What’s up Nerds?! Who’s pumped for Week 2 to be here for the 2021 NFL Season!!! It’s been a long time coming, but the wait was worth it. I can’t wait to review these starts/sits next week to see how they went. We have an amazing squad full of Nerds to provide you all the starts/sits so you can win your matchup every week. This is going to be the longest season yet with 17-game schedules! More football is never a bad thing.
The Dynasty Nerds writers are here to provide you with weekly starts and sits. We will be making our recommendations based on weekly consensus PPR rankings from FantasyPros. Here is our squad and the position groups they will be covering to help you each week. Follow us, friend us, tweet us.
The Team doing Start/Sits
QB: Jayson Snyder @Spydes78
RB: Gage Bridford @GbridgfordNFL
WR: Tristan Cook @Tristancook_
TE: Jake Oliver @DarthDbacks
FLEX: Ethan Wyatt @ethanAwyatt
IDP: Jon Glosser @Glosser13
We look forward to hearing from you!
NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc. It is referring to the fact that he is projected among the top-12 TE of the week. TE1=top-12, TE2=finishing between top-13-24. Finally, all the rankings are pulled from Fantasy Pros Weekly Expert Consensus Rankings.
Now, you may be wondering who I am since I’m not the same guy from last year. My name is Jake Oliver. I’ve been with the Nerds since June. I have written a lot of articles with this wonderful team since then. I’m so excited to be writing this series for this year! I’ll be doing my best to help you all win each week. The tight end market is rather hard to navigate, with so many being just average in fantasy.
These are articles made out of love and passion for fantasy football, the NFL, and helping others. If you all have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter, in the comments here, or on Discord in Fantasy Football Chat! I’ll be posting a bunch and love to engage with anyone. We would appreciate it a lot if y’all checked out the other start/sit articles as they rock too! One final tidbit, if you’re wondering why Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, or George Kittle aren’t listed, well, that’s because you need to START YOUR STUDS! These guys are ones that you start them once and forget about them. I’ll be focusing on the other tight ends that are a bit trickier to decide whether you should start them or not.
First, let’s review my picks from last week. I’m curious to see how well or horrible I did and to keep me accountable.
Recap of Week 1
I’m just going to lay out what each of my picks did, their tight end final ranking off of points for Week 1, and what I predicted. Then, I’ll share how many I got right/wrong out of them all.
Tyler Higbee: Predicted he’d finish as a TE1 easily. Had 5 receptions for 68 yards, finished as TE9 in PPR. Win
Austin Hooper: Predicted he would be a high-end TE2 (TE13-15 range). I should’ve said David Njoku as Hooper had 3 receptions for 27 yards. He finished as TE27, OUCH. Wrong.
Robert Tonyan: To be fair, I don’t think anyone predicted Rodgers to play as bad as he did, but I predicted Tonyan as a Mid-TE1. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He had 2 catches for 8 yards. That’s good for a TE40 finish. Wrong.
Dallas Goedert/Zach Ertz: I said for Goedert to be a TE1 and Ertz a high-end TE2. Goedert finished as TE6 on the week with 4 catches for 42 yards and a TD. Woohoo, now for Ertz. He finished as TE30 after missing part of the game with an injury. He only had 2 catches for 34 yards. So that’s a Right/Wrong.
Logan Thomas: Said that LT would blossom without Samuel and be a strong TE1. With a TE8 finish for the week and playing the game without Fitzpatrick for most of it, he indeed hit those marks. He had 3 catches for 30 yards and a TD. Right.
Evan Engram: I predicted him to be out for the week and he was. I guess that’s a right in my book.
Gerald Everett: Well, folks, I was wrong on this. I didn’t think he would finish as a high-TE2. Yet he did with a TE15, showing off of 2 catches for 20 yards and a TD. To be fair, his stats didn’t get him a high TE finish. It’s because of a TD. I’ll still admit when I am wrong, though.
Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry: I said Smith would be a low-TE1 and Henry a high-TE2. Was I right in saying not to start them? They finished as TE17 and TE26, respectively. Smith had good usage with 5 catches for 42 yards, whereas Henry had 3 catches for 31 yards. I guess I’ll take a split on this as I mentioned not to start them if you didn’t have to, right/wrong.
