For some of you, you’re playing spoiler. For others, you’re vying for that last playoff spot. Or maybe, you’re assured in your playoff chances and you’re looking ahead to next week already. Whatever the case may be, you’ll likely need a tight end (or two) to get you through a wacky Week 14.
There are no Thursday night tight ends in this space, but what follows is an overview of everyone left. Let’s dig in this morning, eh?
1 Travis Kelce vs LV
2 George Kittle @ CIN
3 Rob Gronkowski vs BUF
4 Mark Andrews @ CLE
I think Gronk and Andrews have done enough to be considered in the elite tier, with Andrews having a solid body of work this year and Gronk really coming on lately given greater health and the continued absence of Antonio Brown. Maybe it’s a mini-break after Kittle, but you get the idea. There’s a clear cut top four at the position right now, in my humblest of opinions.
5 Dawson Knox @ TB
He’s coming off an awful week against New England, but it was a wind-affected matchup and he still saw a healthy six targets.
6 Dalton Schultz @ WAS
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have one of the best passing matchups of the week, as well as two running backs who are physically ailing. The stars could be aligned for a big display.
7 Zach Ertz vs LAR
He had a dud last week, but he’s been mostly quality since moving to Arizona and the Rams aren’t as threatening against tight ends as you’d think, funneling targets inside. LAR has allowed 95 targets to enemy tight ends, seventh-most in the league. As a result, LAR is tied for the ninth-most receptions allowed to tight ends, and three teams with more allowed have played an extra game.
8 Kyle Pitts @ CAR
He continues to see healthy target counts (seven last week) but he’s managed to score just ONCE all season. The Panthers are a stout passing defense overall, and they are stingy to tight ends. Anything could happen, but I think you have to continue having modest expectations—and Pitts is a better play in your PPR formats.
9 Austin Hooper vs BAL
Hear me out. Noah Fant and Tyler Higbee aren’t target mavens and they find themselves in brutal matchups. For Cleveland, fellow tight end David Njoku is out and Baltimore is an elite tight end matchup. If it doesn’t happen for Hooper this week, it ain’t gonna happen, gamers.
10 Tyler Higbee @ ARI
11 Noah Fant vs. DET
You’re hoping for a touchdown from either of these two, and Higbee has really healthy target counts over the last few weeks (10, 5, 5, 6). Higbee is also tied for second among all tight ends with 16 red zone targets.
12 Foster Moreau @ KC
Darren Waller is still out, so like it or not Moreau is in the TE1 conversation. Welcome to the tight end position, folks. I like Derek Carr and the Raiders to put up a fight in this one, and Mahomes is prone to big games against Las Vegas, so the Raiders should be chasing. Dig it.
13 Ricky Seals-Jones vs. DAL
Washington could be in for a shootout, and this is an offense that consistently uses the tight end position, nearly regardless of who is suiting up. Expect RSJ to be a solid streamer this week.
14 Evan Engram @ LAC
Look, I don’t like this anymore than you do. But we are bereft of options to trust, and Engram’s decent target counts are encouraging (5, 6, 5 over the last three weeks). The Chargers are bottom third in targets allowed to tight ends, and middling with regard to receptions and yardage—but they’ve allowed a whopping 10 touchdowns to the position this year. Only the Eagles (11) are worse, and Philly has played one more game than Los Angeles. Much like Hooper above him...if it ain’t this week, it ain’t happening.
15 Cole Kmet @ GB
Aside from a two-target dud against Baltimore in Week 11—when we were all streaming him—Kmet has seen really healthy target counts (6, 6, 8, BYE, 2, 11, 7 since Week 7). That’s a dream at the tight end position. Maybe the return of Justin Fields will give this offense a boost. Maybe it will be a death knell to Kmet’s recent TE2 production. We shall see, we shall see.
16 Gerald Everett @ HOU
There seems to be a concerted effort to get Everett more involved now that Russell Wilson is back and beginning to cook again. I’ll bite.
17 Jared Cook vs. NYG
There could be an extra target or two his way given the absence of Keenan Allen. Of course, you could as easily throw a dart on backup tight end Donald Parham Jr. or wide receiver Jalen Guyton.
18 James O’Shaughnessy @ TEN
With the Jaguars bereft of another tight end option, he’s seen 11 targets over the last two weeks (5 and 6). That’s enough to make the low-end TE2 conversation.
19 Ryan Griffin vs NO
The Jets just placed stud rookie Elijah Moore on injured reserve, where he joins fellow wideout Corey Davis. Running back Michael Carter is also unavailable this week. The top options for New York in the passing game are now Jamison Crowder and gaggle of other “meh” veteran wideouts. Griffin is the top tight end for New York, so he’ll get a chance against the Saints.
20 Cameron Brate vs. BUF
Look, if you’re chasing a score, why not the guy who secretly leads all tight ends in red zone targets? That’s right, Tom Brady’s backup tight end has 17 red zone look this year, and two touchdowns over his last four games. If you want a little more safety you can look to guys like C.J. Uzomah or Donald Parham Jr., but I think safety is a crapshoot at this position.
Other than the guys mentioned above, you could take a shot on the rookie Brevin Jordan or Noah Fant’s backup, Albert O. (you can’t spell his last name, either). Other than that, it’s a wasteland out here.
Let me know who I missed in the comments, folks. Happy gaming today.