Tight End Yin-Yang Fantasy Football Rankings: Darren Waller & Dallas Goedert Return

Wow, what a week. Another great reminder that fantasy football is crazy and you are a crazy person for playing it. We are in the heart of fantasy playoffs now so long term speculation is done – we are focusing on NOW because there is no future. So these rankings will heavily factor in matchups, health, and recent trends. Here’s a little guidance for the rankings, followed by the rankings themselves, and then some notes. If you’ve been good all year, let’s hope Santa treats you well this holiday season!

  • The rankings below are the rest of the season. They try to encapsulate the next three weeks (don’t worry, we will post weekly rankings for Week 18 as well for you sickos who play through the very end of the year).
  • The weekly specific rankings for just Week 16 will be posted on Thursday on Twitter as always (and sometimes updated Sunday if there are big changes)
  • We have included some info on matchups to help you attempt to mix and match where it needs to be.
  • Players in orange have injury issues. Keep an eye on the weekly rankings for updates on that.
  • Notes on each player are below.

Tier 1: Light of the World

Tier 2: 5 Golden Rings

  • TJ HockensonTJ Hockenson‘s usage has been great since the Vikings have acquired them and, over that span, he’s technically had the second most targets on the team behind only Justin Jefferson. You are definitely starting him this week vs the Giants and, unless you have multiple studs, you’ll probably start him vs. Green Bay the following week as well
  • Mark AndrewsMark Andrews has not lived up to expectations in the box score lately but he’s still playing a massive snap share and running a ton of routes. According to PlayerProfiler, he currently leads all tight ends in route participation, target share, and routes run. If you made it this far, you aren’t going to bench him vs. the Falcons who are a bottom five team vs. the position. Hopefully we get Lamar Jackson back soon and can feel even better about it.
  • George KittleWe were concerned about Brock Purdy but, honestly, he’s looked pretty competent. Now with Deebo Samuel out there is a clear path to targets for the elite tight end. The only concern is the matchup this week with Washington (who are arguably the best in the league vs. the tight end) but it’s hard to find guys you’d start over Kittle. After that he gets a great matchup with Las Vegas.
  • Dalton Schultz“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” That’s technically a Star Trek quote I believe but it also applies to Schultz this week. He led all tight ends in snap share and route participation this week. He had a great matchup vs. the Jags. He did get four targets. But he didn’t produce much and Peyton Hendershot stole the TD. He has a rough matchup vs. the Eagles followed by a good one vs. Tennessee
  • Evan EngramEvan Engram is the hottest tight end in football right now – his 67.4 fantasy points over the last three weeks are by far the highest (followed by Travis Kelce with 41.2). His usage has been good, his targets have been good, and his matchups are pretty solid. You have to feel oddly good about Engram in your lineups these days.

Tier 3: Warm By The Fire

  • Dallas GoedertAs crazy as it sounds, Gardner Minshew might quietly be a slight upgrade for Dallas Goedert (or at least it shouldn’t be a massive downgrade). The last time Minshew started a meaningful game for the Eagles, he threw two TD passes to Goedert. And, as awesome as Jalen Hurts is, he might honestly be a little too awesome for everyone else as he does steal a lot of the TDs (when he has three rushing TDs like he did this week, that doesn’t leave a lot of points for everyone else). The problem for Goedert is twofold. One, it’s a massive red flag that he was not deemed healthy enough to play this past week despite being activated from IR. Two, both of his matchups are straight up terrible. So he’s not the lock you might thing.
  • David NjokuThe usage for Njoku has been good the last two weeks – he’s playing a massive snap share. But Deshaun Watson really has not been the mega star we had hoped for. On top of that, Njoku’s matchups are somehow even worse than Goedert’s as New Orleans and Washington are literally the top two defenses against the tight end. If he can’t get it done against a mediocre TE defense like Baltimore.
  • Pat FreiermuthWe mentioned it last week but now it’s pretty obvious – this guy is clearly not healthy. He’s played 55% of the snaps in the last three weeks. And this time around they didn’t even throw him a pass. Keep and eye out for our rankings update on Twitter in a couple of days – if he’s not practicing in full with glowing reports, we might need to look somewhere else.

