I'm going to do a thing I love to make fun of other people for doing: I'm not so sure that tight end is going to be awful in 2021.
How could I say such a thing? Well this time, it's mostly not because of young upside tight ends who could be great. Instead, it's veterans who look like they could provide stability in the back half of the tight end rankings.
The first one we'll see in Week 2 is Logan Thomas, who may seem like an odd choice to include in this discussion. After all, he finished as a top-five option last year.
For Thomas, unlike the rest of the veterans we'll talk about below, he's trying to prove he can hold on to his perch. In Week 1 he scored a touchdown, which was great, but everything else was quite suspect. Also, he has Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, which presents plenty of questions itself.
Heinicke is obviously inexperienced, but he has targeted Thomas on 23% of his 78 career passes with the Washington Football Team. If Thomas is anywhere north of a 20% target share, he should challenge to once again be a must-start tight end in PPR.
Dallas Goedert was ranked for much of the summer as a must-start tight end, but that was because we thought Zach Ertz was going away. Many of us got spooked once it became clear Ertz would stay an Eagle. In Week 1, but that hardly mattered. Goedert put up 14.2 PPR Fantasy points while Ertz saw just two targets. As long as Ertz is an afterthought, we won't consider taking Goedert out of our lineups.
Two other veterans, Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Higbee, gave us encouraging signs in Week 1, but like Thomas and Goedert we need to see more. Gronk, in particular looked like his old self, while Higbee played 100% of the snaps for the first time in his career and earned a 23% target share from Matthew Stafford.
These four veterans, if they can keep it up, could make everyone's life easier by giving the Fantasy community 10-plus tight ends we could feel good about starting each week. We'll be watching in Week 2 to see if they fulfill their part of the deal.
Here's everything else you need to know about tight end in Week 2:
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Week 2 TE Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 2 at this time. Here's what it means:
Evan Engram TE
JAC Jacksonville • #17
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Kyle Rudolph is a touchdown-or-bust option without Engram, but Sterling Shepard is probably the biggest beneficiary.
Numbers to Know
- 20% -- Jimmy Graham only played 20% of the snaps, opening the door for Cole Kmet to be a productive Fantasy tight end.
- 8 -- Rob Gronkowski had eight targets in Week 1 and caught them all. He never had more than eight targets in a game last year.
- 17.2% -- Mark Andrews' target share dropped to 17.2% in Week 1. Hopefully it bounces back in Week 2.
- 97 -- T.J. Hockenson's 97 receiving yards in Week 1 were his most since his first NFL game, when he had 131.
- 22.9% -- Noah Fant led the Broncos with a 22.9% target share.
- 0 -- Mike Gesicki didn't have a catch, or score a Fantasy point, in Week 1 against the Patriots. You can cut him.
- 37.4% -- David Njoku was responsible for 37.4% of the Browns' air yards in Week 1. Among tight ends, only Darren Waller had a higher rate.
- 323 -- Waller is on pace for 323 targets after Week 1. That would be a record.
Matchups that matter
CHI Chicago • #85
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Waiver Wire Targets
Week 1 continued a trend from the end of last year for Kmet. He now has seen at least seven targets in four of his past six games. Now he just needs to get into the end zone. Justin Fields should help with that in a couple of weeks.
NO New Orleans • #83
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I wouldn't begrudge you chasing after Johnson's touchdowns in a deeper league. But mostly, I'm just sticking with who I started in Week 1 at tight end if it wasn't Mike Gesicki.
Fant had eight targets in Week 1 and now gets a matchup against arguably the worst defense in football. Courtland Sutton doesn't look quite right still, and without Jerry Jeudy, Fant's target share could actually go up in Week 2. HIs price does not reflect that reality.
I would expect Kmet's relatively quiet Week 1 to keep his roster rate low and I think there's some sneaky shootout potential in the Bears' Week 2 matchup with the Bengals. Kmet's $3,700 price tag on DraftKings makes it easier to build that Chargers/Cowboys stack everyone wants.