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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: 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
Las Vegas Raiders LV · TE

Waller was a fantasy revelation last year. Likely saved a lot of you who misfired at the position. But a lot of people are worried for this coming season. Foster Moreau is a pretty good player. Jason Witten was a surprise add. And the Raiders are headed to Carolina against the Panthers who were pretty tough against tight ends last season. But the Panthers have a new coaching staff and a huge influx of players, so I wouldn’t read too much into last year’s numbers. And with the Raiders, I’m relying on Derek Carr’s familiarity, at least for this week. 

Tyler Higbee
Los Angeles Rams LAR · TE

Higbee was a beast last year down the stretch for the Rams. Now we are left to decide if that was a harbinger for things to come this season, or if that was just some miracle run. Kind of like when you’re playing pool and you just can’t miss. You suddenly start feeling yourself and think that you should actually turn pro. But then you realize that it probably has more to do with the 11 Michelob Ultras you consumed more than anything else. I will say this, though. The Rams ran the ball a lot when they got near the goal line in recent years. But with Todd Gurley in Atlanta, expect more 12 personnel and opportunities for both Rams tight ends near the goal line. 

Hayden Hurst
Atlanta Falcons ATL · TE

You can’t just expect Hurst to come in and assume all of the production that Austin Hooper had in recent years. That would be akin to saying that any moppy-headed blonde could replace Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Nobody could do that. Well, maybe Liam, the superior Hemsworth. But all of that said, Hurst beings his Falcons career against the Seahawks who allowed the second-most points to tight ends last season. 

Hunter Henry
Los Angeles Chargers LAC · TE

The Chargers offense will look different this season. No doubt coach Anthony Lynn would like to dial back on last year’s near 600 pass attempts. I expect a more conservative approach for Tyrod Taylor who targeted his tight ends 22 percent of the time during his time with the Buffalo Bills. Henry has a good matchup against the Bengals who were top 10 in points allowed to the position last season. 

Noah Fant
Denver Broncos DEN · TE

Titans fans are already convinced I hate their squad so I might as well really lean into it. I mean, how dare I pick a team that SHUTOUT THE TITANS LAST YEAR to do so again at home on Monday night in Week 1? Fant had two 100-yard receiving games last year (one with Brandon Allen and one with Drew Lock). Only the Arizona Cardinals (14) and Cleveland Browns (10) allowed more touchdowns to the tight end last season. 

Sit 'Em

Austin Hooper
Cleveland Browns CLE · TE

Look, I was kind of shocked the Browns signed Hooper in the offseason. Baker Mayfield didn’t target his tight ends a lot. But when given the scope of Kevin Stefanski’s offense, though. Turns out he wants to win football games and not fantasy championships for you. Which I find rude. At best, Hooper is a fourth- or fifth-option behind OBJ, Jarvis Landry and Kareem Hunt. The Ravens didn’t allow a tight end to top 50 receiving yards last season and ranked third in points allowed to the position.

Chris Herndon
New York Jets NYJ · TE

Herndon was one of those late-round flier tight end picks that ran with Blake Jarwin, Jonnu Smith and other players like that. You can see why. He’s an extremely talented player we liked even dating back to last season. I hate this matchup against the Bills though, who allowed the second-fewest points to tight ends last season. 

Evan Engram
New York Giants NYG · TE

Engram should benefit from having Jason Garrett as the Giants offensive coordinator when you consider the production Jason Witten had for years with the Cowboys. In fact, Engram was one of my favorite mid-round targets at the tight end position. But again, the Steelers are tough against tight ends, even though they tied with the Titans having allowed eight touchdowns to the position last year. 

Jonnu Smith
Tennessee Titans TEN · TE

Smith should be considered one of the biggest sleepers heading into 2020 at the tight end position. I’m intrigued about playing him at some point this season. This is not that point of the season. The Broncos are pretty decent against tight ends. The Broncos allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends last season, 10 red zone targets on the season (second-fewest total) and only one target on goal-to-go. The Broncos defense will also be helped by the return of Bradley Chubb, too.

Dawson Knox
Buffalo Bills BUF · TE

Oh my gosh, thanks Rank for telling me to not start the guy who is rostered in (checks notes) 1.5 percent leagues. Which leads me to a question. Who are these people who have rostered Knox? And how many tables have they been power-bombed through out in the Bills parking lot? I love it. Knox has a lot of upside and he’s athletic. I love him as a deep sleeper. I feel like he could be a good DFS value at some point. Not this week against the Jets who were pretty good against tight ends last year. 

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