No one gets left behind. That’s how we are treating Week 18 fantasy football. Do we advise you to have your fantasy championships this week? No. Do we acknowledge that you can play fantasy football however you darn well please? Yes. So we’re going to give our best possible advice. We know there are a lot of different formats like guillotine or two-week playoffs. And maybe it’s your league's tradition to play. Maybe you are using this info for DFS or FFPC Weekly. Whatever it is, we are here for it. So let’s get cooking. Just know that there will almost certainly be teams resting starters here so we’ll do our best to keep you informed.

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

For this week, injury issue players are in ORANGE and guys we are worried about sitting all or some of the game are in BLUE.

Trey McBrideSEA
Evan EngramTEN
Sam LaPortaMIN
Jake FergusonWAS
Dalton KincaidMIA
Dalton SchultzIND
Tucker KraftCHI
Juwan JohnsonATL
Darren WallerPHI
Dallas GoedertNYG
Kyle PittsNO
Chigoziem OkonkwoJAX
Gerald EverettKC
Taysom Hill-
Cole KmetGB
Pat FreiermuthBAL
Tyler ConklinNE
Logan ThomasDAL
Cade OttonCAR
Tanner HudsonCLE
Charlie KolarPIT
Tyler HigbeeSF
Travis KelceLAC
George KittleLAR
David NjokuCIN
Isaiah LikelyPIT


George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have the NFC bye week locked up and could rest starters.

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have the AFC bye week locked up and could rest starters.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have won the division and cannot improve to the two seed or fall to the four seed so they are locked into the three seed. 

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

The Browns have a playoff spot locked up but cannot catch the Ravens in the AFC North so they are locked into the five seed.

Tyler Higbee. Los Angeles Rams

This one isn’t as cut and dry. The Rams have clinched the playoffs. They could get the six seed or the seventh seed. Their opponent this week, San Francisco, could rest their starters. So there is a chance the Rams decide to take it easy as well, especially in the second half. Higbee was hard to trust anyway. 

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Here is a very interesting one. The basics are this - if the Cowboys win, the Eagles game does not matter. The Eagles get the fifth seed regardless. If the Cowboys lose and the Eagles win, they win the division. I’ve looked fairly closely at what Nick Sirriani has said about the situation and it seems pretty clear to me that there will be some scoreboard-watching done as both games kick off at 4:25 PM ET. And, if the Cowboys go up early, you could see Eagles starters leaving the game. That is enough to have me fading Goedert slightly. 



Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

McBride has been the most reliable PPR tight end in fantasy since Zach Ertz went down. And they showed last week against the Eagles they are playing to win and build a winning culture. You can role McBride out with confidence but Cardinals fans will likely be rooting for them to stop hurting their draft slot.  

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s not an ideal matchup but the Jaguars have to win it for playoff purposes. And, ever since Christian Kirk went down, Evan Engram has been their main target out of the slot. Even with C.J. Beathard last week in a tough matchup he was able to put up six for 60 which is all we need in this world. 

Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

If it were any other coach we would be worried about Sam LaPorta. Campbell was asked earlier this year if he would rest starters and he said “yes when the season is over”. Once again, when asked about the starters this week he said, “yeah, that’s the plan right now, is play our guys”. The only way the Lions could improve from the three seed to the two is that they win and BOTH the Cowboys and Eagles lose. But they play at 1 PM ET and the Cowboys and Eagles both play on the afternoon slate. So the risk of LaPorta sitting out some is there but not enough to fade him too far. 

Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

Jake Ferguson put up a dud last week but he’s been solid outside of that. And the Cowboys need to win this one to lock down the division. Arguments could be made for him over LaPorta but LaPorta has the higher upside. 

Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

After dealing with some injury and gamescript issues for a couple games there, Kincaid returned to form this past week with seven targets and 87 yards. This is the game of the week if you ask me with huge implications as the winner wins the AFC East. And it’s a good matchup for tight ends with Miami - Isaiah Likely managed to score twice on them last week. 

Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

Schultz just played through a gauntlet of tough tight end matchups with the Titans, Browns, then Titans again. And, outside of last week, he did alright. Now he gets a good matchup against the Colts in a game that they need to win. I imagine he should be fairly involved here.

Tucker Kraft, Green Bay Packers

As has been the case with Kraft, this one will boil down to who is playing and who isn’t. Namely, Luke Musgrave, Christian Watson, and Dontayvion Wicks. This ranking assumes they are out against as Kraft has been rock solid under those conditions. But any of them playing, especially Musgrave, would see him tumble in the weekly rankings when I post later this week. There are no games until Saturday so we have time to wait.  

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

Recent comments from Derek Carr indicate that Juwan Johnson might not have been fully healthy for a stretch there but that he’s healthy now and finally on the same page. Perhaps that’s why Juwan’s snap share went from 40-44% in Weeks 14 and 15 to 71-71% over the last two weeks. And his production has risen along with it. Juwan is not a bad option at all in a must-win game here.

Darren Waller, New York Giants

What is your risk tolerance like? The Waller show has been a rollercoaster all year and you never really know with this Giants team or with his health issues. Since returning, he’s played 42%, 63%, and 66% of snaps but has gotten six, five, and six targets. It’s a decent matchup for him and the upside is always there. 

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

In recent weeks the usage has been much better for Pitts with him running upwards of 90% of the routes at times. But we all know the story with Arthur Smith - if it were up to him, they wouldn’t throw it at all. So Pitts remains high risk, high reward. 

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titrans

His snap share has trended up as of late to around 70-75%. Just hard to trust him in this offense. He’s capable of big plays though with his athleticism so he remains on our radar. This section with Waller, Pitts, Chig is kind of the “why not?” range where we just hope they break off a big play we know they are capable of. 

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

Everett really has not been a guy we’ve ever trusted because he’s never really been a full time player. He’s never played 80% of the snaps for the Chargers in two seasons. He played 69% of the snaps last week, even with Donald Parham inactive, and didn’t do much in arguably the best matchup for a tight end. Now he faces a tough matchup with the Chiefs we are going to trust him? I don’t think so. 

Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints

In another world I might have Taysom Hill higher here because Alvin Kamara is dealing with an ankle injury. But Taysom is dealing with a foot issue of his own and has not had more than two carries in a game since he hurt it in Week 12. So he remains super high risk with only really medium reward right now.

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Kmet’s knee is clearly not healthy. He only played 13 snaps. Why he played at all is a mystery. Unless he is a FULL participant at some point in practice this week, I would look elsewhere.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers need to win here to keep the dream alive so no sitting. And the Ravens could bench some starters. You really have to hope they do because it’s not a good matchup for tight ends. And Mason Rudolph has not been on the same page as The Muth. 

Johnny Mundt, Minnesota Vikings

Turns out it was not Josh Oliver to take over pass-catching duties with T.J. Hockenson out but actually Johnny Mundt, who played for Kevin O’Connell back in his days with the Rams. Surprising but 70% snap share and seven targets is intriguing. 

Tyler Conklin, New York Giants

This game is probably going to be rough. Two good defenses with bad offenses. Both teams would be better off losing. And, on top of that, the Pats are a good team against the tight end. But Conklin has an okay floor because he always gets a couple looks. 

Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders

Once upon a time Logan Thomas was an every snap (literally) player in Washington. He started last season playing 100% of the snaps in three straight games. Nowadays, however, he rotates in the slot with Curtis Samuel and inline with other tight ends so he only played 61% of the snaps last week. Hard to trust him at this stage.

Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Chris Godwin getting healthy it’s really gone back to the Godwin and Mike Evans show. Last time he faced Carolina they gave Otton a tough time as well. 

Tanner Hudson, Cincinnati Bengals

They do scheme him up some looks every week but he has yet to play more than 50% of the snaps in any game. Not a high ceiling with that usage.

Charlie Kolar, Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Huntley is not a bad player and the Ravens actually have THREE tight ends that could start on a few NFL teams. More of a DFS dart throw but he’s a name to consider.