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NFL Fantasy Football 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

Darren Waller
Darren Waller
Las Vegas Raiders · TE
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
2020 · 2-5-0

Is The Waller the second-most reliable tight end in fantasy football right now? Because I kind of think that he is. Sure, Waller had less than eight fantasy points against the Browns last week, which snapped a three-game streak with at least 15 fantasy points. But that’s not a big deal. I mean, unless you lost because of that, then it’s huge. What’s important to me is that he led the team with six targets. The game script in Cleveland called for a heavy dose of Josh Jacobs. This week, the Chargers have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends. Waller will be huge in this battle for L.A. (That’s right, still a huge population of Raiders fans out here, and Las Vegas is sort of an L.A. suburb anyway.)

Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · TE
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
2020 · 5-2-0

The former WWE 24/7 champion (and I think he might have been a great football player before that, too) has now hauled in touchdown passes in three consecutive games. So he’s back, bay bay! And sure, Antonio Brown joins the team and will likely get a lot of targets coming his way. We talked about that. But Gronk has now cemented himself as a must-start player every week. The Saints have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. But honestly, Jimmy Graham dropped a lot of passes last week. And Nick Foles missed him in the end zone. So the Saints could have given up more points to the position. Tom Brady won’t make those mistakes.

T.J. Hockenson
T.J. Hockenson
Detroit Lions · TE
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
2020 · 2-5-0

Hockenson had his three-game touchdown streak snapped last week against the Colts. But he still caught seven of 10 targets for 65 yards so he ended up with 13.5 fantasy points. Remember when the Lions drafted Hockenson and everyone said he was going to be the Lions' version of Gronk because Matt Patricia was going to instill the Patriots Way? The only thing is, they didn’t realize it was going to be the 2020 version of the Patriots Way. Oh, I’m kidding. That’s too harsh. I will say Hockenson isn’t quite Baby Gronk at this point. But he’s consistent and you need to play him this week against the Vikings. They’ve allowed just two touchdowns to tight ends this year, but the volume works for Hockenson even if he doesn’t get in the end zone. And remember, no Kenny Golladay this week.

Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst
Atlanta Falcons · TE
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
2020 · 3-4-0

A lot of people bought in to Hurst this offseason because they hoped he would pick up some of the production left by Austin Hooper. But it’s not always that easy. It’s like when the WWE tried to sneak in Mason Ryan after Bautista left. And maybe for a second I was sitting there thinking that Bautista was doing a run-in on RAW back in 2011, but that didn’t last for long. In any event, Hurst has not lived up to those expectations, but he’s been good in recent weeks, posting double-digit fantasy points in three consecutive games. (And now I went to go look up Ryan’s debut on RAW which has led to a deep dive where I have purchased a CM Punk Nexus T-shirt on eBay.)

Noah Fant
Noah Fant
Denver Broncos · TE
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
2020 · 2-6-0

We had high hopes for Noah coming into 2020 and you’d better believe I was crowing about it when he crushed in Weeks 1 and 2. The celebration was short-lived. Like celebrating too much during a Royal Rumble. You never do that because you just know Braun Stroman is going to be standing behind you ready to flip you out of the ring. But Fant looked good on Sunday, stepping up in the absence of Tim Patrick. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the “stepping up for Tim Patrick” thing playing out before the season, but here we are. Fant caught seven passes, which was great. He’s got the Falcons, who have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. So let’s go!

Sit 'em

Jonnu Smith
Jonnu Smith
Tennessee Titans · TE
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
2020 · 5-3-0

There is a chance Smith could pop in this game because the Bears are so great against outside receivers. But even Anthony Firkser had more targets and receptions than Smith last week. We are in a landscape where tight ends aren’t exactly plentiful. And honestly, anybody has a chance to break out. But I’d seriously consider looking to see if Fant is still available in your leagues. I can’t do that, because Kimmi Chex is in a lot of my leagues and has him rostered. But you, YOU might be able to find Fant and go with him this week.

Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham
Chicago Bears · TE
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
2020 · 5-2-0

I mentioned this previously, but Graham had some costly drops last week. I thought he was open in the end zone for a potential score, but Foles didn’t see him. And if I’m being honest, I would love to see them start to work Cole Kmet into the mix. Darnell Mooney had his breakout game last week and now it’s time for Kmet to get into the action. Don’t start Kmet, I’m not saying that. But an increased role for him could mean inconsistency for Graham.

Hunter Henry
Hunter Henry
Los Angeles Chargers · TE
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
2020 · 4-3-0

Henry is going to break out at some point this season, but it’s getting really hard to trust him this year. I mean, think about this. Justin Herbert has been a revelation. And Henry has only one game with double-digit fantasy points since Week 4. He has one touchdown on the season. That’s the same number as teammate Gabe Nabers. And you might be asking yourself, who is Gabe Nabers and my answer would be, “exactly.” I know that putting him on this list means he’s about to score three touchdowns. But from pure matchup and usage standpoints, it’s tough to trust him.

Mike Gesicki
Mike Gesicki
Miami Dolphins · TE
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
2020 · 5-2-0

Well, we don’t really know what this offense is going to look like with Tua Tagovailoa since the Dolphins really didn’t need to flex against the Rams last week as Jared Goff finally fulfilled his destiny as the West Coast Trubisky. The Cardinals aren’t a tough matchup. But they aren’t the pushover they used to be, either. I’m taking a cautious approach with Gesicki until we finally get to see Tua unleashed in a game. Although I think I saw somebody on one of the national TV shows say the Dolphins were already moving on from Tua. Which, yeah. I. got nothing for that. 

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