Week 11 TE Start, Sit Fantasy Strategy: Hayden Hurst Is Here To Play

In a fairly quiet week for tight ends, Rob Gronkowski led the way just like the old times with a touchdown and 51 yards. Coming out of a game where the Buccaneers failed to get any offense going, it was good to see Gronkowski back on his mid-season tear. In the last five games, he has four touchdowns which are definitely a step up from zero touchdowns through the first five games. Hunter Henry also found the endzone for just the second time this season. After a strong first three weeks, Henry has not eclipsed 40 yards which have significantly hurt his value. Since then, only his touchdown weeks have been above average performances. As you set your lineups for week 11, you may be wondering who to start at tight end. As we inch nearer to the playoffs, lineup decisions can be the difference between an early end to the season and a championship. Here are my thoughts on who you should be starting as well as who to avoid.

Start ‘Em

Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

It was a matter of time before we saw Hayden Hurst get the usage we all expected him to get. The Falcons love their tight ends from Tony Gonzalez to Austin Hooper and now with Hurst. He has gotten a minimum of 50 yards per game in each of the last four weeks and also has three touchdowns on the season. He has emerged as a top 10 tight end in the league and his usage does not seem to be coming to halt anytime soon. After a bye week to rest up, the Falcons are taking on their divisional rivals, the Saints who have been lenient towards tight ends this season. They have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points in the league to tight ends Seeing the work Hurst has been receiving, there is no reason for his production to dip, making him a definite start this week.

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Opponent: Los Angeles Rams

I mentioned in the introduction that Rob Gronkowski has been tearing it up lately with four touchdowns in the past five games. We all remember back to when he was on the Patriots and the connection he had with Tom Brady. Well, that is looking to be back with incredible mid-season play. The Brady-Gronk combination has led to massive amounts of fantasy points. The only concerning point is a slight downturn in his targets over the past few games, but his targets have resulted in significant yardage to put him over 40 yards in five of the last six games. The touchdowns also help make for it which has pushed him to a top 10 tight end after a lot of question marks to begin the season. There is no reason to not play him this week with a matchup against the Rams who have neither been good or bad at covering tight ends this season. You have to specialize in guarding tight ends to stop the roll that Gronkowski is on.

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints

Opponent: Atlanta Falcons

It has been mostly a so-so season for Cook who has really only found success in finding the endzone. On the weeks he does not, the numbers show for themselves, but his ability to score touchdowns has made him playable. This week is the week for him to go off as the Falcons are the worst team in the league at covering tight ends. He has only surpassed 50 yards twice this season, and if he does not do it this week, then it may be time to move on from Cook. Two miserable performances in a row would have many owners back away from him, but there is still hope for him. Jamies Winston will be a change for Cook as Brees went down with a rib injury last week. The change could be better for Cook who is a safe check-down option for quarterbacks.

Sit ‘Em

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

Opponent: Miami Dolphins

After a stellar beginning to the season, Fant has practically disappeared off the face of the earth. Not to that extreme, but he has not put up the same numbers since week 2 after back-to-back touchdowns. His target share has been healthy, but his catch percentage is the problem. He is not bringing in the yards to make him relevant. The Dolphins will not be making it any easier for Fant as they have been the sixth-best team at covering tight ends this season. With how their defense has been playing lately, any part of the Broncos offense is in trouble. The risk with his ankle injury just makes matters worse. He is a very risky pick in deeper leagues, but if avoidable, it is not worth playing Fant this week.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

Whenever the Colts come to town, it is best to avoid starting the tight end up against them. They have been absolutely dominant at limiting tight ends this season with not a single touchdown. Tonyan has had his three touchdown week to put him on the map and one productive game since then, but his numbers indicate a touchdown-dependant player and that just will not be happening this week. Not only have the Colts not allowed a single touchdown to a tight end, but they have also allowed the least number of yards per game. As Tonyan has already been struggling at getting yards even when Aaron Rodgers has been going off, it has been Davante Adams getting the work, leaving Tonyan in the dust. There is very little upside for him this week and a lot of downsides.

Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

You would maybe think that Greg Olsen would possess some value with being on the potential MVP’s team in the passing game, but Olsen has had little to nothing to do with Russel Wilson’s success. A touchdown in week 1 was Olsen’s highest fantasy producing game and since then he has hit 60 yards once and nothing else near that. The targets are low, the receptions are low, and the yards are low. These are all indicators of avoidance. The matchup against the Cardinals would have been good last season, but they have significantly turned things around and have been the seventh-best team at covering tight ends. There is no value to Olsen for what seems to be the rest of the season.

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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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