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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Tight ends for Week 16

You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Christian McCaffrey. But that's too obvious, so you won't see such simple analysis here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

David Njoku
Cleveland Browns

It took a bit longer than expected, but Njoku is fully living up to his TE1 cost coming into the season. I was high on him then, and I’m even higher on him now. Since Week 7, he has double-digit fantasy points in every game but one. He has topped 90 yards and 26 fantasy points in two straight games, scoring three touchdowns in that span. Houston has allowed the fourth-most yards to tight ends this season and the sixth-most since Week 11. Njoku is a must-start fantasy tight end. 

Evan Engram
Jacksonville Jaguars

Engram has provided mixed results in a couple of really tough tight end matchups over the last two weeks. Luckily for him -- and fantasy managers who survived last week’s down game -- the schedule opens up in a big way this week. Tampa Bay has allowed the third-most yards and the sixth-most fantasy ppg to tight ends this season. Engram brings safe volume each week, and this matchup could be another potential blow-up spot. Engram remains in play. 

Isaiah Likely
Baltimore Ravens

We now have three Isaiah Likely games without Mark Andrews. He has scored eight, 19.3 and 18 fantasy points -- good for 15.1 fantasy ppg. He has established both a safe floor and a high ceiling. He has also been a consistent part of the passing attack, with six-plus targets in each of those games. The 49ers look like a tough matchup on paper, but they’ve allowed the second-most yards to tight ends since Week 11. Given how good Likely has been and the potential for a high-scoring matchup -- one you know you’ll be watching on Christmas night -- Likely remains a very strong option this week. 

Taysom Hill
New Orleans Saints

Hill is coming off a down week, but I don’t think that means you need to get away from him. He ran the ball just once, which could have been due to the fact that he was coming off a foot injury. We have also seen his usage fade before, only to return the next game. This week, he faces the Rams, who have allowed the sixth-most yards and fifth-most fantasy ppg to tight ends. Hill should see some routes as a tight end, some carries and could even throw a pass or two. The upside is still high enough to keep rolling with him in fantasy.


Juwan Johnson is a deep-league option, as well. 

IF YOU NEED A STREAMER ...

Tampa Bay TE Cade Otton has proven to be a safe-floor streaming option at tight end. Since Week 7, Otton has scored eight or more fantasy points in six of nine games. Last week, he had just 6.4 fantasy points but just missed a touchdown and had to watch Ko Kieft score one instead. Now he gets the Jags, who have allowed the third-most fantasy ppg to tight ends. New England's Hunter Henry has scored three touchdowns in his last two games, with 19 or more fantasy points in each of those. He seems to be the go-to red zone option for Bailey Zappe. Now he faces the Broncos, who are in the top two in yards, touchdowns and fantasy ppg allowed to tight ends. The floor is low, but he's certainly in play. Lastly, Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth is a fallback streaming option against the Bengals, who have allowed the most yards and second-most fantasy ppg to TEs. Perhaps Mason Rudolph starting will add a boost to the Muth's fantasy value.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Henry (knee) has been downgraded to out for Sunday's game.

Sit 'Em

Kyle Pitts
Atlanta Falcons

Topping double-digit fantasy points in Week 14 turned out to be a one-game blip for Pitts. It’s the only outing in which he has reached double figures since Week 7. Last week, he scored just 6.7 fantasy points. You cannot rely on touchdowns and there is simply not enough volume for him to stay afloat without them. The floor is far too low, especially this week against the Colts, who have allowed the seventh-fewest yards to tight ends since Week 11. Get away from Pitts. 

Gerald Everett
Los Angeles Chargers

Everett is more of a safe-floor option than he is an upside play. That floor naturally gets lowered when he goes from Justin Herbert to Easton Stick. Now, he has a tough matchup on top of it. Since Week 11, the Bills have allowed fewer than 200 yards to tight ends and no touchdowns. They have given up just a 57 passer rating on tight end targets in that span. I would try to get away from Everett in a tough matchup this week. 

Michael Mayer
Las Vegas Raiders

Mayer is a tight end to be excited about in 2024. He’s a talented second-round draft pick and will be a potential breakout candidate next fall. But I would not want to rely on him right now, with a visit to the fantasy championship on the line. He scored a touchdown last week, as the Raiders' offense steamrolled the Chargers, so you may be considering streaming Mayer. But since Week 6, he has only topped double figures twice, and both were games with a touchdown. If he doesn’t score, you are risking a fantasy day below 5 points. Especially in this matchup. Stream elsewhere.  


EDITOR'S UPDATE: Mayer has been ruled out of Monday's game due to a toe injury.

Logan Thomas
Washington Commanders

Noticing a trend in this week's start/sit files? I do not trust the Commanders' passing offense against the Jets' defense. There was once a point in the season where Thomas was a tight end you could stream for a safe 7 points. But he has failed to reach even 4 fantasy points in three straight games and has reached double figures just once since Week 6. The floor is very low, there’s not much upside and his QB is struggling (and draws a deadly matchup). Maybe Thomas catches a touchdown, but I would play it safe and stream elsewhere. 

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