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 7 Start ‘Em: Tight Ends
Byes: Colts, Dolphins, Ravens, Vikings
Start of the Week
T.J. Hockenson at Falcons
I rolled with Hockenson as my top tight end start last week, and he found the end zone in a win over the Jaguars. I’d roll with him once again, as the Iowa product faces another good matchup in Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed a league-high seven touchdowns, and the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Their defense has allowed five tight ends to produce at least 11.5 points, including three who scored more than 21 points in their five contests.
Hunter Henry vs. Jaguars
Henry has avoided injuries to this point and has become a reliable target in the pass attack for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. That’s a good reason why he’s targeting tight ends nearly eight times per game. Henry, who ranks fifth at the position in targets per game, is in a good spot to post a nice line when the Jaguars visit Hollywood. Their defense has struggled against tight ends, allowing an average of more than 15 points per game. Coming off a bye, Henry is a solid choice.
Rob Gronkowski at Raiders
I’ve been down on Gronkowski, but you can’t ignore what he’s done in recent weeks. With O.J. Howard out, the future Hall of Famer has seen 14 targets and ranks sixth in fantasy points among tight ends since Week 5. He’s also played 111 snaps, nearly 60 percent of which have resulted in a passing play. The Raiders haven’t been bad against tight ends, but the only two relevant players they’ve faced at the position (Travis Kelce, Jared Cook) have scored touchdowns.
Dalton Schultz at Football Team
Schultz has emerged as a viable fantasy starter in the absence of Blake Jarwin, as he’s tied for fifth among tight ends in targets since Week 2. He’s in a good spot to produce this week, as Schultz faces a Washington defense that’s given up five touchdowns and the sixth-most points to tight ends. The Football Team has also allowed four tight ends to score at least 10.8 fantasy points, including Gerald Everett (13) in Week 5.
- Jonnu Smith vs. Steelers
- Robert Tonyan at Texans
- Jimmy Graham at Rams (MNF)
- Hunter Henry vs. Jaguars (DraftKings: $4,500)
- Logan Thomas vs. Cowboys (DraftKings: $3,500)
- Harrison Bryant at Bengals (DraftKings: $2,500)
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Week 7 Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends
Sit of the Week
Tyler Higbee vs. Bears (MNF)
Higbee led the Rams in receiving last week, but it wasn’t much (56 yards) as Jared Goff failed to throw for even 200 yards. He’s also sharing more of the workload with Gerald Everett, who has more targets than Higbee during the last two weeks. Couple that with a matchup against the Bears, and Higbee and Everett are both better left to the sidelines in Week 7. Their defense has allowed an average of 48 yards per game to the position, and only two tight ends have hit double-digit points.
Hayden Hurst vs. Lions
This looks like a smash spot on the surface for Hurst, who is facing the Lions in what figures to be a high-scoring affair. I wouldn't chase the fantasy points though, as Hurst was solid in Week 6 but could crash back to earth. Believe it or not, but Detroit has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. In fact, just one player at the position has had as many as three catches in a single game against them. Temper your expectations.
Greg Olsen at Cardinals (SNF)
Olsen might be in play as a fantasy bye-week replacement this week, but I’d look elsewhere for alternatives. The Cardinals defense was an absolute joke against the tight end position last year, but their defense has been much more formidable in 2020. In fact, only one player at the position (Jesse James) has scored more than 10 fantasy points against them. What’s more, Arizona has held both George Kittle and T.J. Hockenson to modest totals. Keep Olsen on the sidelines.
Chris Herndon vs. Bills
Herndon was supposed to be on the sleeper radar in fantasy leagues this season, but he's been in a statistical hibernation instead. Herndon wasn't targeted once in last week's loss to the Dolphins. What's more, he’s running a modest 20.2 routes per game while 55 percent of his snaps have resulted in a running play. So while the Bills have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2020, Herndon still isn’t worth a roll of the dice in this potential AFC East blowout.
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- Eric Ebron at Titans
- Gerald Everett vs. Bears (MNF)
- Anthony Firsker vs. Steelers
- Hayden Hurst at Lions (DraftKings: $4,400)
- Jared Cook vs. Panthers (DraftKings: $4,300)
- Eric Ebron at Titans (DraftKings: $4,000)
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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