Random breakouts and frustrating busts are a constant at the tight end position, but at the very least, we always have favorable matchups and potential waiver wire sleepers who can help us out. Our Week 8 fantasy TE rankings feature plenty of potential streamers, which will come in handy with at least three key TEs out.
There are just two teams on a bye, so that’s great, but considering it’s the Ravens and Raiders, that’s not so great. Mark Andrews and Darren Waller will be joined on the sidelines by breakout Dawson Knox (hand), who is expected to miss at least the next couple weeks. At least Dalton Schultz (@ Vikings) will be back.
With exception to Mike Gesicki (@ Bills), no other top-10 tight end has any real matchup worries. In Miami’s first meeting with Buffalo, Tua Tagovailoa was knocked out of the contest in the first quarter, and Gesicki caught three passes on six targets for 41 yards. That feels like the worst-case scenario here, but Gesicki has turned in on lately, and at the TE spot, a 3-41 line isn’t that bad of a floor. He should still be started over numerous players, but the concerns are certainly there.
Tyler Higbee (@ Texans) finds his way just outside the top five, as Houston had allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends heading into Week 7. To make the Texans’ feat more impressive, they’ve been the worst defense against TEs without playing against Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson are other premier players at the position. Instead, they’ve allowed Tommy Tremble, Knox, Mo Alie-Cox, Hunter Henry, and Zach Ertz to score touchdowns against them. Start Higbee without hesitation.
Tyler Conklin (vs. Cowboys) Dan Arnold (@ Seahawks), and C.J. Uzomah (@ Jets), attractive streaming options. Mo Alie-Cox (vs. Titans) and Juwan Johnson (vs. Buccaneers) are interesting standard-league options, as those two are likely TD-or-bust options. Gerald Everett (vs. Jaguars) and, if active, Jonnu Smith (@ Chargers) are also in play as worthwhile streaming options with slightly higher floors than Johnson and Alie-Cox.
Jared Cook (vs. Patriots), Schultz (@ Vikings), Ricky Seals-Jones (@ Broncos), and Robert Tonyan (@ Cardinals) are on the other end of the spectrum with tough matchups. That’s not to say you should sit Schultz for a guy like Alie-Cox, but it’s worth noting he could struggle here and fall short of a top-10 finish. Schultz is almost a must-start in PPR leagues, but you can reasonably go with another option in standard leagues.
It also might feel weird to bench Cook and Seals-Jones, but they don’t have a track record of being matchup proof. That said, Seals-Jones is similar to Schultz — his PPR floor appears to be safe. Tonyan has been a bust this season, and we don’t foresee a breakout coming against the league’s best defense against fantasy TEs.
Logan Thomas (hamstring) is eligible to come back this week, but the expectation is he’ll be out one more game. We’re still another week away from George Kittle (calf) being able to return, too.
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 8: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Travis Kelce, KC vs. NYG|
|2||Noah Fant, DEN vs. WAS|
|3||Kyle Pitts, ATL vs. CAR|
|4||Tyler Higbee, LAR @ HOU|
|5||T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. PHI|
|6||Hunter Henry, NE @ LAC|
|7||Dallas Goedert, PHI @ DET|
|8||Rob Gronkowski, TB vs. NO|
|9||Mike Gesicki, MIA @ BUF. Gesicki is making his case to join the elite group of tight ends, as he is used more like Kyle Pitts — out wide. However, we know Buffalo’s defense is stout and has been one of the best defenses against all positions in fantasy. Miami’s offense should be completely outmatched here, but Gesicki should still get targets and has a safe PPR floor.|
|10||Zach Ertz, ARI vs. GB. We predicted somewhat of a slow start for Ertz in his first action as a Cardinal, but he caught three-of-five targets for 66 yards and a touchdown. He also could’ve scored another touchdown, but Kyler Murray thought he was going to break out instead of setting in the middle of the field. Since they are new to each other, these things will happen, but we saw right away what his upside could be in this offense. Green Bay has been a middle-of-the-pack defense against fantasy TEs, but they’ve allowed the top-tier at the position to have nice outings. Ertz has top-five upside, but this Cardinals’ offense has a lot of mouths to feed, which limits his floor.|
