Tyler Higbee, LAR (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,100)
Higbee landed in the go zone at tight end in Week 2 based on his team’s wide receiver matchup against the Eagles. He finished with a great game (5/54/3 – top TE for the week) despite only seeing five targets. Week 3 offered multiple outs for fantasy owners at tight end thanks to seven players scoring over 20.0 fantasy points. The Bills had the second-best tight end defense in 2019, but they struggled to cover Mike Gesicki (8/130/1) and the Dolphins’ tight ends (9/134/1). Buffalo has a top cover cornerback, which will force Jared Goff to use Higbee and his secondary receiving options in this matchup. His jump in salary ($1,200) does require almost 24.0 fantasy points to be viable in Week 3. Not ideal, but I can’t dismiss as Higbee raised his floor over his last seven games (51/616/5).
Darren Waller, LV (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,600)
The Saints had no answer for Waller (12/105/1 on 16 targets) in Week 2. His big game pushed him to second in tight end scoring (19.40 FPPG) in PPR leagues. He came out of his matchup with a knee issue, leading to a couple of missed practices. Waller continues to have a high catch rate (75.0) while still looking for his first completion over 20 yards. New England held tight ends to four catches for 39 yards on seven targets against Miami and Seattle, and they placed fifth in tight end defense in 2019. Waller will draw the Patriots' coaching staff's attention in Week 3, suggesting a much lower output.
Noah Fant, DEN (DK – $5,400/FD – $5,800)
The injury to Courtland Sutton is going to be a big win for Fant this year. He played well in both of his starts (5/81/1 and 4/57/1) while receiving only 5.5 targets per game. His catch rate (81.9) is much better than his rookie season (61.5). Fant gained over 20 yards on one-third of his catches in 2020 (15.3 yards per catch), and 25 percent last season. Tampa didn’t allow a catch to the Panthers’ tight ends in Week 2. Jared Cook had five catches for 80 yards on the opening weekend. Game score should work in Fant’s favor in this matchup, but the Broncos also need their wide receivers to play well and draw more attention in coverage.
T.J. Hockenson, DET (DK – $5,300/FD – $5,400)
Hockenson has caught all nine of his targets this season, leading to 9 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. In his first NFL start in 2019, he beat the Cardinals for an impact game (6/131/1 on nine targets). Last year Arizona was a gold mine for tight ends, but they have limited the damage to the 49ers (6/56) and Washington (5/28). If Kenny Golladay plays, Hockenson will have more competition for targets. A chaser game should work in his favor, and Mathew Stafford will look for him in the end zone. Viable with explosive upside if the rainbow from 2019 shines his way.
Jonnu Smith, TEN (DK – $5,200/FD – $5,600)
Eight seconds into last week’s game, Smith hit on a 63-yard catch, which almost guaranteed that his ticket would come in at DraftKings. He finished with four catches for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five targets, leading to the week's third-highest tight end score. The Titans looked his way 12 times over the first two games. The Vikings struggled to defend the Colts’ backup tight end (5/111) in Week 2, while not being challenged by the Packers (1/12 in three targets) on the opening weekend. Last year Minnesota ranked sixth in tight end defense, and they have one of the better safeties (Harrison Smith) in the NFL. With no A.J. Brown, Tennessee will use him as a top-two option in the passing game.
Zach Ertz, PHI (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,200)
After two games (3/18/1 and 5/42 on 14 targets), Ertz is trailing his expected value. He ranks 19th in tight end scoring (10.00 FPPG). The Eagles gave him 90 percent of their snaps over the first two games while also having Dallas Goedert on the field for 84 percent of the time. The Bengals allowed nine catches for 119 yards on 16 targets to tight ends with Hunter Henry (6/83) having the most success. Philly lacks reliable receiving options at wide receiver, which forces the Eagles to move the ball with their tight ends and Miles Sanders. Likely correction game for Ertz with a touchdown where he re-establishes his elite TE1 status.
Evan Engram, NYG (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,900)
The recent injuries to Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard should improve Engram’s targets. After struggling to get open in Week 1 (2/9 on seven targets), he turned in a steady game (6/65 on eight targets) against the Bears. The 49ers are second in tight end defense (3/26 on eight targets). They faced the Cardinals’ offense that lacked a viable tight end option while taking away Chris Herndon from Sam Darnold in Week 2. A grinder type game doesn’t paint a high volume of chances for Engram in this matchup, but Engram may score.
Dallas Goedert, PHI (DK – $4,900/FD – $5,900)
Goedert was the top-scoring tight end (24.10 fantasy points) in Week 1. He caught eight of his nine targets for 101 yards and a touchdown while gaining over 20 yards on two plays. Philly gave him eight chances in Week 2, but the Rams held Goedert to four catches for 32 yards. The loss of Jalen Reagor almost ensures that Philly will have two tight ends on the field for nearly all plays going forward. The Eagles throw to the tight end position more than any team in the league, making both Ertz and Goedert great option in the daily games.
