Week 15 marks the start of the fantasy football playoffs in most leagues, and for the owners who have struggled at tight end all season, hopefully this is the week you can identify a guy that pays off. If you’ve been lucky enough to ride with a stud tight end all season, congratulations, but the rest of us will have to parse out the Week 15 fantasy TE rankings to find some worthwhile sleepers.
We’re done with bye weeks, so at least the pool of players is larger, but that won’t make these start-or-sit decisions significantly easier. Ultimately, the plentiful options could lead you to fall into a trap, so it’s important to weigh all the factors before picking a starter.
Among TEs who can be reasonably found on waivers, Jared Cook (vs. Chiefs), Gerald Everett (@ Rams), David Njoku (vs. Raiders), and James O’Shaughnessy (@ Texans) draw some of the most favorable matchups. Naturally, none are completely safe (hence why they are free agents in most leagues), but as always, the position is scarce and you might feel the need to shoot for upside over safety at this point in the season.
Ricky Seals-Jones (@ Eagles) could ultimately have the highest floor and the highest ceiling of all the potential sleepers. Of course, he was a total bust against the Cowboys, but Washington’s passing game was a mess in general. The Eagles give up the most fantasy points to TEs, and RSJ proved to be a capable streamer when Logan Thomas was out earlier in the year. Since Thomas (knee) is now out for the season, RSJ has sneaky value for the rest of the year. It’s also worth noting the mediocre Tyler Higbee (vs. Seahawks) is playable in a top-five TE-friendly matchup, but he’s heavily owned, so this will only impact a small percentage of people. (Update: Higbee was placed on the reserve/COVID list on Monday and is in danger of missing Week 15’s game.)
Tyler Conklin (@ Bears), Cole Kmet (vs. Vikings), C.J Uzomah (@ Broncos), and Jack Doyle (vs. Patriots) have had their fair share of decent weeks this season, but they should ultimately remain on the shelf in some of the toughest tight end matchups.
Nobody wants to think about this, but Kyle Pitts (@ 49ers) is legitimately on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble. San Francisco boasts the second-best defense against fantasy TEs, and since Pitts has struggled recently, this is a scary spot. That said, we did say you might as well chase upside, so it’s an interesting decision since he has a higher ceiling than the mid-tier players at the position.
We know tight end is and always will be frustrating. Most weeks, more than a few guys with favorable matchups bust, but all we can do is make the smartest choice with the data at our disposal and hope the players come through. This position often comes down to a “lucky” touchdown, especially in standard leagues, but so no matter who you start, you’re at least somewhat at the mercy of the fantasy gods.
Note: We’ll be updating these TE rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest player movement and analysis.
Fantasy TE Rankings Week 15: Who to start at tight end
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Travis Kelce, KC @ LAC|
|2||Darren Waller, LV @ CLE|
|3||Mark Andrews, BAL vs. GB|
|4||Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. NYJ|
|5||Rob Gronkowski, TB vs. NO|
|6||George Kittle, SF vs. ATL|
|7||Hunter Henry, NE @ IND. Henry continues to be most attractive in standard leagues as a touchdown-or-bust option, and since the Colts have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs, Henry could be looking at a one- or two-touchdown game. In standard leagues, there are very few tight ends with safe floors, so you might as well go with a guy who is more likely to score than some of the other players at the position.|
|8||Dallas Goedert, PHI vs. WAS. Washington presents a neutral matchup for tight ends, but Goedert reminded us of his upside in Week 13, catching all six of his targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Again, especially in standard leagues, chase the upside since a safe floor is not imminent with any TEs.|
|9||Zach Ertz, ARI @ DET. Arizona can score 40 points before we can blink in this contest, so Ertz will have plenty of opportunities in the red zone. Of course, he has a lot of competition to do so, but here’s just another case of chasing the touchdown upside.|
