Week 1 TE Rankings & Projections (PPR): Hunter Henry a Top 5 TE Against the Bengals?

The 2020 fantasy football season is fast-approaching and Lineups has you covered. Check out our latest rankings, our top-notch projections, and our historical fantasy football stats.¬†Week 1 will bring some massive matchups and an exhilarating slate of fantasy-relevant games. If you’re preparing for your season-long draft, make sure you check out our draft rankings. If you’re looking for seasonal profiles, long-form analysis, or positional ranking breakdowns, check out our fantasy football hub. Check out our fantasy points allowed statistics from last season as well. With the industry-standard PPR scoring now the preferred format across the country, we’ll be breaking down rankings in that scoring format. Let’s dive in.

Week 1 RankingPlayerWeek 1 OpponentWeek 1 Projection
1Travis KelceHOU18.3
2George KittleARI16.1
3Zach Ertz@WAS14.9
4Hayden HurstSEA14.7
5Darren Waller@CAR14.0
6Hunter Henry@CIN13.9
7Mark AndrewsCLE13.8
8Jonnu Smith@DEN13.4
9Jared CookTB13.0
10Evan EngramPIT12.1
11Tyler HigbeeDAL12.0
12Greg Olsen@ATL11.7
13Noah FantTEN10.8
14Blake Jarwin@LAR10.7
15Rob Gronkowski@NO10.6
16Mike Gisecki@NE10.5
17Eric Ebron@NYG10.2
18Jack Doyle@JAX10.1
19Ian ThomasLV9.5
20Gerald EverettDAL9.4
21Irv Smith Jr.GB9.2
22Dallas GoedertWAS9.1
23Austin Hooper@BAL8.9
24T.J. HockensonCHI8.8
25Tyler EifertIND8.6
26Kyle RudolphGB8.4
27Chris Herndon@BUF8.1
28Jimmy Graham@DET7.8
29O.J. Howard@NO6.9
30C.J. UzomahLAC5.9

Week 1 Studs

Travis Kelce and George Kittle are the first two tight ends to be drafted in every fantasy football league and both players should be in for huge games in Week 1. Kelce’s Chiefs take on the Texans who allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends last season and haven’t done much to improve their defense. Kittle will play against Arizona, the team that allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends last year. While the Cardinals did acquire three new linebackers including first-round pick Isaiah Simmons, Kittle should still dominate. Zach Ertz is in for a big game against a weak Washington secondary and with the Eagles likely missing Alshon Jeffery. The Falcons’ Hayden Hurst will take on the Seahawks in Week 1, which should be a plus matchup as Seattle allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points to tight ends last year. While the addition of Jamal Adams will certainly help in that area, the Seahawks’ defensive efforts will be focused on Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, so I like Hurst to be involved. Finally, I have Hunter Henry joining the top five this week for a couple of reasons. The Chargers play the Bengals, a weak defense overall, in Week 1 and will be without Mike Williams. Henry should see a bump in targets and I believe there’s a strong chance he reaches the end zone this week. He’s one of my favorite targets for Week 1 DFS lineups.

Week 1 Duds

Evan Engram is one of the big names who could struggle in Week 1 as he has to take on the Steelers’ stacked defense. I’m very concerned about all Giants’ fantasy weapons this week as I expect the Steelers’ defensive line to run roughshod over a Giants’ offensive line that is starting two rookies. I still expect Engram to see some solid value so he’s a decent enough starting option, but this won’t be one of his better weeks. Many fantasy owners will be excited about Austin Hooper’s arrival on the Browns coinciding with the hiring of Kevin Stefanski, an offensive guy who loves his tight ends. I’m lower on Hooper than most as I don’t see a ton of passing volume in Cleveland this season, but I’m certainly not playing him in Week 1 against the Ravens’ defense that was the best in fantasy against tight ends last year. Rob Gronkowski has some bust potential in Week 1 – many fantasy players will be thrilled to see his comeback but he takes on the Saints’ defense which was top-ten in fantasy points allowed to TEs last year. Gronk is also at best third in the pecking order behind two target hogs in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Mike Gesecki could let down fantasy players in Week 1 who have bought into his breakout as he faces an elite Patriots’ secondary.

Week 1 Streamers

Tight end is a shallow position in fantasy football and if you’re streaming it, you can sometimes get caught with no good options in a given week. Luckily, there should be plenty of stream-worthy tight ends on your waiver wire at this point in the season. Hayden Hurst and Jared Cook should have been drafted in your league but if they’re somehow on the wire go scoop them up right now. Jonnu Smith will likely only be drafted in around 60% of leagues and he’s a great start for Week 1 as he’s playing against a Broncos defense that was middle-of-the-pack against tight ends last season. While the Titans had among the lowest passing volume last season, Smith is a featured player and will see some very valuable targets in the red zone.

While Will Dissly is making his way back from injury faster than expected, Greg Olsen should still be the starting tight end Week 1 for the Seahawks and he sees¬† a middle-of-the-pack Falcons’ defense. He could easily come down with four or five receptions from Russell Wilson as the Seattle quarterback loves to throw to his tight ends. Blake Jarwin also pops up in my top 15 this week. The Cowboys’ tight end is one of my favorite late-round targets and I think he’ll be a serviceable tight end on most weeks. Being a part of what should be one of the most explosive offenses in football will certainly help Jarwin’s production, as will playing against a below-average tight end defense for the Rams.

Week 1 Deep League Options

If you’re in a 2TE league or in a league with more teams than normal, these are the tight ends to look out for. Eric Ebron doesn’t have a high ADP at all and he should have plenty of opportunities against a mediocre Giants’ defense. Ebron has one of the higher touchdown probabilities on the week, as well, as the Giants allowed the eighth-most passing touchdowns last season. Both of the Colts’ tight ends, Jack Doyle and Trey Burton, could have solid value this week, but Doyle has been dealing with a neck injury and may not be able to play. New Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers loves utilizing his tight ends and the Colts’ offensive scheme will help feature that position. If Doyle is unable to play, Burton would have top-12 upside, and even if both are able to play, they could each have deeper-league value.

Ian Thomas is one of my favorite deep-league tight end sleepers this season as the young, talented tight end takes over for Greg Olsen who has moved on to Seattle. The Carolina passing offense is set to be much-improved with the additions of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, head coach Matt Rhule, and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Thomas gets a great Week 1 matchup against the Raiders’ defense that was the seventh-worst against tight ends last year. The Rams’ Gerald Everett could have some sneaky value in a plus matchup against the Cowboys – Dallas allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to tight ends last year. Finally, the Eagles’ Dallas Goedert could have solid production despite being the TE2 on his offense. Philadelphia takes on Washington in Week 1 who’s defense allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends last year.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. I've been playing fantasy football for as long as I can remember and am now in far more leagues than any person should take part in. There are few things that give me as much joy and excitement as fantasy football, and I'm excited to share my input with you in your journey towards a championship.

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