What’s up, Nerds?! Who’s pumped for Week 3 to be here for the 2021 NFL Season!!! The season is flying by already! I can’t wait to review these Tight End 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. Also, I have written the first two Tight End Start/Sit. 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. Finally, 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 2
I’m just going to lay out what each of my picks did, their tight end final ranking off of points for Week 2, and what I predicted. Then, I’ll share how many I got right/wrong out of them all.
Tyler Higbee: Oh Higbee, why did you have to make me a liar? I knew the Colts were tough on TEs, but you had one catch for eight yards! So, he didn’t finish as a TE1 but rather as TE50 overall. It was a rough week for TEs last week, but I was way wrong.
Cole Kmet: Kermit, how could you betray me? Apparently, the Bengals are tough against TEs as they have held TEs to five receptions for 41 yards. Kmet accounted for none of those five receptions. He got one target and whiffed. Ugh, so that wasn’t a high-TE2 finish. 0/2 so far. At least I have Cook next and the refs.
Jared Cook: Alright, Jared Cook, I know I can count on you, right? Well, he had three catches for 21 yards. Additionally, he had a touchdown that the refs called back due to a flag. Welp, that means he missed out on finishing as a high-TE2. TEs are fickle, and I am 0 for three so far.
Mike Gesicki: At least Gesicki was still Gemissing this week. I predicted Gesicki would be a late-TE2. I was right! He had three receptions for 41 yards off of six targets. He finished as TE20 on the week, which is right in the late-TE2 range. I finally was right on a tight end this week. One of four with two more to go.
Austin Hooper: Well, Hooper, I said you wouldn’t finish as a TE1. Thank you for saving face with that call. You came close with five receptions for 40 yards. That gave you a TE14 overall finish, two spots outside the TE1-12 range. Two of five with one to go thanks to Hooper and the Browns.
Tyler Conklin: Tyler Conklin had an okay week against the Cardinals. I said he would be, at best, a TE2 this week. He had only two receptions for 15 yards. That’s not good. He still did better than Higbee, though. Ugh. He finished outside the TE2 range at TE32 overall. Three of six correct for me in Week 2. That’s better, especially with how I started. Onto a better finish this week.
Start of the Week: Robert Tonyan, Packers
Tonyan had a relatively good week in Week 2 with a functioning Aaron Rodgers offense. He had three receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. He’s a favorite of Rodgers in the red zone, and those TDs are the primary source of his points. Plus, he’s developed a rather nice rapport with ARod having over 50 yards receiving or a touchdown in 11 of his last 18 games. That’s pretty consistent.
With a good matchup against the San Francisco 49ers this week, start Tonyan up. The 49ers have allowed 12 receptions, 129 yards, and a touchdown through two weeks to a TE. I think the 49ers should be a good spot for the Red-Zone Terminator. San Fran lost Dre Greenlaw for multiple weeks, and he was one of their coverage linebackers. Also, they lost most of their cornerbacks.
This should be another get-right match for ARod and company. Look for Tonyan to finish this week as a back-end TE1. If you have him on your squad, start him up.
Jared Cook, Chargers
I don’t always learn from the mistakes I make. Or I just haven’t realized I enjoy taking risks. With that said, I am selecting Cook as a start for this week. He had a touchdown called back last week and had a good Week 1. With that said, he’s gotten 13 targets and run 60 pass routes so far through two weeks. That’s good for sixth in all of the NFL in terms of TE targets.
He’s facing a Kansas City defense that’s struggled to stop TEs so far through two weeks. The team has given up 13 receptions for 186 yards. I see no reason why Cook won’t continue to cook the KC defense. Plus, he has a great QB in Justin Herbert, who shouldn’t be worrying you yet.
I believe in Cook and the Chargers’ offense. Also, I think that KC’s defense will give up some big plays. With that said, I predict him finishing as a late-TE1. If you have Cook on your team, you’re most likely starting. In a TE premium league, you’re for sure starting him. Don’t burn the Chef, Cook. Please.
Cole Kmet, Bears
Okay, I agree; I enjoy pain. I know that Kmet burned me last week rather severely. That doesn’t mean I am scared to start him, though. Quite the contrary, as I’ll gladly start him again this week. Why? There are three reasons: his QB-TE relationship, his opponent, and his role.
As I wrote about in my breakout series, which included Kmet, he’s developed a great relationship with Justin Fields. It just so happens that Fields is starting this week due to Andy Dalton’s deep bone bruise in his knee. The Fields-Kmet tandem that Coach Nagy is dreaming of will help save his job is about to take place finally. Get in on the ground floor while you can. A good TE is a young QB’s dream often. Fields will have that in Kmet.
Secondly, look at the team that the Bears are facing this week. I’ll help you out; it’s the Cleveland Browns. They’ve given up eight receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns through two weeks. Yes, I’m aware they faced Kelce. However, the Browns will be having to prevent Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney through the air and David Montgomery on the ground. That’s going to be a lot to prevent. That should allow Kmet to find the soft spots on the defense and soak up the targets.
Speaking of targets, Kmet had seven of them in Week 1. Yes, he had only one in Week 2. With the Bears in flummox due to a mid-game QB change, I can excuse that. They were also facing the Bengals, who are surprisingly dominant against TEs this year. With his eight targets came a dominant share of the snaps for TEs on the team. Kmet’s played on 98 total snaps. His role is entirely secure as Jimmy Graham’s snaps only total 36. That’s not a competition at all. Watch for Kmet to blow up this week in a get-right matchup with a young and talented QB. I’m even willing to say that he finishes as a late-TE1 and not a TE2.
Sit of the Week: New England’s Duo
The New England TE mess is a mess I want to avoid. They are not suitable for any fantasy team. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are like protons and electrons; they cancel each other out. Henry’s target share is barely above ten percent, and Jonnu’s is just under 15 percent. Neither of those is good, especially in a low-passing offense such as the Patriots. The Mac Jones offense has yet to find their groove truly.
The rookie QB is still learning the offense and hasn’t gotten into sync with either of these talented TE’s. Speaking of the two talented TEs, Jonnu has ten targets compared to Hunter’s seven through two weeks. Imagine if it was only one or the other on the offense. We would be starting them every week. Unfortunately, life doesn’t play out as we want in fantasy.
We are stuck with two great TE’s essentially sabotaging each other each week. If you had to pick one, I’d lean Smith only because he’s being targeted more than Henry. That’s even though Smith’s only averaging a tiny bit above seven yards per reception. That’s more than three yards below where he was with the Titans. It all relies on Smith doing something with the ball and getting into the endzone.
At least with Henry, he’s averaging a rather excellent 14. 6 yards per reception, the best in his career. That’s good. It’s just annoying that he’s not getting more targets. This is the Way. We will learn and adapt. Perhaps Jones decides on only one of them. Until there’s clarity, I’m not starting either of them regardless of matchup.
As for their matchup this week? They’re facing the Saints, who have been rude to tight ends so far. They’ve only given up seven receptions for 89 yards. That’s roughly six fantasy points per game. There are way better matchups to find on the TE market. I’d be shocked if Henry or Smith finish better than a mid-TE2 this week. Look elsewhere for your TEs.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
I know, it’s shocking. Sit Gesicki is becoming commonplace this week. It’s even more so imperative this week with Jacoby Brissett starting in place of the injured QB Tua Tagovailoa. This is not the walk-year Gesicki or anyone wanted him to have.
Through two weeks, Gesicki has three catches off of nine targets for a minuscule 41 yards. All of that work occurred last week against the Bills. Now, the offense is suffering a downgrade at QB while increasing the talent competing for targets. The talent increase is due to Will Fuller finally being expected to make his Miami debut. There are just not enough targets to go around. Unless Gesicki scores a TD, which you can’t expect/rely on, you can’t trust him until he shows enough to be trusted.
The matchup for Gesicki and the Dolphins isn’t any easier this week than the Bills last week, with them facing the Raiders. I know; that’s even weirder for me to type out. I’m not sure anyone was predicting the Raiders to be playing so well on defense or offense. Despite the weird coming true, the Raiders have been extremely tough on TEs. In the last two weeks, they have allowed only seven receptions for 56 yards.
Don’t fire up Gesicki this week, or else you might be feeling Sicky when you check your matchup Sunday evening. He should finish around a mid-TE2 range if you’re lucky. Don’t get cute. Keep sitting Gesicki.
Dawson Knox, Bills
Say it with me now, DON’T GO POINT CHASING! He scored a touchdown last week, with the key word being “last.” You aren’t going to get those points back now. Could you get lucky with him scoring a TD this week? Yes, you could. Is it likely? No, it’s not.
Knox has only gotten seven targets through two weeks. That’s good for a less than 10% target share. Dawson’s Creek has two receptions for 17 yards if you take away the touchdown from last week. He’s only seen five or more targets twice since Week 1 of the 2020 season. Why would you take the risk of getting burned by a rough showing this week?
I’d start Gesicki or either of the Pats’ tight ends this week over Knox. Remember, fantasy football is unpredictable but not that unpredictable. A little risk is good. A lot of risks are not. With Knox’s opponent this week being Washington, who have only given up nine points on average per game to TEs, it’s wise to look elsewhere.
Give me anyone over Knox this week. Look for him not to finish in the top-24 tight ends this week. That means he’ll be a TE3. He’s the Fort Knox of TE points, and you’ll never get them out.
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Good luck with your Week 1 matchup, especially with your tight end starts! I truly hope you win! As always, I 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 many Nerds hang out in. It’s free too!
As always, May the Force be with You…