Hunter Henry, LAC (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,000)
Henry has been active over the first two games (5/73 and 6/83) while receiving eight targets in each contest. He pushed his yards per catch to 14.2 thanks to three of his 11 catches gaining over 20 yards. The Chargers were a much better passing offense in Week 2 (311/1), after the switch to Justin Herbert at quarterback. Carolina gave up eight catches for 59 yards on 13 targets to tight ends over the first two games. Possible play-action touchdown, but his targets might slide in this matchup if Los Angeles dominated the game with their running backs.
Hayden Hurst, ATL (DK – $4,700/FD – $5,700)
The feeling about Hurst’s 2020 value went from “what was I thinking” in Week 1 (3/38) to “maybe a found something here” against the Cowboys (5/72/1). Over the first two games, he has 13 targets. If Julio Jones can’t play in Week 3, Hurst should move up a notch on the target food chain. Tight ends have 13 catches for 120 yards and one touchdown on 17 targets vs. the Bears over the first two contests. Atlanta attempts a high number of passes each week thanks to their poor defense and game score, which gives their receiving options upside in most matchups.
Dalton Schultz, DAL (DK – $4,500/FD – $4,900)
The dunce award in Week 3 goes to all fantasy owners than overpaid for Schultz in the free-agent pool based on last week’s stats (9/88/1). With Dallas chasing on the scoreboard, the Falcons focused on not getting beat deep by the Cowboys’ wide receiver. This approach led to some easy catches for Schultz and an excellent game. His college resume (55/555/5 on 72 targets) over 33 games isn’t special while playing in a tight end favoring system at Stanford. Dallas has three excellent wide receivers and an elite running back, which gives their tight end minimal chances in most games. Seattle allowed five catches for 57 yards on eight targets over the first two games. Schultz looks closer to a zero than a playable option at DraftKings in this matchup.
Austin Hooper, CLE (DK – $4,400/FD – $5,300)
The fun ride of Hooper as a starting tight end ended once he signed with the Browns. He still has the talent to be productive, but his opportunity is well below his days in Atlanta. This week I saw a top player in the high-stakes market launch him back into the free-agent pool. Hooper only has four catches for 37 yards on six targets over the first two games while being on the field for 98 percent of the Browns’ plays in Week 2. Washington had a tough time with the Eagles’ tight ends in Week 1 (11/119/2). They improved against the Cardinals (2/26), resulting from a weak option at tight end. Hooper can still play, and his role should improve. His matchup does point to a much more productive game in Week 3.
Eric Ebron, PIT (DK – $4,300/FD – $4,700)
Ebron looks to be on a path to the free-agent pool after having no pulse over his first two games (1/18 and 3/43). He’s only had seven targets despite Pittsburgh throwing the ball 73 times. Houston has all kinds of problems defending the run, and they will come into this matchup with concerns about defending the Steelers’ wide receivers. This combination may very well turn into a win for Ebron. Against two of the top tight ends (Travis Kelce and Mark Andrew), the Texans gave up eight combined catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Ebron has an empty floor, but he does have the scoring ability to surprise. My only interest in him is in a Ben Roethlisberger stack.
Jordan Reed, WAS (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,300)
I feel bad for leaving Reed off the tight end report last week. George Kittle was ruled out within minutes of releasing the Week 2 player write-ups for tight ends. His upgrade in playing time pushed him to seventh in the tight end projections. Reed finished as the second-highest scoring player (7/50/2) at his position. His success could lead to San Francisco featuring two tight ends in their offense like the Eagles. Kittle still has a knee issue, and the 49ers ruled him out again this week. Reed is a live option again in Week 3, while still having a fair salary.
Jordan Akins, HOU (DK – $3,400/FD – $5,000)
Last year Houston used a two-way split at tight end, which led to both players having productive games at times. Akins looks to be the winner early in 2020 with the talent to emerge as the Texans' top tight end. Over two games, he has nine catches for 94 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. The Texans gave him 80 percent of their snaps in both contests, compared to 61.4 percent in 2019. Pittsburgh gave up nine catches for 96 yards and one touchdown on 17 targets over the first two games. Houston will need to throw to win this game, and Deshaun Watson will look for his tight ends near the goal line. Possible salary relief at tight end.
Tyler Higbee, LAR (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,100)
Higbee landed in the go zone at tight end in Week 2 based on his team’s wide receiver matchup against the Eagles. He finished with a great game (5/54/3 – top TE for the week) despite only seeing five targets. Week 3 offered multiple outs for fantasy owners at tight end thanks to seven players scoring over 20.0 fantasy points. The Bills had the second-best tight end defense in 2019, but they struggled to cover Mike Gesicki (8/130/1) and the Dolphins’ tight ends (9/134/1). Buffalo has a top cover cornerback, which will force Jared Goff to use Higbee and his secondary receiving options in this matchup. His jump in salary ($1,200) does require almost 24.0 fantasy points to be viable in Week 3. Not ideal, but I can’t dismiss as Higbee raised his floor over his last seven games (51/616/5). Subscribe for full article
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