No one should act surprised, but it was another lackluster week for the tight end group as a whole. We’ll always see some standout performances, but matchups matter here more than any other position moving forward. Our Week 4 fantasy TE rankings will heavily rely on the matchup stats for players outside of the very top tier. Especially in standard leagues, a mere touchdown can be the difference between a top-10 week and a TE3 week.
Kansas City’s defense looks as bad as we’ve seen in the Patrick Mahomes era, so Dallas Goedert (vs. KC) remains in our top 10 heading into this week. Tyler Higbee (vs. Arizona) should be in line for a lot of targets, too, as we always want to play tight ends who could be involved in a full-fledged shootout, though Higbee might be better suited for PPR leagues.
Austin Hooper (@ Minnesota) and Cole Kmet (vs. Detroit) have largely disappointed this year despite a fair amount of hype. They have decent matchups this week, though, so they’re at least on the streaming radar. Pat Freiermith (@ Packers) looks to be emerging as a real fantasy asset, so maybe he can help the position as a whole, too. He scored his first touchdown in Week 3, and Green Bay’s defense has been awful against tight ends. Yes, they’ve played T.J. Hockenson and George Kittle, but they also allowed two touchdowns to Juwan Johnson in Week 1.
Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry (@ Buccaneers) have failed to be real factors in fantasy thus far, but the Bucs haven’t been particularly good against TEs this year. They haven’t been bad, but they’ve given up a fair amount of receptions. Still, the position is so unproductive that the Pats are top-17 plays based purely on talent. When we reach this point in the rankings, a prayer for a touchdown is all we can hope for, and we have to be happy if they deliver that.
Rob Gronkowski (@ Patriots), Robert Tonyan (vs. Steelers), and Evan Engram (vs. Saints) have tough matchups on paper. You can’t really bench Gronk, but the other two are on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble depending on the size of your league. Engram, who received six targets last week, might be in play because of all the Giants WR injuries, so make sure to monitor that situation.
We still don’t have obvious breakouts and clear-cut starters in the middle of the tight end rankings (Freiermuth? Tyler Conklin?), so we’ll soon be at the point where most streamers will be based on matchups. Perhaps as more injuries occur around the league, we’ll see more targets for some TEs, but for now, we don’t have much in the way of a lifeline if you’re struggling at the position.
We’ll be updating these TE rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.
Fantasy TE Rankings Week 4: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Travis Kelce, KC @ PHI|
|2||Darren Waller, LV @ LAC|
|3||T.J. Hockenson, DET @ CHI|
|4||George Kittle, SF vs. SEA|
|5||Rob Gronkowski, TB @ NE|
|6||Noah Fant, DEN vs. BAL. Fant marks the point where the tight end position gets hectic. He was a total dud against the JEts, but the game got out of hand quickly, so that just happens sometimes. In a competitive game, he should surely draw more than three targets and is always a candidate to score a touchdown. As expected, Baltimore was eaten alive by Darren Waller and Travis Kelce, but it did a great job slowing down T.J. Hockenson (two catches, 10 yards). However, Denver possesses much more talent at WR, so they won’t be able to only key in on Fant.|
|7||Logan Thomas, WAS @ ATL. Atlanta gave up touchdowns to Dallas Goedert and Rob Gronkowski before minimizing the efforts of Evan Engram in Week 3. Thomas is the No. 2 option in Washington, so there’s a nice chance for a touchdown here. He has drawn 14 targets to his point, so he’s still in the mix to be one of the most heavily targeted TEs this season.|
