Alright, friends, that’s it. We are entering week 10, so it is time to remove the training wheels. So far we’ve been using our tight Yin & Yang strategy to stash guys for later. But the time for hopes and dreams is over. It’s that part of the year where we have to fight for every win. The playoffs are fast approaching.
For this reason, we are moving from the two-tier format to linear rankings. If you have deep benches or the rest of your team are awesome so you can afford to hold two tight ends, here’s the complete writing on how the Yin & Yang strategy works. To sum it up, if you don’t have an elite tight end, you should field two: the safest possible play (Yin) to start each week and the highest bench reserve (Yang) to see if we can catch lightning. in a bottle. The rest of us are going to focus on winning now and just planning for the bye weeks. The rankings themselves are based on years of research we have done on the position, all of which are compiled in this article on What makes an elite tight end.
*Orange players have potential injury issues
Level 1: Mega Stars
Level 2: Locked up
- George Kittle and Dallas Goedert – Talent was never the issue for these guys – just usage and place in the target pecking order. But at this point, neither guy has been asked to hang on and block many passing plays (even when Trent Williams was out, Kittle ran almost every route). And both have proven to be the two best pass catchers on their team. Locked in.
Level 3: Feel good
- David Njoku – He was a focal point of the offense, he was consistent, and that was with the backup QB (with a better QB on the horizon). So obviously an injury took him away. But he plans to play in Week 10, it seems, and there aren’t many better options when he’s healthy.
- Pat Freiermuth – It was a bit crowded for the targets, but then they traded Chase Claypool – problem solved. Diontae Johnson should continue to lead the team but Muth is in the game with George Pickens and that’s more than enough for us.
- TJ Hockenson – We were a little concerned that it would take him a while to get up to speed in Minnesota. We were also a bit concerned that he was behind Adam Thielen in the pecking order. So much for that. And like the other guys at this level, you must be feeling pretty good.
Level 4: Start them if you have them
- Zach Ertz and Gerald Everett – These guys are about as sure of starts as you’re going to be – for now. The concern is that some of those injured wide receivers come back and dilute the targets. For Ertz, it’s Marquise Brown and for Everett, it’s Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. It could happen at the worst possible time, which is the fantasy playoffs. That’s what separates these guys from the group up front.
- Dalton Schultz and Evan Engram – When the conditions are right, production is good for these guys. Injuries, clashes and weather have gotten in the way at times, but Schultz’s knee should be rested after the goodbye, and the back issue that caused Engram to miss action this week would be minor. In full PPR leagues, the targets are at least usually there.
Level 5: Risk it for the cookie
- Kyle Pitts, Greg Dulcich, Darren Waller – You might not feel good about some of the risk, but the advantage is there for these guys in any given week and the targets are usually there too (even if Pitts only catches two out of seven as he did this week). Dulcich may soon progress, but the sample size is so small that it still carries a fair amount of risk.
- Taysom Hill – Everyone understands what he’s getting into at this point.
Level 6: Meh
- Robert Tonyan – This guy doesn’t play the whole game. Playing 46% of snaps this week isn’t enough for us and he’s done that in most games this year. Hurts his top. That’s why it’s “meh”.
- Hayden Hurst – Right now it’s a safe but boring game, but soon Ja’Marr Chase will be back. When this happens, the reality if he competes with Joe Mixon to be the team’s fourth target. Not super exciting and their week off is coming soon.
- Cole Kmet – Cole Kmet is basically in the same place as Kyle Pitts right now where his success is entirely dependent on passing volume and QB ability (which is excruciating at times). But there is a big difference. Kmet was asked to stay and pass the block on snaps 5, 5, 9 and 8 of his last four games. That’s scary.
- Juwan Johnson and Cade Otto – These guys are sometimes good starts depending on matchups and injuries to teammates. Every time Cameron Brate is away, Cade Otton plays a ton of snaps and runs a ton of routes. Same thing with Juwan Johnson when Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas are absent. But it won’t last forever.
Tier 7: Players I don’t start in any of my leagues but you can start in yours
- The level title makes it pretty clear. But these guys are incredibly inconsistent while not really being athletic enough to give us hope of breaking a big game. Except maybe Logan Thomas if he gets back to full health.
Level 8: DFS TD Chasing Dart Lance
Tight end handcuffs
- Probable Isaiah – Don’t be put off by last week – the Saints are a terrible game for tight ends. It’s Andrews’ return that’s the problem…
- Foster Moreau – He never had more than 67 yards in any game, even without Waller.
- Tanner Hudson – Sneaky DFS plays whenever Bellinger is away – runs many routes.
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