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

Eagles’ Dallas Goedert ready for a big week vs. Lions.

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 Josh Allen, Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp. Instead, I'll look at the players you have questions about who could exceed or fail to meet expectations at each position. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the NFL season.

Fabs Top 10
1. Mark Andrews at Jets
2. Travis Kelce at Cardinals
3. Kyle Pitts vs. Saints
4. Dalton Schultz vs. Buccaneers
5. T.J. Hockenson vs. Eagles
6. Darren Waller vs. Chargers
7. Dallas Goedert at Lions
8. Pat Freiermuth at Bengals
9. Zach Ertz vs. Chiefs
10. Dawson Knox at Rams (TNF)


Week 1 Start ‘Em: Tight Ends

Start of the Week

Dallas Goedert at Lions (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Tight end is a very thin position in the world of fantasy football, so you have to start your “studs” in Week 1 if you landed one. I’m not sure Goedert qualifies as a true stud, but he’s certainly a player who’ll be in a lot of lineups this weekend. He has a nice matchup against the Lions, who allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends a season ago.

SI Sportsbook Player Prop: Goedert OVER 46.5 receiving yards

Start ‘Em

Zach Ertz at Cardinals (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Ertz falls into a similar tier as Goedert, and both should be active in most leagues. The veteran was one of the top tight ends in fantasy last season after being traded to the Cardinals, and his target share should be solid with DeAndre Hopkins (suspension) out of action. Ertz (calf) is questionable for the game, so be sure to monitor his status before starting him.

Pittsburgh Steelers Pat Freiermuth

Pat Freiermuth at Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Those fantasy managers who don’t have a true No. 1 tight end should consider Freiermuth as a streamer. He found the end zone against the Bengals in each of his first two career meetings, and Freiermuth should remain a good red-zone option for new quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bengals also allowed the sixth-most points to tight ends in 2021.

Cole Kmet vs. 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Kmet’s matchup against the 49ers isn’t a good one on paper, as their defense allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season. Still, Justin Fields targeted the position often as a rookie and the Bears don’t have what you would call a deep receiving corps. As a result, I’d put Kmet into my starting lineup if I didn’t have a top-eight option at the position.

SI Sportsbook Player Props: Kmet OVER 34.5 receiving yards

More Starts

  • Hunter Henry at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Albert Okwuegbunam at Seahawks (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

DFS Bargains

  • Pat Freiermuth at Bengals ($4,200)
  • Hunter Henry at Dolphins ($3,800)
  • Cole Kmet vs. 49ers ($3,700)

Complete Week 1 rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | FLEX | K | DST

Oct 31, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) catches the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends

Sit of the Week

Mike Gesicki vs. Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Gesicki was a top-10 fantasy tight end a season ago, but his stock has fallen heading into 2022. He was used as a blocker more often in the preseason, and targets will be much tougher to find with Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson all in the pass attack. The Patriots defense also surrendered the fewest fantasy points to enemy tight ends last year.

Sit ‘Em

Noah Fant vs. Broncos (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Fant has a “revenge” game in Week 1, facing the team that traded him in the offseason. Still, it’s not enough for me to use him as a fantasy starter. The Broncos were tough on tight ends last year, allowing the fourth-fewest points to the position. Fant is also going to share some of the snaps with Will Dissly, so it’s tough to see him as a viable option this week.

Irv Smith Jr. vs. Packers (1 p.m. ET, Fox): I like Smith as a potential sleeper this season, but I’m not sure I’d trust him in the opener. He missed the preseason and camp with an injured thumb, and I’d be concerned about potential limitations in terms of his snaps in Week 1. Smith isn’t a bad flier pick in DFS, but I’d avoid him in traditional re-drafts until he gets some snaps and his role is more defined.

Robert Tonyan at Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): Tonyan appears to be on track to start against the Vikings, but fantasy managers shouldn't jump to start him. While Allen Lazard is banged up, Tonyan could be somewhat limited in his first real-game action since Week 8 of last season. He'll be a touchdown-dependent option this season including this week, and I'd fade him in the season opener. 

More Sits

  • Logan Thomas vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Hayden Hurst vs. Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Fades

  • Darren Waller at Chargers ($5,400)
  • Mike Gesicki at Patriots ($4,800
  • Robert Tonyan at Vikings ($3,900)

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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. 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 to help you win a fantasy championship!


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