The craziest week for NFL DFS with the most opportunity is Week 1. The pricing comes out incredibly early and there is so much uncertainty that it’s chaos. The next craziest week? That would be NFL Week 18. There are teams resting starters. There are teams that will be scoreboard-watching that COULD rest starters. On the flip side, there are teams in MUST WIN situations treating this like a playoff game. AND, on top of all that, there are players that could chase contract incentives, milestones, and records. All that adds up to arguably the most fun NFL DFS slate of the year! And it comes the week after your typical leagues are most likely over! Let's take a look at the top tight ends, values, and fades for both Saturday and Sunday's NFL DFS lineups.

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As a reminder, here is how we separate the groups here.  We do it this way so that you have an option no matter how much (or how little) money you have available to spend on tight end.

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 the huge upside in terms of value created

Fades: The guys we feel are the worst value proposition that you should actively avoid



Top Tier 

Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

This is the Saturday pay-up pick for us for sure. Not only has he been an integral part of the offense but this is also a must-win game for the Texans. If they win they are not only in but, with a little help, could still win the division. On top of that, Dalton Schultz has multiple highly obtainable contract incentives as we laid out here. The short and sweet is that he gets an extra $250K if he has six catches and ANOTHER $250K if he has 107 yards. That could easily happen in the normal course of a game but, if he gets close to either, I could see them helping him out. He’s $4,200 on DraftKings so a manageable price. 

Value Tier 

Charlie Kolar, Baltimore Ravens

Folks will be going with Pat Freiermuth or trying to guess a Colts tight end but we like going with the minimum-priced third-string tight end for the Ravens. Or, more accurately, the second string tight end ever since Mark Andrews went down. The Ravens already said they are resting their starters so Lamar Jackson and Isiah Likely will give way to Tyler Huntley and Charlie Kolar. Honestly, the Ravens have three tight ends that could start for multiple NFL teams and it’s not crazy to suggest that, if Kolar were on the Colts, he might be operating ahead of guys like Kylen Granson or Will Mallory. And, as we mentioned, we are talking bare minimum price. 



Top Tier 

Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

Guys like Travis Kelce, David Njoku, and George KIttle are sitting this week out which limits our options at the top. Folks are worried about eliminated teams taking it easy but the Cardinals have been eliminated and they did not take it easy last week when they beat the Eagles. Go watch James Conner’s post-game interview and see if he is taking it easy. Trey McBride has been a focal point of this offense with the highest target share of any tight end over the last couple of months so he is locked in. We are definitely using him on FanDuel where he is actually cheaper than our next option, Evan Engram, but he’s affordable on all three platforms.  We just have to hope they don’t give rookie Elijah Higgins an extended look this game. He did quietly play 28 snaps last week so the WR-turned-TE could be a deep dart throw himself if you wanted to dabble. But we think they lean on McBride, per usual. 

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

Even if Christian Kirk does play, we don’t expect him to jump off the IR, practice a couple of times, and play the whole game. Evan Engram has been as dialed in as any tight end this year and not only leads the team in receptions with 104 but leads all tight ends. This is a must-win game for the Jags so there’s no chance of resting guys or taking it easy here. Engram is cheaper than Trey McBride on DraftKings (10.8% of your budget vs. 12%) and on Yahoo (10.5% vs. 11.5%) though we already mentioned we are using McBride on FanDuel. 

Mid Tier

Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

We rarely use Jake Ferguson but this week he feels solidly priced. His output as of late has been mediocre with three games in a row of around 35-45 yards but he’s averaged 7.6 targets a game making him a safe cash game option. If the Cowboys get a big lead they might rest starters but first, you need to get a big lead to do that. And considering the NFC East division is at stake here, the Cowboys aren’t resting anyone until that game is well in hand. He’s between 9-10% of your budget on all three platforms which puts him on the radar no matter where you plan to play. 

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

The Green Bay situation still needs to sort itself out and, if Luke Musgrave plays (and possibly some of the WRs) we will be off both Musgrave and Kraft. The production for Juwan Johnson as of late isn’t a fluke according to Derek Carr himself. In case you don’t feel like watching that 20-minute press conference, Carr essentially says that Juwan hadn’t been fully healthy and it took a while for them to get on the same page. But now they are. JJ was playing 40% of the snaps as recently as a couple of weeks ago but he’s played over 70% in back-to-back weeks and scored three games in a row now. In a must-win matchup for the Saints, we like the idea of Juwan being heavily involved again. He’s 9% of your budget on FanDuel so we aren’t using him there but we do like him on DraftKings and Yahoo where he’s around 7%. 

Value Tier

Robert Tonyan, Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are eliminated from playoff contention. Sure it’s fun to play spoiler but not at the expense of your player’s health. Cole Kmet has been dealing with a knee issue that saw him play only 13 snaps last week. It makes zero sense to roll him out there for a big workload on a bum knee in a game where it actually benefits your franchise to lose. Last week with Kmet banged up Tonyan played 39 snaps, ran 32 routes (out of a possible 40), and caught three of four targets for 40 yards. We like to pay up for tight ends on FanDuel but on DraftKings, he’s $2,800 (the bare minimum is $2,500) and on Yahoo, he’s $10 which IS the bare minimum. 

Lucas Krull, Denver Broncos

Yes, we are doing it again. It is fun to get cute starting backup tight ends in Week 18 and we’ll certainly be doing our share of that. But flying right under everyone’s know is a tight end who has actually led his position group in route run for three weeks in a row now. And he has a soft matchup against the Raiders defense. FanDuel is no fun as always but $2,700 on DraftKings and the bare minimum $10 on Yahoo is just right for The Warrior Kings.


Izaiah Gathings. Kansas City Chiefs

You’ve probably never heard of this guy. And that is a good thing - he’ll be our secret. The Kansas City Chiefs had him in camp over the summer in July/August but ended up releasing him. Two weeks ago they signed him back to the practice squad. The Chiefs are resting their starter Travis Kelce but Noah Gray has also played more than half the snaps this season so he’ll get a rest too. Izaiah Gathings is a converted WR and he’s built more like one at 6’4”, 222. If they call Gathings up then it will be Blake Bell and him as the tight end options. Guess which one will be doing the blocking and which one will be running the routes? If they don’t call up Gathings from the practice squad, maybe throw a dart at Blake Bell but that is less fun.


Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

It’s easy to fade guys who are flat-out benched like Kelce and Kittle. LaPorta is one we worry about. He needs one catch to set the single-season rookie tight end reception record which I think he gets. But the single-season yardage record would be an insane game at 216 yards. I don’t think they even risk injury going for 140 yards. I think the Lions start their starters because Dan Campbell is that kind of guy and then they work in the backups in a game that won’t affect their seeding. Thanks for all the money earlier this year Sam but we are out here.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles will be scoreboard-watching. If the Cowboys win, their game does not matter. And Nick Sirianni has implied that the starters could be pulled if that’s the case. It’s just not the game I really want to play with my lineups considering Goedert hasn’t been a world-beater anyway.