What’s up, Nerds?! Let’s hope for more Treats than Tricks this week! Who’s pumped for Week 9 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 with 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. Week 8 was rather odd for tight ends with many coming back to life, exploding, and/or falling flat. A week where Dan Arnold, Brevin Jordan, Jesse James, Geoff Swaim, and Jordan Akins finished as TE1s while Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry, Kyle Pitts, and Dalton Schultz were busts. This was a miserable week for tight ends.
This Week 8 bye is so much nicer with only 4 teams instead of 6 NFL teams on bye, like with Week 7. Nonetheless, combine that with the endless amounts of injuries and well, this is a tough week! But, that’s why we are here to help! FYI: The 4 teams on bye this week are Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Football Team. Welp, just what fantasy teams needed, not, with Rob Gronkowski, TJ Hockenson, and Ricky Seals-Jones are on bye.
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 rankings are taken 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.
These articles are 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 Mark Andrews 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.
Week 8 Review
First, let’s review my picks from last week. I’m curious to see how well I did in Week 7 and to keep myself accountable. Honestly, I’m a little scared to review these.
Tyler Higbee: So, apparently the Texans CAN cover TEs. Although it helped that the Rams just force-fed Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson in the first 3 quarters while they wrecked the Texans. Talk about being a monster on Halloween for the Texans. They slaughtered them, but Higbee did not. He had 3 catches for 25 yards en route to a TE2 week.
Hunter Henry: The Pats TEs put up massive duds. Hunter Henry only had 1 catch for 33 yards. Talk about a let-down. The TEs this week were scarier than any haunted mansion.
CJ Uzomah: CJ was actually a decent play this week as he finished as a high-TE2. Yes, his 4 receptions for 33 yards is a decent game this week for a TE.
Rob Gronkowski: Gronk was active, but he really shouldn’t have been. He failed to record a stat in the limited time he played before he left the game with back spasms. I’m not sure why they even let him play, to be honest.
Noah Fant: Fant was more like orange-Hi-C as the mockery of orange Fant soda. He was a ghost on the field as he only had 2 receptions for 8 yards. Ouch.
Mike Gesicki: At least we could rely on good ole’ Mike Gesicki! He finished as a TE1 with 3 catches for 48 yards. Yes, that’s a TE1 stat-line for this week.
Cole Kmet: Cole had 3 catches for 24 yards, not the best. Kmet the Frog struggled once again.
Ricky Seals-Jones: There was no kiss from Seal this week as he put up a massive stinker. Good thing you didn’t start him right? He had 2 catches for 12 yards against the Broncos’ tough TE defense.
Jared Cook: There was no Cook in the kitchen for the Chargers’ offense as he had only 2 receptions for 25 yards against the tough Patriots’ defense. That’s still better than Gesicki did in Week 1 though.
Mo Alie-Cox: Guess what, MAC didn’t get a touchdown last week. Additionally, he failed to record any catches. He didn’t catch any of his 4 targets. Ouch.
Tyler Conklin: This was a surprising stat-line to see out of Conklin. Although with Justin Jefferson becoming a ghost and Dalvin Cook a vampire, Conklin soaked up plenty of targets and yards. He finished with 5 catches out of 7 targets for 57 yards. That’s a TE1-tier week.
The Browns’ TEs: The sabotaging nature of the Browns’ TEs continued again on Sunday. Njoku had 3 receptions for 39 yards whereas Hooper had 4 receptions for 26 yards. If we combined the two, 7 receptions for 65 yards, that’s a bonafide TE1 every week. If only.
Overall, for the week: 7/11. Overall, for the season: 49/78
Tight End Starts
Tight End Start of the Week: Mike Gesicki
Big Mike the Slot WR has continued his masterful platform year before free agency. He’s going to get paid really well. Despite that, he’s not being started enough. I’m not sure if it’s because he was a later-round draft pick or what. If you see someone in your league not starting him, go trade for him. Anywho, Mike has some great stats that back up his on-field play. Gesicki’s on pace for over 1,000 yards receiving, 85 receptions, and has had at least 6 targets in all but two weeks this season.
In the red zone, he’s caught all 4 of his targets and obtained both of his touchdowns there too. Mike ranks 4th among tight ends with 475 yards, 3rd in receptions/targets with 40/55, and is 4th in tight end fantasy football PPR points with 101.5. He plays on over 71% of the snaps which is key for predicting future success. In order to get targets, you have to be on the field. He’s out-targeted Durham Smythe (who?) 55-18 on the Dolphins.
Should I continue praising Mr. Gesicki? I think I should. Mike has a 17.8% target share which is elite among tight ends and has 10 receptions of 20+ yards. Talk about racking up the fantasy points! This week, he faces the Texans. I know that Higbee put up a dud against the Houston Oilers. Er, I mean Texans. But, that’s because the Rams had 4 other targets to feed. The Dolphins mainly just have Gesicki and Waddle. Miami is desperate for a win, and Gesicki’s set up for a boom game.
Start: Dallas Goedert
It’s pretty nice being the only tight end in Philly now ain’t it Dallas? I think he’s enjoyed it a bunch as he has finished as a TE1 in both games since Zach Ertz was traded. To prove that, just look at his stats. In the two games since Ertz left, Goedert’s had 8 receptions on 12 targets for 142 yards. The touchdowns will come but that yardage is insane!
Hurts will continue to look Dallas’ way as the Eagles contine to be in negative game scripts where they will be passing a bunch to catch up. If we go just off of Dallas’ base stats while Ertz was still with Philly too, Goedert’s on pace for 54 receptions and over 810 yards. I think it’s safe to say that Dallas will be pushing to break way past those numbers as he marches towards a huge contract extension by the Eagles at the end of the season. He’s playing on a great 72% snap share too.
Goedert’s a yardage machine as he 50 or more yards in 4 of his 7 games this year. Combine that with the fact he has the 2nd highest yards per reception among tight ends with 14.9 and seven 20+ yard receptions and you know he’s a deep threat. It is correct to say that Dallas will continue to get the deep passes this week against the Chargers’ defense. The Chargers are still without Kenneth Murray and have given up the 6th most ppg to TE with 10.3. Fire up Goedert.
Start: George Kittle
Now, if Kittle plays, fire him up. If he doesn’t, well don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you that Kittle isn’t still a top-5 dynasty tight end. Before his injury, he was playing on 97% of the snaps. Yes, he had a slow start, but that was going to change. Kittle’s too good and important to the 49ers for that not to change. The 49ers did the right thing shutting him down so that he could come back fully healthy.
A fully healthy Kittle is a monster on the field for defenses. Just in the 4 games he played, he already had 4 broken tackles. I’d hated trying to tackle the Derrick Henry of tight ends. Plus, Jimmy G is the QB and is playing like a man on fire playing for his job. He’s going to target Kittle. They have a great connection and the 49ers are desperate for another passing weapon.
On the downside, the matchup is extremely tough. The Cardinals are the 2nd best at preventing tight ends from doing anything. Tight ends average a meager 3.7 ppg against them. Yet, don’t sit Kittle if he plays. That’s like sitting Alvin Kamara when he has a tough matchup. Don’t be like Obi-Wan and leave Anakin behind. Kittle’s a start-em and forget. Plus, the 49ers are in a must-win situation in order to keep their season and job hopes alive. Of course, so are the Cardinals.
Other Starts: Tyler Conklin, Albert O, Tyler Higbee
Tight End Sits
Tight End Sit of the Week: Dan Arnold
Don’t go chasing the points! Dan put up a Lt. Dan showcase on Halloween as he had 8 receptions on 10 targets for 68 yards. He was one of the highest-scoring tight ends in the NFL last week. That shouldn’t be the case this week. While he’s had 8 or more targets in 2 of the last 3 games he’s played in, I just don’t trust the Jaguars. First off, they have Urban Pipeline, sorry, Meyer coaching the team. The same guy who has forgotten that Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones Jr. exist on the team.
