If you own Travis Kelce (vs. Chargers) or Darren Waller (vs. Dolphins), you’re probably not even reading Week 3 fantasy TE rankings, so we’re here to break down the guys that fall in line after him. At tight end, we always want to consider a defense’s fantasy points allowed against the position and red-zone touchdowns allowed, but since it’s only Week 3, we can only do so much of that. We will still consider it some, but we have to look at matchups and quarterback play to determine who to start and who to sit, especially in a year with virtually no breakouts or sleepers (yet).
Any of the defenses who played against T.J. Hockenson or a name listed above him in the rankings have given up plenty of fantasy points to tight ends. That doesn’t mean we can project Cole Kmet to be a TE1 against Cleveland simply because Travis Kelce had a field day against the Browns in the past, but we can look at similarly ranked tight ends and how they fared in this early part of the regular season. As always, standard leagues call for tight ends who do a lot with their receptions and are often end-zone targets.
Noah Fant (vs. Jets) and Jared Cook (@ Chiefs) are in the TE1 range this week, but for different reasons. Fant continues to be one of Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite targets and we always look to play guys vs. the Jets. Cook should be in line for a lot of targets as the Chiefs force teams to pass to keep up and tend to focus on taking away wide receivers. Tyrann Mathieu is there for Kansas City, but we can expect he’ll be in charge of keeping the likes of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in check more so than Cook.
At tight end, a high-pass volume game is sometimes all we can ask for. Gerald Everett (vs. Vikings) and Evan Engram (if he plays vs. Atlanta) have some appeal, too, but they probably still sit on the bench unless you’re in deep leagues. It’s worth mentioning that although George Kittle (vs. Packers) has only amounted eight catches for 95 yards through the first two weeks, it’s not time to quit on him just yet. That said, you’re still starting him, but he may not be the elite tight end we’ve seen in the past this season. Stay tuned.
Among tight ends who move down this week, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry prove to be ineffective so far in the early weeks of the regular season It looks like neither will completely separate themselves from one another, so while the offense is better with them in it, they cap each other’s ceilings. If you had to start one, Smith probably takes a slight edge, but either way, given the dearth of talent at this position, they’re still at least in the conversation for starting spots. Mike Gesicki (@ Raiders) is in a similar boat despite doing next to nothing so far.
Again, with no obvious breakouts and not enough critical information to make huge matchup-based shake-ups, our rankings are pretty boring. After we get another week or two of data, it will be much easier to project streamers as we move past the bonafide studs, but potential sleepers like Juwan Johnson (@ Patriots), Jack Doyle (@ Titans), Maxx Williams (@ Jaguars) are tough to trust for a variety of reasons, no matter how bad your drafted starter (or backup) has been.
We’ll be updating these TE rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.
Fantasy TE Rankings Week 3: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Travis Kelce, KC vs. LAC|
|2||Darren Waller, LV vs. MIA|
|3||T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. BAL|
|4||Rob Gronkowski, TB @ LAR. The Gronk is back. Enough said.|
|5||George Kittle, SF vs. GB. Kittle at No. 5 feels wrong, but it isn’t. He’s currently the TE12 in PPR leagues (8.8 FPPG) and in standard (5.2 FPPG). Until he puts on a vintage Kittle performance, he can’t move above Hockenson or Waller.|
|6||Mark Andrews, BAL @ DET. Andrews has been a downright bust through two weeks, but a matchup with Detroit could mean big performance. It’s tough to move him lower than No. 6 at such a scarce position, but we might have to if he busts in Week 3.|
|7||Kyle Pitts, ATL @ NYG. Pitts caught five-of-six targets for 73 yards in Week 2, a respectable performance out of a tight end. However, it’s looking apparent that he won’t join the elite group at the top, as we wanted in the preseason. The Giants’ defense is hot and cold, so we’ll see what happens here.|
