We are through Week 5 now of NFL football and it’s a symbolic point in the season - the start of bye weeks. We have five weeks of data where every team has played and now we enter uncharted territory where teams start to get weeks off. No longer can we simply look at counting stats - it’s per-game stats from here on out. Not that we really relied on box score stuff anyone since it’s the underlying rate stats and usage stats that are most important anyway.

As a reminder, here is the full write-up on how the strategy works. The short and sweet is that, if you don’t have an elite tight end, you should roster two: the safest possible play (Yin) to start each week and the highest upside bench stash (Yang) to see if we can catch lightning in a bottle. The rankings themselves are based on years of research we have done on the position which is all compiled into this one article on What Makes An Elite Tight End.

Now that we have a bigger sample size we have further broken down the players into the TE3 range called “The Rest” as well as the best handcuffs to keep an eye on in the event of an injury. 


Fantasy Football Week 6 Tight End Rankings

Tight End
Mark Andrews
Travis Kelce
George Kittle
Dallas Goedert
Tyler Higbee
TJ HockensonDarren Waller
Zach ErtzKyle Pitts
Pat FreiermuthDavid Njoku
Gerald EverettEvan Engram
Dalton SchultzCole Kmet
Tyler ConklinTaysom Hill
Hayden HurstLogan Thomas
Robert TonyanHunter Henry
The Rest
Juwan Johnson
Dawson Knox
Irv Smith Jr.
Daniel Bellinger
Greg Dulcich
Will Dissly
Mike Gesicki
Cameron Brate
Noah Fant
Isaiah Likely
Cade Otton
Harrison Bryant


Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce

These two are in a tier of their own at this point in terms of usage and production and, quite frankly, it doesn’t quite matter who is ranked first and who is ranked second. They are both studs. In this case, I give Mark Andrews the slight nod as he leads in routes per drop back, target share, and pass block rate but Kelce is coming off a four-touchdown game and he’s Travis Kelce so consider them pretty much even.

George Kittle

He gets the nod next for me as he is quietly top five in routes run per drop back and is towards the top in target share as well - per The Edge on the33rdteam.com, he has a targets per route run of 24.2% but they simply just haven’t been throwing a high volume of passes. As this tweet below suggests, he’s one of the most explosive tight ends in the league and definitely has big games on the horizon.

Dallas Goedert and Tyler Higbee

These two have a lot of similarities - they are both running a big number of routes per dropback and are maintaining high target shares but they both have fairly low aDots (3.3 yards for Goedert and 3.8 for Higbee). This caps their upside, especially in standard leagues, but in any sort of PPR, they have been reliable enough to move up to this top group. 

Safe Plays (YIN)

T. J. Hockenson, Zach Ertz, and Gerald Everett

These guys are all candidates to join Goedert and Higbee at the “standalone” level but the story is the same with all three - the team has pass catchers returning. The Lions will get back D’Andre Swift, DJ Chark, and Jameson Williams, the Cardinals get back DeAndre Hopkins, and the Chargers will eventually have Keenan Allen. We need to see them overcome those hurdles before they can be fully trusted to start the rest of the season.

Pat Freiermuth and Dalton Schultz

 Both these guys have solid target shares when healthy but the key factor is just that. Freiermuth is dealing with a concussion (his third in two years) and Schultz has an injured PCL. They are also not locks to actually be top two targets on their team with the wide receiver situations which is why they find themselves on the Yin side.

Tyler Conklin

He has come back to earth since Zach Wilson returned as they aren’t throwing nearly as much as they did with Flacco. Which we warned could happen.

Hayden Hurst 

Hayden Hurst realistically is the fifth target on this team behind Chase, Higgins, Boyd, and Mixon. He’s had two good games - when Tee Higgins has been hurt. That’s the kind of guy he has been.

Robert Tonyan

It’s pretty simple with Robert Tonyan. He just doesn’t play enough. His snap share on the season is 43.4% per PlayerProfiler.com which is 48th among tight ends. There is a path to targets if he actually played more but for now, he’s just a boring option.

Upside Plays (Yang)

Darren Waller and Kyle Pitts

We know these guys have a high upside within their range of outcomes - we’ve seen it. I mean, Kyle Pitts has a 23.2% target share but the team really just is not throwing a high volume of passes. Joe Flacco, who was benched two games ago, has more pass attempts than Marcus Mariota. Now with injuries to both, they are more stashes than dependable options. But I’m still willing to roll them out when healthy for the upside. 

David Njoku

Njoku passed a huge test this week with his productivity in a tough matchup with Derwin James but the game was also a shootout. The Patriots flashed a bit of their old toughness vs. the tight end by shutting down TJ Hockenson this week so let’s see what happens with Njoku here. If he gets through this matchup with a solid game, he might also make the jump up into the Standalone section.

Evan Engram

Evan Engram was getting good looks through the first two weeks then week 3 he had a tough matchup and week 4 was played in hurricane aftermath conditions. But this week he bounced back with a rock solid 10 target game. The dream is still alive and I’m rolling him out in a lot of places.

Cole Kmet 

Cole Kmet continues to have solid behind-the-scenes usage as he’s currently 7th in routes run per dropback and playing around half of his snaps at WR. The Bears have been throwing it the last two games (albeit at a below-average level still). He’s gotten three and four targets the last two weeks on around ~20 attempts so we’re holding out hope that the Bears turn into a normal team that throws 25-35 times a game at some point.

To put it in perspective, they are averaging 17.6 attempts per game which is obviously dead last. The team that is second to last is the Falcons, averaging 24.6. There are 26 teams averaging at least 29 attempts per game and more than half the league averages over 36. So asking for 25 to 35 attempts isn’t a big ask- a team has not averaged fewer than 25 attempts a game since the 2009 Jets. The bottom-ranked team last year averaged 29.1 attempts per game.

Taysom Hill

Taysom Hill - Hill cannot be ignored despite him only having one target on the season. His touchdown upside is all too real. So the way I'm handling him is simple. If you play in any sort of PPR format, you should still lean into guys who get regular targets. But, if your only options are touchdown dependent players like Robert Tonyan, Hayden Hurst, Irv Smith, you might as well lean into the best bet to score touchdowns right now - which is Taysom Hill. Just know that the floor is obviously low since he doesn't actually play tight end and, therefore, doesn't catch passes.


Tight End Handcuffs

Greg Dulcich

Albert Okwuegbunam has been a massive disappointment and Eric Saubert is not the answer in terms of pass-catching so Greg Dulcich makes for an interesting stash to see what happens when he comes back.

Isaiah Likely

He can continue to play WR for almost all of his snaps (now at 89.2% on the season). If Andrews goes down he is must add.

Cade Otton

Whenever Cameron Brate is out he should be a DFS dart throw or a desperation play. Maybe he has even carved himself out a role moving forward but the team also did drop back over 50 times this week.


Check out our list of the best, and most trusted sports betting and fantasy sports promo codes from the top legal sites in your state

Related Links: