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Fantasy Football Tight End Preparation for Week 14

Kyle Pitts - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

We’ve officially made it to the final week of the fantasy football regular season. The agony of deciphering between 15 options at tight end that vary between bad, worse, and atrocious is almost at an end. For many fantasy managers, Week 14 could constitute a win and you’re in a matchup to get into the playoffs. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, Week 14, especially for tight ends, offers up a very difficult slate.

Logan Thomas and Trey McBride are both on bye this week. Dallas Goedert is expected to return, but how confident can fantasy managers be in starting him in his first week back after a broken arm? The quarterback injuries continue to negatively affect tight ends across the board. On top of all of that, weather could be a significant issue for several games this weekend.

In this article, we'll be addressing some changing trends at the tight end position. We'll also be looking at some of the most important stats for fantasy managers to look at when valuing tight ends. This article will also include my weekly rankings and transactions fantasy managers should be looking to make with tight ends. This will include players to add and cut. If you have any tight end-related questions, don't hesitate to message me on X @RobFFSlayer. Let's get to Week 14's edition of Tight End Preparation.

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Weeks 1-13 Statistical Review

With receivers, we can often look at raw target data and target share to get a pretty good idea of which players will be productive and which ones we should be chasing. With the tight end position, that’s not quite as effective because with smaller numbers, even just 1-2 extra or fewer targets can make a difference in target share numbers.

Instead, we want to focus on opportunity, which includes raw targets, target share, snap share, the raw number of routes run, and route participation rate. Below is a table based on nine weeks of the NFL season. These statistics are based on the numbers and stats found at PFF, which is an incredible site filled with amazing data.

Player Snap Share Route Participation Routes Run Target Share Targets Per Game - Sorted Red Zone Targets
T.J. Hockenson 80% 84% 418 24.1% 9.3 12
Evan Engram 76% 86% 414 22.1% 7.4 4
Darren Waller 85% 85% 218 21.4% 7.0 4
Sam LaPorta 83% 80% 370 20.5% 7.0 9
David Njoku 82% 81% 401 19.1% 7.0 12
Logan Thomas 70% 77% 394 12.5% 5.9 7
Dalton Kincaid 66% 74% 334 16.4% 5.8 6
Dallas Goedert 89% 86% 303 17.4% 5.7 7
Cole Kmet 85% 76% 333 17.9% 5.6 11
Dalton Schultz 71% 72% 320 15.8% 5.5 12
George Kittle 89% 89% 340 19.4% 5.5 10
Trey McBride 63% 50% 240 18.2% 5.4 6
Kyle Pitts 61% 76% 326 18.5% 5.3 4
Jake Ferguson 72% 73% 352 15.2% 5.2 18
Tyler Higbee 89% 83% 378 12.9% 4.6 5
Cade Otton 97% 87% 406 12.1% 4.5 9
Tyler Conklin 69% 66% 322 14.1% 4.5 4
Luke Musgrave 71% 76% 262 13.4% 4.5 6
Chigoziem Okonkwo 66% 68% 275 15.5% 4.5 4
Hunter Henry 75% 70% 318 12.1% 4.1 4
Pat Freiermuth 61% 66% 129 13.7% 4.1 4
Juwan Johnson 71% 72% 216 11.5% 4.1 6
Isaiah Likely 74% 86% 59 13.8% 4.0 2
Dawson Knox 68% 64% 176 11.3% 3.8 6
Gerald Everett 58% 52% 198 9.8% 3.4 7
Taysom Hill 41% 39% 191 7.1% 2.7 4
Michael Mayer 70% 53% 225 8.6% 2.7 4

 

Tight Ends with the Best Playoff Matchups

  • Pat Freiermuth
    • Week 15 vs. Colts – 10.9 half-PPR points allowed (9th most)
    • Week 16 vs. Bengals – 12.9 half-PPR points allowed (2nd most)
    • Week 17 vs. Seahawks – 9.2 half-PPR points allowed (17th most)
  • Darren Waller
    • Week 15 vs. Saints – 11.3 half-PPR points allowed (5th most)
    • Week 16 vs. Eagles – 10.2 half-PPR points allowed (11th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Rams – 11.6 half-PPR points allowed (3rd most)
  • David Njoku
    • Week 15 vs. Bears – 11.6 half-PPR points allowed (3rd most)
    • Week 16 vs. Texans – 11.3 half-PPR points allowed (5th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Jets – 10.1 half-PPR points allowed (14th most)
  • Jake Ferguson
    • Week 15 vs. Bills – 7.9 half-PPR points allowed (23rd most)
    • Week 16 vs. Dolphins – 9.4 half-PPR points allowed (16th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Lions – 11.2 half-PPR points allowed (7th most)
  • Cade Otton
    • Week 15 vs. Packers – 10.2 half-PPR points allowed (11th most)
    • Week 16 vs. Jaguars – 10.6 half-PPR points allowed (10th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Saints – 11.3 half-PPR points allowed (5th most)

