Tight End Yin-Yang Fantasy Football Rankings: Darren Waller & Dallas Goedert Return

Phew, what a week. Another great reminder that fantasy football is crazy and you’re a crazy person for playing it. We’re now in the heart of the fantasy playoffs, so long-term speculation is over – we’re focused on the NOW because there’s no future. So these rankings will heavily factor in matchups, health and current trends. Here’s a little guide to the rankings, followed by the rankings themselves, and then some notes. If you’ve been good all year, we hope Santa will treat you well this holiday season!

  • The ranking below is the rest of the season. They’re trying to round up the next three weeks (don’t worry, we’ll also be releasing weekly leaderboards for week 18 for you weirdos playing through the end of the year).
  • The weekly specific leaderboards for week 16 only will be released on Thursday on twitter as always (and sometimes updated on Sunday if there are big changes)
  • We’ve included some information on pairings to help you mix and match if needed.
  • Players in orange have injury problems. Keep an eye on the weekly rankings for updates on them.
  • Notes on each player are below.

Stage 1: Light of the world

Level 2: 5 gold rings

  • TJ HockensonTJ HockensonIt’s been great to use since the Vikings acquired it, and in that span of time it’s technically had the second most targets on the team, only behind Justin Jefferson. They’re definitely going to start him against the Giants this week, and unless you have multiple stallions, you’ll likely start him against Green Bay the following week as well
  • Mark AndrewsMark Andrews hasn’t lived up to expectations in box score lately, but he’s still playing a massive snap share and running a ton of routes. He currently leads all tight ends in route participation, goal percentage and routes walked, according to PlayerProfiler. If you’ve made it this far, you’re not going to bench him against the Falcons, who are a bottom five team against position. Hopefully we get it Lamar Jackson back soon and can feel even better.
  • George KittelWe were concerned Brock Purdy but honestly he looks pretty competent. Now with Debbo Samuel There is a clear path to goals for the elite tight end out there. The only concern is this week’s matchup with Washington (who are arguably the best in the league against the tight end), but it’s hard to find people who would start you over Kittle. After that, he gets a great matchup with Las Vegas.
  • Dalton Schulz“It’s possible to make no mistakes and still lose. That’s not a weakness. That’s life.” That’s technically a Star Trek quote I believe, but it applies to Schultz this week as well. He led all of the tight ends in snap share and route participation this week. He had a great matchup against the Jags. He hit four targets. But he didn’t produce much and Peyton Hendershot stole the TD. He has a rough matchup against the Eagles followed by a good one against Tennessee
  • Evan engramEvan engram is the hottest tight end in football right now – his 67.4 fantasy points over the last three weeks are by far the highest (followed by Travis Kelce with 41.2). His usage has been good, his aim has been good, and his matchups are pretty solid. Engram these days has to make you feel oddly good about your lineups.

Tier 3: Warm by the fire

  • Dallas Goedertas crazy as it sounds Gardner Minshew could still be a small upgrade for Dallas Goedert (or at least it shouldn’t be a massive downgrade). The last time Minshew started a meaningful game for the Eagles, he threw two TD passes to Goedert. And as great as Jalen hurts is that he might honestly be a bit too awesome for everyone else since he steals a lot of TDs (if he has three rushing TDs like he did this week, that doesn’t leave many points for everyone else). The problem for Goedert is twofold. First, it’s a massive red flag that he wasn’t considered healthy enough to play for the past week despite being activated by IR. Second, his two matchups are just plain awful. So it’s not the castle you might think.
  • David NjokuUsage for Njoku has been good over the past two weeks – playing a massive snap stock. but Deshaun Watson really wasn’t the megastar we were hoping for. Additionally, Njoku’s matchups are somehow even worse than Goedert’s, as New Orleans and Washington are literally the two best defenses against the tight end. When he can’t make it against a mediocre TE defense like Baltimore.
  • Pat FreiermuthWe mentioned it last week, but now it’s pretty obvious – this guy is clearly not healthy. He’s played 55% of snaps in the last three weeks. And this time they didn’t even throw him a pass. Keep an eye out for our ranking update on twitter in a few days – unless he’s fully practicing with enthusiastic reports, we might have to look elsewhere.

