Last week, two tight ends managed double-digit targets: Travis Kelce (12) and Austin Hooper (10). Tyler Eifert (7), Trey Burton (6), Cameron Brate (6), and Irv Smith Jr. (5) are all cheap guys that saw notable volume. Eifert (neck) is on injury watch, though. Let’s dig in.
1 Travis Kelce @ BUF
The Bills have allowed 51 targets to tight ends thus far, the second-most in the NFL. They’ve also allowed the most receptions (39) and yardage (418), while conceding four scores. This isn’t a scary matchup for Kelce.
2 George Kittle vs. LAR
The Rams are bottom third of the league in targets, receptions, and touchdowns to enemy tight ends. Only eight teams have allowed fewer yards to tight ends, though. This still shouldn’t be a problem for a YAC beast like Kittle. I’d be more concerned about his quarterback play than his matchup.
3 Jonnu Smith vs. HOU
4 Mark Andrews @ PHI
That’s right, I said it! Jonnu over Andrews, for this week and maybe for the rest of the season. Smith (18-221-5) has matched Andrews’ (18-222-5) production so far, though he’s done so in one fewer game. The return of A.J. Brown doesn’t scare me off, either. It just makes me want to buy Ryan Tannehill everywhere I can.
Andrews has a great matchup against the Eagles, too. This ranking isn’t a slight to him, it’s just promotion of what Smith has done. The Eagles rank inside the bottom six teams of the league in receptions, yards, and touchdowns to enemy tight ends.
5 Evan Engram vs. WAS
He keeps finding ways to produce (rushing score last week) even though he’s been a bit of a disappointment based on the volume he’s seeing so far in 2020. The Washington Football Team fared well against Tyler Higbee (2-12) last week, but gave it up to Gerald Everett (4-90). Prior to that, WFT allowed two scores to Mark Andrews, a score to Harrison Bryant of Cleveland, got a reprieve against Arizona tight ends, and allowed Eagles tight ends to go crazy. Pretty much, they’ve only shown well against Arizona, a team that throws to tight ends roughly 11% of the time. Engram has an 18.75% target share in New York. He’s seeing top five volume among tight ends, with only Waller, Kelce, Henry, and Ertz ahead of him. I’m continuing to play him and expecting things to improve soon.
6 T.J. Hockenson @ JAC
Despite allowing the ninth-fewest targets to opposing tight ends (28), the Jaguars have allowed the third-most yardage (352) and fifth-most scores (4). Four catches for 50 yards seems like a given for Hockenson this week, with a good chance to add in a score, too.
7 Zach Ertz vs. BAL
Who else are you putting above him? I’d love to bump him down more, but he’s still a top 10 option by default. He had a dud last week, totaling a single catch for six yards—but the six targets is nothing to scoff at. Ertz still ranks fourth among NFL tight ends in targets, and this Eagles receiving group is a walking wound each week. The Ravens had a rocky start against tight ends in 2020, but they’ve tightened up a bit over the last two weeks—clamping down on Logan Thomas (1-8) and Drew Sample (2-22). However, that could just be a quality of competition thing. I’m inclined to trust Ertz as a top 7 option in Week 6.
8 Robert Tonyan @ TB
This might seem crazy, but tight end is officially a wasteland and Tonyan is balling out of control. Here are his weekly finishes in 0.5 PPR formats each week: TE96, TE13, TE4, TE1. His target counts are modest, at 0, 3, 5, and 6. But he’s also scored five times over the last three games. Odds are you might be hurting at this position right now. If so, I’d be looking to ride out the Tonyan wave in Green Bay.
9 Austin Hooper @ PIT
He’d be higher on the list if not for the rough matchup. In my opinion you’ve got to bank on the last two weeks worth of volume. He saw double-digit looks in Week 5, but he also saw seven targets in Week 4. That’s worth a top 10 ranking, for sure.
10 Hayden Hurst @ MIN
I really don’t know who else to include at this point. Hurst put up a dud last week (2-8 on six targets) but he’s also been fairly reliable and the Vikings have allowed the ninth-most yardage to enemy tight ends so far.
11 Mike Gesicki vs. NYJ
12 Eric Ebron vs. CLE
Ebron might be a small surprise, but the Browns hemorrhage points to enemy tight ends and Ebron could get a boost if Diontae Johnson is limited at all.
13 Noah Fant @ NE
He was spotted at Wednesday’s practice, so there’s some real hope he’ll suit up this weekend. He’s officially a streamer given the injury and the rough matchup—the Patriots have allowed the third-fewest yards (148) to tight ends in 2020. But after Fant you’re just chasing touchdowns mostly.
14 Tyler Higbee @ SF
15 Jimmy Graham @ CAR
16 Rob Gronkowski vs. GB
Don’t go chasin’ touchdowns...that’s how that song went, right?
17 Irv Smith Jr. vs. ATL
You want the analysis? He saw five targets last week and he faces the woeful Falcons this week. That’s enough to make him a worthy TE2 play. Atlanta is bottom five in receptions and yardage allowed to tight ends, and they’ve also allowed the most scores (7).
18 Trey Burton vs. CIN
He’s the tight end catching passes in Indy now, and the Bengals are a plus matchup.
19 Darren Fells @ TEN
Or Jordan Akins if he returns from his concussion. If not, Fells proved last week that he’s still a receiving threat. It’s nice streaming a guy who has Deshaun freaking Watson throwing him the ball, just sayin’.
20 Dalton Schultz vs. ARI
I can’t go crazy for him with Andy Dalton now at the helm for Dallas.
21 Gerald Everett @ SF
He popped off last week, and the Niners were hobbled enough last week to get beaten up on by Miami.
22 Chris Herndon IV @ MIA
I have some small hope that Joe Flacco can give him enough volume to crack the TE2 threshold. That, and we just happen to be at the bottom of the barrel, folks.
23 James O’Shaughnessy vs. DET
Is there no one else? Is there no one else? No, Achilles, there is not. Unless Tyler Eifert returns from the neck injury he sustained last week.
24 Kyle Rudolph vs. ATL
For the matchup alone, Rudolph cracks the top 24. This could be his patented two-score game where he has less than 10 yards receiving.
After this you can consider the likes of Ian Thomas, Logan Thomas, Drew Sample, or Cameron Brate. But I’m not enthused for any of them.
Let me know who I missed, or who I’m too high or low on! Are you taking Jonnu over Andrews this week? How crazy am I?