It’s been rough sledding early on in the tight end world for fantasy football - the fact that Tyler Conklin is TE3 and Will Dissly is a top 12 tight end makes that painfully evident. But we are not going to chase surface stats and last week’s points. We need to continue to trust that process that has brought in the money. Even if we don’t hit every week, we stay the course, and, at the end of the day, the odds will work in our favor. So let’s get into week 4!
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 for Week 4
Mark Andrews, BAL
Mark Andrews has arguably the best usage for a tight end that I’ve ever seen. His target share has obviously been an absurd 36.4% but the behind the scenes numbers back that up. He’s running a route on 86.4% of dropbacks which is second best in the league behind only Tyler Higbee. He’s lining up at WR for 83.9% of his snaps which is top three. His average depth of target is elite at 11.7. And he has literally not blocked on a single pass play all year. If you want to be absolutely sure at tight end this week, it’s Andrews. He’s fairly evenly priced on all platforms but he’s expensive at around 14% of your budget.
Darren Waller, LV
We actually like Darren Waller and Kyle Pitts this week so we’re splitting hairs a bit here but, based on all the data we have, Waller will likely outscore Pitts. And that’s why he’s priced higher. If you do find yourself needing to scrounge up some extra cash, you could drop to Pitts but just keep in mind that Waller leads all tight ends in routes run from a WR spot, he’s blocking on a lot fewer pass plays than Pitts (2.7% vs. 12.1%), and the Broncos have been a much easier matchup for tight ends thus far then the Falcons. So, if you can afford Waller over Pitts, that’s the way to go. Waller is about 11% of your budget while Pitts is closer to 8%.
T.J. Hockenson, DET
A LOT of folks are going to be going with Zach Ertz this week - our projected draft percentages have him at the third-highest tight end. He’s the chalk in this tier but he’s also the fourth highest-priced player. We just said we like the top three and you can pay up if you want to chase the crowd but the real value in this area is TJ Hockenson. He quietly is running a similar number of routes per drop back (74%) as Ertz (76.3%) and has a similar target share (16.1%) as Ertz (16.5%). With Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift banged up, that opens up a lot of targets in the low to middle aDot region where Hockenson lives. Seattle is a bottom-third team vs. the tight end and this one has one of the highest over/under point totals of any game at 48.5% so it’s all systems go. He’s 8.2% of your budget on DraftKings and 9% on Yahoo so a little cheaper on DK.
David Njoku, CLE
If you stuck with our Howard Bender and his boy David Njoku it paid off in a big way last week - 9 catches on 10 targets for 89 and a TD. Through the first two weeks Njoku blocked on 17% of his pass plays then in Week 3 they unleashed him with 28 routes and only two pass blocking snaps. The Falcons have been the second worst team vs. the tight end and they are bottom 10 in pass rush win rate so far this year so Njoku is probably in line to spend more time running routes than blocking once again. The Falcons have also quietly gotten themselves into shootouts in all three games, hitting combined point totals of 50 or more each time. He’s fairly evenly priced on most platforms so pick your poison.
Evan Engram, JAC
Derwin James is a real problem for tight ends. Engram almost salvaged his day with a touchdown that could have gone either way but was inevitably ruled incomplete. That said, there is a lot to like about Engram’s usage thus far. He’s running a route of 75% of dropbacks which is right there with Zach Ertz and is actually higher than guys like Kyle Pitts and Darren Waller. Despite getting blanketed in the game this week, his 13.5% target share is the same as Tyler Conklin who is the TE3 right now. Engram is also playing two-thirds of his snaps at WR and he’s only pass blocking on 3.8% of his snaps. He has good days on the horizon and the Jags really haven’t faced any formidable tight ends thus far. With the deployment the’s had, he’s due for targets and to find paydirt and we don’t want to miss out when that day comes.
Hunter Henry, NE
In this range, you need to take some shots against the grain. You are paying down so you know the floor - might as well try for some ceiling with a guy no one else will be playing. The targets absolutely have not been there with an abysmal five so far but he has a lot going for him that other guys in this range don’t. For starters, he actually plays and his 67.5% routes per dropback is well above anyone in this range. He also lines up a WR a fair amount (61.9% of his snaps) and he runs high aDot routes (9.2 yards). With Brian Hoyer under center, he could be looking for some reliable options that can make contested catches in the short to the intermediate range and that screams Hunter Henry. He’s under $3K on DK and the bare minimum of $10 on Yahoo so the price is right.
Bonus Dart Throw
Tanner Hudson, NYG
Here’s on that probably no one but you and I will be playing. Tanner Hudson. Daniel Bellinger is the “starter” but Hudson is quietly splitting the pass work with him - this past week Bellinger played 43 snaps to 27 for Hudson but the routes were very close with 25 for Bellinger and 24 for Hudson. Bellinger played 36 snaps in-line and 7 at WR while Hudson played 11 in-line, 14 at WR, and 2 in the backfield, making him the “move” tight end. With so many injuries to the wide receivers, we could see Bellinger play his typical in-line role with Tanner Hudson in an increased WR role which could make for a sneaky dart throw. He’s the bare minimum price on every platform so you can get creative with the rest of your lineup.
Jelani Woods, IND
After his two-touchdown game, you might be tempted to chase that excitement. But this guy only played 16 snaps which are about 22%. Yahoo at least juiced him up to $14 which is more than Njoku so you can’t possibly go there. His snap share isn’t going to jump from 22% to the 60%+ we want but any increase will put him on our radar for future weeks. It just doesn’t make sense for us to chase last week’s points on a guy who hardly plays - especially when a bunch of people will be doing it. It’s no different than starting OJ Howard in Week 2 after his two-touchdown game, which we also warned not to do.
Tyler Conklin, NYJ
Another pick that is likely to be super popular among folks chasing the box score numbers. And what’s not to like about 24 targets? Well for starters, advanced sites like PFF exclude obvious throwaways so that number is more like 21 targets. And the Jets with Joe Flacco have thrown an absurd number of passes through three games with 155. So that target share is actually only 13.5% which, in a normal game, is not going to translate to a lot of upside. On top of that Conklin only has an aDot of 3.9 yards and he hasn’t broken a single tackle this year. With the switch to Zach Wilson, it’s really just not worth the risk.