Start Em Sit Em

NFL Fantasy 2021 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: Tight ends

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Tyler Conklin
Minnesota Vikings · TE
Baltimore Ravens
2021 · 5-2-0

The Ravens have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season, with an average of nearly 20 points per game. And we’re entering Week 9, so it’s not like the Darren Waller game was some aberration. And Conklin is coming off a week where he was second on the team with seven targets. I expect the Vikings to target him. I also expected the Vikings to beat a rookie quarterback, so let’s not get crazy. But it’s a good matchup. 

Dallas Goedert
Philadelphia Eagles · TE
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 4-3-0

Goedert is a good player. I’m not sure he’s quite at the point where he’s an automatic start, but he’s clicked “maybe” on that Evite. Which is actually more annoying than anything because you’re clearly not going, so just have the guts to say so. Goedert was targeted seven times last week against the Lions and had six receptions for 72 yards. The Chargers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. And that’s after Hunter Henry didn’t do much in his revenge game. Although he recovered the onsides kick to seal that game. But we don’t get fantasy points for that. Though, that would be really cool if you did. 

Mike Gesicki
Miami Dolphins · TE
Houston Texans
2021 · 1-7-0

We might be at the point where Gesicki is on that list, too. He’s been great for the Dolphins this year, as he’s reached double-digit fantasy points in all but three games. And those games included two against the Bills (one of the toughest in the league against tight ends) and the Buccaneers. He takes advantage of the plus matchups, and the Texans are a plus matchup, as they have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this year. Which doesn’t seem right because everyone is always like, “start your tight ends against the Texans.” And then Sean McVay last week was like, “nope, we’re throwing the ball to Van Jefferson instead." 

Noah Fant
Denver Broncos · TE
Dallas Cowboys
2021 · 6-1-0

Noah is second on the team with 53 targets this season. And seventh among all tight ends. The matchup against the Cowboys is pretty good. All right, it’s decent. They are 11th in points allowed to tight ends. But you see some teams -- the Eagles a few weeks ago and the Vikings last week -- really try to establish the tight end. Even with Jerry Jeudy back for the Broncos, I like Fant to get some looks this week (provided he plays, of course, as he was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday).  

C.J. Uzomah
Cincinnati Bengals · TE
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 4-4-0

We are big C.J. guys. We are. He had 7.30 fantasy points against the Jets and it’s not exactly what we were hoping for considering he’s had some monster games, but it likely shows his floor. And I look at this matchup against the Browns, who have been against tight ends, and I think that maybe we stay away from this. However, Pat Freiermuth and Fant were each targeted seven times in the Browns' last two games. I’m expecting the Bengals to follow this trend and use Uzomah this week.  

Jared Cook
Los Angeles Chargers · TE
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 3-5-0

Cook is the fourth option in the Chargers' offense, but it’s not like he’s the Paul Roma of this passing attack. The Chargers have actually shown a willingness to target the tight end in the right matchup. The Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. And you don’t want to be overwhelmed by what happened last week with T.J. Hockenson because it’s not as though the Lions have receivers like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. But the Eagles lead the league in red zone targets allowed and touchdown passes to tight ends (6). So I’d go with Cook in a pinch. This isn’t a “start him over George Kittle endorsement.” Save that email if that happens.  

Sit 'Em

Dalton Schultz
Dallas Cowboys · TE
Denver Broncos
2021 · 4-4-0

This is going to be very difficult for a lot of you. Many have grown to know and love Dalton this season. Like he’s a member of the family. Or at least that quirky neighbor who always manages to show up on pizza night. And when you insincerely ask if he wants a slice, he actually takes you up on that offer. But here’s the thing. Dalton tied with Zeke for third on the Cowboys with six targets last week. Dalton had just two receptions. The matchup against the Broncos is tough. They just erased Ricky Seals-Jones last week (as stated here) and I expect the Cowboys to explore other options. Kind of like the way I just take my children out for pizza now. 

Dan Arnold
Jacksonville Jaguars · TE
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 5-2-0

Arnold has been great for the Jaguars and was really a nice pickup. He’s been a reliable option for my friends down in Duval county. He’s not like Bryan Danielson joining AEW, but he’s been great. Kind of like the Eddie Kingston of the Jaguars if you will. I’m also a huge Kingston mark. Arnold has double-digit points in two of his last three. But this matchup against the Bills is going to be very tough. Buffalo held my guy Gesicki under 10 points last week. 

Tommy Tremble
Carolina Panthers · TE
New England Patriots
2021 · 4-4-0

I mean, if we’re being honest, he’s the reason why the Panthers felt Arnold was expendable, right? The reason why we have lost the Darnold-to-Arnold connection. (And I don’t think we made enough of the fact that if the Panthers had signed another Arnold, Dan would have D. Arnold on his jersey, right?) Tremble was the second-most targeted pass catcher for the Panthers last week (four). But the Patriots have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. 

Pat Freiermuth
Pittsburgh Steelers · TE
Chicago Bears
2021 · 3-5-0

The Bears have allowed just 25 receptions to tight ends this season, and the second-fewest fantasy points to the position overall. And Freiermuth was one of the top waiver-wire claims this week, so I know you’re excited to start him. I can’t blame you. The Bears' defense has looked bad in recent weeks. But I expect the Steelers to challenge the Bears on the ground and also take advantage of some matchups with the receivers. There is also a chance for a touchdown, but the Bears have allowed only one touchdown to a tight end this year. And trust me, I hate doing this with his toe-drag-swag touchdown. Also, he’ll score four times to beat the Bears and I’ll feel doubly worse and have to talk about this on Total Access Post Game (which I hope you’re watching). 

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.

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