 

Tight Ends with the Worst Playoff Matchups

  • Dalton Schultz
    • Week 15 vs. Titans – 6.4 half-PPR points allowed (30th most)
    • Week 16 vs. Browns – 4.8 half-PPR points allowed (32nd most)
    • Week 17 vs. Titans – 6.4 half-PPR points allowed (30th most)
  • Isaiah Likely
    • Week 15 vs. Jaguars – 10.6 half-PPR points allowed (10th most)
    • Week 16 vs. 49ers – 6.1 half-PPR points allowed (31st most)
    • Week 17 vs. Dolphins – 9.4 half-PPR points allowed (16th most)
  • Evan Engram
    • Week 15 vs. Ravens – 7.4 half-PPR points allowed (26th most)
    • Week 16 vs. Buccaneers – 10.0 half-PPR points allowed (15th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Panthers – 7.8 half-PPR points allowed (24th most)
  • Cole Kmet
    • Week 15 vs. Browns – 4.8 half-PPR points allowed (32nd most)
    • Week 16 vs. Cardinals – 7.8 half-PPR points allowed (24th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Falcons – 11.0 half-PPR points allowed (8th most)
  • Dallas Goedert
    • Week 15 vs. Seahawks – 9.2 half-PPR points allowed (17th most)
    • Week 16 vs. Giants – 6.6 half-PPR points allowed (29th most)
    • Week 17 vs. Cardinals – 7.8 half-PPR points allowed (24th most)

 

Kyle Pitts for the Win...Maybe?

It’s crazy, but selling Pitts has become almost impossible. Fantasy managers everywhere are pretty much completely out on Pitts. To some extent, I get it. He’s averaging just 6.3 half-PPR PPG and has just two games all year where he’s scored more than eight half-PPR points. He has not yet scored more than 12.5 half-PPR in a game this season.

However, there’s potential he could be a strong playoff producer down the stretch. He’s currently tied for eighth among tight ends with 67 targets. He’s tied with George Kittle. The volume surprisingly has been there. His 18.5% target share is seventh. He is also used down the field a great deal, which can create big plays. He has the second-most air yards among tight ends with 634.

His 10.7 average depth of target is first and he has the second-most deep targets with seven. He’s currently averaging 1.50 yards per route run, which ranks 12th. He also has a 12.0 yards per reception average (fifth-highest) and a 1.33 yards per team pass attempt average (10th-highest).

In last week’s edition, I touched on Jonnu Smith’s declining role and that continued this past weekend. However, I had also mentioned that this did not coincide with a bigger role for Pitts, but that changed in Week 13. He ran a route on 90% of the team’s dropbacks, which is much higher than his 76% season average. That extra work helped him earn eight targets, which was his third-highest weekly mark of the season and his highest since Week 5. He finished with four receptions and 51 yards. Pitts could become a weekly starter if we continue to get that kind of utilization down the stretch.

His schedule presents even more opportunity for upside. This week, he plays the Buccaneers. They’re 15th in half-PPR points allowed to tight ends with 10.0 per game. He has a tough matchup in Week 16 against the Panthers, who are allowing just 7.8 half-PPR PPG to tight ends. This ranks 25th. However, in Weeks 16 and 17, he’ll play the Colts and the Bears. Those two teams rank ninth and third in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, respectively. Indy is giving up 10.9 half-PPR PPG and Chicago is at 11.6.

 

Beware of Bad Weather

There are many bad-weather games on the docket this weekend and the forecasts look bad enough that fantasy managers should be lowering expectations for those playing in these games. The games we’ll be covering here have seen their implied point totals drop. That’s a big kick to tight ends who often make a living off of touchdowns. Touchdowns are such a fundamental piece to tight end scoring, especially with those who do not get seven or more targets per game, which is pretty much everyone.

Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday weather in Baltimore is calling for heavy rainfall. They are also forecasting winds between 15 to 25 miles per hour. The rain is supposed to fall all day, so by the time this game kicks off, there’s a very good chance the field is going to be wet and sloppy already.