|8||Noah Fant, DEN vs. NYJ. Fant is the de facto No. 2 WR behind Courland Sutton in Jerry Jeudy’s absence because of an ankle injury. He drew six targets in Week 2, catching four passes for 33 yards and a touchdown. Again, that seems like an average stat line, but it’s a top-10 game at the tight end position. He faces the Jets’ defense in Week 3, so we love as many Broncos as you can get in your lineups.|
|9||Logan Thomas, WAS @ BUF. In his first full game with Taylor Heinicke, Thomas drew seven targets for five catches and 45 yards. This was a promising start, but Buffalo’s defense is no easy match. He’s a better option in PPR leagues, but he does have the potential for touchdowns, which is of course better for standard leagues,|
|10||Dallas Goedert, PHI @ DAL. The entire Eagles’ offense took a step back in Week 2, but they should rebound in a bout with Dallas in prime time. Raise expectations for him this week, as he should be the No. 2 option for Jalen Hurts behind DeVonta Smith. Zach Ertz still carries some appeal in PPR leagues, though our hope is running thin with him.|
|11||Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. TB. Higbee was a bust in Week 2, as well, catching just one pass for eight yards on one target. While he’s gained a lot of hype heading into this season, those kinds are games are inevitable. This goes for any tight end after the elite of the elite. In a matchup with Devin White and Lavonte David, he still ranks as a TE1. It’s just tough to justify moving him below anyone he’s currently ranked ahead of.|
|12||Jared Cook, LAC @ KC. Cook only had three catches of five targets, but he had two touchdowns called back due to penalty. Justin Herbert looks his way often, so he’s attractive for that reason if nothing else. The Chargers should be pass-heavy in this game, so he’s a solid option across any format.|
|13||Robert Tonyan Jr., GB @ SF.|
|14||Mike Gesicki, MIA @ LV. Gesicki caught three passes for 41 yards last week, so while he wasn’t the total bust he was in Week 1, he’s still not the sexiest play at tight end. The good news is Jacoby Brissett seems more willing to target him, so if he’s starting, Gesicki should see more work. Last year, he did most of his damage when Ryan Fitzpatrick was at the helm, so maybe it’s just Tua who is holding him back.|
|15||Jonnu Smith, NE @ NO. We still have no clear winner of this position battle, and we might never ever see the conclusion. This is a low-volume passing attack, so neither Smith nor Hunter Henry can be expected to come up big in any week. One of them will flash at some point, but there’s almost no way to tell when that will be, especially this early in the year.|
|16||Hunter Henry, NE @ NO. See Jonnu Smith.|
|17||Gerald Everett, SEA @ MIN. Everett was one of our sleepers picks last week, but he had just one catch for three yards in what looked like a great matchup against Tennessee. He now just has three catches on the season on four targets, so it’s time to lower expectations. At this spot in the rankings, we just hope for touchdowns. With Russell Wilson as his quarterback, the potential is obviously there.|
|18||Evan Engram, NYG vs. ATL. Engram is yet to play in a game this season because of a calf injury, but he has to be considered in a game against the awful Falcons defense who has surrendered three touchdowns to tight ends so far. Plus Daniel Jones isn’t playing all that bad.|
|19||Jack Doyle, IND @ TEN. We’ll see if Carson Wentz plays, but we know Tennessee’s defense is bad. Mo Alie-Cox had some momentum heading into this season, but Doyle seems to have kept his grip as the primary tight end in the Colts’ passing attack.|
|20||Zach Ertz, PHI @ DAL. See Dallas Goedert.|
|21||Dalton Schultz, DAL vs. PHI|
|22||Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN vs. NYJ|
|23||Cole Kmet, CHI @ CLE|
|24||Maxx Williams, ARI @ JAX|
|25||Eric Ebron, PIT vs. CIN|
|26||Austin Hooper, CLE vs. CHI|
|27||Pat Freiermuth, PIT vs. CIN|
|28||Tyler Kroft, NYJ @ DEN|
|29||Juwan Johnson, NO @ NE|
|30||Dawson Knox, BUF vs. WAS|
|31||Blake Jarwin, DAL vs. PHI|
|32||Anthony Firkser, TEN vs. IND|
|33||Tyler Conklin, MIN vs. SEA|
|34||Jimmy Graham, CHI @ CLE|
|35||Pharaoh Brown, HOU vs. CAR|
|36||Adam Trautman, NO @ NE|
|37||Dan Arnold, CAR @ HOU|
|38||C.J. Uzomah, CIN @ PIT|
|39||David Njoku, CLE vs. CHI|
|40||Will Dissly, SEA @ MIN|
|41||Hayden Hurst, ATL @ NYG|
|42||Mo Alie-Cox, IND @ TEN|