NFL bye weeks start in Week 5 so this is one of the last few magical weeks we have with a full game slate until Weeks 8, Week 12, and beyond Week 14. So we need to cherish these massive NFL weekends while we can with the wealth of options available to us. Soon enough injuries and bye weeks will have us scraping the bottom of the barrel for dart throws (which is also kind of fun) but, right now, we’ve got a full slate to work off. So let’s get in there in win some moolah!
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
For Week 2 we now have actual statistical information from the first week to analyze so this is where the real money is made.
Be sure to check out the rest of the NFL DFS Coaches and DFS Watch List throughout the week!
NFL DFS TE Top-Tier Picks
We actually appreciate with Travis Kelce isn’t on the main slate sometimes because he’s not there to bail folks out. If you do want to pay up this week for the safest possible option, it has to be TJ Hockenson. Kelce, Darren Waller, and Sam LaPorta are all off the main slate and Mark Andrews is facing one of the toughest defenses vs. the tight end in Cleveland. Hock has 9, 8, and 11 targets in his first three games so what more can you ask for in this world for a safe pay up option for cash games? He’s 12-13% of your budget on most platforms so he’s not even priced at the level Kelce is usually priced at, despite being the closest thing this week.
There are certain plays that we simply have to make every time they are on the table and George Kittle vs. the Cardinals is one of them. Outside of the one year where Isaiah Simmons actually played decent, the Cardinals have routinely been one of the worst teams vs. the tight ends. Isaiah Simmons isn’t on the team any more (not that that matters) and this is one of the worst defenses in the league. Kittle is an affordable 10% of your budget on DraftKings and FanDuel but he is 8% on Yahoo for some reason so that’s the play over there for sure. Here are the last eight games for George Kittle vs. the Cardinals based on DraftKings scoring. And that game with 9.3 points? He got banged up in that game and missed the following two weeks.
NFL DFS TE Mid-Tier Picks
This is a player we historically don’t use much in this article. And quite frankly, a big part of that is his general popularity. Folks love a catchy phrase so of course they love when “The Muth Gets Luth”. But recent performances by him have his fantasy ownership lower than normal as well as his prices and it’s ripe for us to swoop in and utilize him here. This is the same player we saw have success with Kenny Picket last year, especially in the red area, and now there is no Diontae Johnson to content with who is a 140+ target player three years in a row. The Steelers are not really in a position to steamroll the Texans so both teams will be playing this one straight here and it’s a good time for Muth to find the endzone. He’s still expensive on FanDuel so not a great play there but he’s only 6-7% of your budget on DraftKings and Yahoo.
In fantasy football we have a term called “post hype sleeper” for players that didn’t live up to the hype as a rookie that we draft in subsequent years hoping they break out. Well, it’s obviously early for the with Kincaid but, with the explosion of Sam LaPorta and the down week for Kincaid, I expect his ownership to be low this week in what is easily the best matchup so far for him. The Dolphins have been dreadful vs. the tight end - they were bottom three vs. the positon last year and this year they are ranked 26th. Kincaid’s role hasn’t been ideal just yet but he quietly leads the Bills in routes run from the slot this year and could do some damage in a game where the over/under is set at 54.5. He’s 8% of your budget on Yahoo and DraftKings but only 6.4% on Yahoo at $3,200!
NFL DFS TE Value Picks
Ron Rivera already liked using the tight end from the slot. Then he brought in Eric Bienemy from Kansas City who clearly brought a bag of Travis Kelce tricks along with him. Logan Thomas got eight targets in Week One then suffered a concussion while scoring a touchdown in Week Two. In his absence, backup tight end Cole Turner got seven targets which essentially proves that role is a focal point of this offense. Thomas already said that he’s going to play this week and should have no limitations against an Eagles defense with two stout corners on the outside that is second to last in the league vs. the tight end over the middle. He’s 8-9% on FanDuel and Yahoo but only 6.2% on DraftKings plus we get one of the biggest psychological advantages you can get as he is labeled with as questionable on the platforms. That big red Q on there scares a lot of casual players away. If Logan Thomas doesn’t play, just pivot to Cole Turner and now you have some extra money to upgrade your other spots.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans
We were pretty excited for Okonkwo but the signing of DeAndre Hopkins really poured cold water on that. He’s been off to a rough start but let’s look at these individual games. Week One he plays the Saints where are one of the very best teams against the tight end with Demario Davis and Tyrann Mathieu. Then he plays the Chargers and safety Derwin James but manages four catches on four targets. Then he plays the Cleveland Browns who are one of the best defenses all around and are currently giving up the fewest fantasy points to the tight end this year - he had three catches on four targets. And that was all while having to hang into block Myles Garrett and company on seven pass plays which is something he’s never done, he’s never blocked on more than three pass plays in a game. This week he gets the Cincinnatti Bengals who lost both starting safeties to free agency and are currently giving up the fourth most points to the tight end. He’s only 6-7% of your budget on all platforms so nice cheap play.
NFL DFS TE Bonus Dart Throw
With Irv Smith out, Tanner Hudson came in to play the pass catching role and actually led the Bengals tight ends in routes run, targets, and catches. He reverted to the practice squad immediately as his contract dictates but they will likely call him out if Irv Smith is out again. So, if that happens, you should sneak one lineup with him at the bare minimum price just to see what happens. Just make sure you are clicking on Tanner Hudson of the Cinnatti Bengals and not Tommy Hudson of the New Orleans Saints…
NFL DFS TE Fades
I can’t believe I still have to say this. Last week Jamaal Williams was OUT. Alvin Kamara was suspended. Derek Carr got injured. And he still DID NOTHING. This week DraftKings was worried about the Carr injury and priced him up to TE4. When he’s not the QB - Jameis Winston is. And Alvin Kamara is back. Don’t waste your time on Taysom, I beg you.
Jake Ferguson is TE32 in routes run this year. This week he faces arguably the toughest matchup for a tight end with Kyle Dugger and the Patriots. Dak Prescott’s ineptitude has forced him to dump it down to Jake Ferguson at times so far but this week he might be the biggest trap play in the history of the tight end position. It is not the week to get Fergalicious.
There will be a lot of narratives created to justify this play. “Mike Williams is out”. “Gerald Everett is sick”. “It’s a good matchup with the Raiders”. Folks will do a lot to justify what it is they really want to do which chase last week’s touchdowns. This team uses a rotation of three tight ends with Geral Everett, Donald Parham, and Stone Smartt so they are all low upside starts but Parham is also blocking on 17.6% of his PASS plays so he is the most TD dependent boom/bust option. And he’s not even that cheap.