Travis Kelce again showed just why he is the best tight end in the league with his second 100+ yard game in a row. He hauled in 10 receptions for 159 yards but failed to get into the endzone for just the fourth week this season. Irv Smith Jr. had a surprising game last week with two touchdown receptions. The problem with that is he only had two receptions in the game. If you think he is an option moving forward, you might want to be careful with that because he is heavily touchdown-dependent. Dalvin Cook has been the touchdown king for the Vikings, so they will probably be far and few between moving forward. Jimmy Graham found the endzone once again after a few down weeks. He caught all six of his targets for 55 yards which is his second-highest total on the season. The problem with Graham has been his yard totals. His volume is great, but he does not get the downfield attempts that give players their value. Can we expect games like this moving forward? Perfecting your starting lineup is what sets you over the edge and creates deep playoff runs. The tight end position is a great way to outperform your opponents as points can greatly vary. Here are some tight ends you will want to be starting as well as those you want to avoid this week to bring you over the top.
Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles
As one of the only major ball movers on the Giants’ offense, you can count on Evan Engram to get a lot of targets in each game and that has shown the past three weeks. He has received nine, 10, and 10 targets respectively over the last three weeks while also getting a touchdown last week. The Giants have a rematch from three weeks ago in which Engram picked up 46 yards on six receptions. While this was not an impressive game for Engram by his standards, he has the opportunity again to play a defense who has struggled against tight ends all season long. Seeing the increase in Engram’s usage over the last few weeks, this could lead up to be a big breakout game for him.
Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
Last week marked the second week in a row in which Ebron received a touchdown. On top of that, his volume has been up with at least five targets in each of the past three weeks. Where Ebron could see improvement is in his yardage which has only surpassed 50 yards twice all season. This week marks a great opportunity for Ebron to produce some high numbers as the Bengals have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. The Steelers will be without Ben Roethlisberger, but it could turn out to be a blessing for Ebron and the Steelers who will need to get used to Mason Rudolph moving forward. If Ebron and Rudolph can gain an early connection, it could be a bright future for Ebron if Roethlisberger is forced to miss more games.
Opponent: Houston Texans
This week marks the return of Austin Hooper back to action with the Browns. It has been three weeks including the bye week last week in which Hooper has not seen the field due to an appendectomy. Hooper will be a big boost to the Browns who have been struggling to get anything going. As Hooper can provide something new to the offense, it would be reasonable to assume that he will get a good amount of action in his return. Baker Mayfield got taken off the COVID/IR list and is set to go. That will be beneficial for Hooper who was starting to gain chemistry with him before getting the surgery. He had five receptions in each of the last three games he played in and 50+ yards in the last two. The matchup against the Texans is another boost that can result in a great return to work.
Opponent: New England Patriots
This is more of a hot take, but Mark Andrews has put up such little production over the past three Ravens’ games. After seeing the endzone in three of the first five games, it has been a dry spell for Andrews who has not received a workload great enough to compensate for it. Andrews is still listed as a top tight end this week despite the lack of use recently, but this matchup goes further against starting Andrews. The Patriots have been the second-best team at defending tight ends this season and have given up just one touchdown to them. Seeing how Andrews has been so dependent on them this season, it does not look favorable for him. There is no reason to drop off Andrews completely as he is great at finding the endzone, but this week has too many negative factors to go with him this week.
Opponent: Indianapolis Colts
Jonnu Smith has seen a drop off in work ever since an incredible start to the season. A touchdown last week made him a good start, but you cannot expect a touchdown this week due to the matchup. The Titans are up against the Colts who have not allowed a single touchdown to a tight end all season long. They also have averaged the least number of yards to tight ends as well. With both of those stat lines in play, there is virtually no reason to start him this week. With his current volume, he needs a touchdown to stay relevant, but the odds are completely stacked against him this week. It is going to be a rough next few weeks for Smith with matchups against the Colts, Ravens, and then the Colts again. Before it is too late, get yourself a new tight end.
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks
The Rams’ tight end situation is not one to get involved in with the combination of Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee. Both of those have been active in the offense, but neither has put up consistently high numbers to make a viable starting tight end. Everett has been the clear favorite among the two, but the split usage has drawn into Everett’s fantasy value. The Seahawks have been a poor defense against the pass, but that is with wide receivers. They have actually been a top team in defending tight ends, making the situation worse for Everett. I would imagine that the Rams will be using their elite receivers to move their offense much more than Everett or Higbee.
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