Week 12 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 elites.
Be sure to follow our other start/sit articles and authors; they contain great advice to help you each week.
Recapping Last Week
Last week, we went 2-4 in our starts and sits for Week 11 fantasy tight ends. Tyler Conklin, Luke Musgrave, and Noah Fant did not step up to their favorable matchups. Evan Engram had another bad game, and Tyler Higbee continued missing from the Rams offense. Cade Otton did better than the TE16 rank but only finished with 6.9 fantasy points.
Isaiah Likely, Ravens – TE14
My first start of Week 12 is Isaiah Likely, now the starting tight end for the Ravens. The Chargers rank in the bottom ten against fantasy tight ends this season. Over the last five weeks, they have allowed four tight ends over 40 yards. They also have given up two receiving touchdowns in that span. This matchup is great in that the Ravens passing offense should be able to dominate the Chargers. Likely is a big 6’4″ athletic tight end with fantastic speed for the position. He offers excellent mismatches for this offense. Likely is still a young tight end that needs to continue to develop at the NFL level. He has been up and down with his fantasy production when given chances to start. This matchup screams sleeper appeal for Likely to be able to produce for us in Week 12. Charlie Kolar in deep leagues may be able to find some value as well.
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers – TE19
The Steelers offense must be so bad that Pat Freiermuth isn’t ranked higher in this matchup. Freiermuth should be back to normal in the offense after being limited in last week’s game. This matchup is fantastic against the Bengals. They allow the fourth most fantasy points per game to the tight end position. They have allowed 70-plus yards in three of the last four games against the Bengals. Freiermuth has done well against the Bengals, averaging over 50 yards in four career games. Now that Matt Canada is gone as the offensive coordinator, I want to see how this offense changes. A healthy Freiermuth should be much higher in the ranks as a TE1. He should be a great start in the matchups to get you close to ten fantasy points.
Jonnu Smith, Falcons – TE17
My last start is Jonnu Smith, who had a terrible game in week ten. In the first half of the season, Smith has been a solid fantasy tight end. The matchup with the Saints is looking very good this season. They rank in the bottom ten against fantasy tight ends, thanks to giving up six touchdowns this season. They have allowed four touchdowns in the last three games. They have also given up two tight ends over 50 yards in that span. The Falcons are returning to Desmond Ridder, so I think Smith should see more short-area targets. Smith needs to get back involved to help this team end their slump on the season. Smith should be able to see at least five targets in this game and finish as a borderline TE1.
Hunter Henry, Patriots – TE18
Hunter Henry stands out this week since the Patriots are going up against the poor Giants defense. The Giants have been pretty good at slowing down tight ends over the last five weeks. Outside of Logan Thomas putting up 50 yards in both games, he played them during those five weeks. The Giants rank inside the top ten against fantasy tight ends. While the yardage is up and down, the receiving touchdowns have been very few, with only two on the season. Henry has just one game over five fantasy points in the last six weeks. The Patriots offense has been tough to play, considering how bad they have been. Henry with Mac Jones has not been that great this year, nor will Bailey Zappe if the Patriots decide to switch. Henry hasn’t shown the upside he had in his first year with the Patriots.
Tanner Hudson, Bengals – TE27
Since we talk dynasty here, owners have probably seen Tanner Hudson stand out after being picked up in leagues over the last few weeks. Tanner has 30-plus yards in three straight games and looks like a gem in dynasty. Seeing Jake Browning at quarterback does give me some concerns about his future production. Owners may be considering starting him, but it’s not an easy matchup in Week 12. The Steelers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to the tight end position. The Steelers haven’t allowed a touchdown to the position since week four. They have played great tight ends like Mark Andrews, Evan Engram, and David Njoku. They all had decent yardage but zero touchdowns. Hudson should be avoided this week until we know how this offense will run.
Michael Mayer, Raiders – TE22
Rookie Michael Mayer has not stepped up this season as many rookie tight ends have done. In Mayer’s situation, he probably has the worst quarterback among others in this class. He had a decent Week 11 with 40 yards, but the opportunity is inconsistent this season. The matchup for him in Week 12 is not that great. The Chiefs allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to the tight end position. They have allowed one tight end over 30 yards in the last five games. They also have only given up two touchdowns to the position this season. The Chiefs have a great defense overall, so I expect the Raiders offense to struggle in this game. Mayer is a tight end I’d look to avoid, as I don’t see the upside with a struggling team.