|8||Mark Andrews, BAL @ DEN. Andrews finally turned in on in Week 3, but it was against Detroit after all. He surpassed 100 yards receiving and was the top pass-catcher for Baltimore with Hollywood Brown dealing with butterfingers. The potential for big weeks is always there for Andrews, but Denver has allowed just four catches to tight ends on the season. Context matters, though, as those tight ends were James O’Shaugnessy, Kyle Rudolph, and Ryan Griffin/Tyler Kroft.|
|9||Kyle Pitts, ATL vs. WAS. Washington’s defense has been shockingly bad, but they’ve been middle-of-the-pack against tight ends. Aside from a Dawson Knox touchdown in Week 3, they haven’t been all that bad against the likes of Kyle Rudolph and Jared Cook, but Pitts’ talent should be a mismatch for their linebackers. Pitts was a dud in Week 3, but he has seen 17 targets through three weeks — enough to keep him in the top 10 among tight ends.|
|10||Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. ARI. Matthew Stafford obviously has chemistry with Higbee, as he’s in a third-place tie for targets among Rams’ pass-catchers. While Robert Woods is out-targeting him, Higbee is having more success. He’s caught 11 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown on the season, and this game has the potential to be a shootout.|
|11||Dallas Goedert, PHI vs. KC. Kansas City’s defense is just plain ole bad, and Goedert could be in for a big week. This game also has the chance to have a high point total, and Goedert is a real red-zone threat. Unfortunately, one of the few bright spots on Kansas City’s defense is Tyrann Mathieu, and he could be tasked with covering Goedert all game long. Despite their defense being bad, they neutralized Mark Andrews and Jared Cook in their past two games. That said, Goedert should still be in line for a TE1 performance given the scarcity at the position.|
|12||Robert Tonyan Jr., GB vs. PIT. Tonyan is who we thought he was. He’s touchdown dependent, but he does have a great chance to score each game. That’s basically all there is to it. If more tight ends emerge, he’ll continue to dip lower in the rankings.|
|13||Pat Freiermuth, PIT @ GB. Freiermuth looks like reincarnation for Heath Miller, and Big Ben trusts him in their short passing game. He’s evidently surpassed Eric Ebron on the depth chart and has a chance to earn a decent number of targets with Diontae Johnson (knee) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) dealing with injuries. He saw his first career touchdown last week, so maybe more are coming down the road. Green Bay has been the worst defense against tight ends this season.|
|14||Jared Cook, LAC vs. LV. We like this game to be a shootout, so there’s plenty of opportunity for volume with Cook. He’s seventh among tight ends in targets per game (6.5) so we could see him emerge as a top-10 play in this Charger passing attack. We just saw Mike Gesicki go buck wild against LV, catching 10 passes for 86 yards.|
|15||Evan Engram, NYG @ NO. Engram caught just two passes for 21 yards in his season debut, but he did draw six targets. Sadly, that’s enough evidence to keep him fantasy-relevant at this position, especially with several Giants’ WRs dealing with injuries.|
|16||Hunter Henry, NE @ TB|
|17||Jonnu Smith, NE @ TB|
|18||Austin Hooper, CLE @ MIN|
|19||Dalton Schultz, DAL vs. CAR|
|20||Tyler Conklin, MIN vs. CLE|
|21||Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. IND|
|22||Cole Kmet, CHI vs. DET|
|23||Dawson Knox, BUF vs. HOU|
|24||Zach Ertz, PHI vs. KC|
|25||Juwan Johnson, NO vs. NYG|
|26||Tyler Kroft, NYJ vs. TEN|
|27||Jack Doyle, IND @ MIA|
|28||Maxx Williams, ARI @ LAR|
|29||Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN vs. BAL|
|30||Eric Ebron, PIT @ GB|
|31||Adam Trautman, NO vs. NYG|
|32||Blake Jarwin, DAL vs. CAR|
|33||Pharaoh Brown, HOU @ BUF|
|34||Anthony Firkser, TEN @ NYJ|
|35||C.J. Uzomah, CIN vs. JAX|
|36||Mo Alie-Cox, IND @ MIA|
|37||Jimmy Graham, CHI @ MIN|
|38||Will Dissly, SEA @ SF|
|39||David Njoku, CLE @ MIN|
|40||Hayden Hurst, ATL vs. WAS|