|11||Dalton Schultz, DAL @ MIN. Minnesota hasn’t given up a touchdown to tight ends this season and allowed just two individual tight ends to catch more than two passes against them (Maxx Williams and Gerald Everett). The mismatch in this game should be the Cowboys’ WRs against the Vikings’ CBs, so Schultz could take a back seat. That said, he’s caught five or more passes in five-of-six games this season, so he can only fall so far at a scarce position. He’s more attractive in PPR leagues, but it’s hard to come up with better options in either format.|
|12||Dan Arnold, JAX @ SEA. Darnold has drawn 13 targets in the Jags’ past two games, and Seattle has been suspect at times against tight ends. Whether Arnold is efficient, the targets will be there and he could turn in a nice day in standard and PPR leagues.|
|13||C.J. Uzomah, CIN @ NYJ. Uzomah continued his breakout season against Baltimore, racking up 93 yards and two touchdowns. That said, he did all that on just three targets, so we can’t expect him to be a weekly stud, but we do know the upside is there. There are virtually no safe options at this point in the rankings, so Uzomah is a solid play against the Jets, who gave up the 10th most fantasy points to TEs before giving up 75 yards and a touchdown to Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith combined.|
|14||Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS @ DEN. Seal-Jones once again was one of the team leaders in targets (7) last week, catching six 51 yards. His target figures give him a safe PPR floor, but his ceiling is limited by a lackluster offense. We prefer him over Uzomah in PPR leagues, but Uzomah’s big-play ability gives him the slight edge in standard. That said,, Seal-Jones can be deemed a safe option with one of the higher floors at TE.|
|15||Tyler Conklin, MIN vs. DAL. Dallas has really allowed just strong performances by Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz, but they have shown some weakness in the middle of their defense. In a great matchup, we like Conklin as a top-12 play, but since Dallas is average against TEs, he’s viewed as nothing more than an attractive streamer. He’s been inconsistent, but this game should feature a lot of passing attempts from Kirk Cousins, and Dallas has given up four touchdowns to the position.|
|16||Jonnu Smith, NE @ LAC. Smith is tough to trust, but Los Angeles has been one of the worst teams against tight ends this season. Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Logan Thomas, Mark Andrews, and David Njoku all hit double-digit points, and even Jody Fortson scored on a touchdown against them. Smith has an athletic profile like Njoku, so his YAC ability is the path to fantasy success here. Still, we prefer Hunter Henry, but Smith might make some noise if his shoulder injury doesn’t keep him out.|
|17||Gerald Everett, SEA vs. JAX. Jacksonville ranked as the fourth-worst defense against fantasy TEs before its Week 7 bye, so Everett draws at least some starting consideration this week — mostly from those with Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, Dawson Knox, or George Kittle. Chances are, you can find a better option than Everett, but Jacksonville gave up respectable outings to C.J. Uzomah, Pharaoh Brown, Mike Gesicki, and Durham Smythe.|
|18||Evan Engram, NYG @ KC. The matchup is awesome here, but Engram continues to be unproductive despite numerous key pass-catchers in New York being sidelined. He caught six passes against Carolina but only for 44 yards. He was once much more attractive in standard leagues, but now it seems he fits PPR scoring more. If Kadarius Toney (ankle), Sterling Shepard (hamstring), or Kenny Golladay (knee) are back in this game, it’s tough to think Engram be heavily targeted.|
|19||Mo Alie-Cox, IND vs. TEN. Alie-Cox is for standard leagues only, as he has an incredible 13.5-percent touchdown/reception rate in his career. This year, he’s catching a touchdown on 33-percent of his receptions. Put simply, he’s a weapon when the Colts get close to the end zone. His floor is low, but he’s a deep league streamer due to his end-zone prowess.|
|20||Robert Tonyan Jr., GB @ ARI|
|21||Pat Freiermuth, PIT @ CLE|
|22||Jared Cook, LAC vs. NE|
|23||David Njoku, CLE vs. PIT|
|24||Ross Dwelley, SF @ CHI|
|25||Cole Kmet, CHI vs. SF|
|26||Juwan Johnson, NO vs. TB|
|27||Austin Hooper, CLE vs. PIT|
|28||Hayden Hurst, ATL vs. CAR|
|29||Eric Ebron, PIT @ CLE|
|30||O.J. Howard, TB vs. NO|
|31||Tommy Sweeney, BUF vs. MIA|
|32||Jack Doyle, IND vs. TEN|
|33||Ryan Griffin, NYJ vs. CIN|
|34||Blake Jarwin, DAL @ MIN|
|35||Adam Trautman, NO vs. TB|
|36||Pharaoh Brown, HOU vs. LAR|
|37||Anthony Firkser, TEN @ IND|
|38||Will Dissly, SEA vs. JAX|