Football is finally back ladies and gentlemen. And, because these DFS sites release their pricing so early, you are likely NEVER going to get deals on the level we will see this week. Now is the time to do some DAMAGE. You are already fired up for football so why not take advantage of everything we’ve learned and studied this offseason and make some money?
Before we kick off another season of absolutely crushing DFS and making another millionaire like Fantasy Alarm member Millionaire Mike, I suggest you read this article. That is the tight end bible with everything I know about tight ends. It includes all the concepts that got us nominated by the FSWA for Best On-Going Series and Football Writer of the Year. And, after reading that, a lot of these picks and plays will make MUCH more sense to you. You’ll honestly be able to identify great deals and breakout tight ends yourself. But, as always, I’ll be here to help and provide my plays. So let’s get to it!
As a reminder, we like to give you guys at each price point so that you can build the lineup you want at any level.
- Top Tier: the safest and most expensive guys available if you want to pay up
- Mid Tier: affordable players that offer the best bang for your buck
- Value Tier: the bargain bin players that are risky by nature but can have a huge upside in terms of value created
- Fades: The guys we feel are the worst value proposition that you should actively avoid
Be sure to check out the rest of the NFL DFS Coaches and DFS Watch List throughout the week!
NFL DFS TE Top Plays
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Look, you really don’t need to get cute here if you have the money. In the top tier, we not only want a decent floor from our option but we need the upside that comes with touchdowns. And Mark Andrews is THAT guy. Over the last three years, he hasn’t finished outside the top three in the red zone or end zone targets and he usually leads the categories. This is a guy who almost NEVER pass blocks (under 2%) and, because the team uses so many fullbacks and second tight ends, he’s virtually locked into being a top target on his team.
In Week 1 they get the Jets who still have some leftover growing pains from converting from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 so expect a nice day from Andrews here. Andrews would represent 14.5% of your budget on Yahoo while only being 13.6% of your budget on DraftKings but Yahoo is also half PPR so he’s not a bad play on either platform.
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
The matchup isn’t that great for Pitts but we also need to look around this top tier. Kelce is facing an even tougher defense for tight ends and he’s much more expensive. George Kittle is dealing with a groin issue. Darren Waller hasn’t practiced in full in quite some time. Pitts presents a unique upside based on how often he’s deployed at wide receiver and he actually has another guy to draw coverage this year in Drake London. That could be the missing component for him to score some TDs in the red area where he was smothered by defenses last year (only caught one of six end zone targets).
Marcus Mariota in an Arthur Smith offense with the Titans made Delanie Walker a top-five tight end three years in a row so this might very well be the cheapest we can get Pitts if he does blow up. He’s 11.4% of your budget on DraftKings but only 8% over on Yahoo DFS so, if you want to do a Pitts lineup, make it over there. If you aren’t set up there yet, use promo code ALARM25 and they will match up to $25 with first deposit.
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
The TJ Hockenson hate/fading has gone too far this off-season. He was the top target on the team whenever healthy - it wasn’t until he and DeAndre Swift got hurt that Amon-Ra. St. Brown started getting heavy looks. He could very well be the top target on the team again when the season opens up. And they face the Eagles who are strong on the outside with Darius Slay and James Bradberry at cornerback but don’t have super dominant safeties or cover linebackers over the middle. In this price range, TJ Hockenson is a guy you can feel really good about if you are going with a balanced approach in a cash-type game. Hock is around ~9.5% of your budget on both DK and Yahoo so pick your poison there.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Every top five tight end in PPR going back to 2003 has had either 90+ targets or 10+ TDs. Cole Kmet had 93 targets last year and that was with Allen Robinson there. They didn’t add much competition with Byron Pringle or Velus Jones Jr. And the sneaky truth is that Jimmy Graham got six END ZONE targets last year for some reason - now he is gone. Kmet has zero touchdowns last year but most major sports books have him closer to five for this season - I’m betting the over on that but that’s a different article. At $3,700 on DraftKings, he’s a solid price (7.4%) but he’s only $11 on Yahoo which is an absurd 5.5% - that’s legit $1 more than the minimum price over there. Absolute must start on Yahoo.
Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
At the high prices, we want certainty. We want to know it’s a great player in a great offense with a great matchup. Down in this lower tier, uncertainty is your friend. We don’t know who will lead the Jaguars in targets. We don’t know how the offense will look. But with Doug Pederson running the offense that helped Zach Ertz crush, Trevor Lawrence could take a step forward and we could see the Evan Engram that was a top-five tight end with Eli Manning as a rookie. The floor is low but the ceiling is HIGH. He’s the same price as Cole Kmet on Yahoo at $11 so I would lean Kmet there but, if you are playing on DraftKings, Evan Engram at $3,400 is my certified play of the week. If he carves out the role he is capable of, he won’t be that cheap again.
Brevin Jordan, Houston Texans
Again, uncertainty is our friend. The Texans went out and draft John Metchie with an early pick but, unfortunately, he’s going to miss this season after being diagnosed with cancer. Brandin Cooks is the top dog but, after him, it’s not quite decided. Nico Collins is another interesting dart throw in DFS but Brevin Jordan also has a path to relevance he’s only $3,100 on DraftKings and he’s the bare minimum $10 over on Yahoo. Don’t be scared off by any reports that Pharaoh Brown is the “starter” - Brevin Jordan is by far a better pass catcher and he ran a route on 80% of Davis Mills’s dropbacks this preseason. Jordan is the guy you want and he’s a dirt cheap dart throw.
BONUS DART THROW
Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants
It’s Week 1 of NFL football - how are we not going to give you a bonus shot-in-the-dark level dart throw??? Rookie, Trey McBride is interesting if Ertz is out but there’s another rookie tight end who actually won the starting job for his team outright this offseason - Daniel Bellinger. The biggest threat to him in terms of pass-catching was Ricky Seals-Jones who was released. This team has had a tumultuous off-season once again with reports that Kenny Golladay is mailing it in, Kadarius Toney is battling injuries, Sterling Shepard is coming back from a torn Achilles, and rookie Wan’Dale Robinson is an undersized rookie. Bellinger could step in and carve out a role right away and he’s the bare minimum price on both platforms.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Call me crazy here for fading The King but I just don’t love this matchup. The Cardinals have been a top-five defense vs. the tight end, finishing as the 3rd best last year in points against, in large part due to linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Simmons can lock onto both running backs and tight ends in the passing game and he’s likely to draw the Kelce assignment here. Only ONE tight end last year cracked 50 yards against the Cardinals (George Kittle) and, if we are paying up for the big dogs, we want it to be a situation for a MONSTER performance. Kelce could very well have a Kelce-like day and even score but that’s not really going to cut it at his price tag.
Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens
I know. He’s the hype play. But that’s honestly the problem here. You aren’t doing anything special. EVERYONE will be on this play. Folks in the industry were touting him because it’s an EASY call - he was like the TE30 so, if he finishes TE20, you were technically right. But we’ve gone overboard here and reached the saturation point. He’s a backup tight end that runs a 4.8 forty-yard dash which is 24th percentile per Player Profiler. If you want to start a backup tight end that has a real shot of doing damage, is also cheap, and will actually be a low-owned player, start Jonnu Smith. Even if he does do something this week, everyone and their uncle who listened to the radio for 15 minutes this week will have him in a lineup.