We must have been quite good this year because Santa will be bringing us the greatest gift of all - football on Christmas! This week’s slate brings a type of “reverse Thanksgiving” where most of the games are moved OFF of Sunday in favor of a Saturday day slate. But, much like Thanksgiving, there are THREE games on the holiday itself which gives us TWO big slates to work with!

In honor of that, we are going to give you two sets of guys to work with - one for Saturday and one for Christmas Day. Let’s dive in and figure out which three kings we’ll be going with at each price point!

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!

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NFL DFS Week 16 Tight End Top Plays Saturday.

Top Tier

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

We don’t always go with the Chalk King but Travis Kelce really cannot possibly be priced high enough this week. Not only is Seattle arguably the very worst defense in the league vs. the tight end but Kelce gets them at home. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. No other elite option is playing up to his caliber of play. If Lamar Jackson is somehow miraculously activated by Sunday, you should probably make at least one Mark Andrews lineup vs. Atlanta at his price point but, if Lamar is out again, Kelce is the one true elite option this week and it’s not particularly close. He’s 14.33% of your budget on FanDuel, 16% on DraftKings, and 19% on Yahoo so you probably don’t want to build your Kelce lineups over on DraftKings. To give you an idea of just how expensive Kelce is, Andrews is 10-11% of your budget on all three platforms.

Mid Tier

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

The mid-level tight end tier is RIDDLED with landmines this week. You have tough defenses for George Kittle, David Njoku, Dallas Goedert, Dawson Knox, Juwan Johnson, Cole Kmet, and Dalton Schultz. Backup QBs are starting in a couple of those games and, in Goedert’s case, he’s fresh off an injury. And, if you look down at the “Fades” section, you’ll notice that severe wind is also expected for some of these games. That doesn’t leave much meat on the bone. We’re supposed to see 17 MPH winds in Minnesota but, thankfully, the Vikings play in a dome. So TJ Hockenson will be safe vs. the elements in a decent matchup vs. the Giants in a game with a 47.5-point over/under. Not too bad. He’s around 9.5%-10% of your budget on all three platforms so fairly reasonably priced across the board.

Value Tier

Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants

Why not take advantage of the shelter and shootout narrative in Minnesota on the other side of the ball as well? The Vikings as of late have been hemorrhaging points and, on the season, their 24.9 points per game allowed is bottom five in the league. All the while their offense is good enough to make it a barnburner. We’ve kind of forgotten about Bellinger but this has basically been the story of the rookie right end up to this point.

  • Weeks 1-5: He starts slowly to earn a role (splitting with Tanner Hudson)
  • Week 6: He earns a 94% snap share and catches 5 of 5 targets                  
  • Week 7: He suffers a serious eye injury and goes on the IR
  • Week 13: He returns and played a 97% snap share and catches 5 of 5 targets
  • Week 14: He suffers a rib injury
  • Week 15: He plays a 98% snap share with tender ribs against the number one defense vs. the tight end (catching only 1 of 4 targets).

That brings us to this week where he should hopefully play his 90% snap share but, this time, it will be against a more manageable defense in a high-scoring game. He’s literally the bare minimum price of $10 on Yahoo so a great deal over there but he’s also only 6.6% and 7.83% of your budget on DraftKings and Fanduel, respectively, so pretty reasonable on those platforms as well.

Bonus Dart Throw

Noah Gray, Kansas City Chiefs 

We will CONTINUE to throw darts at Noah Gray until he hits. I mean, he’s quietly returned value a couple of weeks here - at his price point, 3 receptions for 31 bringing back 2.35X isn’t terrible. But he’s due to score at some point and this is the team to do it against. This guy is playing over 60% of the snaps virtually every game and, over the last seven weeks, he’s quietly a top 20 TE in receptions. He has more yards over that span than Tyler Higbee and only one fewer reception than Greg Dulcich. He’s caught a pass in 10 straight games and three in back-to-back games. At his price, a touchdown pays off in a BIG way. On DraftKings, he’s just above the bare minimum at $2,600 and he IS the bare minimum of $10 on Yahoo. On FanDuel he’s a little more expensive at 7.6%. FanDuel knows the deal.


