We’re heading toward the midpoint of the season, and the tight end position has been a headscratcher just like we all knew it would be. This week, we get back some heavy hitters, but we lose a few that are always ranked near the top. As always, we’re relying on matchups, targets, and red-zone usage to find some sleepers and sort out the middle part of our Week 9 fantasy TE rankings.
The studs back this week are Darren Waller (@ Giants), Mark Andrews (vs. Vikings), and possibly George Kittle (vs. Cardinals). When bye weeks give, they also take — in the form of Rob Gronkowski, T.J. Hockenson, and Ricky Seals-Jones.
Studs Dalton Schultz (vs. Broncos) and Kyle Pitts (@ Saints) are set to face top-10 defenses against TEs, but Schultz’s body of work this season suggests he should be started, at least in PPR. Pitts is well on his way to joining the elite, “must-start” tier at tight end, though as we saw last week, he is prone to some clunkers like most TEs not named Travis Kelce.
Streamers with high upside in favorable matchups this week include Tyler Conklin (@ Ravens), Marcedes Lewis (@ Chiefs), Mo Alie-Cox (vs. Jets), and C.J. Uzomah (@ Browns). All these guys are most attractive in standard leagues, whether it be because of their big-play potential or their respective noses for the end zone. The Ravens, Chiefs, and Jets defenses are all in the top eight in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends. It might seem tough to trust Lewis, but he’ll take the role Robert Tonyan (knee) had as a prime red-zone target.
The Browns are statistically strong against TEs, but their best linebacker is out and they haven’t played against any studs at the position with the exception of Travis Kelce and Noah Fant. The Bengals’ offense is rolling, so we still like Uzomah’s upside.
Worrisome players on the start-or-sit bubble are Dan Arnold (vs. Bills) and Jonnu Smith (vs. Panthers). Both have provided at least a little production in certain spots this season, but the Bills and Panthers have been strong units against tight ends. Only slightly ahead of them is Tyler Higbee (vs. Titans), who seemingly disappoints consistently despite favorable matchups. There are plenty of options to consider this week, so these guys should be the next wave of consideration in deep leagues.
The tight end position as a whole got a net gain even as we lose RSJ, Hockenson, and Gronkowski, but Andrews and Waller owners rejoice. Barring surprises, those owners won’t really need to check these rankings ever again, though we hope you will.
Note: We’ll be updating these TE rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest player movement and analysis.
Fantasy TE Rankings Week 9: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring