Welcome to the NFL DFS TE Coach, where we identify the best tight ends for our DraftKings and FanDuel lineups!
It’s important to note this article is posted mid-week, so injuries and other news can change our reads as we get closer to Sunday.
This week we lose some of the best TE options from the main slate, as George Kittle plays on Saturday and Travis Kelce plays on Sunday. We do still have a slew of other good options to consider, though, so let’s discuss them.
In Week 15 we saw a bunch of the higher end guys really go off for some big games. We had five TEs see at least 10 targets, and Kittle, Kelce, Ertz, and Waller were all on that list. All of them were very expensive, but worth every penny as they finished 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 4th in overall fantasy points for the week, respectively. The one cheap guy who went off was also no surprise: Tyler Higbee. We have been riding Higbee for a couple of weeks and he was the best cheap option to use. He and Ian Thomas were the two guys I ended up with a ton of as I mentioned I was fading the higher priced guys in my GPP builds. The Thomas rosters tanked, but all of my best lineups last week were with Higbee as the savings allowed me to pay up in other spots for guys like Saquon and CMC. Higbee’s 23 was only a few points behind the top scoring tight ends on the weekend in Kelce and Kittle and it was ahead of guys like Waller and Ertz, so on a point per dollar basis he was the clear #1 option.
I do not love the lower end options as much this week, but I will continue to go with the thought process we’ve discussed. In cash games I understand and have no problem paying up for the safety, but on GPP teams it still seems to be more beneficial to save at TE and hope you get the top point per dollar guy. Even with the price creeping up for a guy like Higbee, he still returned over 5X on his price last week. Even with a couple of the top end guys being better than him, they still were behind him on a point per dollar scale and last week you needed that savings with some of the high end RBs going off. To me that is still the ideal way to build lineups this year as it’s only really hurt you in maybe 2-3 weeks not playing the most expensive guys.
Zach Ertz – Another ho-hum 10 target game with a TD for Ertz. He’s been one of the most consistently good and high performing tight ends for years. That shouldn’t change given the role he currently has with the wide receiver crew decimated. This is a big game for the Eagles as they are basically playing for a playoff berth and the loser will likely be watching from the couch. Ertz was having a solid season, but things exploded in week 9 to make him elite. He’s seen at least 10 targets in 5 of the last 6 weeks. He’s logged at least 9 catches in four of those games and is now finding the end zone as well. He had just one TD in the first 8 weeks of the season. Since then he has 5 in the last 6 weeks, scoring in four of them. Ertz has bucked the trend of being a high priced TE that was actually worth the price tag. He was the number one overall scorer in 2 of the last 6 weeks and ended up in the top 3 on two other occasions. The Cowboys are not that great against TEs, giving up the 11th most fantasy points to the position. It’s not the worst, but it’s not good.
Darren Waller – With no Kelce and no Kittle, Waller is easily the #2 option on this slate for me. The problem is he’s not scoring touchdowns, but man the volume is there. He had another 10 targets last week, catching 8 of them. He had his fourth 100+ yard game, the second in three weeks. Waller is making value without those touchdowns, which is why I really like him. His recent bump in targets, catches, and production goes hand-in-hand with the wall rookie running back Josh Jacobs recently hit. Waller not only is safe because of the volume, but it only takes one TD for him to smash. I prefer Ertz still, but Waller will be lower owned and that gives him some value in GPP lineups as a swerve even if the upside is not there.
Jared Cook – On FanDuel I would not use Cook outside of a GPP. He’s more expensive than Waller and only a few hundred below Ertz. On DraftKings the discount is bigger and that’s where he comes into play. Cook is scoring touchdowns and racking up yards. IT sucks his FD price is so high, because he really is more of a cash play over there than he is on DK. You see Cook doesn’t get the massive target and catch volume a lot of these other guys do. He scores fantasy points the old fashioned way, yards and touchdowns. That’s why GPPs on DK are about the only place I use him. He has the ability to rack up yards with big plays and he’s now scored 6 TDs, with at least 1 in 5 of the last 8 weeks. The reason I say he is not a hue PPR guy is that despite averaging over 65 yards in the last 6 weeks, he’s only averaging 4 catches. Cook is not the core guy I am all in on but after Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara he is the #3 option on that team in and out of the red zone.
Hunter Henry – If not for the historically bad defense of the Arizona Cardinals against the TE position, the Raiders would be giving up the most fantasy points in the league to the position. Henry himself ended up putting up double-digit points against them on both sites in the first meeting and he did not even play well. He went 4/30/1 on 7 targets for 11 fantasy points on FD. I prefer to look his way on DK given the matchup and his price there. At under $5K, he’s routinely returning around or above 3X value and he even has some upside, At $6100 with Ertz at $6900, it’s tough to convince me to spend for him instead of in cash. For GPPs all of them are in play, although his target share is below the guys above him like Waller and Ertz.
Jacob Hollister – Two things have me looking his way right now. One is the matchup against the Arizona Cardinals who are giving up 50% more fantasy points to the position than the second worst team. That’s a huge margin and a massive outlier. The other shocking stat was how often Wilson utilizes the TE in the red zone. Remember they also lost Josh Gordon this week, so the reliable threats are dwindling in that passing game. Ricky Seals-Jones is not a good player and even he lit this defense up for two scores. Hollister did not do much in the first matchup, but tight end Will Dissly did before going out on IR a week or two later. Dissly had a big game last time out and that is now Hollister’s production.
Greg Olsen – At just $4900, this feels a bit too cheap. Ian Thomas played recently as Olsen was dealing with an injury issue. Olsen had 17, 10, 9 in his last three games in PPR. He’s listed as practicing, so I assume he plays. People forget he had been good before the injury and now you are getting an even lower price.
Kaden Smith – This one still hinges on injury reports as we need to be sure of the status of Engram and Rhett Ellison. Engram is not looking good, but Ellison still has a chance to play. Without those guys, you have a very cheap Kaden Smith. He is averaging around 5 targets per game, but his numbers are way down this year in terms of efficiency.