We hope you’ve made it this far in the fantasy football playoffs, and if you’re reading this, you probably did. We’re not going crazy with our Week 16 fantasy TE rankings, though. As always, the studs remain locked in at the top, and matchup quality dictates the order in the middle of the rankings. We’re almost to the end of the season, so it’s pretty clear which tight ends should be considered each week. That’s not to say they can’t bust, but we have to trust what data we have — and then hope all the TEs are active.
First, let’s take a moment to welcome back the Travis Kelce we all know and love after his monster performance against the Chargers. That was as good of a matchup as any TE can get, and he smashed. That said, we’re not ready to say he’s locked into the TE1 spot each week, as you’ll see in the rankings. T.J. Hockenson (hand) is out for the year, but we finally might be getting Darren Waller (vs. Broncos) back from his knee injury this week. Stay tuned for updates. (Update: Kelce was placed on the reserve/COVID list on Monday, but he still has a chance to play in Week 16.)
This week, there are plenty of players who draw real interest of fantasy owners in need of a streamer. Cole Kmet (@ Seahawks), C.J. Uzomah (vs. Ravens), James O’Shaughnessy (@ Jets), Evan Engram (@ Eagles), and Jared Cook (@ Texans) are all on the start-or-sit bubble and have favorable matchups. Our rankings will indicate which ones we like the most, but obviously, the floors and upsides vary across all of these players.
If you’re shooting for the most upside possible, Uzomah is the clear choice, as he’s the only one among this list to have multiple overall TE1 finishes, but he also might have the lowest floor. In standard leagues, high tight end floors rarely exist among streamers, but O’Shaughnessy will likely get the most guaranteed targets. Engram has the best matchup possible, but we know he’s risky play at this point given his inability to take advantage of several favorable matchups throughout the season. Noah Fant (@ Raiders) is too heavily owned to be considered a streamer, but he’s another unreliable TE in a great spot this week. Even fellow Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam (@ Raiders) is a potential deep sleeper.
On the other side of the start-or-sit bubble, Tyler Higbee (@ Vikings), Tyler Conklin (vs. Rams), David Njoku and Austin Hooper (@ Packers), and Gerald Everett (vs. Bears) look to be in tough spots this week. They’re all worth mentioning since they’ve had productive outings this season, but matchups carry a lot of weight when determining the fantasy outlooks of this group. It’s also worth noting Ricky Seals-Jones (@ Cowboys) has essentially lost our interest unless he has a nice game against the Eagles on Tuesday. He should be a better play in PPR than in standard, though.
We’re in a weird spot right now, as anyone can end up on the reserve/COVID list at any time. If you’re a George Kittle, Kelce, or Rob Gronkowski owner, you should be aware of the streamers in case your guy is a surprise inactive late in the week. It’s unfortunate all of this is coming in the fantasy playoffs, but the most prepared fantasy owners will be ready to roll with the punches. We hope you’re back to check out our Week 17 rankings as most leagues start the championship round.
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 16: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Mark Andrews, BAL @ CIN|
|2||George Kittle, SF @ TEN|
|3||Travis Kelce, KC vs. PIT|
|4||Rob Gronkowski, TB @ CAR|
|5||Mike Gesicki, MIA @ NO|
|6||Zach Ertz, ARI @ IND. Ertz drew 11 targets against the Lions in Week 15, so perhaps he’ll be the main beneficiary of the DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) absence. If he can continue to reach those kinds of target figures, he could return as a top-flight PPR option among tight ends. The Colts came into Week 15 as the sixth-worst defense against fantasy TEs and gave up two touchdowns to Hunter Henry. All in all, this could potentially set up to be Ertz’s best game as a Cardinal.|
|7||Dallas Goedert, PHI vs. NYG. The Giants present a natural matchup for tight ends, but at this position, you have to shoot for upside. And there are just a handful of tight ends who possess more upside. Jalen Hurts has had his fair share of struggles in the passing game, but count yourself lucky if you have a real threat at tight end and start him this week.|
|8||Kyle Pitts, ATL vs. DET. Pitts caught four-of-seven targets for 77 yards in a tough matchup against the 49ers, and although he hasn’t had the immediate impact we’d hoped for as a rookie, he’s about to surpass 100 targets and is given plenty of opportunities to produce fantasy points each week. Detroit is a neutral matchup for tight ends, but they don’t have that one “shutdown” guy that can shadow him all game. With Russell Gage playing well and commanding more targets, the coverage is lightening up, so maybe Pitts can have a breakout performance in this spot.|
|9||Noah Fant, DEN @ LV. Fant showed some signs of life on a five-catch, 57-yard day against Cincinnati, and since the Raiders are a top-three matchup for TEs, we have to like his upside in the TE1 range. Of course, he’s not a sure thing, but no tight ends are in this range. If Drew Lock starts for Denver, Fant might have some more downfield opportunities, but if Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) starts, he’s probably a better PPR play.|
|10||Dawson Knox, BUF @ NE. In a daunting rematch with New England, Knox is a TD-or-bust play best suited for standard leagues. We’re always chasing upside at tight end at this point in the rankings, so we’d roll with him if he’s your best available option.|
|11||Hunter Henry, NE vs. BUF. Henry is a less explosive version of Knox (see above), but he’s a real red-zone threat and has two-touchdown upside in any matchup. He and Knox are both touchdown-or-bust, zero-or-hero options.|
|12||Dalton Schultz, DAL vs. WAS. Schultz continues to be a better PPR play, but in a neutral matchup with Washington, he’s another guy with real upside in an offense that at least has the capability of being elite. The Cowboys’ offensive attack hasn’t been great lately, but that didn’t stop him from catching eight passes for 67 yards and a touchdown against the Giants.|
|13||James O’Shaughnessy, JAX @ NYJ. O’Shaugnessy’s upside is capped by one of the worst offenses in football, but his PPR floor is attractive and he’s heading into a matchup with the lowly Jets, who have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. He drew a season-low four targets against the Texans but produced 40 yards. Around 10 PPR points from a streamer tight end is fine production for someone who just needs a solid floor at this spot.|
|14||Cole Kmet, CHI @ SEA. Kmet is far from a safe choice, but since Justin Fields is playing well lately and the Seahawks have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends, he does have real upside. He’s ranked below some of the other guys because he has virtually no floor, but if things go right, he can have a TE1 finish.|
|15||C.J. Uzomah, CIN vs. BAL. Uzomah has produced two overall TE1 weeks, and since the Ravens are the third-worst team against fantasy TEs, his upside is higher than any of the steamer-level guys. However, his floor is also lower than all those players, so he’s the definition of a boom-or-bust play.|
|16||Evan Engram, NYG @ PHI. Engram is a better PPR play, but the Eagles are the best matchup for tight ends, so he’s another option that should be able to give you just enough points to survive.|
|17||Jared Cook, LAC @ HOU|
|18||Tyler Higbee, LAR @ MIN|
|19||Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN @ LV|
|20||Foster Moreau, LV vs. DEN|
|21||Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS @ DAL|
|22||Tyler Conklin, MIN vs. LAR|
|23||David Njoku, CLE @ GB|
|24||Austin Hooper, CLE @ GB|
|25||Josiah Deguara, GB vs. CLE|
|26||Gerald Everett, SEA vs. CHI|
|27||Tyler Kroft, NYJ vs. JAX|
|28||Jonnu Smith, NE vs. BUF|
|29||Nick Vannett, NO vs. MIA|
|30||Jack Doyle, IND @ ARI|
|31||Tommy Tremble, CAR vs. TB|
|32||Mo Alie-Cox, IND @ ARI|
|33||Zach Gentry, PIT @ KC|