Week 9 Rankings (2018): Top 20 Tight Ends

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The by weeks have a significant impact on the tight end position, as Zack Ertz will be among those not available to fantasy owners.  At a position that has often been unpredictable losing that type of option hurts, but those who jumped on breakouts George Kittle, O.J. Howard and others have been consistently rewarded (and should continue to be).  Who are the options that you can “trust”?  It’s never a guarantee (look at David Njoku from a week ago) but let’s look at who the best bets are:

  1. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – at Cleveland
  2. George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Oakland
  3. Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers – at New England
  4. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots – vs. Green Bay
  5. Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – at San Francisco
  6. O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
  7. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
  8. Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons – at Washington
  9. Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – vs. Atlanta
  10. David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – vs. Kansas City
  11. Trey Burton – Chicago Bears – at Buffalo
  12. Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Detroit
  13. Vance McDonald – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Baltimore
  14. Chris Herndon – New York Jets – at Miami
  15. Benjamin Watson – New Orleans Saints – vs. Los Angeles Rams
  16. Jordan Thomas – Houston Texans – at Denver
  17. Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
  18. Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills – vs. Chicago
  19. Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
  20. Jeff Heurman – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston

Thoughts:

  • The Carolina Panthers have allowed the most points per week to opposing tight ends, having allowed 48 receptions, 545 yards and 5 TD.  While O.J. Howard doesn’t always get enough targets (he’s had more than 4 in just two of seven games) he’s proven capable of making the most of the opportunities.  He had one complete dud (Week 4 against Chicago), but he has at least 54 yards in his other six games and since the bye week has at least 62 yards in each of the three games and has scored TD in two of them.  Howard has also proven capable of producing regardless of who is under center, so the change back to Ryan Fitzpatrick shouldn’t have an impact.  Even with 4 targets he should be productive, but if he gets more Howard could really be in store for a monster day.
  • Would it surprise you to learn that George Kittle is among the Top 5 tight ends in terms of targets?  He’s turned 57 targets into 37 receptions, 584 yards and 2 TD and draws an Oakland defense that’s allowed 5 TD to opposing tight ends (tied for the most in the league).  That’s a solid mix for a player who has entrenched himself as a TE1.
  • While Jimmy Graham took a virtual goose egg in Week 8 (1 reception for 21 yards), is it hard to imagine a bounce back performance?  While Green Bay has gotten healthy at wide receiver the matchup with the Patriots could easily devolve into a shootout and the Patriots have generally struggled to defend opposing tight ends.
  • It’s been a slow build back up to value for Greg Olsen, and even in Week 8 he only had 4 targets.  Of course he turned that into 4 receptions, 56 yards and 1 TD, his second straight game with a score, and Tampa Bay has struggled to defend opposing tight ends thus far (second most points per week).  We all know the upside and this could be his “true” return to fantasy relevance.
  • Chris Herndon has just 11 targets over his past three games (in two of those games he has just 2 targets), but he’s clearly built a red zone rapport with Sam Darnold.  He’s now scored in three straight games and draws a Miami defense that has allowed 5 TD to opposing TE on the season.  Considering the bye weeks and lack of dependable options, it’s easy to envision utilizing Herndon as a plug in option.
  • No targets for David Njoku in Week 8?!?!  Look for Cleveland to correct that this week, so don’t completely shy away from him

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 9 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs
Week 9 Rankings (2018): Top 25 Quarterbacks

14 comments

  1. Randy says:

    In a 12-team standard, we start 2 RB, 2WR, and 1 Flex (along w/ other positions). I have M Gordon, McCaffrey, Peterson, Miller, Ekeler, and Ito at RB and Woods, John Brown, Amari Cooper, Tre’quan Smith, and Sutton at WR. I’ve been offered Hopkins for McCaffrey. Would you do it? I hate giving up RB depth and don’t fully trust AP/Miller each week, but, my WRs are arguably weaker. I’d love your thoughts. Thanks!

    • MikeinMacon says:

      wait for the Professor to answer but I wouldn’t…with Gordon, McCaffrey and Lamar Miller, you have a great 3-man RB corps with Gordon’s handcuff in Ekeler. Ito is iffy but I would suggest packaging AP (who is doing better than expected) with maybe Tre’Quan Smith for maybe Emmanuel Sanders, Tyler Boyd, Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones. Woods and John Brown are already WRs #11 and 16 so they are contributing nicely. Both Courtland Sutton and Cooper’s value could go up significantly but entertain either of those in substitution for Tre’Quan Smith if necessary to get the WR you want and need. Good Luck.

    • I would echo what Mike said! Of your RB, Peterson may not get the same return but he’d be the guy I’d shop around and see if you can get the WR upgrade you need while staying especially strong at the top of your RB group

  2. Krysta says:

    14 Team, PPR Available on waivers Dickson, Swaim, Brate, Hurst, Vanette,Griffin, Davis, Thomas, Gates, Andrews, Derby, Herndon. Could you please give a few options in order of preference?

    (If at all possible could you remove the version w/my full name…auto fill-in :-( )

    • Herndon is the most intriguing today, and he should continue to get a lot of looks so I’d have him at the top of my preferences.

      Swaim, when healthy, should be “the man” in Dallas and has the upside. Hurst is going to battle for touches, but he has the upside and would be the third man on my list.

  3. Beans says:

    Please rank these WR’S adds in PPR…. Sutton, Parker, DJ Moore(panthers) And David Moore(Seattle)
    Thank you

  4. Sheldon says:

    Hi, Prof. 0.5 PPR. I need to play one TE between Greg Olsen and Jared Cook. I’m finding it really hard to decide. I could also play both of them by using one of them as TE and the other at FLEX. Right now, I have RB Jordan Howard playing at FLEX. What do you think? Should I sit Howard this week? Olsen has the better matchup, but with Amari Cooper gone, Cook is an enticing option. Please advice! Thanks.

  5. Chris says:

    Who to keep burton or njoku for the rest of the season?

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