We are heading towards the middle of the season, and the tight finish position was a headache just like we all knew it would be. This week, we have recovered some heavy hitters, but we are missing some that are always ranked close to the top. As always, we’re relying on pairings, goals, and using the red zone to find some sleepers and solve the core part of our Week 9 fantasy TE rankings.
This week’s stallions are Darren Waller (@ Giants), Mark Andrews (vs. Vikings) and possibly George Kittle (vs. Cardinals). As the weeks go by, they also take – in the form of Rob Gronkowski, TJ Hockenson and Ricky Seals-Jones.
Stallions Dalton Schultz (vs. Broncos) and Kyle Pitts (@ Saints) are set to face the top 10 defenses against TEs, but Schultz’s work this season suggests it should have started, at least in PPR. Pitts is well on his way to joining the elite, the “must-start” level at the end, although as we saw last week, he is prone to some clunkers like most TEs who are not named Travis Kelce .
Streamers with a high upside in favorable pairings this week include Tyler Conklin (@ Ravens), Marcedes Lewis (@ Chiefs), Mo Alie-Cox (vs Jets), and CJ Uzomah (@ Browns). All of these guys are more attractive in standard leagues, either for their big-play potential or their respective end zone noses. The Ravens, Chiefs and Jets defenses are all in the top eight in fantasy points per game allowed for tight ends. It might seem hard to trust Lewis, but he will take on the role of Robert Tonyan (knee) as the main focus of the red zone.
The Browns are statistically strong against the TEs, but their best linebacker is out and they haven’t played against any stud in that position except Travis Kelce and Noah Fant. The Bengals attack is advancing, so we still like Uzomah’s lead.
The worrying players on the start-or-sit bubble are Dan Arnold (versus Bills) and Jonu Smith (versus Panthers). Both have provided at least a small production at some points this season, but the Bills and Panthers have been strong units against tight ends. Only slightly ahead of them is Tyler Higbee (versus Titans), who seems to consistently disappoint despite favorable pairings. There are a lot of options to consider this week, so these guys should be the next wave of consideration in deep leagues.
The final position overall made a net gain even as we lose RSJ, Hockenson and Gronkowski, but the owners of Andrews and Waller rejoice. Barring surprises, those owners will never need to check these rankings again, although we hope you will.
Grade: We will be updating these TE rankings during the week, so check out the latest player movement and analysis.
Fantasy TE Rankings Week 9: who to start with?
Rankings based on standard, not PPR score
|1||Travis Kelce, KC vs. GB|
|2||Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. HOU|
|3||Darren Waller, LV @ NYG|
|4th||Mark Andrews, BAL v MIN|
|5||Kyle Pitts, ATL @ NO|
|6th||Dallas Goedert, PHI v LAC|
|7th||George Kittle, 49ers v ARI|
|8th||Hunter Henry, NE @ AUTO|
|9||Dalton Schultz, DAL versus DEN. If Dak Prescott (calf) loses this game against Denver, you can assume Schultz will be moved down a few points in the standings. With Cooper Rush at QB, the chemistry simply wasn’t there. He only captured two of the seven targets for 11 yards and certainly broke the hearts of many fantasy owners who needed a little more to win their week 8 matchups. If Prescott is back in the middle, Schultz is a boy. marginal, as we have seen how productive it can be. Denver boasts a top five defense against fictional TEs, but this Dallas attack is too good to cause much concern. He also sees an increase in PPR leagues based on his goal numbers this year.|
|10||Zach Ertz, ARI @ SF. Since joining the Cardinals, Ertz has captured seven of nine targets for 88 yards and one touchdown. He has had two productive statistical lines for a tight end and will be close to the top 10 in the standard leagues every week going forward. In PPR, its value is a little higher. However, San Francisco is one of the top eight teams against tight end fantasy, only allowing TJ Hockenson to receive more than three passes against them. For these reasons, Ertz’s ceiling is limited, but we still consider his floor to be safe.|
|11||Tyler Conklin, MIN @ BAL. Travis Kelce, Noah Fant, Darren Waller, CJ Uzomah and Noah Fant all took at least one touchdown against the Baltimore defense, and it ranks as the league’s worst defense against tight ends. That said, any decent tight end is a top-tier streaming option when taking on the Ravens. Conklin averages just over 5.2 targets per game and we could see his best performance of the year in this competition.|
|12 °||Tyler Higbee, LAR vs TEN. Higbee appeared to be lining up for a monstrous match against Houston, but as we have seen many times this year, some passersby will suffer when their team blows up the opponent. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp control the share of targets, and as long as the opposing team doesn’t hold out much, there may not be enough Los Angeles pass attempts to support Higbee. This Rams-Titans game could go a number of ways. If it’s a shooter style game, Higbee should have plenty of opportunities. If the Titans, who have just lost Derrick Henry (foot) for six to ten weeks, fight offensively, it could be another quiet day. That said, it’s a boom or bust game once again, especially if it’s regularly paired with Kevin Byard.|
|13||Evan Engram, NYG v LV. Engram has drawn five or more targets in five of the six games played this year, so naturally, he’s a bit attractive in the PPR leagues. If Kenny Golladay (knee), Kadarius Toney (ankle), and Sterling Shepard (hamstring) all play, it may be difficult for Engram to draw targets. However, he should have an easier time opening up. So while its volume may decrease, its efficiency should take a step forward, which would lead to a transition from being more attractive in the PPR to being a better game in the standard. Las Vegas sells seventh most tight end fantasy points per game, so we like Engram as a streamer. It’s worth noting that its ceiling isn’t that high anymore, but it has a pretty decent floor.|
|14||Pat Freiermuth, PIT versus CHI. No one in the Steelers attack took advantage of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s shoulder injury more than Freiermuth. It is used frequently in the slot and has captured 11 of 14 targets for 102 yards and a touchdown since JuJu was sidelined. We love his all-season perspective in the PPR Championships, but he’s also a valuable piece of the Standard League, given the scarcity of production at the location. Chicago is a strong defense against fantasy TEs (the second-fewest points allowed), but it attracts streaming consideration based on its usage in recent weeks. As the pairings become more favorable, it may be a TE1 in the future.|
|15 °||Mo Alie-Cox, IND v NYJ. New York is a bottom 10 team against fictional TEs, but let’s face it, Alie-Cox is a touchdown or busted guy. New York has conceded three touchdowns to position in seven games, so there’s a chance that will happen. Just know that nothing is guaranteed and his floor is a big zero in the score column, as we saw last week against Tennessee.|
|16||CJ Uzomah, CIN v CLE. We’ve seen Uzomah’s ceiling skyrocket, but like Alie-Cox, touchdowns are his saving grace. This looks like a game where Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are very present as Uzomah takes the back seat. Cleveland is a middle team against TEs, and Uzomah has only truly feasted on two of the league’s friendliest matches (Jacksonville, Baltimore).|
|17 °||Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN @ DAL|
|18 °||Marcedes Lewis, GB @ KC. Lewis has a fantasy vision similar to that of Robert Tonyan Jr: touchdown or bust. Kansas City certainly offers the opportunity for him to achieve paydirt, though.|
|19 °||Jared Cook, LAC @ PHI|
|20||Jonu Smith, NE @ CAR|
|21||Dan Arnold, JAX vs. BUF|
|22||Cole Kmet, CHI @ PIT|
|23||Jack Doyle, IND v NYJ|
|24||Tommy Sweeney, BUF @ JAX|
|25||David Njoku, CLE @ CIN|
|26||Tommy Tremble, CAR against NE|
|27||Austin Hooper, CLE @ CIN|
|28||Tyler Kroft, NYJ @ IND|
|29||Jordan Akins, HOU @ MIA|
|30||Hayden Hurst, ATL @ NO|
|31||Geoff Swaim TEN @ LAR|
|32||Adam Trautman, NO against ATL|
|33||Eric Ebron, PIT versus WHO|
|34||Blake Jarwin, DAL versus DEN|
|35||Juwan Johnson, NO against ATL|