Wind Games

The rain and snow aren’t necessarily killers for passing but the wind, at a certain level, certainly is. Anything under 10 MPH doesn’t matter. 10-15 MPH really doesn’t either. Over 15 MPH things start to get a little dicey but not unreasonable. Over 20 MPH is a problem and 25+ is a nightmare. That’s why the Saints vs. Browns game currently has the lowest under/over point total of any game so far this year by a couple of points. The wind is expected to be ~25 MPH with gusts as high as SIXTY. Some folks say “well maybe they will just throw a bunch of short passes to the tight end” but it doesn’t usually work like that. It works more like “just run the ball and let’s all go home”. Not to mention, we want high aDot chunk plays, not dink and dunk garbage. The tight ends likely affected on this slate are David Njoku, Juwan Johnson, Cole Kmet, and Dawson Knox. You also need to keep an eye on the games in Baltimore and New England.

NFL DFS Week 16 Tight End Christmas Slate

Top Tier


There isn’t an “elite” option on this slate and no one is priced above $4,100. So we’ll give you a couple of extra value options instead.

Mid Tier

Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos 

This is the highest-end option you are going to get here. Check the Fades below for why we won’t like the other top options but Greg Dulcich is going to be your best bet if you are going to pay up. He let us down a bit last week in a good matchup but a lot of why we liked him is still there. He’s a converted wide receiver who lines up at wide receiver often running high aDot routes. The Rams are not the tough tight end matchup they were early on in the season and Brett Rypien did target Dulcich 9 times when he started earlier this year so the upside lives here. He’s only 6.5% of your budget on Yahoo so that’s the place to build around him (7.8% on DraftKings isn’t bad but 9.5% on FanDuel is too high).

Value Tier

Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

Trey McBride isn’t Zach Ertz but they have been using him like Zach Ertz as of late. Last week he played 55 snaps and he lined up at WR for 26 of those which is pretty solid. Colt McCoy seemed to like him as he got six and five targets the last two games (the two highest totals he’s seen so far) but now we get a wild card in Trace McSorley. Unproven QBs at times can lean into their big targets and/or low aDot players and McBride fits the bill for both so we don’t mind the narrative. Tampa Bay is also allowing the sixth most DraftKings points per game to the position so at least the matchup is good. McBride is actually cheaper than our next value tier option on Yahoo and FanDuel so he’s the play over there for both of those.

Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On DraftKings however, Cade Otton is $3,000 compared to $3,200 for Trey McBride so he’s not a bad play. Even after the return of Cameron Brate, Otton has retained the starting job playing 49 snaps to only 29 for Brate (Ko Kieft played 21 but he only ran 7 routes). Arizona is the absolute worst defense vs. the tight end this season so you really aren’t going to see a better matchup for Otton. It’s as simple as that sometimes.

Bonus Christmas Day Dart Throw

Durham Smythe, Miami Dolphins

Are you someone that just likes spending the bare minimum on a tight end and hoping something happens? Well, this is the play. Make no mistake - this is a primary blocking tight end. He’s played 437 snaps to only 411 for Mike Gesicki but Smythe is asked to block on 36.7% of his pass plays so he’s not reliable. What he is is a guy who is free, he plays a decent snap share, and he has snuck out for TDs in the past (three career TDs with one this year). Just know you are starting a guy whose ceiling is probably catching one pass that you hope is a touchdown.


Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Tyler Higbee has reverted to his old self. Early in the year, he was running a ton of routes but in the past four weeks, he has been asked to stay in and block a ton.

We mentioned earlier in this article that the Chiefs’ BACKUP tight end Noah Gray has more yards than him over the last half of the season. Do not get caught paying up to chase last week’s touchdown - he is the most expensive tight end on this slate for some reason.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

It’s pretty simple with this guy - he hardly plays. Folks are going to see Miami ranked 30th and think they are making a nice move here but they are chasing the upside that isn’t there. He plays 50% of the snaps and hasn’t played more than 60% in five weeks. That’s why he has only one catch in back-to-back games. He’s just not good enough to overcome that.



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