Saturday, November 6, 2021

Week 9 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, Dalton Schultz is listed below as a "start" for Week 9. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 9 with him as my starting tight end.

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

In other words, if you roster both Travis Kelce and Schultz, you should start Kelce and, in turn, bench Schultz.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 9 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 9 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (vs. DEN)

Schultz had his worst performance of the season (two catches for 11 scoreless yards) on Sunday Night Football, but he was targeted seven times in the contest. That ended a four-week streak where he had performed as a top-10 fantasy tight end.

He has now been targeted a minimum of six times in six of seven games this season. Even though the Cowboys have already had their bye, Schultz is one of only six tight ends to have six-plus games with at least five targets and he ranks ninth among tight ends in targets per game (6.29) this season.

Even though the Denver Broncos have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, the Cowboys have one of the week's top-three NFL implied totals. Given the consistent volume of targets and the TD equity this week, Schultz remains a strong TE1 play this week, especially with tight end Blake Jarwin (hip) not expected to play.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. LAC)

Goedert finished Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions with six catches for 72 yards on seven targets. The game was a massive 38-point blowout, so Goedert's seven targets represented 43.75% of the team's target share. In addition, it was the second game without Zach Ertz, and the second consecutive game that Goedert reached the 70-yard mark.

Finishing the week as the TE7 in back-to-back weeks, Goedert should continue to benefit from the trade that sent Ertz to the desert. In addition, the Los Angeles Chargers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position this season.

Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos (at DAL)

With Noah Fant (COVID) not expected to play in Week 9, Okwuegbunam should get sufficient targets to make him a viable streamer this week. In fact, Fant's likely absence pushes Albert O. into the top 12 (albeit at No. 12) of our rankings this week.

The Cowboys have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. As double-digit underdogs, the Broncos could be forced into catchup mode early in this one.

Week 9 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CLE)

No tight end has finished more weeks as the overall TE1 than Uzomah, who has done so twice through eight weeks. In addition, he's one of two tight ends to score 20-plus (half-PPR) fantasy points in multiple games this season. The other is Travis Kelce.

That said, Uzomah has zero games with 10-19 fantasy points and in the weeks that he didn't finish as the overall TE1, he has finished outside the top-12 fantasy tight ends in scoring that week. Joe Burrow has connected with Uzomah for five touchdowns since Week 4, but Uzomah is more of a TD-dependent play in Week 9.

Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots (at CAR)

Once again, it's Hunter Henry inside the top 12 of our fantasy tight end rankings and Smith on the outside looking in. Smith hasn't been productive at any point this season, but he was targeted five-plus times in each of the team's first four games. Over the past four games, he has been targeted only twice in three of them.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CHI)

Even though rookie tight ends tend to struggle to make meaningful impacts in their first season, Freiermuth has developed into a key part of Pittsburgh's passing offense. The rookie out of Penn State now has seven targets in back-to-back games and has finished as the weekly TE12 and TE2 in those weeks split by Pittsburgh's Week 7 bye.

That said, the Chicago Bears have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. I have Freiermuth ranked as a mid-tier TE2 this week.

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