Fantasy Football Week 1 Tight End Preview: Matchups that matter, streamers, DFS plays and more
Heath Cummings gives you everything you need to know about tight end in Week 1 including projections, waiver wire adds, DFS plays and more.
The top of the tight end position is awesome, but it's a little boring too right? We aren't going to learn much about Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz. Our minds probably won't be changed about the upside of the second tier either. But after that it gets a bit interesting.
Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen are back and according to reports looks like their old selves. T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant make their debuts and to break through the rookie wall at tight end. Darren Waller and Mark Andrews try to prove that the preseason hype wasn't just all hype.
I would prefer to be in wait and see mode with most of these guys, but injuries to Jordan Reed and Trey Burton may not give us that luxury. Walker is the only one I'm starting with any sort of confidence, but I feel okay about Olsen and Hockenson as well. Hopefully a handful of these guys become consistent contributors and we can stop complaining about how bad the position is.
Week 1 TE Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 1 at this time. Here's what it means:
Trey Burton TE
CHI Chicago • #80
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Adam Shaheen will fill in but I don't project him to be a top-15 tight end. This probably means an extra target for Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, Allen Robinson or Antony Miller. It also means you're probably dropping Burton if you drafted him.
Jordan Reed TE
WAS Washington • #86
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Reed is still in the concussion protocol, which is terrible news for him and we hope he's okay. As for Washington, this probably means Vernon Davis becomes Fantasy relevant, but more on that below.
Numbers to Know
- 100 - Travis Kelce's yardage total last year against Jacksonville. Don't worry about him in this matchup.
- 16.6 - O.J. Howard's yards per catch average in both his first and second year in the league. If his targets go up this year he will be a top-four tight end.
- 320 - Evan Engram's receiving yards in the Giants last four games of 2018 without Odell Beckham. He could get off to an equally good start with Golden Tate suspended.
- 72 - Vance McDonald's targets last year, a career high. With Antonio Brown gone, he has a chance to blow that number out of the water if he can stay healthy.
- 35 - Delanie Walker's age. Olsen is just a year younger. I like both of these guys just fine for Week 1, but don't feel very comfortable either will play 16 games.
- 2.6 - Mark Andrews' targets per game after Lamar Jackson took over. He'll need to double that to be Fantasy relevant.
Matchups that matter
Hunter Henry TE
LAC L.A. Chargers • #86
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
The Colts actually did a very good job against receivers last season but they did it at the expense of allowing tight end production. They gave up the third most Fantasy points to the position and the most yards. Henry is one of my favorite breakout candidates and should get off to a great start.
Waiver Wire Targets
Greg Olsen TE
CAR Carolina • #88
Age: 34 • Experience: 13 yrs.
I'm not sure how long I can trust Olsen to stay healthy, but he's had plenty of rest heading into Week 1. The Panthers play the Rams in Week 1 which should mean a faster-paced, higher-scoring game. With Cam Newton's pass volume up, Olsen should be a fine low-end option.
If Jordan Reed doesn't play, Davis should be a solid starting option. Over the past two seasons there have been 11 times Davis has received at least four targets. He's scored at least 9.5 PPR Fantasy points in nine of those games.
OAK Oakland • #83
Age: 27 • Experience: 3 yrs.
I wouldn't want to start Waller in Week 1 against the Broncos, but there's been enough smoke about him in Oakland that I might use a roster spot to see if it turns into fire. He had a great camp and Derek Carr has a history of checking down, so there could be some opportunity there.
Will Dissly TE
SEA Seattle • #88
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Dissly got off to a red-hot start to 2018 before suffering an injury, and this Seahawks receiving corps is nothing special after Tyler Lockett. There's a chance Dissly is good against a bad Bengals defense but I wouldn't want to start him until I see what his snap count looks like in Week 1.
Travis Kelce TE
KC Kansas City • #87
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
In cash games I'm not messing around with speculative tight ends this week. Even the second-tier guys like Evan Engram and O.J. Howard have too many question marks. There's enough value at the other positions this week to just play the best tight end. That's Travis Kelce.
Zach Ertz TE
PHI Philadelphia • #86
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
There's enough of a price disparity on DraftKings where I actually prefer Ertz over Kelce. Neither of them have the best matchups but they're at a point in the rankings where I really don't care that much about their matchup.
SF San Francisco • #85
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
It's funny that Kittle has by far the best matchup yet he's not my preferred option on either site. Still, he'll be my third-most used tight end on both sites. There's no reason to get cute at tight end this week.
So you want to get cute at tight end, huh? Might as well get really cute. Davis has big-play upside and his team should be playing from behind very early in this one. It's not hard to see a path to 15 Fantasy points for him, which is a steal at his cost.
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