We talk about the struggle of the tight end position all the time, but through six weeks, it’s been even worse than expected. We’ve seen Travis Kelce have mild weeks, TJ Hockenson struggle, and George Kittle bust before he was injured. However, we have also seen some players emerge, most notably sleepers Dawson Knox and Dalton Schultz. In a cruel twist of fate, both are on bye this week. So, here’s to another weird week at the position and a thin set of Week 7 fantasy TE rankings.
We mentioned Schultz and Knox are off the table, but it’s also worth noting Jared Cook, Tyler Conklin, Dan Arnold, and Pat Freiermuth are out of commission, too. It’s not the flashiest group, but it slims down the potential streaming options.
As usual, there are no studs who should be benched this week with tough matchups. Even with a guy like Hockenson, it’s tough to bench him given the lack of depth at the position.
That said, we can use matchups to help us identify streamers. Unfortunately, at this point in the season, even most of the middle-of-the-pack TEs are heavily owned. The recently traded Zach Ertz (vs. Texans) is flying up in ownership, but if he’s available, it’s worth taking a chance on him in his first game as a Cardinal. Ricky Seals-Jones (@ Packers), Robert Tonyan (vs. Washington), Jonnu Smith (vs. Jets), Cole Kmet (@ Buccaneers), and Juwan Johnson (@ Seahawks) also have solid matchups, but Seals-Jones is the only guy who seems guaranteed to get a respectable number of targets. Still, you may have to play one of the other three in deep leagues with so many guys on a bye. Johnson, Kmet, and Tonyan carry more appeal in standard leagues than PPR.
Austin Hooper (vs. Broncos) and David Njoku (vs. Broncos) are in a tough spot, as Denver was a top-five defense against tight ends heading into Week 6. Mo Alie-Cox (@ 49ers) and Jack Doyle (@ 49ers) are in a similar spot as teammates with uphill battles, but it seems clear Alie-Cox is the guy to own between the two. Gerald Everett (vs. Saints) should be back for Week 7, but Geno Smith is now his QB and New Orleans is one of the top defenses against tight ends. It may seem like we’re getting into the weeds here with some of these bottom-tier TEs, but again, the position is thin and you might be forced to decide between a few of these guys.
If you’re looking for matchup-based streamers other than RSJ, C.J. Uzomah (@ Ravens) and Ross Dwelley (vs. Colts) might be your best bets, but they’re obviously risky options, too.
It’s worth noting Week 7 might be the time for Rob Gronkowski (vs. Bears) might be back, so that will help the position. The Ertz trade should mean Dallas Goedert gets more run, so that also helps.
Note: We’ll be updating these TE rankings throughout the week, so check back for analysis and the latest player movement.
Fantasy TE Rankings Week 7: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Travis Kelce, KC @ TEN|
|2||Darren Waller, LV vs. PHI|
|3||Mark Andrews, BAL vs. CIN|
|4||T.J. Hockenson, DET @ LAR|
|5||Rob Gronkowski, TB vs. CHI. Gronk (ribs) seems likely to return this week, and he’s a must-start regardless of matchup based on what we’ve seen thus far. If he’s out, O.J. Howard has some appeal, but there are better options readily available.|
|6||Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. ATL. Gesicki has quietly come on as of late and is inside the top-10 TEs in PPR and standard leagues through six weeks. Before Monday Night Football, he was the TE2 in PPR and TE4 in standard leagues for Week 6. In Tua’s first game back, he racked up over 100 yards, so it’s time to squash the narrative that Tua hurts him. That said, it’s not an unreasonable ask for Gesicki to be among the top-six TEs this week facing an Atlanta defense that has been weak against the position when they’ve played against upper-echelon tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Dallas Goedert.|
|7||Kyle Pitts, ATL @ MIA. Pitts broke out in London before getting a week off due to a bye, and his season-long ceiling could be as high as the top three or four tight ends. However, he sits at No. 7 in our standard rankings because Miami hasn’t allowed more than 54 receiving yards to a TE in a game this year (and the 54 yards was to Darren Waller). They’ve been strong against tight ends except in the red zone, where they’ve allowed three touchdowns. With Calvin Ridley set to come back, Pitts will still get a solid target share, but 10 targets (like he got against the Jets) feels a little high here.|
|8||Dallas Goedert, PHI @ LV. Zach Ertz is out of town, and Goedert should benefit. He was out-targeted by Ertz last year and early on this year. As the loan stud tight end, he should see a flurry of targets. Las Vegas was roasted by Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki, and Jared Cook, so assuming he’s back from the COVID list, Goedert’s ceiling is sky high this week. We’re still unsure about Jalen Hurts as a passer, which is the only thing keeping him below some other guys at the position.|
