Week 12 TE Start, Sit Fantasy Strategy: Hooper Is Healthy Again

Travis Kelce showed again just why he is clearly the best tight end in the league. His fourth 100-yard game on the season included eight receptions for 127 yards with a touchdown. Darren Waller in second place for fantasy scoring is still nowhere near Kelce who has dominated this season. Speaking of Waller, he also had a good game, just not as great. Seven receptions for 88 yards with a touchdown stands as his second-best week of the season with a very favorable matchup coming this week against the Falcons who have given up the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. They will likely falter again with facing one of the best tight ends in the league. Mark Andrews as the top-three tight end in the league finished third last week to make a perfect line of one through three for weekly and seasonal bests. His volume is beginning to rise with five receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. He was the clear favorite in the Ravens’ receiving game and that will likely continue to be the case. Start the right tight end this week and win your close games to make the playoffs and contend for a championship. Here is a list of a few tight ends you should be starting and some to be skeptical of.

Start ‘Em

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

It has been a slow return for Hooper back into action but that can be expected when returning from surgery. Now that he has a few games back under his belt, we can expect to see a greater number of targets going Hooper’s way especially with this matchup against the Jaguars. The Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season and have averaged the third-most points against in the NFL this season. There is a great opportunity for the Browns to have their rare high-scoring game which Hooper can be highly invested in. Seeing how the Jaguars have struggled with tight ends and keeping teams out of the red zone, a big game could be Hooper’s future who has previously shown just what a monster threat he can be in the past.

Evan Engram, New York Giants

Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

During the middle of the season, Evan Engram’s target share took a great jump which even included his first touchdown of the season. What I would call a fluke in week 10 against the Eagles was a step back in the wrong direction, but when you look at the Giants, Engram is the favorite in the receiving game with his reliability. After a bye week to get everything back together, the Bengals serve as a great matchup for Engram as they have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends. As he is the most solid and consistent option in the receiving game, I would expect a lot of action for Engram this week as what is normally expected from him.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

Opponent: Chicago Bears

Robert Tonyan is a riskier start this week as he has been up and down all season long, but seeing his performance last week against the Colts who have been the most challenging defense for tight ends, Aaron Rodgers seems to still like using Tonyan. He caught all five of his targets last week for 44 yards and a touchdown against the toughest team, so if he keeps up the energy, he has the potential to go off against the Bears who have been much more lenient to tight ends. Tonyan has a history of going off against the defenses that have struggled against tight ends, so this could easily be another one of those games.

Sit ‘Em

Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons

Opponent: Las Vegas Raiders

After what was supposed to be a great matchup for Hurst against the Saints, he blew it. He only had two targets on the whole game and he converted none into receptions, posting a donut in the score column. After having so many games in a row with a high volume of targets, this was a surprising outcome. While he will likely get his target share back, the sudden drop is concerning. Can you expect him to bounce back immediately against the Raiders who have been fairly decent at covering tight ends this season? While it is possible that could be the case, it is also possible their offense does not get anything going again. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are the favorites in the offense and will be the go-to players if the Falcons want to move the ball, leaving Hurst as a stretch for causing any great impact.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Opponent: New York Jets

After such great hope for Mike Gesicki out of the gates, he has come straight back down with five straight games filled with disappointments. He has not seen one touchdown nor eclipsed 50 yards during that span which has kept his fantasy production in the dumps. The change to Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback has had no effect on his performances and even the change back to Ryan Fitzpatrick has not. It is about time to close the curtain on Gesicki as if he is to have a large production game again, it will be a shot in the dark. He has gone through some favorable matchups where he did not see anything great. If he cannot perform against the Jets, it is a sign of the times as the Jets are one of the worst defenses in the league.

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans

Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

After three touchdowns in a row over the last three weeks, Jonnu Smith is looking fantasy-relevant, but his 32 yards, 14 yards, and 20 yards respectively over those three games look heavily touchdown-dependant. He just does not have the stats to back up when he does not reach the endzone. The good part about Smith is that he does come out of most games with a touchdown, but this matchup will be a hard one to do that again. The Colts have let up just one touchdown all season long which came last week to Robert Tonyan. Seeing how they have held tight ends to almost nothing all season long until last week, there is not a good chance of anything coming for Smith this week.

I am a student at the University of Michigan studying Sport Management. I have been involved in sports as long as I can remember, playing football, baseball, and basketball. I also love learning how to play songs on the piano and ukulele.

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