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12 Formation: Tight End Start/Sit Week 1

Tight ends are never easy to judge, but let's dive into some starts and sits for Week 1.

Week 1 has already started. We need to begin game-planning for our lineups. I will be here weekly with my starts/sits of the week at tight end. Tight ends are tricky since you’ll likely want to start the best six to eight tight ends no matter what. I will give some players right after that elite tier that you can play and a few sleepers lower in the rankings. Tight end sits will be strictly based on matchups and may impact some of the elites.

Be sure to follow our other start/sit articles and authors; they contain great advice to help you each week.

Changing the Call (QB): Mike Hicks
The Cutback (RB): Jake Oliver
Slant Pattern (WR): Tristan Cook
12 Formation (TE): Steven Pintado
Flex on ‘Em (FLEX): Evan Brown
IDP Start/Sit (IDP): Jon Glosser

Start Em’

Gerald Everett, Chargers – TE14

Everett has a favorable matchup in week one. Everett is playing a Dolphins team ranked fourth worst against tight ends in 2022. Last year, Everett didn’t play as well vs. the Dolphins, as he had five grabs for 28 yards. Don’t scream upside or TE1 performance for your fantasy lineups. The targets were there, which is essential, and with a key addition this offseason, Everett could make big plays downfield. The veteran is getting some help with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. He will look to help open up the passing attack, which can fit Everett’s skill set as an athletic tight end. Everett came off a career year in 2022 and should be in line for five-plus weekly targets. Miami’s poor job stopping tight ends will make Everett a solid tight end to start in week one. Fantasy Pros weekly ranking has Everett as TE 16, but Everett has the upside to be that borderline TE1 in week one.

Cole Kmet, Bears – TE15

Back 9 Games493638510.69673.5
First 9 Games201415911.36170%
Kmet very underrated in 2023 – Numbers were from 2022 season

Cole Kmet should be in the starting lineup in week one vs. the Green Bay Packers. Kmet finally has the pressure taken off him as the defense’s main focus with the arrival of DJ Moore in town. On paper, the Packers have a tough defense, but some holes could break this defense down. Kmet should remain a valuable piece in this offense that will throw the ball a little more than last year. Kmet is an athletic beast at the tight end position that can create mismatches for him. Last year, after Fields got unleashed in the offense, Kmet put up six receptions for 72 yards at home against those Packers. Kmet was also a reliable target in the red zone for Justin Fields last year and should continue to be that way starting in week one. Kmet should be in the lineup for TE1 play for week one. Fantasy Pros weekly rankings have Kmet as TE15, but I have him already ranked as a TE1 for this matchup.

Jake Ferguson, Cowboys – TE

ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 24: Dallas Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson (87) catches a pass for a first down during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants on November 24, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

Ferguson is a little down on the list for tight ends but must be mentioned as a sleeper. After a solid preseason, Ferguson has moved into the TE1 spot for the Cowboys. We know that Dak has always loved his tight ends since he has had a top 14 fantasy tight end in six of his seven years. Dak looks for his tight end in red-zone situations, so Ferguson should have a high probability of scoring on Sunday night. Ferguson had one start in 2022, and it was against the Giants. He put up three catches and 57 yards in that matchup. While the receiver corp looks more crowded than in the past year, I still won’t doubt Prescott’s ability to keep his tight ends involved. Fantasy Pros weekly rankings have him already as a Top 20 tight end, and so do I as TE 17. Ferguson could be the answer with little risk to your lineup for Week 1.

Site Em’

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans – TE12

Okonkwo’s matchup vs. the Saints is tough as they were the second-best team vs. fantasy tight end in 2022. The Saints didn’t allow a tight end over 50 yards and just two receiving touchdowns to the position all year. Okonkwo will have a difficult task being very efficient with this opportunity. The Titans are a run-first offense led by Derrick Henry. For Tannehill, whatever plays are left for passing, he has a lot more mouths to feed than ever. DeAndre Hopkins is the WR1 and should see a bulk of the targets, and youngster Treylon Burks is looking to take that leap in year two. Okonkwo’s target share could be minimal as he does see enough in a tough matchup. I’d look to avoid Okonkwo. He is being ranked as TE12 in Fantasy Pros weekly rankings, but I think that’s too high as I have him as TE 15. Looking too much at last year with the improvements on the offense could leave Okonkwo as a disappointment for week one.

Kyle Pitts, Falcons – TE8

Kyle Pitts Fantasy Points per game in 2022.

Kyle Pitts is a tough sit, but Pitts has a tough matchup in week one. For one, trusting Desmond Ridder is hard to do with his abilities. You have Drake London, who will also look to command targets into his second season. I expect the Falcons to run the ball a ton in this week’s matchup. The Panthers were in the top 10 vs. tight ends last year. Outside a few games, the Panthers dominated opposing tight ends, allowing minimal fantasy production. You’ll likely have to start Pitts, but it’s tough to trust he can consistently produce with a mediocre quarterback throwing him the ball. Pitts’ upside is a tough sit, so you may end up starting him, but his floor could be minimal. Fantasy Pros has him as TE8, and that’s where I also have him. When you start Pitts, you take a boom or bust risk with him.

Pat Freiermuth, Steelers – TE

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 30: Pittsburgh Steelers Tight End Pat Freiermuth (88) stiff-arms Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) in the second quarter during the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 30, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Pat Freiermuth is another tight end that could be a bust for week one. The Steelers’ tight end is in a log jam in terms of targets in the offense. Freiermuth could, unfortunately, be the fourth or fifth target in the offense, which isn’t what we want in a tough matchup. The 49ers were the sixth-best team against fantasy tight ends and allowed only four receiving touchdowns to them. Freiermuth will likely need a touchdown in this game to make it worth starting him. If he can’t score, he could be a risky play for lineups. Rookie Darnell Washington could have a role, and he fits that big target to look for in the red zone. I’d avoid Freiermuth if you can. Surprisingly, Fantasy Pros has him as a Top 10 fantasy tight end, but he should be realistically close to TE14 for this matchup.

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