Anthony Firkser: I have high hopes for Firkser this year, but the Cardinals’ defense clamped down on the Titans as I expected. Don’t start TEs this year against them. I have a feeling. Nonetheless, Firkser finished as TE35, Right.
Mike Gesicki: I said not to start him against that elite Pats defense if you could help it. He got a whopping zero points. Right in my book.
In total, I went 7/12, not the best, but not awful. I’ll do my best to be better with these picks:
Week 2 Tight End Starts!
Start of the week: Tyler Higbee
Yes, I had Tyler Higbee as a start last week, and he was an easy TE1. Yet, I still see a lot of people doubting that he’s for real this year. I don’t understand it. He has a better QB, no competition at tight end, and is in a very pass-happy offense. Last week against the usually strong Bears defense, he had 5 receptions for 68 yards, finished as TE9 in PPR. That’s awesome. Considering that he was being viewed as a TE2 this past summer for teams, he’s on his way to a TE1 finish for the whole year.
Yes, the whole year. I think Higbee improves on his numbers from last week. That’s because we didn’t get to see how the Rams’ offense completely works. They have two blown coverage plays that led to super easy touchdowns. Despite that, he played all the snaps and had a 23% target share. That’s good. I see it coming down to around the 20% share, but that’s still elite for a tight end. This might be your last shot to acquire him before his price explodes. I’d go out and ask what the cost is, especially if your TE1 is Mike Gesicki. Higbee is about to blow up.
Higbee could be a league winner this year. Meanwhile, his matchup this week is against the Colts. Yes, the Colts are tough on TEs, yet they will have their hands full stopping all the WRs. Additionally, they gave up a touchdown last week to Gerald Everett. I see no reason to sit Higbee in what should be a higher-scoring game. Look for Higbee to finish as a mid-late TE1.
Start: Tight End Cole Kmet
Yes, I said it, start Bears tight end Cole Kmet even with Andy Dalton under center. While I do believe in revenge game narratives, that’s not the reasoning behind this. The facts behind Cole Kmet being a start this week have to do with the opposing team, snap shares, and talent.
The Bears are facing the Cincinnati Bengals this week. The same team that allowed Tyler Conklin to get 4 receptions for 41 yards. Cole Kmet topped that against a harsh defense in the Rams last Sunday night. He went 5 catches for 42 yards. Plus, the Bengals are way worse at defense than the Rams. In what should be a relatively even matchup, look for Kmet the Frog to leap his way to a high catch/yard total, at least in terms of tight end highs. Of course, I should admit that I predicted Cole Kmet to break out this year, so I am a bit biased in my belief in him.
Additionally, there were worries in preseason that Jimmy Graham would still be a big factor in the Bears’ offense, thus limiting Kmet. Well, that turned out to not be the case. In Sunday night’s loss, Cole Kmet was in on offense for 51 snaps. Whereas Jimmy was only in on 14 snaps. Also, Cole got targeted 7 times to Jimmy’s 2. Obviously, Cole is the TE1 on the Bears.
Finally, Cole is talented. He wouldn’t be starting in the NFL if he wasn’t. Kmet the Frog worked hard over the off-season to prove himself in camp. Cole proved himself and earned the starting nod. His talent is a big reason why Coach Nagy is trying to recreate the Chiefs Mahomes-Kelce connection with Fields-Kmet. If only he would start Justin Fields already. Alas, look for Kmet to finish as a late-TE1 and, at worst, a high-end TE2. Either way, I’m starting him over the likes of Gesicki, Hooper, and others.
Start: Tight End Jared Cook
Well, this is rather obvious in my eyes. This is entirely about the matchup. The Chargers are facing the Dallas Cowboys. Need I remind you that the Cowboys gave up 90 yards and 2 touchdowns to Gronk last week? Of course, I don’t need to remind you. Cook is a weekly flier, a guy who you shouldn’t start every week, but when the matchup is right, fire him up.
Now, I don’t think Austin Ekeler is held targetless this week. That probably takes a target or two away from Cook. Nonetheless, Cook should still finish around 3rd in targets every week on the Chargers. He had 8 targets last week against the Football Team. Against that tough defense, he had 5 catches for 56 yards. That’s great for a tight end. Now, they face the atrocious pass-coverage of the Cowboys.
This is going to be a high-scoring game between the Chargers and Cowboys. That means many points, both in real life and fantasy, will be scored. I guarantee that Cook, if healthy, will get his fair share of points. If you are in a tough position because of injuries to Irv Smith or poor performances like Hooper, streaming Cook is a great solution. Get a piece of this Chargers offense. He’s a high-end TE2 this week and could boom this week. Get him in your lineup!
Week 2 Tight End Sits!
Sit of the Week: Mike Gesicki
I desperately wanted Mike Gesicki to be a big player in the tight end fantasy world this year. I know not to just base everything on week one, especially one against the tight end slayers that are the Patriots. However, the competition for targets is heavy, with Will Fuller coming back from suspension. There are just way too many mouths for Tua to truly feed.
Besides Gesicki and Fuller, there’s Jaylen Waddle, Devante Parker, and Myles Gaskins. He put up a huge doughnut against the Patriots. To make matters worse, he only got two targets. I just don’t see a path to extreme relevancy until he proves it. Sure, if you want to keep risking it and throw him in your lineup, by all means, do so. As for myself, I just would rather play another tight end if I have one.
Gesicki only played roughly 40% of snaps against the Pats. Now he faces the Bills, who are just as tough against tight ends. They held Eric Ebron to only one catch last Sunday. With Tua having all kinds of weapons and an offensive line that is struggling, Gesicki is a complete fade. Since the O-line is struggling, their TEs will likely have to help block, just another factor that will limit Gesicki’s passing involvement.
Mike is a favorite player of mine, and he’s a free agent after the season. I genuinely hope he goes to another team that can use him. He’s a great player, but his situation and offensive scheme are horrible for him. Gesicki’s a mid-TE2 for this week, and that feels risky to me. I’d be looking to sell him as soon as he gets a big game.
Sit: Tight End Austin Hooper
I guess I chose the wrong tight end to put my flag on. I definitely chose the wrong offense. Entering the season, we all thought that Hooper would be the TE1 in the offense. It made sense. He was last year. He got the big contract and can be an elite tight end. Alas, this is a full-blown tight end committee.
Austin Hooper would be right around TE1 status every week if he were the only TE worth anything on the Browns. That just isn’t the case, as David Njoku is healthy once again. He out-targeted Hooper in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs 5-3. Also, Njoku caught all his targets for massive yards compared to Hooper catching his three targets for only 27 yards.
Until this TE room gains some clarity, I’d avoid them both. Hooper plays more than Njoku, but it seems that Njoku is the preferred receiving tight end. Interestingly, Njoku only ran 16 routes yet got 5 targets. I’d rather take a risk on Juwan Johnson, Adam Trautman, or a few other tight ends than risking everything on Hooper.
His matchup against the Texans should be quite juicy. The Texans’ defense should scare no one right now. It is indeed a great matchup, but unless you’re in a deep league or have a crystal ball, I wouldn’t start either of these guys. Plus, if you have a crystal ball, why are you reading this article?
Sit: Tight End Tyler Conklin
I know that some of us out in the dynasty world are TE-desperate. Especially those of us who have Gesicki or lost Irv Smith. Therefore, you might be tempted to risk it on a tight end who did well last week. That TE being Tyler Conklin of the Vikings. He is replacing Irv and got 4 receptions for 41 yards. That’s not bad. That’s top-20 TE upside.
Yet, don’t trust him this week as the Vikings are playing the Cardinals. As the Cardinals proved last week, their linebackers are legit. They can cover tight ends well. They are an aggressive pass-rush team. Their glaring weakness is at cornerback. If the Vikings have any brains at all, they will target the corners of the Cardinals.
That means it’s going to be a heavy Justin Jefferson/Adam Thielen game. Don’t be surprised if, at the end of the game, Conklin had been busier blocking than running routes. As it is, last year, the Cardinals defense only allowed three games where tight ends got more than 50 yards receiving. Unless you believe Conklin is Zach Ertz, George Kittle, or TJ Hockenson remade, I’d be sitting him for pretty much anyone else. Conklin is a mid-TE2 at best this week. Most likely, he ends up as a late-TE2.
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Good luck with your Week 1 matchup, especially with your tight end starts! I truly hope you win! As always, hope you follow me @DarthDbacks. I love to talk football, baseball, movies, shows, Star Wars, Marvel, and of course to interact with the fantasy football community. Join Fantasy Football Chat and get tons of access to the best fantasy football chat group where a lot of Nerds hang out in. It’s free too!
As always, May the Force be with You…