Tier 4: Yankee Swap

  • Cole KmetIn the Yankee Swap tier, we are playing the matchups so potentially swapping guys in and out next two weeks. Cole Kmet has now played 100% of the snaps in three straight games. Every single snap. He’s gotten 6, 7, and 5 targets over that span. Pretty solid. The problem? The game this week is supposed to be super windy and he gets a date with Buffalo and Matt Milano. Perhaps the wind will lead to them throwing more short passes Kmet’s way – or maybe the pass attack will just be terrible. If you can get through this week though, he has a great matchup with Detroit in championship week.
  • Chigoziem OkonkwoChig is the darling of the fantasy community right now, especially in dynasty with his insane athleticism (95th percentile speed, for instance). But he’s not quite a high end option for redraft just yet as he’s still not playing a full snap share. He ran 20 of 34 routes this week while Austin Hooper ran 18. Now with Treylon Burks returning and Ryan Tannehill out, it pours a bit of cold water on the hype. He’s not a bad option this week vs. Houston but you probably want to find someone else to start championship week.
  • Darren WallerDarren Waller is back but, truth be told, he wasn’t crazy exciting before he got hurt. This week Foster Moreau played 38 snaps to his 33 but he did run 29 routes to Moreau’s 19 (out of a possible 44). PIT isn’t that great of a matchup this week before a bad matchup with San Francisco so he’s a guy you start where you have to.
  • Gerald Everett Now that both Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are healthy, Gerald Everett is one of the more boring options out there. You have to remember that Austin Ekeler technically leads this team in goals. He’s a safe play but doesn’t provide much upside.
  • Greg DulcichThis week was a huge disappointment for him Courtland Sutton was out and he had a great matchup with the Cardinals. But Bretty Rypien really isn’t that good. He played a good snap share and runs a lot of routes (28 fo 33 with zero pass block snaps) but the floor looks like it did this week. His matchups are solid at least.
  • Dawson Knox – Knox has always had a pretty decent deployment, they just weren’t throwing him the ball. Just a couple of weeks ago he put up a straight zero. He’s picked things up a little as of late but he gets a tough matchup this week vs. Chicago. Not only that, but the winds are expected to be pretty rowdy for this matchup so it could be difficult to throw.

Tier 5: Rough Sledding

  • Daniel BellingerBellinger has quietly been solid when healthy – the key being “when healthy”. The game back from his eye injury he played 64 of 66 snaps and caught five of five targets then promptly hurt his ribs the following game. That showed this week in a brutal matchup for tight ends with Washington. He played 62 of 63 snaps however so that has us hopefully he’s feeling good and he has a pretty juicy matchup lined up with the Vikings.
  • Juan Johnson It feels like chasing touchdowns a bit with Johnson since he only ran 13 routes but they also only threw 19 times. Now that Chris Olave has popped up on the injury report, Johnson could be in line for a decent workload. That said, his matchups are pretty rough with Cleveland and Philly.
  • Trey McBrideHe’s not Zach Ertz but he lines up like him. He played 55 snaps, ran 36 routes (without pass blocking once), and he lined up at WR 26 times. Colt McCoy has now targeted him 11 times over the last two games so he’s the last option we’d start in PPR before going desperation mode with the backup QBs.

Tier 6: Island of Misfit Toys

  • Taysom Hill and Jeff DriskelYou know the floor, you know the ceiling – only you can make this decision for your own fantasy team.

Tier 7: The Naughty List

  • Noah Fant – The injury to Tyler Lockett opens up the potential for targets but the real problem hasn’t been the wide receivers as much as it’s been him splitting snaps with Will Disley. S
  • Tyler Conklin – He has a good schedule but that’s about the only thing he has going for him. The last thing we needed was CJ Uzomah to start catching passes so of course he scores a touchdown.
  • Hunter Henry – He plays a lot of snaps and even lines up at WR often. Last year with Josh McDaniels he led the league in touchdowns for tight ends. This year with Matt Patricia he sucks.
  • Austin Hooper – Not even the best fantasy tight end on his own team.
  • Hayden Hurst – Coming off injury to be the fourth or fifth best target on his own team with a brutal schedule. Cool.
  • Cade Otton – He’s a pretty decent option when Cameron Brate it hurts. Cameron Brate is no longer hurt.
  • Jordan Akins – He’s the best pass-catching tight end on the worst team in the league.

Tier 8: Coal Bin

Weekly Rankings

Follow Andrew Cooper on Twitter @CoopAFiasco to see the weekly rankings once they are available later this week!

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