This is a list of the top Tight End targets for NFL games based on potential production and price. The players are split into three tiers based on likelihood of success. Remember that these rankings take potential production and price into account, so some guys may be higher up on the list despite having a lower projected score for the week if the price point is favorable. Here are some TE options to consider.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
CREAM OF THE CROP
Greg Olsen ($6900) – I have Olsen as my #1 this week ahead of Gronk. Seattle is a very solid defense and the weakest part of it has been the TE defense. These two teams already played once this year and Olsen put up a line of 7/129/1 against them for almost 30 fantasy points. He is the best red zone threat and arguably the best pass catcher period. He has had a tremendous year and has produced a few big upside games. I expect this one to be a close game that features a lot of running, third down pass conversions, and passing in the red zone. All of those things point to Olsen as a guy who should be heavily involved here.
Rob Gronkowski ($7500) – Gronk is a beast and probably my favorite cash game play. KC has really good corners that make tough matchups on the outside for the Pats. Julian Edelman is also back, so I think Edelman and Gronk will be the way they attack this defense through the middle of the field. If Edelman was not healthy, I would like Gronk even more. We know the Pats like to feature him in games where things are tight, which this one is likely to be. He also tends to put up good games against teams that blitz often. Blitzing defenses leave a lot of Man to Man coverage, especially underneath. Gronk is the outlet for Brady in those situations, and no one is able to cover Gronk when he is matched up one on one with linebackers. They have burnt the blitz this way all season long and I expect to see them do it here if Gronk is left single covered and Brady needs to get rid of it quick. He should see 10 targets in this game, which is why I prefer him over Olsen in cash.
Travis Kelce ($5100) – Kelce finally saw a bunch of targets last week and finally had a big upside game. If Maclin is going to miss this one, the Chiefs are left with Albert Wilson and Chris Conley on the outside. You would have to figure they try to get more looks for Kelce who is the best and most dynamic pass catcher they have remaining. His price is a big discount to the top two options, so that is a plus. The fear is that the Pats take away your favorite toy and that may mean Kelce if Maclin is out. I still like his chances a tad more than the guys listed below, but he is clearly the #3 option behind the first two mentioned for me this weekend.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER
Heath Miller ($3200) – DeAngelo Williams is out, Antonio Brown may be too with a concussion, and Ben Roethlisberger has legit arm issue’s. With less weapons, we could see more looks for those that remain, which would be a plus. If Ben can not make throws down the field, we could see more work for Heath as well. Denver is most vulnerable with TEs up the middle, so that is another feather in his cap. His $3200 price does not require a ton of action to pay it off, so this is a great spot for Heath. I am not expecting him to be the highest scoring TE on the day, but at half the price of the top options, he could wind up being the best overall value on the day.
Owen Daniels ($2500) – Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis have basically cannibalized each other’s upside at the TE position, but it seems the pendulum has swung back in Daniels favor. Davis did not see a single look go his way the last two weeks of the season, and he is still more expensive than Daniels. Daniels saw more targets and catches earlier in the year with Manning, so that connection has more upside now that they are reunited. Manning is a creature of habit, especially now that his arm is not as strong and he has to trust his pass catchers to be on the same page as him so he can anticipate throws. I think that means we see more Daniels this week. His lack of arm strength also means more short routes, which is what Daniels basically runs. He also has some appeal as a red zone target that manning went to a few times early in the season. At only $2500, he is the cheap guy I would look to for an upside GPP play this weekend if I needed to save salary to use elsewhere.
Richard Rodgers ($4000) – There is not much to see here. Arizona has a solid pass rush, so he may be asked to help block a tad more. His only real chance for upside is if he catches a TD pass and even that by itself is not enough with his price now at $4000. He is probably safe for at least 2 or 3 catches in this one, but that is not going to be enough to get it done either. He is a red zone threat, so he may catch a TD pass at some point, but it is not a lock and will probably still not get him to 20 fantasy points on the day. I can not envision a reason to use him other than if you are stacking pass catchers with Rodgers. Even then he would not be high on my list of must have players this weekend.
REST OF THE FIELD
The rest of the list includes guys I would not consider starting. Guys like Cooper Helfet or Luke Wilson may get the nod in Seattle. Both are unlikely to make much of an impact. Jermaine Gresham may be the big target at TE for Arizona on passing downs, but they will likely throw to the WRs and run more with David Johnson. Vernon Davis takes a backseat to Owen Daniels here in our view. Scott Chandler, Ed Dickson, and Darren Fells are all guys who should not do much, even at cheap prices. The TE crop is thinning with only 8 teams left, so you do have less options each time we move past another round. Some of them are just too risky to even consider seriously.