|9||Hunter Henry, NE vs. NYJ. We’re ready to call the race between Henry and Jonnu Smith in favor of Henry. A touchdown saved his fantasy performance against Dallas, as he caught just two passes, but he’s scored in three straight games and was targeted at least five times in the three games prior. This spot in the rankings is really when things get complicated, but Henry is a solid play against the Jets, who most recently gave up a 10-119-1 line to Kyle Pitts. Henry will never approach numbers like that, but if he can produce half of those numbers and catch a touchdown, he’ll be a TE1.|
|10||Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. DET. We’re still waiting on a monster performance from Higbee, but he’s been just good enough to keep him on the edge of a TE1. Last week, he caught all five of his targets for 36 yards, which sadly is a respectable enough line to keep him fantasy-relevant as such a scarce position. Detroit has been OK against tight ends, but the best they’ve faced, Mark Andrews, eclipsed 100 yards against them. Higbee is a threat to score in the red zone, and surely the Rams’ will live in the red zone in this contest.|
|11||Zach Ertz, ARI vs. HOU. This is an exciting landing spot for Ertz, but we have to temper expectations somewhat. Yes, he landed in one of the league’s premier offenses, but Arizona has the most target competition in the league. Chase Edmonds, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk all command targets, so Ertz will have big weeks followed by quiet weeks — just like Maxx Williams did before he sustained a season-ending knee injury. All that said, Houston is the league’s worst defense against tight ends, so the risk is worth it this week.|
|12||Noah Fant, DEN @ CLE. Fant enjoyed his best game of the season against Las Vegas, catching nine-of-11 targets for 97 yards in a touchdown. However, a lot of his work was done in garbage time, and despite Cleveland’s recent struggles, they haven’t been generous to tight ends this season. Of course, Travis Kelce went off against them, but Jared Cook, Cole Kmet, Tyler Conklin, and Jordan Akins caught seven passes combined against them. Fant is well above those guys in talent, but he’s not at an elite enough level to label him matchup-proof just yet. He’s still a TE1, but we like the upside of the guys above him more.|
|13||Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS @ GB. We liked Seals-Jones’ fantasy prospects when Logan Thomas (hamstring) got injured, and he has proved us right. He’s caught nine-of-15 targets over the past two weeks, totaling 99 yards and one score. Green Bay is decent against fantasy tight ends, but Seal-Jones feels like a lock for a respectable number of targets. He’s the No. 1 streamer this week and likely will be until Thomas comes back.|
|14||C.J. Uzomah, CIN @ BAL. This spot in the rankings is where it’s even more of a crapshoot at tight end. Uzomah has scored three touchdowns this season, and Baltimore has given up the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. They’ve faced some of the better tight ends in the league, but it’s clear the Ravens’ weakness is in the middle of the defense as opposed to the perimeter. Again, it’s tough to trust anyone after Seals-Jones, but we rank Uzomah ahead of some of the others based purely on the matchup.|
|15||Evan Engram, NYG vs. CAR. Engram is averaging 5.3 targets per game, but he hasn’t done much with them. Even against a tough defense, Engram has some appeal due to all the injuries to Giants’ skill players. To be honest, you’re likely just praying for a touchdown or some unexpected targets from this point to the rest of the list.|
|16||Ross Dwelley, SF vs. IND. George Kittle’s backups, including Dwelley, have been productive in the past, as Kyle Shanahan seems to like featuring tight ends. Indianapolis gives up the fourth-most points to the position, but their figures are misleading due to Mark Andrews putting up an 11-147-2 line against them. That defense has given up touchdowns to Mike Gesicki and Gerald Everett, though, so it’s possible Dwelley sneaks in for a TD and 40-50 yards.|
|17||Jonnu Smith, NE vs. NYJ|
|18||Cole Kmet, CHI @ TB|
|19||Mo Alie-Cox, IND @ SF|
|20||Gerald Everett, SEA vs. NO|
|21||Robert Tonyan Jr., GB vs. WAS|
|22||David Njoku, CLE vs. DEN|
|23||Juwan Johnson, NO @ SEA|
|24||Austin Hooper, CLE vs. DEN|
|25||Hayden Hurst, ATL @ MIA|
|26||O.J. Howard, TB vs. CHI|
|27||Jack Doyle, IND @ SF|
|28||Ryan Griffin, NYJ @ NE|
|29||Adam Trautman, NO @ SEA|
|30||Pharaoh Brown, HOU @ ARI|
|31||Anthony Firkser, TEN vs. KC|
|32||Will Dissly, SEA vs. NO|