Week 16 Start ‘Em: Tight Ends
Start of the Week
T.J. Hockenson vs. Buccaneers (Sat. 1 p.m. ET, NFLN): Hockenson is coming off his worst statistical game of the season, scoring a mere 1.8 fantasy points in a loss to the Titans. He has been one of fantasy's most reliable tight ends though, and a matchup against the Buccaneers makes him a virtual must-start in Week 16. Their defense has been generous to enemy tight ends, giving up eight touchdown catches and the seventh-most fantasy points overall this season.
Week 16 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Be sure to check out my Week 16 rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings.
Logan Thomas vs. Panthers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Thomas has emerged into one of the top tight ends in fantasy land, ranking fourth in points at the position since Week 12. He’s also seen a bananas 35 targets in that time, which is good for third-most. Thomas will be in a good spot to continue this positive trend in fantasy championship week, as he’ll face a Panthers defense that’s given up seven touchdowns and the eighth-most points to opposing tight ends.
Noah Fant at Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Fant is fresh off a huge performance in Week 15, scoring 20.8 fantasy points in a loss to the Bills. Next up is a date with the Chargers, who have struggled to stop opposing tight ends. In fact, the position has scored 10 touchdowns and averaged nearly 14 fantasy points per game. That includes Fant’s seven-catch performance in their first meeting of the season. The talented Iowa product should be considered a low-end No. 1 option.
Austin Hooper at Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Hooper is coming off his best fantasy game of the season, scoring a touchdown and 15.1 points in a win over the Giants. Next up is another date in New York, this time against the 1-13 Jets. Their defense has allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends, including three players who have scored 24 or more points. The Browns offense will also be down it's top four wide receivers (COVID-19), so Hooper should see plenty of targets.
- Robert Tonyan vs. Titans (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
- Mike Gesicki at Raiders (Sat. 8:15 p.m. ET, NFLN)
- Dalton Schultz vs. Eagles (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)
- Austin Hooper at Jets (DraftKings: $3,500)
- Dalton Schultz vs. Eagles (DraftKings: $3,200)
- Cole Kmet at Jaguars (DraftKings: $3,000)
Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends
Sit of the Week
Tyler Higbee at Seahawks (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Higbee has looked better in the stat sheets lately, scoring a touchdown and 12-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games. Still, this week’s important NFC West matchup in Seattle makes him no more than a risk-reward option in fantasy championships. Their defense has been tough on tight ends in the Great Northwest, allowing just two scores and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position on their home field.
Evan Engram at Ravens (1 p.m. ET, FOX): It’s tough to sit Engram at a very thin position, so take this as a warning. His fantasy totals have been mediocre in recent weeks, as he’s failed to score more than 8.6 fantasy points in each of his last three games. Engram has also scored double-digit points just once in his last five contests. Next on the schedule is a tough matchup against the Ravens, who have allowed just five touchdowns to enemy tight ends this season.
Rob Gronkowski at Lions (Sat. 1 p.m. ET, NFLN): Gronkowski has started to see his numbers decline in recent weeks, as he’s failed to score more than 7.2 fantasy points in three of his last four games. He’s also seen just four red-zone targets in that time, as the Buccaneers lean more and more on their talented trio of wideouts in Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown. The Lions have been sneaky tough against tight ends too, so Gronkowski comes with some risk.
Jonnu Smith at Packers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Smith had a respectable stat line last week, posting five catches for 52 yards in a win over the Lions. He saw more targets in the absence of Geoff Swaim, whose status for Week 16 is in question. Smith also has a tough matchup against the Packers, who have allowed four touchdowns and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. He’ll have more value if Swaim were out again, but Smith remains a fade.
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- Jordan Reed at Cardinals (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, AMAZON)
- Dan Arnold vs. 49ers (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, AMAZON)
- Trey Burton at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
- Tyler Higbee at Seahawks (DraftKings: $4,000)
- Evan Engram at Ravens (DraftKings: $3,900)
- Jimmy Graham at Jaguars (DraftKings: $3,100)
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 all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!