Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is officially back, but what should fantasy football owners expect?
During Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen suffered a foot injury that has sidelined him since. But a return for Week 12 always seemed likely, and on Friday it became official when Olsen was taken off injured reserve.
Olsen had gotten off to a slow start this year, with just three catches or 28 yards in less than two games. But he was a top-10 fantasy tight end in five straight seasons (2012-2016), and he was a top-five fantasy tight end each year from 2014-2016.
Olsen will be back on the field Sunday against the New York Jets, for the second-to-last regular season week in most fantasy football leagues. So what should fantasy owners expect from here on out?
It would be safe to assume a limited snap count for Olsen, at least in his first game back. And Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has backed up that notion.
Entering Week 12, the Jets have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends (13.1 per game; ESPN PPR scoring). A snap split with Ed Dickson this week could lead to a split of good production too.
From Week 13-Week 16, all four of Carolina’s opponents went into Week 12 in the top half of the league against tight ends (ESPN PPR Scoring). That includes two matchups against teams currently in the top five against the position, in Week 15 (Green Bay Packers) and Week 16 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
Olsen is only available in 18 percent of Yahoo! leagues now, and he’s available in slightly fewer ESPN leagues (17.2 percent). But there’s still some room to add him, which makes it worth it to check on his availability in your league.
Olsen is probably the most matchup-proof tight end around in fantasy football, this side of Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. Despite some tough matchups at the most important time of the fantasy season, as long as he is healthy, Olsen is a viable TE1 and a potential league-winning player. Just be aware of some risk-reward element for Week 12, based solely on playing time concerns.