Stage 4: Yankee swap

  • Cole KmetIn the Yankee Swap stage, we’re playing the matchups, so there might be guys coming in and out in the next two weeks. Cole Kmet has now played 100% of snaps in three straight games. Every single snapshot. He has achieved 6, 7 and 5 objectives in this time span. Pretty solid. The problem? This week’s game is set to be super windy and he gets a date with Buffalo and Matt Milan. Maybe the wind will cause them to throw more short passes in Kmet’s direction – or maybe the pass attack will just be terrible. However, if you can get through this week, he has a great matchup with Detroit in championship week.
  • Chigoziem OkonkwoChig is currently the darling of the fantasy community, especially in Dynasty with his insane Athletics (e.g. 95th percentile speed). But he’s not pretty much a high-end option for the recast as he’s still not playing a full Snap share. He ran 20 of 34 routes this week Austin Hooper ran 18. Now with Treylon Burks return & Ryan Tannehill out, it pours a bit of cold water on the hype. He’s not a bad option against Houston this week, but you’ll probably want to find someone else to start Championship week.
  • Darren WallerDarren Waller is back, but to be honest he wasn’t terribly exciting before he got hurt. This week Forester Moreau played 38 snaps to his 33, but ran 29 routes to Moreau’s 19 (out of a possible 44). PIT isn’t such a great matchup this week ahead of a bad matchup with San Francisco, so he’s a guy to start with where you have to.
  • Gerald Everett Now both mike williams and Keenan Allen are healthy, Gerald Everett is one of the more boring options out there. You have to remember that Austin Ekeler technically leads this team in goals. It’s a safe play but doesn’t offer much upside.
  • Greg DulcichThis week was a big disappointment for him Courtland Sutton was out and he had a great matchup with the Cardinals. But Bretty Rypien really isn’t that good. He played a good snap share and runs a lot of routes (28 of 33 with zero-pass block snaps), but bottom looks like this week. His matchups are at least solid.
  • Dawson Knox – Knox always had a pretty decent lineup, they just didn’t throw the ball to him. Just a few weeks ago he put up an even zero. He’s been catching things up a bit lately, but he’s getting a tough matchup against Chicago this week. Not only that, but the winds are expected to be quite rough for this matchup so it could be difficult to cast.

Tier 5: Rough Sledding

  • Daniel BellingerBellinger has been quietly solid when he’s healthy — the key is “when he’s healthy.” The game back from his eye injury, he played 64 of 66 snaps and caught five of five goals and promptly injured his ribs in the following game. That was demonstrated this week in a brutal close-ends duel with Washington. He’s played 62 out of 63 snaps though, so let’s hope he’s feeling good and he’s got a pretty juicy matchup ahead of him with the Vikings.
  • Juvan Johnson It feels like chasing a bit of touchdowns with Johnson as he only ran 13 routes but they also only threw 19 times. Now that Chris Olav has surfaced in the injury report, Johnson could be in line for a decent workload. However, his matchups with Cleveland and Philly are pretty tough.
  • Trey McBrideHe is not zach ore but he poses like him. He played 55 snaps, ran 36 routes (once without pass blocking) and lined up 26 times at WR. Colt McCoy has now targeted him 11 times in the last two games so he is the last option we would launch in PPR before going into desperation mode with the backup QBs.

Tier 6: Isle of Misfit Toys

  • Taysom Hill and Jeff DriskelYou know the floor, you know the ceiling – only you can make that decision for your own fantasy team.

Tier 7: The Naughty List

  • Noah Fant – The injury too Tyler Lockett opens up the potential for goals, but the real problem wasn’t so much the wide receivers he was snapping with as he was Will Dissly. S
  • Tyler Conklin – He has a good schedule, but that’s about the only thing that speaks for him. The last thing we needed was for CJ Uzomah to start catching passes to get a touchdown naturally.
  • Hunter Henry – He plays a lot of snaps and even makes frequent appearances on WR. Last year, he led the league in touchdowns for tight ends with Josh McDaniels. This year with Matt Patricia he sucks.
  • Austin Hooper – Not even the best fantasy tight ending on his own team.
  • Hayden Hurst – Being the 4th or 5th best target on his own team with a brutal schedule after an injury. Cool.
  • Cade Otton – He’s a pretty decent option, though Cameron Brate is hurt. Cameron Brate is no longer injured.
  • Jordan Akins – He’s the best pass catcher on the worst team in the league.

Stage 8: Charcoal Canister

Weekly leaderboard

Follow Andrew Cooper on Twitter @CoopAFiasco to see the weekly leaderboards when they become available later this week!

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