Another week in the books and more data to comb through. Even though four weeks may feel like a lot, it is still a small sample size. T.J. Hockenson was a great example of that this week as, with one game, he went from TE15 on the season to TE3. In doing our fantasy football rankings we need to always remember not to chase touchdowns or last week’s points but pay attention to the important underlying metrics and trust the process.
As a reminder, here is the full write-up on how the Yin-Yang fantasy football tight end 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 5 Tight End Rankings
He had a rough game this week but it was inclement weather against Matt Milano who is solid vs. the tight end. His usage is unparalleled and he has still yet to block on a pass play.
You could honestly put either Kelce or Andrews at No. 1. At this level, it doesn’t make a difference.
If we go through the boxes, Waller is checking pretty much all of them. He runs a high number of routes per drop back (72.3%), he’s running almost all his snaps from WR (90.1%), his aDot is high (10.7), and he almost never blocks on pass plays (2.7%). The only question is his target share with the competition. If he’s not earning targets, we may need to move him down. But hard to bench Darren Waller right now.
Has played virtually every snap over the last couple games since returning and he only blocked on three pass plays in each of these games. He’s a high end option every week.
Just a bad game script for Pitts but with Cordarelle Patterson on IR they might not be able to only throw 20 times like they did this week. He continues to run high aDot routes and line up at WR often (plus technically he has a 20% target share) but it sure is ugly when it’s ugly.
Safe Plays (YIN)
Higbee is VERY close to entering that top tier. We don’t love his athleticism or his 3.9 yard aDot which is quite low compared to the other elite options. But he seems to clearly be the second target on that team and targets are king.
We mentioned last week that Hockenson was quietly high in routes run and target share and this week it paid off in a big way. We have to see what he looks like when guys like Swift and ARSB get back but it’s difficult to deny his upside.
I group these two together because they are in a similar boat. They have clearly carved out a role within the offense but its a new quarterback so the target distributions could change. And, in Conklin‘s case, the volume is likely to change,
Another pairing that have something in common: they are great starts for the time being but there is an obvious concern for when DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen return. So keep that in mind - might want to stash a second tight end.
Goedert is running a ton of routes and is rarely pass blocking, which is nice. But there is just a lot of target competition this year. Also his 3.2 yard aDot is not ideal - it’s actually not even in the top 50 of relevant tight ends (TEs running at least 20% of the routes per drop back).
Schultz is back but he returns at the same time as Michael Gallup. Dak Prescott will be back soon so there are a lot of moving parts but he was able to produce last year with more target competition than this.
Upside Plays (Yang)
Njoku so far has two games of poor usage (blocking on 17% of his pass plays first two weeks) and two games of good usage (6.6% and 10% last two). This week will be a big test as they not only might ask him to stay in and help with Khalil Mack but Derwin James is a tight end killer.
This tweet from John Daigle sums up pretty well why we have been stashing Logan Thomas. Through the first three weeks of last year, that number was literally 100%.
Oh man, Evan Engram. He continues to run a ton of routes, never block on pass plays, and his overall target share still somehow isn’t terrible. But he hasn’t produced. The last two weeks he got the Chargers defense and Derwin James then the Eagles defense in inclement weather so I’m still holding on but it is looking pretty bleak.
We finally got a glimpse of what the Bears might look like if they were an actual offense. Kmet had three receptions when they threw 22 times. Just imagine if they were throwing 40-50 times like the Jets?
Tight End Handcuffs
He continues to play WR for almost all of his snaps (now at 90.4% on the season). If Andrews goes down he is must add.
He’s looked pretty decent but he’s basically in the role Njoku was in last year behind Austin Hooper. If one goes down, the other moves up the ranks.
Noah Gray plays more as of now but that’s because he’s a better blocker. If anything were to happen to Kelce, our money is on Fortson running more routes.
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