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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 1: Tight Ends - Sleepers, Fades, Matchups, DFS Bargains

The first tight end you drafted should be the clear-cut choice, but if you don't have an elite option, you can play the matchup in Week 1

Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.

UPDATED: September 10, 2021

Week 1 Start ‘Em: Tight Ends

Start of the Week

Washington Football Team Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas vs. Chargers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Thomas is coming off a big season that saw him finish third in fantasy points among tight ends. He's in a favorable spot to open this campaign on a high note, as the veteran faces a Chargers defense that allowed seven touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points (16.4 PPG) to home tight ends a season ago. Look for Thomas to see five-plus targets in this week’s contest.

Week 1 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

QUARTERBACKS
RUNNING BACKS
WIDE RECEIVERS
TIGHT ENDS
KICKERS
TEAM DEFENSES

MORE: Week 1 Hub: Rankings, Articles & More

Start ‘Em

Dallas Goedert at Falcons (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Goedert’s stock took a tumble late in draft season, as the Eagles didn’t find a trade partner for Zach Ertz. Still, this week’s matchup in Atlanta makes Goedert a solid option across the board. Their defense is a great matchup for tight ends, as it allowed 10 touchdowns and the fourth-most points to the position last season. Look for Goedert to have a top-10 fantasy finish this week.

Noah Fant at Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Fant has been dealing with an injured leg, but Broncos coach Vic Fangio expects him to be active this weekend in New York. Last season, the Giants had a tough time against tight ends at MetLife Stadium, allowing a combined 500 receiving yards (62.5 PG) and the seventh-most fantasy points to the position. With Teddy Bridgewater under center, Fant should see his share of targets.

Tyler Higbee vs. Bears (5:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Higbee is in a great position to rebound from a disappointing 2020 campaign. He's now the unquestioned top option at tight end after Gerald Everett's departure, and Matt Stafford's presence is a clear upgrade over Jared Goff. The Bears allowed 12 touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to tight ends last season as well, so start Higbee as a low-end TE1 this weekend.

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More Starts

  • Robert Tonyan at Saints (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Mike Gesicki at Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Jonnu Smith vs. Dolphins (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Bargains

  • Kyle Pitts vs. Eagles (DraftKings: $4,400)
  • Austin Hooper at Chiefs (DraftKings: $4,000)
  • Tyler Conklin at Bengals (DraftKings: $2,900)

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends

Sit of the Week

Oct 20, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (81) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Gerald Everett at Colts (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Everett was considered a solid late-round pick in fantasy drafts, as he's now considered the top pass-catching tight end in the Seahawks offense. However, he's still subject to the matchups, and a Week 1 contest against the Colts is anything but favorable. In 2020, their defense allowed a mere three touchdowns and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. I'd sit Everett for now.

Sit ‘Em

Eric Ebron at Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Ebron is coming off a 2020 season that saw him rank 14th in fantasy points among tight ends, making him a TE2 for most managers. I'd keep him on the sidelines this week, as Ebron faces a tough defense against a Bills defense that held him to just two catches in a game last season. The veteran could also lose some targets to rookie Pat Freiermuth, making him even less attractive this week.

Jared Cook at Football Team (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Cook could be a decent option for fantasy managers when the matchup is right, as Justin Herbert liked throwing to his tight ends as a rookie. Unfortunately, this week’s game against the Football Team isn’t favorable. Their defense allowed the third-fewest total yards and the fifth-fewest points to visiting offenses last season, and tight ends averaged just 11.1 fantasy points overall.

Cole Kmet at Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Kmet could well turn into a valuable fantasy asset in his second NFL campaign, but throwing him out there as a starter this week is not recommended. That’s due in large part to a matchup against the Rams, who gave up just 13.5 points per game to opposing offenses at SoFi Stadium last season. What’s more, tight ends averaged fewer than 12 fantasy points a game against them in 2020.

More Sits

  • Hunter Henry vs. Dolphins (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Anthony Firkser vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Kyle Rudolph vs. Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Fades

  • Hunter Henry vs. Dolphins (DraftKings: $4,700)
  • Eric Ebron at Bills (DraftKings: $3,900)
  • Jared Cook at Football Team (DraftKings: $3,800)

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. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!