|10||Pat Freiermuth, PIT vs. TEN. Tennessee ranks as one of the top defenses against fantasy TEs, but Freiermuth has caught five touchdowns in his past six games and is part of one of the most pass-happy offenses in football. Additionally, the Titans have simply faced a laughable string of tight ends, so we’re not sold on their statistics against the position. Freiermuth has been far too productive for us to come off of him.|
|11||Dawson Knox, BUF vs. CAR. After being labeled as a mere standard league boom-or-bust play, Knox has drawn six-or-more targets in three of his past four games, including a game with nine and one with 10 targets. Here’s another case where the production has been too strong to consider some of the “meh” tight ends over him.|
|12||Dalton Schultz, DAL @ NYG. Schultz has failed to live up to his early-season breakout, but since he’s attached to one of the best QBs and offenses in football, his ceiling remains much higher than some of the other guys in a neutral TE matchup.|
|13||T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. ARI. Hockenson’s floor hasn’t been as high as we expected, and since he’s dealing with a hand injury, he takes a slight hit in standard leagues in a matchup with a top-three unit against fantasy TEs. He’s probably a must-start in PPR leagues, but you could reasonably possess one of the players ranked ahead of him in standard leagues.|
|14||Kyle Pitts, ATL @ SF. Despite perception, Pitts is having one of the best “real-life” football seasons for a rookie TE, but the lack of touchdowns is limiting his fantasy upside. With Calvin Ridley (personal) out, Pitts has been drawing the toughest coverage, so in a daunting matchup, we don’t think he belongs in the “must-start” category. That said, we won’t be shocked if he has a breakout game. It could come at any point.|
|15||Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. SEA. Higbee has been a frustrating guy to start this season, but Seattle came into Week 14 as a bottom-five unit against fantasy TEs and surrounded a touchdown to Brevin Jordan against the Texans. Since Higbee still sits at third in targets for the Rams, he’s capable of solid performances in a great matchup. The matchup says go for it if he gets off the reserve/COVID list in time, but don’t be shocked if he falls flat.|
|16||David Njoku, CLE vs. LV.|
|17||Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS @ PHI. RSJ was a huge letdown against Dallas, but Taylor Heinicke completed just 11 passes and the offense as a whole was a disaster. Philly is giving up the most fantasy points to TEs, and tight end production hasn’t been limited to just fantasy studs. O.J. Howard, Ryan Griffin, Donald Parham, and Adam Trautman all caught touchdowns against it, so Seals-Jones can, too. He has a ceiling of a TE1, but we’re reluctant to rank him as such given the way the Washington offense looked last week.|
|18||Jared Cook, LAC vs. KC. Cook is a touchdown-or-bust option in what should be a high-scoring affair. That’s about all there is to it.|
|19||James O’Shaughnessy, JAX vs. HOU. O’Shaughnessy has a decent floor in PPR leagues since Trevor Lawrence obviously loves to target tight ends, and Houston is inside the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to the position. In Week 1 against the Texans, O’Shaughnessy caught six passes for 48 yards on eight targets, which is a good day for PPR leagues, all things considered.|
|20||Noah Fant, DEN vs. CIN. Fant has failed to reach double-digit PPR points in five of his past six games, so he’s extremely far from a must-start at this point. The Bengals’ are a neutral matchup for tight ends, and his ceiling and floor look to be lower than anyone ranked ahead of him.|
|21||Gerald Everett, SEA @ LAR. Even though we had Everett on our preseason sleepers list, we didn’t expect him to be this involved in the Seattle offense. He’s the No. 3 option for Russell Wilson and has had plenty of games where he’s out-targeted DK Metcalf and/or Tyler Lockett, and since the Rams are a middle-of-the-pack matchup against tight ends, Everett is our last viable streamer against his former team.|
|22||Tyler Conklin, MIN @ CHI|
|23||Cole Kmet, CHI vs. MIN|
|24||Evan Engram, NYG vs. DAL|
|25||Ryan Griffin, NYJ @ MIA|
|26||Jonnu Smith, NE @ IND|
|27||Josiah Deguara, GB @ BAL|
|28||Juwan Johnson, NO @ TB|
|29||C.J. Uzomah, CIN @ DEN|
|30||Jack Doyle, IND vs. NE|
|31||Mo Alie-Cox, IND vs. NE|
|32||Geoff Swaim, TEN @ PIT|
|33||Will Dissly, SEA @ LAR|
|34||Tommy Tremble, CAR @ BUF|