The heavy rainfall that they’re calling for certainly has the chance to impact the passing game. Wind speeds of 15 miles per hour aren’t as impactful, but if it is windier than expected, such as 25 miles per hour, this could also negatively impact the quarterback’s ability to throw the ball accurately and down the field. Tyler Higbee and Isaiah Likely should both be slightly downgraded this week.

Likely has a great matchup as the Rams are allowing the third-most points to tight ends this season. It’s that reason that has kept Likely fairly high in my rankings this week. Higbee, on the other hand, barely cracks my top-20. On top of the terrible weather, he’s going against one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL in terms of fantasy points to tight ends.

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals

This game doesn’t look as bad as the weather in Baltimore. While there is a very high chance of rain, the majority of rain is expected to come in the morning. During the contest, there could be periods of rain showers, but it shouldn’t be heavy rain. While there’s a good chance the field will be wet and potentially slippery, the conditions could improve as the game moves on as the majority of the showers are expected to come before kickoff with scattered rainfall in the afternoon. Winds are expected to reach 10 to 20 miles per hour.

There aren’t really any fantasy-relevant tight ends in this contest. Both teams have generally employed a tight end by committee approach and the vast majority of their targets are funneled to their receivers. If you’re in a super deep league or a league that requires two starting tight ends, there still really isn’t a tight end that should be on your radar in this game. The weather just further cements that point.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns

The weather in Cleveland could be very similar to that of Baltimore. The rainfall isn’t expected to be as heavy, but current forecasts are calling for rain throughout the day. While rain probability is higher in the morning, there appears to be a good chance that it will rain throughout the contest. They are also calling for winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour. The weather could certainly play a negative factor in each team’s passing attack.

The other element of this game is the fact that both teams could be missing their starting quarterback. We know the Browns will for sure with Deshaun Watson on IR. It seems as though Cleveland will once again start Joe Flacco at quarterback. Trevor Lawrence sustained a high ankle sprain on Monday Night Football and while he’s pushing to play, there’s no guarantee. The quarterback concerns and the forecasted weather certainly hurt each tight end’s appeal this weekend.

I have Engram at TE10 this week, which is much lower than the TE5-7 that he’s typically found himself at. With concerns about the quarterback, the weather, and an absolutely brutal matchup, fantasy managers should be cautious with Engram this week. It’s likely you may not have any other options, but expectations should be lowered. The Browns are allowing the fewest points to opposing tight ends this season, averaging just 4.8 half-PPR PPG.

Njoku, on the other hand, has a good matchup. The Jaguars are allowing 10.6 half-PPR PPG to tight ends this season, which is the 10th-most. However, in Flacco’s first start last week, Njoku had just six targets. That was his lowest total since Week 9. He also caught just two of his six targets for 17 yards. His two receptions were the lowest since Week 1 and his 17 yards were the lowest output of the season for him. Amari Cooper may not be ready as he’s been diagnosed with a concussion and that could certainly help Njoku if he’s out. We also don’t want to read too much in one week. I have Njoku at TE11 this week.

Houston Texans at New York Jets

This is another game fantasy managers should be concerned about. Weather forecasts all for periods of rain throughout the day with the potential for heavy rainfall, similar to Baltimore. Forecasts call for winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour. There is most likely going to be rain throughout this contest. Between the rain and the wind, fantasy managers should expect a lower-scoring game.

I currently do not have Dalton Schultz or Brevin Jordan ranked this week. Schultz was a limited participant on Wednesday and was a DNP yesterday. It’s hard to know if he’s going to play this week. He was inactive last week due to a hamstring injury. If Schultz is active, both players should be avoided. If Schultz is out again, Jordan becomes a decent TE2 play. The Jets allow 10.1 half-PPR PPG to tight ends this season, which is the 14th-most. It’s not a bad matchup and if Schultz is out, Jordan would be the primary pass-catcher. This is amplified with the loss of Tank Dell. Should Schultz be ruled out, I would rank Jordan right behind Pitts at TE15, ahead of Okonkwo.

Conklin has a great matchup as the Texans allow 11.3 half-PPR PPG to tight ends this season. That is the fifth-most. The return of Zach Wilson, crazy as it sounds, is actually a good thing. Breece Hall also hasn’t practiced on either Wednesday or Thursday and if he’s out, that could lead to some of those short dump-off passes being funneled Conklin’s way as opposed to the running backs. Unfortunately, the weather and the Jets’ complete putridness on offense make it hard for fantasy managers to count on him this weekend. I currently have him ranked at TE18.

