Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at the NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system.
Be sure to check out my Week 3 PPR rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings. Members also get access to myself and our team of high-stakes winners all week long to answer your specific fantasy questions.
Week 3 Start 'Em: Tight Ends
Start of the Week
Noah Fant vs. Buccaneers
Fant is having a bananas start to the season. The athletic tight end ranks tied for eighth at the position in routes run. He has 10 catches on 11 targets, two for scores, and might now be considered the top option in the Broncos pass attack with Courtland Sutton (knee) out. This week's matchup against the Buccaneers is a good one too, as their defense has allowed an average of more than 13 points per game to enemy tight ends since last year.
Jonnu Smith at Vikings
Smith has proven himself to be a playmaker for the Titans, and it was evident last week on his 62-yard catch on the opening play of the game. He put up his second straight nice stat line, and a third is possible against the Vikings. Last week, their defense allowed five catches, 111 yards, and 16.1 fantasy points to a backup tight end, Mo Alie-Cox. Smith might be a free agent in your league too, so grab him up and start him.
T.J. Hockenson at Cardinals
Hockenson has had a pretty nice start to the 2020 season, scoring 10-plus points in each of his first two games. He’ll be in the TE1 conversation this week too, as he’ll face a Cardinals defense that was the worst in the league against tight ends in 2019. In fact, Hockenson beat them for 25.1 points in his first-ever NFL contest. Even in a scenario where Kenny Golladay returns to action, I’d still start the Iowa product at a thin position.
Hayden Hurst vs. Bears
Hurst was a member of the Start 'Em list last week, and he was a stat sheet monster with 72 yards, one touchdown, and 18.2 fantasy points. I'd keep him active this week too, as he'll face a Bears defense that has allowed 6.1 catches and 13.6 fantasy points per game to enemy tight ends since last season. Our friends at the DK Sportsbook have the over-under total in this contest at 48, so it’s expected to be a high-scoring affair in Atlanta.
- Tyler Higbee at Bills
- Logan Thomas at Browns
- Dallas Goedert vs. Bengals
- Greg Olsen vs. Cowboys (DraftKings: $4,200)
- Logan Thomas at Browns (DraftKings: $3,700)
- Drew Sample at Eagles (DraftKings: $3,500)
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Week 3 Sit 'Em: Tight Ends
Sit of the Week
Rob Gronkowski at Broncos
Gronkowski has been on a milk carton this season, seeing four targets on 34 routes while catching just two passes for 11 yards. The big man has more name value than actual value these days, and O.J. Howard has become the better fantasy tight end in this duo. So, while the Broncos allowed the 10th-most points to the position last season, Gronkowski is closer to being waiver-wire fodder than a fantasy starter.
Austin Hooper vs. Football Team
This week’s matchup against Washington is a good one, as their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends since the start of last season. Here’s the problem: Hooper is just 24th at the position in routes run per game, and 25 players at the position have more targets. The Browns will continue to be a two-back team that will lean on the run too, so getting any consistent production out of Hooper could be a stretch. At this point, he's a No. 2 fantasy option who could be on the waiver wire soon.
Chris Herndon at Colts
I was pretty high on Herndon last week, but he did next to nothing even with Jets' wideouts dropping like flies. It's not his fault, as Herndon has been used as a blocker on 40% of his passing snaps. Indianapolis has allowed an average of just 4.7 catches and 44.3 yards per game to tight ends since the start of last season too, and Herndon could struggle to see enough targets to produce this weekend.
Dalton Schultz at Seahawks
Schultz absolutely went off against the Falcons, hauling in nine passes for 88 yards with a touchdown and 21.8 fantasy points. He’s definitely worth adding off the waiver wire for the rest of the season, but I’d have a tough time starting him against Seattle. Their defense has become far more formidable against tight ends with the addition of Jamal Adams, as the position has averaged just 5.4 fantasy points per game so far this season.
- O.J. Howard at Browns
- Eric Ebron vs. Texans
- Irv Smith Jr. vs. Titans
- Evan Engram vs. 49ers (DraftKings: $5,000)
- Dalton Schultz at Seahawks (DraftKings: $4,500)
- Eric Ebron vs. Texans (DraftKings: $4,300)
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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!
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