Tight end is truly a desolate place in Week 10. Travis Kelce is on a bye week, George Kittle is injured, and Zach Ertz still has not returned from his ankle injury. Add in Hayden Hurst being on a bye and the recently shoddy outputs by Mark Andrews, and this week is shaping up to be a true disaster for tight ends in general.
All that said, we still have to start at least one of these guys. Let’s step into it...
1 Darren Waller vs. DEN
He’s the top option by a mile despite the Broncos not allowing tons of scores (2) to tight ends so far. Denver has allowed the eighth-most receptions (44) though, and that jives well with Waller’s 50 grabs on the season. Waller also had 10 targets last week despite Derek Carr only attempting 23 passes. With Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz all currently shelved this week, he’s the preeminent play in PPR formats—and I’m assuming a half PPR tilt for these rankings. The next closest tight end to Waller in terms of receptions for this week is Evan Engram, all the way down at a mere 36 receptions. Fire up Waller as your overall TE1 option in Week 10.
2 T.J. Hockenson vs. WAS
Hockenson is averaging eight targets per game over the last three weeks, and he’s been as reliable as they come in 2020. With Kenny Golladay legitimately questionable for this week, he’s a lock as the No. 2 tight end in a soft matchup for tight ends in the Washington Football Team. Hock would stay as my No. 2 option even if Golladay suits up. The WFT is bottom third in yardage allowed to tight ends (464) and tied for the third-most scores given up to the big guys (6). Only the Falcons (8) and Jaguars (7) have allowed more scores.
3 Evan Engram vs. PHI
Last week’s coverboy finally found paydirt. Keep chasing Engram’s volume against the Eagles, who have allowed the eighth-most yardage (476), third-most scores (6), and third-most receptions (49) to enemy tight ends. The Eagles have done this despite already having had their bye week. Engram’s 29 targets over the last three weeks is obscene, especially at this weak position.
4 Noah Fant @ LV
Is there no one else? Is there no one else? No, there isn’t. Fant would be a slam dunk play this week if we weren’t worried about the lingering effects his ankle might have. With “Albert O” on IR, Fant is an epic play if we know he’s healthy. And despite the injury, he played last week and there’s no one else to consider in this spot—at least not in my humble opinion.
5 Dallas Goedert @ NYG
Goedert’s return last week was underwhelming from a results standpoint, but he played a ton of snaps (84.3%) and ran a lot of routes. Given the dearth of talent at this position, I’m taking a shot on the established tight end that we’ve come to know and love from Philadelphia. The Giants have only allowed two scores and 35 receptions to tight ends so far, but they have allowed a middling amount of yardage (408). It’s not the greatest of matchups, but this isn’t the greatest of positions to be ranking, either.
6 Eric Ebron vs. CIN
You guys can think I’m crazy, but in my mind we started “streaming” after the top three tight ends. There’s as much touchdown equity with Ebron in this swiss cheese matchup as with any other tight end this week. The Bengals have allowed six scores to tight ends already, as well as the third-most yardage (545). All this despite having already had their bye week. The Steelers should need to keep their foot on the gas for four quarters in this one, but Ebron doesn’t need a ton of volume to justify this ranking.
7 Rob Gronkowski @ CAR
He had six targets last week, but he only caught one of them—including what could have been a touchdown to salvage his day.
8 Austin Hooper vs. HOU
Hooper being a top 10 tight end this week is indicative of how far we’ve fallen. That said, the Texans allowed the corpse of Tyler Eifert to snag five receptions last week, and the Browns are still without the services of OBJ. You could do worse. Frightening.
9 Hunter Henry @ MIA
He’s at least seeing target volume, but the Dolphins are quietly a sturdy defense. They are top five in receptions (31) and yardage (300) allowed to tight ends on the season. The hope here is that Henry scores. And that’s a distant hope for a guy that hasn’t been targeted much in the red zone—Henry’s eight red zone looks ranks 14th among NFL tight ends.
10 Mark Andrews @ NE
11 Jonnu Smith vs IND
12 Jimmy Graham vs. MIN
With these three, you’re really just chasing a touchdown. I don’t mind sharing that they are ranked based on their implied team totals. And if you think Graham doesn’t belong here, you’re wrong. His 14 red zone looks trails only Kelce and Waller, who each have 15.
13 Jared Cook vs. SF
There’s actually some hope for volume with Cook, but the Niners are death to tight ends with only a 31-307-2 tally allowed so far.
14 Robert Tonyan vs. JAX
This one’s all about the matchup, as Tonyan isn’t seeing much usage at all (one reception last week). That, and the alleged rise of “MVS” as well as the possible return of Allen Lazard could further complicate matters. All that said, the Jaguars hemorrhage production to enemy tight ends—i.e. the fifth-most yardage (488) and second-most scores (7).
15 Mike Gesicki vs. LAC
The Chargers haven’t allowed a ton of yards or receptions to tight ends, but they have allowed six scores so far. The absence of Preston Williams (IR) opens up a handful of targets...but it’s tough to get excited for a guy with Gesicki’s floor.
16 Logan Thomas @ DET
He gets the “Alex Smith loves tight ends” bump.
17 Trey Burton @ TEN
With Jack Doyle shelved and Mo Alie-Cox dealing with a bit of a knee injury, it’s possible Burton sees tons of work in a good matchup against the Titans.
18 Jordan Akins @ CLE
He had four targets on only 16 routes last week, as the Texans eased him back in from concussion and ankle injuries. He still ran more routes (13) and had more targets (3) than his competition, Darren Fells. This week I’m hoping for more of an uptick for Akins in a cheese matchup against the Browns.
19 Jordan Reed @ NO
I was wrong on Reed last week, opting for him over Ross Dwelley. But I’m going right back to the proverbial well this week, hoping that 10 days off means he’s entering Week 10 in a healthier space.
20 Jacob Hollister @ LAR
He had seven targets last week...is it possible he could continue that production given the relative no-shows by Greg Olsen and Will Dissly this year?
If you’re digging deeper than these guys, chase the upside of youth in Irv Smith Jr. (two scores last week), roll the dice on Gerald Everett in a tough matchup, or play the extreme stream game with Dan Arnold in a epic matchup against the Bills. Anthony Firkser and Tyler Higbee would be the only other names to consider. Oh, I guess I could mention Ian Thomas, too. But yikes.
Who are you starting this week? This could be the worst week ever in the history of tight ends...