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.
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Week 6 Start 'Em: Tight Ends
Byes: Chargers, Raiders, Saints, Seahawks
Start of the Week
T.J. Hockenson at Jaguars
Hockenson has had a solid start to his second season in the NFL, ranking eighth in fantasy points per game among tight ends. The Iowa alum should continue to produce this week at a high level as the Lions travel south to face the Jaguars. Jacksonville's defense is banged up, which was evident last week when it allowed 30 points to the Texans. It has also struggled against tight ends, as players at the position have scored a combined four touchdowns and averaged 16.2 points.
Evan Engram vs. Football Team
Engram has been a start ‘em for two straight weeks, so let’s go for the trifecta. The veteran has a nice matchup against the Football Team, who have struggled against tight ends. Their defense has allowed 5.4 receptions, 68.2 yards, and five touchdowns to tight ends, which equated to more than 18 fantasy points allowed per game. Engram has also averaged a solid 11.2 points per game over his last three meetings against the NFC East rival, so keep him in your fantasy lineups.
Mike Gesicki vs. Jets
Gesicki’s big games have been a bit elusive to fantasy fans, as he’s been unreliable in the stat sheets. Still, he’s coming off a nice stat line in a huge win in San Francisco, and this week’s matchup against the Jets is a positive one. New York has allowed solid numbers to Jordan Reed and Mo-Alie Cox. Plus, Noah Fant was looking good against them before getting hurt. Gesicki, who is averaging nearly six targets per game, should be considered a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end this week.
Jonnu Smith vs. Texans
Smith has been one of the most targeted tight ends in fantasy football, and his playmaking skills have him in the midst of a breakout season. With the Titans down several pass catchers due to COVID-19, Smith will continue to see more than his share of targets in an AFC South matchup against the Texans. While they’ve been relatively tough against tight ends in 2020, volume is king especially when we’re dealing with bye weeks. Smith should be considered a top-10 option in all leagues.
- Robert Tonyan at Buccaneers
- Dalton Schultz vs. Cardinals (MNF)
- Eric Ebron vs. Browns
- Eric Ebron vs. Browns (DraftKings: $4,100)
- Cameron Brate vs. Packers (DraftKings: $3,500)
- Irv Smith, Jr. vs. Falcons (DraftKings: $2,500)
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Week 6 Sit 'Em: Tight Ends
Sit of the Week
Austin Hooper at Steelers
Hooper has strung together a couple of nice stat lines in a row, making him a more attractive low-end fantasy starter during the bye weeks. I’d try to avoid chasing the points, though, as a matchup in Pittsburgh isn’t an attractive one. Their defense has been tough on tight ends, holding Evan Engram and Zach Ertz to fewer than three points apiece. In all, the position has averaged 3.3 catches, 37 yards, and fewer than nine fantasy points per game to the position. I’d fade Hooper this week.
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Jimmy Graham at Panthers
Graham has been one of the better draft bargains among tight ends, ranking a solid sixth in fantasy points at the position on the strength of his four touchdowns. However, he's not back to must-start status, and a game against the Panthers makes him less than attractive in Week 6. Carolina's defense has been tough on pass catchers, including tight ends, as the position has averaged just 33.4 yards and fewer than nine fantasy points per game. That doesn't bode well for Graham.
Rob Gronkowski vs. Packers
Gronkowski ranks tied for sixth among tight ends in snaps, but he’s seventh in rushing snaps. In all, he’s run a pass route on 41 percent of his time on the field. He’s also tied for just 17th at the position in targets. I’d keep the future Hall of Famer on the sidelines this week, as the lack of consistent pass snaps and targets make him a risk against the Packers. Their defense has been tough on tight ends, allowing the sixth-fewest points per game to the position.
Gerald Everett at 49ers (SNF)
This might as well be “Rams tight ends,” as Everett and Tyler Higbee are both tough to trust. While Higbee is playing more snaps, he’s been on the field for running plays on more than half of them. Everett had more fantasy points last week, but he ran just six routes on 30 snaps. The 49ers have been tough against opposing tight ends, allowing an average of 35.6 yards with one touchdown and the eighth-fewest fantasy points. If you have depth, Everett and Higbee are fades.
- Hayden Hurst at Vikings
- Logan Thomas vs. Giants
- Jack Doyle vs. Bengals
- Zach Ertz vs. Ravens (DraftKings: $5,000)
- Jimmy Graham at Panthers (DraftKings: $5,000)
- Hayden Hurst at Vikings (DraftKings: $4,700)
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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