Saturday, September 25, 2021

Week 3 Fantasy Football TE Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Noah Fant is listed below as a "start" for Week 3. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 3 with him as my starting quarterback.

Then again, Fant may be a "sit" for your team.

As an example, if you own both Darren Waller and Fant, you should start Waller and, in turn, bench Fant.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 3 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at LAR)

With an ADP outside the top-12 fantasy tight ends, Gronk has vastly outperformed expectations early in the season as only Travis Kelce has scored more fantasy points. (In non-PPR formats, Gronk is TE1 through two weeks.)

While fantasy managers shouldn't expect Gronkowski to continue to score two touchdowns every week, few tight ends have a higher TD equity given Tampa's elite offense and how often Tom Brady will look his way in the red zone.

In addition, Gronk has 12 receptions (fourth-most among TEs), 13 targets (tied for sixth-most) and 129 yards (fourth-most), so it's not just the scores that have led to his fantasy production. He doesn't have a great matchup this week, but with Antonio Brown (COVID-19) out and Jalen Ramsey likely to shadow Mike Evans, Gronk should be as involved this week as he's been the first two weeks of the season.

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (vs. NYJ)

Fant ranks top six amongst tight ends in receptions (10), targets (14) and receiving yards (95) so far this season. In addition, he's top six in fantasy points regardless of scoring format. Especially with Jerry Jeudy on IR, Fant is virtually guaranteed six-plus targets in a matchup where the Broncos are double-digit favorites.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (at DAL)

Both Goedert and Zach Ertz had a pair of targets in last week's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Goedert finished the game with two catches for 24 scoreless yards after having a solid 4/42/1 outing (TE6) in Week 1.

Ertz has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and that puts him in danger of missing Monday's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. If Ertz is active, a repeat of last week's low volume of targets is a threat to Goedert's fantasy viability, but the favorable matchup would keep him in the TE1 mix. If Ertz is inactive, Goedert would obviously become a better play.

Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (at KC)

Perhaps more sleeper than must-start at TE13, there is minimal difference in terms of expectations between my TE12/TE13. Topping our list of waiver-wire adds at tight end, Cook is still available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues (as of Saturday). While Cook is a distant third on the team in targets (13, 15.1%) behind Mike Williams (22) and Keenan Allen (21), he is one of only seven tight ends averaging at least 6.5 targets per game and he has a minimum of five in each contest.

Given the matchup against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City's high-powered offense, it should be another high-volume passing effort by Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to the position this season.

Week 3 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (vs. NO)

Through two weeks, no Patriot pass-catcher has reached the 100-yard mark. To clarify, that means no pass-catcher has 100 yards yet on the season; running back James White (94 yards) leads the team. Meanwhile, Henry (73) and Smith (70) rank fourth and fifth, respectively.

The tight end duo has combined for 14 catches for 143 yards on 17 targets, but it's difficult to trust either as anything more than a TD-dependent TE2. If I had to start one, I'd start Smith, but I'd prefer to start neither. This game has one of the lowest totals (42.5) of the week and the Saints rank top 10 against opposing tight ends this season.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (at LV)

Drafted as a back-end TE1, Gesicki has been anything but that through two weeks. Catchless in Week 1, Gesicki was targeted six times (14.29%) in Week 2, but he converted that into a scoreless 3/41 line (TE19). Given that Will Fuller will return to the field and Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) is out, Gesicki deserves to remain on your bench.

Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (at MIN)

Since he was no longer playing behind Tyler Higbee, many predicted a breakout season for Everett. If he gets a bump in volume, there certainly is breakout potential, but Everett has exactly two targets in each of his first two games. Everett has converted his four targets into three catches for 23 yards and a touchdown on the season. Until we see a more consistent role in the offense, Everett is nothing more than a TD-dependent TE2.

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