* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Superstars such as Travis Kelce will not be found in this column. If you’re looking for players of such caliber check out our weekly fantasy football tight end rankings.
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TE: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Eric Ebron at CIN
Don’t mind Ebron’s modest 7.0 point outing from this past week, he’s one of the most consistent plays at the position. The Steelers TE has scored 11.0 points or more in six of his last eight games and been targeted 27 times over his last three games. The Bengals have allowed 22.15 ppg to TEs over the past two weeks (3rd-most in NFL). Over their last three games, two TEs have recorded at least 88 yards receiving.
Rob Gronkowski at ATL
Gronk continues to skate by due to his ability to find the endzone. At a position lacking top-end plays, we’ll take it. This statement holds especially true against a Falcons defense whose nine surrendered TDs to TEs this year ranks as the third-most in football. Gronk has also received six-plus targets in six of his last nine games, which helps his floor a tad.
Robert Tonyan vs. CAR
Speaking of scoring TDs, Tonyan has scored in four straight games. He’s clearly Aaron Rodgers’ most trustworthy passing option aside from Davante Adams. Since Week 4, the Panthers have allowed five TDs to opposing TEs. They’ve also allowed six TEs since Week 8 to top 50 yards receiving.
Cole Kmet at MIN
May we introduce you to the new TE1 in Chicago. Kmet led all Bears skill players in snaps this past Sunday and has now received seven targets in each of his last two games. As we noted in our TE rankings for the week, Minnesota has allowed 12 opposing TEs this year to record 40-plus yards and/or score a TD.
Sleeper: Hayden Hurst vs. TB
When you rank within the top-five at your position in scoring over the first nine weeks of the season, as Hurst did, you don’t expect to be slapped with a sleeper tag. However, when you rank as TE51 over the next five weeks, as Hurst has, there tends to be some questions regarding your playability. A bounce-back game could be in order for Hurst. Over the last four weeks, the Bucs have allowed 18.47 ppg to the position, fifth-most in the NFL over that span.
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TE: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Dalton Schultz vs. SF
Schultz has scored in single-digits in seven of his last nine games. He’s seen his target share take a significant step back of late, receiving no more than four targets over the last two weeks, this after averaging 6.4 targets per game from Week 2-9. Tight ends have been targeted just 71 times against the Niners this season, second-fewest in the NFL.
Jonnu Smith vs. DET
Much like we noted on Gronk above, Smith is also a TD-dependant play. Unfortunately, he’s had his troubles finding the endzone, scoring just twice over his last seven games. In return, he scored in single-digits in each of those seven games he didn’t catch a TD pass. Detroit allows the fewest receptions to TEs this season, meaning opportunities could be hard to come by for Smith.
Zach Ertz at ARI
It hurts to do it, but this is where we’re out. Ertz has scored 5.10 points or fewer in his two games since returning from injury. Over that span, Dallas Goedert has outsnapped him in each game. On top of that, Jalen Hurts at quarterback bumps Ertz down a few pegs. The Cardinals have allowed only one TE all season to eclipse 44 yards receiving.
Buyers Beware: Mike Gesicki vs. NE
Gesicki may not even be able to suit up for this game, as he’s dealing with a shoulder injury. If he does manage to give it a go, you’ll likely place him in your lineup as his 23.7 ppg over the last two weeks are the third-most in the NFL by a TE. However, you may want to tread carefully, as the Patriots have allowed just one TD all season to TEs.