Secondly, the Jaguars are just bad. They struggle in nearly every facet of the game and barely avoided a shutout against the broken Seahawks. Plus, Dan is only playing on 51% of the snaps. That’s not going to cut it if you want to be a consistent play-maker for a team in the NFL. Dan has no deep threat skills either as he has zero 20+ yard catches. Nor does he make an impact in the critical red zone where TEs make their living. He’s gotten 2 targets there all year. That’s not going to cut it.
Now, he faces the Buffalo Bills who are no easy matchup. They are the 7th best in the NFL at preventing tight ends from doing anything. They allow an average of 5.5 ppg to the TE position. Just look at how they have played against Travis Kelce and Mike Gesicki. They held Kelce to 6 receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown that saved his day. Whereas against Gesicki, over 2 games too, they’ve held him to 6 receptions on 10 targets for a mild 89 yards and no touchdowns. I understand if you have to start Arnold due to injuries and bye weeks, but if you can avoid it, don’t start him.
Sit: Dalton Schultz
You’re probably in the same boat as the Dan Arnold owner, if not worse. Schultz has had a career year during his contract year. He’s blown past any and all predictions that anyone had for him. Dalton’s on pace for 80 receptions, 106 targets, 898 yards, and 7 touchdowns. That’s elite numbers for a tight end in the NFL. Yet, will it happen? Probably not to that degree. If you have him, it’s incredibly hard to bench him. He’s been SOOOOOO good. Despite that, if you do have any other options that can be started, probably really take a hard look at starting him.
There’s many reasons as to why I say that despite the fact that he’s playing on 75% of the snaps and has out-targeted Blake Jarwin 44-15. Last week was easily the worst week of Schultz’s season. Of course, that came when Cooper Rush was playing whereas Dak should be back this week. Know who else should be back? Michael Gallup, the Cowboys’ third WR who’s missed most of the season due to a calf injury. You can’t discount the fact that Schultz has played great without him. There is the potential that this changes Schultz’s 17.4 target % to a lower number. If that happens, it’s hard to see Dalton remaining 6th (33) in receptions, 8th (44) in targets, and 7th (370) in yards among tight ends.
Of course, I haven’t even mentioned the horrible matchup that he has this week against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos defense may be struggling to some degree, and did just lose Von Miller, but they’ve been excellent against tight ends. They are 4th best in the NFL by allowing only 4.7 ppg to opposing tight ends. They held Mark Andrews to only 5 receptions for 67 yards, and held Darren Waller to only 5 catches for 59 yards. Dalton isn’t as good as those two. Nor does he get the target share they both get. If you have other options, bench Dalton, or at least temper your expectations as he finishes as a high-end TE2.
Sit: Browns’ TEs
If the Browns’ tight ends, Austin Hooper and David Njoku, could somehow form together to create a tight end Frankenstein, then that would be amazing. Unfortunately, that can’t happen. Thus, it’s best that they just stay on your bench until one of them is off the team or not playing.
Not even if you look at their targets does a clear leader appear. Hooper has 28 targets, yet Njoku has 24. Hooper has 7 red zone targets but has converted them into only one touchdown. Njoku has the highest yards per reception among tight ends with 16.2. That’s an incredible statistic, yet, most of that came on two busted coverages against the Chargers. See how there’s nothing that really stands out to help either of their cases.
Plus, you add into this mixture the chaos that’s going on in the Browns’ locker room where OBJ might be getting released and calling Baker out, Baker’s arm might fall off, and there’s so many offensive line injuries where both tight ends might have to block more, and you get a recipe for the wonderful taste of Bench Bread. To make matters worse, they are facing the surprisingly dominant Bengals who have allowed only 5.8 ppg to opposing tight ends. That’s top-10 among NFL defenses. So, do the right thing and bench them.
Other Sits: Noah Fant (Covid), Jared Cook, Evan Engram
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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…
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