Week 9 TE Start, Sit: Tight End Fantasy Football Strategy

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Week 8 had a couple of new tight ends lead the pack in scoring. Ryan Griffin led the Jets in receiving with 4 receptions for 66 yards with 2 touchdowns. They were the Jets’ only two touchdowns, but that doesn’t take away from his score. Darren Fells also went off for 6 receptions for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns. Can these two do it again? Here are my starts and sits at tight end for Week 9.

Start ‘Em

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

There is never a week that George Kittle shouldn’t be started, but I just want to throw him in here to say that he faces the best matchup for tight ends this week. The Cardinals have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends. They lead the way with 7 touchdowns to tight ends against them with an average of 75.9 yards per game. There is no doubt in my mind that Kittle won’t at the very least hit that average since he has been the top receiver for the 49ers. The touchdown potential only gives Kittle increased value. I could almost guarantee a touchdown this week.

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

Opponent: Oakland Raiders

T.J. Hockenson has not lived up to the hype so far after a monster Week 1. He hasn’t gotten the volume to make him much of a viable tight end option at any other point in the season. This week might be the week for his luck to change. The Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season with the second-most touchdowns. With Matthew Stafford heating up, he may look to Hockenson a lot more this week and give him a boost of value.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

Opponent: Tennessee Titans

The whole Panthers offense looked miserable last week outside of Christian McCaffrey. This includes Greg Olsen’s 13 yards on 2 receptions. There have only been 2 memorable weeks this season for Olsen coming back in weeks 2 and 3, but Week 9 is seeming to be a good matchup for him. The Titans are a below-average team when it comes to guarding tight ends. As the Panthers look to getting their groove back, they can rely on a veteran like Olsen in a favorable matchup.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Opponent: Chicago Bears

Zach Ertz is still the top tight end in Philadelphia, but Dallas Goedert has made his way up to a viable starting candidate. He has brought in a touchdown in each of the past two games while Ertz has had just one all season. The Bears pack a strong defense, but the one hole in it is their ability to guard tight ends. They have allowed 58 yards to tight ends on average which is likely to be split between Ertz and Goedert, but they have yet to face a team that targets tight ends as much as Philly, so that total should go up this week.

Sit ‘Em

Chris Herndon, New York Jets

Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Chris Herndon has finished serving his suspension but had to sit out extra with a hamstring injury. He is set a ready to go, but his volume is not expected to be very high. First, because he has yet to play a single game this season, but also because of the recent success of Ryan Griffin. Herndon is expected to be the number one tight end in this not-so-good offense, but I would wait at least this week to see what kind of action Herndon gets before he can be claimed as a starter.

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Noah Fant has never seen the kind of production to give him any type of significant fantasy value. His average floor and low ceiling don’t give any reason to start him unless there isn’t any other option. The change of quarterbacks in Denver may have an impact on his usage, but there is no reason to start him this week. The Browns are about an average defense against tight ends, giving up only 40.6 yards per game. I don’t see Fant being an option this week or for future weeks.

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

Vance McDonald has not gotten much action at all this year. He has averaged just 24.3 yards per game with under 3 receptions. His one two-touchdown game was the only week with any significance, but even in that, he only got a total of 38 yards. The Colts won’t be any more help to his cause as they have only allowed 3 touchdowns to tight ends this year. Their yards allowed per game is higher at 59.3 but McDonald doesn’t have the type of usage to be of any value against that.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans

Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

Darren Fells has become the first tight end in Texans’ history to have multiple multi-touchdown games in a single season which is impressive in itself. He has built a solid amount of fantasy value because of his touchdown potential, but he still is lenient on scoring to give big fantasy value. The Jaguars are not the kind of defense that allows tight ends to score very often. They have allowed just 2 all season as well as limiting tight ends to just 37.8 yards per game. The low probability of Fells scoring a touchdown makes me lean towards not starting him unless forced to.

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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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