You did it. You survived. Survive and advance right? Or maybe you are here for DFS info. Or maybe you just like reading about football because football is awesome. Regardless of why you are here, welcome in. Welcome and congratulations on being part of a fun community playing an exciting game based around another exciting game. At this stage in the season, I do my best to stop worrying about the wins and losses and simply take time to enjoy football while it’s here. Soon enough it will be gone and we’ll be scrapping for every bit of NFL news. For now? We will rank the tight ends for these last couple of weeks to give ourselves the best shot at success. So fire up those waiver wire claims and let’s get into it!

Ranking defenses vs. tight ends is not an exact science. The issue is that it doesn’t always work like wide receiver where many times the top corners face the top wide receivers and that’s that. Or running back where teams are simply “good” vs. the run or not. The game plan and personnel can fluctuate making to pinpoint. So our final decision-making isn’t going to only be made based on schedule. What I have done however is use things like points again, DVOA, player grades, available personnel etc. give a basic idea of what matchups are favorable or not to help you mix and match at the position where need be. So the color-coding here is not the end all be all but it should help.

As a reminder, these rankings are Rest of Season. These are the players you want to roster and pair. On Thursday, I will tweet my weekly rankings. So follow me on Twitter here so you don’t miss those!


2023 Fantasy Football Ying Yang Tight End Rankings

Travis KelceLVCINLAC
T.J. HockensonDETGBDET
Isaiah LikelySFMIAPIT
George KittleBALWASLAR
Dalton KincaidLACNEMIA
Darren WallerPHILARPHI
Jake FergusonMIADETWAS
Dallas GoedertNYGARiNYG
Pat FreiermuthCINSEABAL
Taysom Hill---
Dalton SchultzCLETENIND
Gerald EverettBUFDENKC
Tanner HudsonPITKCCLE
Chigoziem OkonkwoSEAHOUJAX
Logan ThomasNYJSFDAL
Tyler ConklinWASCLENE
Tyler HigbeeNONYGSF
Michael MayerKCINDDEN


Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

We said it last week - the Patriots have always been a bad matchup for Kelce. They always take away your best player. Kelce hasn’t had more than 70 yards against them since 2014. From here on out, Kelce only has premium matchups. He played the Raiders earlier this year and had six catches for 91. The Bengals are a bottom-two defense against the tight end. And, if your league goes through Week 18, when he faced the Chargers earlier this year he had 12 catches for 179 and a TD. All the metrics are great for Kelce from route participation to target share to pass blocking snaps to aDot to WR snaps to YPRR. He’s the TE1 in points per game and will likely finish this year as the TE1 overall once again. That is coming from someone who does not have Travis Kelce in any league and, honestly, has never drafted a tight end in the first round because of what we do here.

Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

McBride cannot be denied. He had one last test with a tough matchup against the 49ers and he passed it with flying colors. If you want to start McBride over Kelce (and somehow not start Kelce in the flex) then go for it. That’s your call. I’m going to start Travis Kelce against the Raiders and the Bengals. But over the last six weeks, McBride has been a STAR. Leads the league in target share. He’s only blocking on 1.1% of pass plays. He lines up at WR for over 60% of his routes. He leads all tight ends in yards per route run - even George Kittle. Great player and there are arguments that he should be ranked TE1. There are arguments for a couple of guys to be ranked TE1. The Year of the Tight End!

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

T.J. Hockenson has not had fewer than 50 yards receiving in 10 straight games. TEN. If you want consistency, this is it. Nick Mullens went to him seven times last week, even with Justin Jefferson back. In fact, early in the year when Justin Jefferson was healthy, Hock led all tight ends in targets. We are splitting hairs to some degree at the top here but it does not get any safer than T.J. Hockenson. He and Trey McBride are the only tight ends with a target share greater than 25% over the last six weeks. 

Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

It feels crazy low to have LaPorta at TE4. But the truth is you are starting him regardless. The three-touchdown day this past week kind of masks a couple of lackluster performances as of late - especially the two games against Eddie Jackson and the Bears. Outside of the 140-yard game, he hasn’t cracked 60 yards since Week 3. But he’s a fixture in that Lions offense and a solid play in any given week. His target share of 18.4% over the last six weeks is lower than McBride/Hock and he also blocks on 7.7% of his pass plays which we don’t love but they are going to find ways to get him involved every week. 

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

At the end of the year, we are ALWAYS considering matchups and we will definitely lean into the immediate matchup. So the nod here for David Njoku absolutely factors in his matchup against the Texans this week (next week against the Jets is a different story). We also cannot ignore the target hog Njoku has been as of late. He’s third in target share of the last six weeks behind McBride and Hockenson and he’s coming off a 14 target game. 

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

Isaiah Likely isn’t Mark Andrews. But he is in the Mark Andrews role. He’s playing a huge snap share while primarily running routes from a WR spot and he’s getting the looks. His aDot isn’t great but his 8 yards of YAC per reception make up for it (only Geroge Kittle and Tucker Kraft are higher among TEs in this article). The matchups vs. SF aren’t ideal but Trey McBride did just fine against them. And SF has quietly allowed 74 receptions to tight ends which is the top 10 most in the league. We are in on Likely. 

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

Evan Engram has been rock solid. Even in his bad games, he gets 6 targets. In fact, he has one game with less than six targets and that was the first game of the season. That’s why he’s locked in for us still. Christian Kirk is out and Zay Jones is banged up again so he should continue to be solid. The concern is Trevor Lawrence in concussion protocol. We love to tell ourselves that C.J. Beathard will just throw to Engram but we don’t know that for sure or how it will look. Also, his championship matchup is Carolina which is not ideal. 



George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Technically, George Kittle is the second target on the team behind only Brandon Aiyuk. But is he really when everyone is healthy? Hard to say. What we can say is that his guy breaks all the models. And that’s largely because of his athleticism combined with the high-powered offense. So in any given week, George Kittle is never a bad start. But we have seen him disappear at times based on gamescript which is scary. His own coach even said sometimes he has to stay in and block so the RB can run routes. So don’t be surprised when he goes off but also don’t be surprised if he puts up a dud. It's the way it goes but slate-breaking upside is always there.

Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

If you started Dalton Kincaid last week it could be too late. That game was SUPPOSED to be a shootout with the Cowboys but turned into a game where they only threw the football 15 times. Kincaid apparently had the wrong gloves on early and, by the time he switched, they were done throwing. I’m writing that one off as a poor game script so I personally have no problem starting Kincaid this week on my own teams in a great matchup. If you are spooked and want to start someone else, I don’t blame you. It is your fantasy team after all. 

Darren Waller, New York Giants

Here’s another one where you must decide your risk tolerance. Waller was the focal point of this offense before he got hurt. In his first game back, even on only 40% of snaps, he got six targets. Now he faces the Eagles and Rams which are both slam dunk matchups for tight ends. If last week was any indication, his floor is good and his ceiling is huge so I’m rolling him out in some spots.


Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

Jake Ferguson has been solid, no doubt about it. He’s fairly slow so he’s never going to wow you with YAC. His target share over the last six weeks is only 15.6% which is 14th among tight ends but they do throw a ton so the target are generally there. And he’s always a threat to score. Safety is a valuable trait in fantasy playoffs and Ferg is fairly safe. 

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Goedert is exactly Dallas Goedert. He’s the third target on the team. He doesn’t have many blow-up games but doesn’t have many terrible ones either. Some folks believe he’s a TD threat but that hasn’t really been the case - he only has 9 end zone targets total over the last four seasons COMBINED. Maybe since teams (and refs) are figuring out the Tush Push he will have more success in that region. The Giants are quietly pretty good against the tight end so be careful this week.  

Tucker Kraft, Green Bay Packers

Over the last few weeks, Tucker Kraft has been playing virtually every snap. This week he played all but three (which I believe he missed after a hurdle went wrong and he caught a helmet to the zipper region). Pass blocking has been a concern but this week he only pass-blocked on one pass play. On Thursday I will post my weekly rankings when we have more info on Christian Watson. Kraft is fairly safe in terms of involvement though the matchup is not great.  


Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Early on this year, we said we were stashing Kyle Pitts hoping for two things - for his knee to get better and Taylor Heinicke to take over. Coming into the washout this past week he had run 90% of the routes in back-to-back games. In fact, over the last six weeks, he has an 80% route participation and a 20% target share. That 20% target share is higher than Travis Kelce and Sam LaPorta and is right there with Goedert (20.7%), Engram (20.2%), and Kittle (20%). The floor is terrifying. But, if you believe Arthur Smith, they are going to keep trying things until they get it right. So the upside is there in a great matchup. 

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Cole Kmet scares us a bit because of his usage. Sometimes he runs 90% of the routes, sometimes he runs 60%. Pass blocking can be a factor in that as he has pass blocked on 14.% of his pass plays. The only other player in this article above 10% is Tucker Kraft and he doesn’t pass block as much anymore now that Luke Musgrave is out. The ceiling for Kmet is always there but the floor is scary. Against the Raiders he pass blocked on eight pass plays and didn’t catch a pass. 

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Relying on touchdowns is not something we like to do. We like to factor ability vs. man-to-man and red zone prowess into the equation, sure. But we didn’t love Henry coming off a two-TD game in which he only saw three targets. He saw nine this past week but we have to ask ourselves if that is the new normal or just a one-week outlier. He could have had two TDs again if it wasn’t for a penalty. And he gets the Broncos this week which is a great TE matchup. For a one-week play, I don’t mind it but just be warned. 

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

This is horrifying. On the one hand, he's a good player. He quietly has an 18.7% target share in the past six weeks which is actually higher than Sam LaPorta. And it’s a good matchup. He faced the Bengals a couple of weeks ago and had nine catches for 120 yards. But what was with Kenny Pickett. This is with Mason Rudolph. Do you have the stones to start Muth this week? I do in DFS but probably not in my real leagues.

Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints

I warned you guys all year about what could happen with Taysom Hill. The Taysom Gang ignored me then and I’m sure they will continue to ignore me now. Assuming they survived his five-yard performance last week. Good luck and godspeed ya hooligans. 



Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

I don’t want to start Dalton Schultz against Cleveland, even with their injuries. I don’t want to start him against Tennessee. I knew these matchups were coming so I made other plans. If you don’t have better options then feel free to start Schultz. But one bad game can mean the end of your season and I just don’t like it. He had five games this year that were complete duds. We will never forget the games early on against the Falcons and the Buccanneers - cherished memories. But I’m on to other tight ends. 

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

If Keenan Allen and Donald Parham both continue to be out he could be viable in deeper leagues. But even then this guy still didn’t play a big snap share this week. Only 63% in fact. That’s been our problem with him. And with the coaching changes, there is a lot of risk involved. If his usage changes this week, he gets the Broncos championship week which is a good matchup. 

Tanner Hudson, Cincinnati Bengals

If Tanner Hudson played more then we might move him way up with the Ja'Marr Chase injury. But he doesn’t, which caps his ceiling. He’s good for a couple of targets a week but something would need to drastically change for his upside to be high enough for us to start. He’s a DFS price point guy in cash games.

Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cade Otton is basically discount Dallas Goedert. He plays a ton of snaps and runs a ton of routes but they have two very good WRs. And his QB is not Jalen Hurts. So, can’t really trust him. 

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

He gets some looks every week and he’s super athletic but now Will Levis has a high ankle sprain. The wild card gets even more wild.

Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders

He’s just let us down too many times as of late and, after this matchup with the Rams where he should have done well, we won’t fall for it again. 

Tyler Conklin, New York Jets

This is a part-time player who will likely be playing with the third (or is it fourth?) string quarterback. No thank you. 

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

In his first game back, Davis Allen took meaningful snaps from him. No way. 

Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

He’s a dynasty stash but he blocks too much and he doesn’t run enough routes. Even in the games where he played 90% of the snaps he’s not running more than 70% of the routes.