Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Tight Ends

Week 1 start 'em & sit 'em recommendations for the tight end position from Senior Expert Michael Fabiano

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 Christian McCaffrey will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system. For your final lineup decisions, be sure to check my weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.

Week 1 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

MORE: Week 1 Rankings, Articles, Reports & Tools Hub

Week 1 Start 'Em: Tight Ends

Start of the Week

Tyler Higbee vs. Cowboys

Higbee put up bananas numbers down the stretch last season, and it looks like the Rams will be running a lot more "12" personnel with Gerald Everett back, and Brandin Cooks no longer on the roster. Higbee is in a great spot to find success this week. The Cowboys visit SoFi Stadium after allowing a league-high 104 catches in total, 63.5 yards per game, and the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends one season ago.

Start ‘Em

Hunter Henry at Bengals

Henry is healthy and in a great spot to open the 2020 season on a high note in the stat sheets. That’s due largely to the absence of Mike Williams, which should open up more target opportunities for the veteran tight end. Henry, who ran more than half of his 2019 routes out of the slot, also faces a Bengals defense that allowed more than 14 yards per catch and 19.3 fantasy points per game to receivers lined up in the slot last year.

Hayden Hurst vs. Seahawks

The Seahawks were absolutely brutal against tight ends last year, surrendering the third-most fantasy points while also giving up over 1,000 yards to the position overall. That has to make fantasy fans who have Hurst on their roster smile from ear to ear for Week 1. A potential sleeper/breakout candidate, Hurst worked out with Matt Ryan in the offseason and is in line to see a bigger target share in the absence of Austin Hooper.

Dallas Goedert at Football Team

The Eagles are down a pair of wideouts this week, so look for Zach Ertz (obvious must start) and Goedert to take over a bigger role in the passing game. This week's matchup in Washington is favorable as they allowed nine touchdowns, and the fourth-most fantasy points (14.2 PPG) to enemy tight ends a season ago. So, Goedert fits the bill in this NFC East showdown for those who like to stream tight ends.

More Starts

  • Jared Cook vs. Buccaneers
  • Rob Gronkowski at Saints
  • Noah Fant vs. Titans

DFS Bargains

  • Hurst vs. Seahawks (DraftKings: $4,300)
  • T.J. Hockenson vs. Bears (DraftKings: $4,200)
  • Goedert at Football Team (DraftKings: $4,100)

Week 1 Sit 'Em: Tight Ends

Sit of the Week

Austin Hooper at Ravens

Hooper is everyone’s "bust" tight end for this season, it seems. After a dominant 2019 campaign, he signed with the Browns, where targets could be fewer and further between than in Atlanta. He’ll open with a brutal matchup too, as the Browns travel to Baltimore to face a Ravens defense that allowed just three touchdowns and the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends a season ago. Hooper is a fade for me in this AFC North contest.

Sit ‘Em

Mike Gesicki at Patriots

Gesicki could turn into one of the better draft bargains among tight ends this season, but the slate doesn’t begin with an attractive matchup. Quite the contrary, he’ll go up against Adrian Phillips and a Patriots defense that surrendered just 10.8 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends last season. What’s more, New England also allowed the seventh-fewest points to slot receivers, which is where Gesicki ran a third of his routes in 2019. Unless you’re in a tight end premium scoring league, I will pass on Gesicki this weekend.

Chris Herndon IV at Bills

I like Herndon’s chances of making a solid impact for fantasy fans this season, but a Week 1 matchup in Buffalo isn’t all that attractive. The Bills made life tough for enemy tight ends a season ago, allowing a mere 3.7 catches, 34.8 yards, and the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. The Jets are 6.5 point underdogs, so some garbage time love from Sam Darnold is possible, but overall I’d be fading Herndon in this tough contest.

Jack Doyle at Jaguars

Doyle could see more targets this week in the absence of Trey Burton, but it might not matter based on Jacksonville's matchup. The Jags have had Doyle’s number, as he’s failed to score more than 10 points in all but one of their nine matchups. Their defense was also no pushover against tight ends last season, allowing 4.1 catches and 11.8 points per game. For Week 1 (at least), Doyle is a hard fantasy fade for me.

More Sits

  • Ian Thomas vs. Raiders
  • Greg Olsen at Falcons
  • Eric Ebron at Giants

DFS Fades

  • Darren Waller at Panthers (DraftKings: $5,900)
  • Hooper at Ravens (DraftKings: $5,100)
  • Gesicki at Patriots ($4,500)

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!

Dominate Your Fantasy Football Leagues in 2020

The NFL season kicks-off this Thursday night with the Chiefs and Texans in action for the first game of the 2020 season. Our Senior Analyst Michael Fabiano and our entire staff are ready to help you win. Our community gets access to Sports Illustrated's Award-Winning Weekly Rankings and Projections. Each week they are completely customizable to your scoring system and league settings, and are consistently one of the most accurate in the industry. In fact, our rankings are so accurate, we were just recognized as a top 5 rankings provider out of 150 fantasy industry experts and analysts over the last three seasons! Rankings you can trust.


Join Us: Fantasy lineups encounter player injuries and shake-ups every week, and many believe this year we're in for the most wild Sunday mornings ever. Not only will you get access to our industry award-winning fantasy rankings, we designed the all new SI Fantasy Plus membership around personal access to some of the top ranked fantasy players in the world. Join the club. Become a Member today and ask your questions every Sunday and all season long in our Premium Football room.

Are you a DFS player or sports bettor? If so, SI Fantasy PRO has you covered for every sport. Whether it's NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MMA, or the PGA Tour, our staff of gambling analysts and DFS professionals (and our NFL lineup optimizer) will help you beat the book and take home some major prizes in DFS tournaments. And EVERY SPORT is included. Become a member of SI Fantasy Plus today!