IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING FOLKS! Week 1 NFL football is upon us! And with that, we need to do our final update to the Yin & Yang Tight End Fantasy Football Rankings. Please keep in mind that these are rest-of-season fantasy football rankings. My weekly rankings at EVERY position are here at this link for Fantasy Alarm Members and will be updated regularly for any NFL injuries, fantasy football news, or rumors. 

In this write-up, we will focus on the heart of the Yin & Yang strategy, which is finding this year’s breakout tight end for the long term while not bleeding losses in the early going. For those unfamiliar, the idea is simple. If you draft a Standalone Tier player then that’s it - that’s your guy. You only worry about bye weeks. If not, we are rostering two. A guy from the Yin column to start early on because they are fairly “safe” to throw in a lineup. And the highest risk, highest reward option from the Yang column to stash on the bench. Here’s how the rankings look and then we’ll do a quick write up below with some notes.

 

Before delving in, I HIGHLY encourage you to read the full write ups on these players here.

 

Part 1: The Elite

Part 2: The Fades

Part 3: Yin & Yang Tight End

 

Fantasy Football Final Rest of Season Tight End Rankings

Tight End
Standalone
Travis Kelce
Mark Andrews
Darren Waller
TJ Hockenson
Kyle Pitts
Dallas Goedert
George Kittle
  
YinYang
Evan EngramDalton Kincaid
Pat FreiermuthDavid Njoku
Greg DulcichDalton Schultz
Tyler HigbeeChigoziem Okonkwo
Cole KmetSam LaPorta
Gerald EverettMike Gesicki
Irv SmithJuwan Johnson
Cade OttonHayden Hurst
Logan ThomasLuke Musgrave
Zach ErtzTrey McBride
Noah FantJelani Woods
 
The Rest
Hunter Henry
Tyler Conklin
Michael Mayer
Dawson Knox
Jake Ferguson
Cole Turner
Taysom Hill
 
Handcuffs
Isaiah Likely
Noah Gray
Daniel Bellinger
Tucker Kraft
Austin Hooper
Peyton Hendershot

Standalone Tier 

Tier 1: The Travis Kelce Tier

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce is simply the best tight end in the league. The knee issue is so recent and the info so little that all we can really do is cross our fingers here. The question now is how many games he needs to miss to not be TE1 in our rest-of-season rankings. And the answer is more than a couple.

Tier 2: The Mark Andrews Tier

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

A healthy Travis Kelce is a high-ceiling, high-floor player. He leads his high-powered team in targets year in and year out. Andrews is in his own tier as he’s a high-ceiling, middle-floor player. His ceiling is both higher and his floor is lower because it’s a brand new offense. The Ravens used to use blocking tight ends and fullback Patrick Ricard, which highly consolidated the targets among the top pass catchers. That created a nice floor for Andrews, but that’s over now. That said, that offense was low volume and this new one is high volume which creates a new, higher ceiling. One we saw just once in 2020 when Andrews had a top-five season at tight end - of all time.

Tier 3: The Next Best Things

Darren Waller, New York Giants

Darren Waller is third for us because he’s one of the few tight ends who could lead his team in targets. Last year only Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Cole Kmet, and Tyler Higbee did. He’s back to having the upside of the Waller of yesteryear but that also comes with some risks in a brand new offense. 

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

If you want safety from this range, it’s right here. Justin Jefferson is the top target on the team so the question about whether you “love” Hockenson or just “like” him boils down to your feelings on Jordan Addison. But he’s safely either the second or third target either way. 

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

This is a play for the risk-taker. The offense could be an ugly, run-first mess once again with an unproven quarterback so the floor is low. But we’ve seen this guy have a 1,000-yard season at 21 years old which is rare for a tight end of ANY age. Here is the list of active tight ends that had a single 1,000-yard season at ANY point

Tier 4: The Boring Elite Guys

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

If Dallas Goedert were a running back, we’d call him a “handcuff plus”, kind of like AJ Dillon. When everyone is healthy, he’s the clear third target on the team. He has standalone value in a barren tight end land, but his true upside would be unlocked by an injury to either AJ Brown OR DeVonta Smith. At least he has two outs whereas a guy like AJ Dillon needs an injury to Aaron Jones specifically. 

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

When all players were healthy last year, George Kittle was actually the fourth target on the team behind Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and Christian McCaffrey. He survived mainly on touchdowns (11) but most sportsbooks had him set for 5.5 this year (and a lot of those lines have come down since he’s currently banged up. He’s missed time in four straight years so not out of the ordinary for him. 

 

Safe Tight End Plays (YIN)

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

Engram was on the Yang list last year and made us look smart as he was drafted as TE20 and finished top five. But conditions have changed and, with the addition of Calvin Ridley, it’s a bit more crowded over there. So for now he falls under the “safe” options where we can trust him to not give us a zero but we are still stashing an upside play on the bench.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Muth is a lot like George Kittle - we love the player in a vacuum but football is not played in a vacuum. With Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, and Najee Harris, Kenny Pickett either needs to take a MASSIVE step or Muth needs to be ahead of George Pickens for targets. For that reason, I’m still chasing upside with another bench spot if I’m starting Muth. In our Weekly rankings, we don’t really love the matchup this week, however. 

Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

There is some uncertainty here with the new coach in town so we don’t know the pecking order. Dulcich could be a top-two target on the team or he might not even play a full snap share with the WRs there and Adam Trautman is technically ahead on the depth chart. He’s not a bad start for now with Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy injured but there’s more risk here than we typically like. He could jump over to the Yang side or even Standalone if he’s a focal point of this offense early on though.

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Tyler Higbee is kind of the opposite of Pat Freiermuth and George Kittle. We really don’t like the player much. Not particularly athletic, doesn’t create for himself, and blocks on too many pass plays. But the opportunity is clearly there with Cooper Kupp out and a rag-tag WR group. So here he is. 

Upside Stashes (Yang)

Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

This is our number one upside stash. And we wrote about why here. Luckily folks out there have been fairly lazy in their analysis, suggesting that Dalton Kincaid can’t have upside simply because rookie tight ends of the past haven’t (even though Kyle Pitts literally had a 1,000-yard season just a year ago). What they don’t understand is that the Bills didn’t trade up to draft Dalton Kincaid in the first round to play inline tight end - that’s what Dawson Knox does. Brandon Beane already told us Kincaid is going to play slot. And we can start him at tight end in fantasy. Ideally, we are stashing him for Week One to see what he can do as the Jets are a tough matchup.

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

I have no problem starting David Njoku this week against the Cincinnati Bengals - they lost BOTH of their starting safeties this offseason in free agency. But he’s still a little risky long-term as we don’t know who the second target is after Amari Cooper. It could be Njoku or Elijah Moore or Donovan Peoples-Jones or even Nick Chubb. But he’s probably the safest option of the Yangs.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

We LOVE this player in the proverbial vacuum. And he would be our number-one breakout pick if they didn’t sign DeAndre Hopkins. Instead, we are sitting back waiting for an injury to either Hopkins or Treylon Burks like with Dallas Goedert. Except his QB isn’t Jalen Hurts, it’s Ryan Tannehill.

Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Are you a big risk-taker? If so, I’d actually consider starting LaPorta Week One over someone like Tyler Higbee. The safe play is Higbee but this Thursday Night Game could be fast-paced with a lot of back and forth, plus Lions WR Jameson Williams is suspended. The Travis Kelce injury could actually hurt that narrative though - we want both teams scoring early and often. 

 

NFL Links:

TAGS: