he doesn’t need to practice an entire week to play.
Our own Will Lomas broke all of that down in an article on Thursday.
However, the chance remains that Walker’s knee is a bigger problem than we think and he could be ruled out prior to Sunday’s kickoff against the Atlanta Falcons.
If that happens, the Titans will use Smith as their primary tight end. In 13 games last season with Walker out for the year, Smith totaled 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns. With Walker healthy this year, Smith has been quiet with just three catches for 27 yards.
Based off Walker’s usage this season, there will be a lot of targets up for grabs if he can’t go. Walker has a healthy 22.8 percent target share in this Titans offense, and Smith could gobble up plenty of looks in Walker’s absence.
Smith is also an excellent athlete who has flashed big-play ability in the past. The third-year pro totaled three catches of 26 yards or more in 2018, with his longest play being a 61-yard gain.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota is not shy about throwing to his tight ends, as is evidenced by Walker leading the Titans in targets, receptions, and receiving yards this season.
When you combine that with the fact that Smith goes against a Falcons defense giving up 12.67 fantasy points per game to the position, this is a good matchup, also.
If you aren’t going to plan ahead with another tight end and are willing to wait until inactives come out on Sunday, Smith is a solid last-minute replacement if Walker can’t give it a go in Week 4.