We are through two short weeks of fantasy football, so here are a few tidbits about the big guys:
Darren Waller (24) leads all tight ends in targets, followed by Travis Kelce (20), Logan Thomas (17), and Dallas Goedert (17). Waller managed eight looks in Week 1, but turned in a massive performance in Week 2 with a whopping 16 targets (12-103-1). He’s a premium PPR asset even if the touchdowns might be lacking. Thomas has eight and nine looks respectively in the first two weeks, and draws the Browns in Week 3...he’s a great bet to score in this one.
The Eagles have two guys inside the top 10, as Zach Ertz (14 targets) ranks ninth among tight ends. There’s no reason he and Goedert can’t continue to produce together if that level of volume holds. I’m not shying away from Goedert as a TE1 option, given that he’s the TE8 through two weeks of this year AND finished as the TE10 last year. Ride that wave.
Other opportunity arrows trending upward belong to Noah Fant and Drew Sample. The Broncos have lost Courtland Sutton for the year, and are now enduring Jeff Driskel (or Blake Bortles?!?) at quarterback until Drew Lock returns. Lock will remain on the active roster, so there’s at least a snowball’s chance in you-know-what that he doesn’t even miss three games. All of which means that I am HARDCORE BUYING NOAH FANT EVERYWHERE. He has a modest 11 targets through two weeks (6 and 5), which is tied for 13th among all tight ends. His 9-138-2 line is impressive, though. For instance, he’s fifth in yardage, tied for third in touchdowns, and tied for seventh in receptions despite the lower volume...which could rise a bit in the coming weeks.
Sample will take over for Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah, who went under the knife due to a torn Achilles. And before you scoff at the opportunity, know that Uzomah had five targets in Week 1 (4-45) and six looks (4-42-1) before departing in Week 2. In fact, Uzomah’s 11 targets overall is tied for 13th-most in the NFL among tight ends—despite him falling victim to injury in Week 2. Sample has seen 10 targets in all, turning that into an 8-52 line. Most of that came in Week 2 on nine targets (7-45). Last year, Sample’s rookie season was cut short due to an ankle injury. This year, it would appear that he’ll have a chance to establish himself as a solid TE2 option. Make the speculative grab.
There are probably other story lines to cover, but none might be bigger than Mike Gesicki seeing 11 targets in Week 2, and parlaying that into a 8-130-1 line. He’s lining up in the slot 79% of the time so far, and if he keeps up anything resembling that production he’ll be a strong play in Week 3 against the Jaguars—who allowed the Titans’ big guys to have a field day in Week 2.
Let’s get into the rankings for Week 3!
1 Travis Kelce @ BAL
2 Mark Andrews vs. KC
These are the top two this week. You aren’t benching Kelce at Baltimore, just like you aren’t benching Patrick Mahomes. Andrews (5) leads all tight ends in red zone looks, tied with Drew Sample. Sample had five red zone looks in Week 2 alone, which is nuts.
3 Mike Gesicki @ JAC
4 Tyler Higbee @ BUF
If you’re a fan of jamming in what worked last week, you should be into both of these guys for Week 3. Coming off of a three-score game, Higbee will line up against the Bills defense, which was shredded by Gesicki last week. As for Gesicki, he gets the Jaguars unit that allowed Jonnu Smith (4-84-2) and Anthony Firkser (4-45) to go nuts in Week 2. Maybe you think it’s crazy to have Gesicki this high, but he more than doubled Higbee’s amount of targets last week. If there’s anyone to not consider here, it’s Higbee—you can’t bank on three scores every week, after all.
5 Darren Waller @ NE
6 Zach Ertz vs. CIN
7 Hunter Henry vs. CAR
8 Jonnu Smith @ MIN
9 Dallas Goedert vs. CIN
Here’s the end of a loose tier for me. These guys are among your safest bets for solid volume at this funky position.
10 T.J. Hockenson @ ARI
11 Noah Fant vs. TB
12 Hayden Hurst vs. CHI
13 Jared Cook vs. GB
Hockenson’s 6-131-1 line against Arizona in his first professional game last year is still seared into my brain. I’m counting on Arizona’s larger body of work last year when it comes to defense against tight ends, instead of the first two weeks of 2020 (when they haven’t been atrocious). I’ve got Fant slightly ahead of the consensus this week, as he’s the TE13 per FantasyPros. He’s easily got top five upside, though, and belongs firmly inside the top 12 from here on out.
14 Logan Thomas @ CLE
15 Evan Engram vs. SF
Logan Thomas has been seeing volume so far, with target counts of 8 and 9 in the first two weeks. Add to that the Browns’ affinity for allowing tight ends to score, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success in Week 3. He could easily outperform this ranking.
16 Dalton Schultz @ SEA
17 Drew Sample @ PHI
18 George Kittle @ NYG
Who knows how to rank these injured studs? Anyone who claims to have a crystal ball is just trying to sell you something. One report says there’s a likely chance that Kittle misses this week due to field conditions...which means Jordan Reed would take his spot here. I’d bump Reed above Engram if that were to happen.
19 Austin Hooper vs. WAS
The good news is that Hooper’s target count doubled from Week 1. The bad news is he only had two targets in Week 1. This looks like a run-centric Cleveland offense, so we’ll have to continue to mute the expectations for Hooper moving forward. Working in his favor this week is a plus matchup against the Washington Football Team.
20 Eric Ebron vs. HOU
21 Tyler Eifert vs. MIA
22 O.J. Howard @ DEN
23 Chris Herndon @ IND
24 Jordan Akins @ PIT
25 Jimmy Graham @ ATL
You’re throwing darts here, mostly chasing touchdowns. Although, Akins does look like a decent bet for some volume as he’s the primary receiving tight end for Houston right now. Stay tuned on O.J. Howard in Tampa. He has nine targets through two weeks, compared to a mere four for Rob Gronkowski.
Speaking of Gronk, at this point you are REALLY chasing touchdowns. You can go for the Gronk-monster at this juncture. And you if you’re in need, you should really have Jordan Reed stashed in the event that George Kittle misses Week 3.
That’s it for me this week! Happy hunting out there! I’m down to haggle over rankings and willing to accept criticism if you think I missed something for this week. Find me in the comments!