The football season draws nearer and nearer and as we get closer, you may be thinking which tight ends are startable this week and which are not. I got you covered here as I go through the starts and the sits for tight ends to start the season off. We have nothing to go on from this year as the preseason was canceled, but judging off last year’s performances and matchups, we can get a good understanding of who is set to at the very least reach expectations and who will likely fail to reach them. There are plenty of tight ends after the top tier that will produce solid value, but here are the ones that will be the best and the worst for week 1. This is your starts and sits for week 1 of the NFL season at tight end.
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks
We see some new colors for Hayden Hurst this year after joining the Atlanta Falcons over the offseason. With Austin Hooper now in Cleveland, there will be virtually no one to challenge his tight end work barring any injuries. We all saw how dominant Austin Hooper was while he was healthy in Atlanta which can be used as an indicator for Hayden Hurst and how he will be used this season. With how great Tony Gonzalez was before, it is clear to see the Falcons love their tight ends. The Seahawks serve as a good matchup for tight ends as well which gives only all the more reason to pick up Hurst and throw him into your starting lineup.
Opponent: Tennessee Titans
Towards the end of the season last year, Noah Fant began to step onto the stage of tight ends to watch out for. As the Broncos have restructured their whole offense, Fant remains as one of the few constants from last year. The receiving game is a big lacking factor in their team as of now, so Fant will likely be utilized a lot more than last season or more of what he saw near the end of the season. The starting of Drew Lock at quarterback has begun the uptick in Fant’s production and that should be continuing into this season. The Titans do not have a strong defense against tight ends as of last year, so Fant should be off to a hot start.
Opponent: Chicago Bears
T.J. Hockenson was a first-round pick last year for the Lions, but an injury set him back and kept him from the expectations set before him. As the new season begins, this could serve as a restart for Hockenson who started out the season as one of the most impressive tight ends out there. We have seen what he is capable of on the Lions as one of the bigger guys that can bring down jump balls and muscle his way through defenses. As of last year, the Bears’ weakness in their defense was guarding tight ends. While there are not as high of expectations towards Hockenson this season, there is a great chance that he blows them up instantly.
Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
There are a lot of question marks surrounding Austin Hooper in the 2020 season. He has made his way to Cleveland which always has questions surrounding them as of what to expect each season. Baker Mayfield is said to improve and still has Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to throw to. The additions of Hooper and Kareem Hunt give Mayfield even more solid options. But nothing is solidified in how the Browns will operate this season and if last year gives any indication, it does not look good for Hooper. Despite his explosive season last year, the Browns are not the Falcons and there should be some regression. The Ravens give a very challenging matchup for Hooper in week 1 so it would be better to hold off for now and see what happens before hopping on Hooper.
Opponent: New England Patriots
The Dolphins just do not look like a good team this year top and down. Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to start the season again with the possibility of seeing Tua Tagovailoa at some point. On the receiving front, DeVante Parker is the top option along with Preston Williams. Jordan Howard and the new addition of Matt Breida control the run game, but this does not seem like a team capable of consistently moving the ball. Gesicki is not the tight end to receive a bulk of the action which further depletes his value. To top it all off, the Patriots will be on the other side of the ball who were the top defense last season. While they are not likely to have the same success, they still remain a top contending defense that does not give much reason to start Gesicki this week.
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Chris Herndon is in a similar position as Gesicki (above). He finds himself on the Jets whose foundation sits in the hands of Le’Veon Bell. While Bell is full of talent, he has very little help from the rest of his team to move the ball. Sam Darnold has shown that he is not a very reliable quarterback of which Herndon would be relying on this season. Herndon is not the player to carry the team on his back so it is likely that he will see less action due to the strength of his team. The Bills also serve as a horrible first game for Herndon to step onto the field against. They kept opposing tight ends to the second-lowest scoring in the NFL last season and that does not appear to be changing.
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