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2020 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight ends for Week 1

Ranking the safety blankets for Week 1.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

I’ve been at this for a few years now. In general, tight ends are a top-heavy group. We don’t mess with our studs, mostly regardless of matchup. At least, I don’t. After the elites, I’m typically looking at guys who are wed to strong quarterbacks — i.e. I prefer a guy getting five quality targets over seven or eight garbage ones.

That said, volume is the (eventual) king in the fake game, so it’s a delicate balance sometimes. Week 1 will be pretty boring...you’re probably not dying to bench Darren Waller for a TE2 streamer type, for instance. But let’s make a pass through, anyway.

1 George Kittle vs. ARI

2 Travis Kelce vs. HOU (Thursday Night Football)

3 Mark Andrews vs. CLE

The big three won’t change much week to week, at least not in my book. Kittle and Kelce are 1A and 1B to me, with Andrews a close enough third in PPR formats (which is the default here and everywhere). Andrews is close due to his immense scoring upside. When the dust settles, I think he’ll be closer to the top two than he will be to whoever finishes fourth. As for Week 1, Kittle has to have the slight edge based on how atrocious the Cardinals were against tight ends in 2019.

4 Zach Ertz @ WAS

5 Hayden Hurst vs. SEA

6 Evan Engram vs. PIT

7 Jared Cook vs. TB

I view this as the second tier for Week 1. Washington is typically a team we target due to their general ineptitude, and I’m granting Ertz a week to prove he still belongs with the elites. Hurst should fill Austin Hooper’s shoes more than adequately in 2020, and I think a coming out party in Week 1 is likely given the potential for a high-scoring game in Atlanta’s dome. Engram is a volume play, while Cook is more of the quality of target play. Those two are close and I wouldn’t fault anyone for rolling with Cook.

8 Darren Waller @ CAR

9 Hunter Henry @ CIN

10 Rob Gronkowski @ NO

11 Tyler Higbee vs. DAL

12 Austin Hooper @ BAL

End of the top 12 guys for me. I know Hooper has some competition for targets, but last year was a banner year and I think he deserves low-end TE1 treatment at least.

13 Jack Doyle @ JAC

14 Jonnu Smith @ DEN

15 T.J. Hockenson vs. CHI

16 Mike Gesicki @ NE

17 Dallas Goedert @ WAS

18 Noah Fant vs. TEN

19 Eric Ebron @ NYG

20 Blake Jarwin @ LAR

Doyle should be a solid play in PPR formats due to Rivers’ affinity for the big guys. Jonnu Smith is the best of the rest, in my opinion—at least in this cluster. I’d be adding or acquiring Goedert in any league where I needed some upside—he’s a top five play if the Eagles lose Ertz for some reason, but I can’t push him any higher due to the timeshare. Eric Ebron has had a slew of positive camp reports, and I think he enters the year as a solid TE2 with some upside. I’d love to go higher on Jarwin, especially in what could be a high-scoring game—but that’s a loaded Dallas offense and he’s way down in the pecking order.

21 Ian Thomas vs. LV

22 Chris Herndon IV @ BUF

23 Dawson Knox vs. NYJ

24 Irv Smith Jr. vs. GB

So ends the last of the TE2 options. If I were digger deeper, I’d be chasing upside—namely in the form of Will Dissly. He has more competition for targets in Seattle this year, but he’s a proven scorer and he’s entering the year OFF of the injury report. Let’s hope things stay that way.

As always, I’d love to haggle in the comments. What tough decisions are you making for Week 1, tight ends or otherwise?