Week 1 was wacky for fantasy football, and the tight end position was no different. Dallas Goedert, a tight end on the waiver wire in many leagues, was the top scorer at the position with a monstrous 8-catch game for 101 yards and a touchdown. Washington was a bottom-five defense against tight ends last season and after a Week 1 in which they allowed both Goedert and Zach Ertz to score double-digit fantasy points, we know they should be targeted in fantasy yet again. Mark Andrews was the only tight end to score two touchdowns in Week 1 and he finished as the #2 scorer behind Goedert. I would also be remiss if I didn’t dedicate a part of this intro to pour one out for Blake Jarwin who’s season ended very early with a torn ACL. The Blake-out was coming and I hope he heals up soon. After a Week 1 slate that taught us some of what to expect from tight end defenses, let’s dive into our rankings for Week 2.
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|Player||Week 1 Opponent||Week 1 Projection|
|Irv Smith Jr.||@IND||9.2|
Week 2 Studs
Travis Kelce was drafted as the #1 tight end off the board in just about every week and he made good on that draft price in Week 1 with a top-three finish at the position. As long as he’s attached to Patrick Mahomes, Kelce should be one of the top tight ends week in and week out. He takes on a Chargers defense in Week 2 that allowed the relatively unheralded C.J. Uzomah to put up four receptions for forty-five yards. Mark Andrews finished as the TE2 in Week 1 as the only player at his position to score two touchdowns. Andrews is one of Lamar’s go-to targets and the two of them have developed uncanny chemistry. Andrews takes on the Houston defense in Week 2 that Kelce just carved up.
George Kittle should be in a nice spot for a bounceback game this week against the Jets – assuming he plays. Kittle suffered a knee sprain in Week 1 and his status for Week 2 is currently up in the air, so if you are relying on him in your lineup, pay close attention to the streaming section later in this article. I also have Darren Waller as a top-five tight end this week after he had six catches for 45 yards in Week 1 – he’s the most reliable presence in the Raiders’ passing game and is consistent as tight ends get for fantasy football. Evan Engram takes on the Bears’ defense that allowed T.J. Hockenson to finish as the TE4 in Week 1, making Engram an awesome play.
Some fantasy players may be hesitating to start Tyler Higbee this week after a relatively quiet Week 1, but the most important takeaway from that game was the snap share – Higbee played on 65 snaps, the most in the NFL in Week 1 at tight end, while Gerald Everett played on just 24 snaps. Higbee’s role in the offense has been solidified and he should produce against an Eagles defense that allowed Logan Thomas to finish as the TE6 on the week. Across the city in LA, Hunter Henry also has a strong chance to finish as a top-ten guy this week after he was the most successful target for Tyrod Taylor in Week 1. Henry’s Chargers play the Chiefs and should need to throw the ball quite a bit to keep up in the game.
Week 2 Duds
Zach Ertz is the guy everyone is going to be wondering about after a curious Week 1 performance. After an early touchdown, he disappeared from the action and finished with just three catches for 18 yards as Dallas Goedert was the only tight end to go over 100 yards. I still see Ertz as a fine TE1, but his upside is capped with the continued emergence of Goedert. Ertz still played on 58 snaps in Week 1, compared to 54 for Goedert, as the Eagles ran a ton of two-tight end sets. Ertz’s baseline is very solid, but with the emergence of other weapons in the passing game, his upside isn’t going to be the same as it was last year.
Hayden Hurst was disappointing in Week 1 after I had touted him as a potential top-five guy and I’m nervous to play him against a Cowboys’ defense that largely held Tyler Higbee in check despite how often he was on the field. Hurst is the clear-cut starter at tight end in Atlanta, but he may need some more time to develop chemistry with Matt Ryan and assert himself as a consistent target. I want to see him do it before I start him again.
Mike Gisecki and Noah Fant are two second-year tight ends who I am very high on, but they both play tough defenses in Week 2. The Steelers and Bills were two of the best passing defenses in the NFL last season and I would look for other options before rolling out Gisecki or Fant in a tough matchup. I’m also fading Greg Olsen against the Patriots and Chris Herndon against the 49ers.
Week 2 Streamers
With the NFL continuing to progress towards a pass-heavy league and every player on the field needing to be capable of catching the ball, it seems like there’s more depth at the tight end position than ever before. There are going to be a couple of guys available on the waiver wire in typical leagues every week who can be plug-and-play options. T.J. Hockenson is still available in about 30% of leagues on ESPN and should be one of the top priorities on the waiver wire this week. The Lions’ tight end had the fourth-most fantasy points at the position this week and finished with a solid line of five catches for 56 yards and 1 touchdown. The Lions take on the Packers’ pass defense that got roasted by the Vikings in Week 1 and Hockenson should have another strong performance.
Austin Hooper is still available in 30% of ESPN leagues as well, although he finished with just 2 catches for 15 yards. With David Njoku now out for the season, Hooper will be on the field even more and he already played on 56 snaps in Week 1 (among the leaders at the position). The Bengals’ defense let Hunter Henry finish with 5 catches for 73 yards in Week 1 and provide a strong matchup for Hooper in Week 2. Mike Gesecki is still available in a lot of leagues and while he has a tough matchup in Week 2, he is a viable starter who I would be fine rolling out there. Dallas Goedert is also likely on your waiver wire and after finishing as the TE1 in Week 1, I have him projected as my TE13 in Week 2. The Eagles love their 2-tight end sets and Goedert is clearly a talented player who could have the opportunity to excel this season.
Week 2 Deep League Options
For this group, I’m going to focus on tight ends who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. Chris Herndon fits that group at the moment, but I expect that to change by the end of the week. As the first or second target in the passing game for Sam Darnold, Herndon offers a solid weekly baseline – he had 6 catches in Week 1. This offense isn’t exciting, but Herndon is a talented player and I would be fine with starting him in Week 2 despite the tough matchup. Jack Doyle is also available in a lot of leagues and I would be fine with starting the Colts’ tight end against a weak Vikings’ pass defense. Doyle had 3 catches for 49 yards in Week 1.
Greg Olsen is still available in a lot of leagues after an impressive Week 1 in which he had 4 catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown won’t come every week, but as he gets more comfortable in his new offense, he will carry fantasy value by virtue of catching passes from Russell Wilson and playing in an offense that is suddenly looking to air it out. He plays the Patriots’ tough pass defense in Week 2 so I’m fading him a bit, but he’s still a solid option. O.J. Howard might still be available in your league, and I like his potential after what we saw from Rob Gronkowski in Week 1. Gronk was a glorified sixth offensive lineman for most of the game and Howard is the far more dynamic pass-catcher at this point in their careers. Against the Panthers in Week 2, Howard has a massive opportunity to succeed.
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