 

Week 14 Tight End Rankings

Rank Player Half-PPR PPG Fantasy Points Allowed Opponent
Team Implied Point Total
1 Travis Kelce 13.3 7.9 (23) vs Bills 25.00
2 Sam LaPorta 11.7 11.6 (3) @ Bears 22.50
3 Dalton Kincaid 7.8 7.0 (27) @ Chiefs 22.50
4 T.J. Hockenson 12.2 8.9 (20) @ Raiders 21.50
5 George Kittle 10.7 9.2 (17) vs Seahawks 28.75
6 Jake Ferguson 8.6 10.2 (11) vs Eagles 28.25
7 Isaiah Likely 6.0 11.6 (3) vs Rams 25.00
8 Dallas Goedert 8.0 8.5 (22) @ Cowboys 24.75
9 Taysom Hill 8.9 7.8 (24) vs Panthers 22.00
10 Evan Engram 8.4 4.8 (32) @ Browns 20.50
11 David Njoku 7.3 10.6 (10) vs Jaguars 17.50
12 Cole Kmet 8.9 11.2 (7) vs Lions 19.00
13 Pat Freiermuth 6.2 6.7 (28) vs Patriots 18.00
14 Kyle Pitts 6.3 10.0 (15) vs Buccaneers 21.00
15 Gerald Everett 5.8 13.1 (1) vs Broncos 23.00
16 Chigoziem Okonkwo 4.1 9.4 (16) @ Dolphins 16.75
17 Cade Otton 6.0 11.0 (8) @ Falcons 18.50
18 Tyler Conklin 5.5 11.3 (3) vs Texans 14.00
19 Tucker Kraft 6.8 6.6 (29) @ Giants 21.75
20 Tyler Higbee 5.5 7.4 (26) @ Ravens 18.00


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Ah, the sweet season of the NFL Draft, the light at the end of the post-Super Bowl tunnel of despair. As the last bits of confetti find their resting places and the echoes of the game's final moments whisper into silence, we all start to dream a little bigger. It's this enchanted time when losses... Read More


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Fantasy Football Running Backs Rankings (Tiers 4-8)- 2024 Best Ball Leagues

We are now rapidly approaching the process of free agency, which will soon provide pathways for some running backs to seize significant roles in their new landing spots. Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, Austin Ekeler, and D'Andre Swift are among the collection of backs who could resurface in new environments. The player movement that will eventually... Read More


Anthony Richardson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL News

Early 2024 Quarterback Sleepers And Draft Targets For Fantasy Football

The quarterback landscape in fantasy has changed in recent years with more and more managers selecting one early. Last year, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts all went in the first three rounds. That shouldn't change either in 2024 fantasy drafts, but the order of those quarterbacks might.  After another QB1 finish, Allen should... Read More


Geno Smith - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL DFS Picks

2024 Free Agency Preview: Biggest Positional Needs For The Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks, for the first time since 2009, will have a new head coach. The front office opted to move on from Pete Carroll. Over the past three years, he has fallen further and further behind Sean McVay (Rams) and Kyle Shanahan (49ers). Instead of selecting a strong offensive mind to score with these two... Read More


2024 Free Agency Preview: Biggest Positional Needs For The San Francisco 49ers

Despite a roster that is loaded from top to bottom, the 49ers just cannot seem to win the final game of the season. There are few teams as talented as San Francisco's. In years past, it was easy to point at the quarterback position as the reason why, but Brock Purdy has solidified the position... Read More


Caleb Williams - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Top Five QB Prospects Of The 2024 NFL Draft: Scouting Reports And Analysis

Ah, NFL Draft season -- when the beacons of hope renew as we're all experiencing the post-Super Bowl blues. As the confetti settles and the echo of the final whistle fades, fans everywhere start dreaming again. It's that magical time when every team is undefeated in the offseason, and the future looks brighter than it... Read More


Javon Baker - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, WR, NFL Draft Sleepers

Finding Middle-Round Wide Receiver Prospects For Fantasy Football Based On Yards Per Route Run

It's tricky to find sleepers these days since the dynasty and devy community have proven to be sharp minds for NFL Draft prospects. Two metrics to look at for receivers as a starting point involve yards per route run and targets. There's somewhat of a strong correlation between yards per route run and targets per... Read More