Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Fantasy Football Week 4 Tight End Rankings: Don’t fret about George Kittle, Evan Engram moves up

Fantasy Football Week 4 Tight End Rankings: Don't fret about George Kittle, Evan Engram moves up

Chris Towers walks you through his tight end rankings for Week 4

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Last week, all of the talk at tight end was about how you needed to keep the faith in Kyle Pitts, and he rewarded you with his best game of the season. I don’t think there is going to be as much panic about George Kittle coming off his lackluster season debut, but if you are inclined to be worried, I’m here to tell you, you shouldn’t be. Probably.

Kittle returned from his groin injury in Week 3 with just four catches for 28 yards as the 49ers offense looked disjointed in an ugly 11-10 loss to the Broncos. He played 91% of the snaps but was targeted just five times, a pretty disappointing outcome. And, given the concerns many – including myself – had about Kittle coming into the season, you might be worried he’s about to be a bust.

But, it’s worth noting that, at least for me, the primary concern for Kittle is gone. Trey Lance‘s season-ending injury brings some certainty to the 49ers offense – Jimmy Garoppolo may not be great, but we know he’s good enough to get the most out of Kittle. Kittle averaged 76.4 yards per game from 2018 through 2021, primarily with Garoppolo as his QB. As bad as Garoppolo looked Monday, I’m not really worried about that part of things.

The only thing I am worried about is the fact that both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are currently healthy. That trio has played 21 games together since the start of 2020, and Kittle’s production has been affected – his 17-game pace in those games is 114 targets, 84 catches, 1,017 yards, and 5.7 touchdowns. You’d still take that from your starting tight end, obviously, but the numbers are a bit more precarious since the start of 2021: 101 targets, 73 catches, 865 yards, and five touchdowns.

Kittle should still be a must-start tight end no matter what, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. But, it’s possible he’s merely a good starting option rather than the difference maker you’re hoping for. 

Here are my tight end rankings for Week 4. 

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  1. Travis Kelce @TB
  2. Mark Andrews vs. BUF
  3. Kyle Pitts vs. CLE — Pitts didn’t have a massive breakout like we were hoping, but he was productive enough in Week 3 to quiet most fears around him. For me, at least — not that I was ever too worried.
  4. Darren Waller vs. DEN — Waller’s target share has fallen to 16% through three games, which is a pretty disappointing number even if you can realistically expect better efficiency than usual from him thanks to the defensive attention Davante Adams draws. You’re still starting Waller, because who else are you going to start, but he’s not a buy right now.
  5. George Kittle vs. LAR
  6. Dallas Goedert vs. JAX — We saw the downside of Goedert’s 15% target share in Week 3, as he had just three catches for 26 yards — of course, one of those was a 20-plus yard touchdown, as the Eagles consistently scheme up ways to get him wide open looks. I would expect a few more targets per game for Goedert moving forward, so I really am not worried here. He’s a tight end you never have to worry about sitting, and that’s a rare luxury.
  7. Zach Ertz @CAR — Ertz might be a sell high candidate because his target volume probably isn’t sustainable when Rondale Moore and DeAndre Hopkins are back. However, for the next few weeks, at least, he’s going to remain a very strong starting TE.
  8. Tyler Higbee @SF — Higbee’s four targets in Week 3 came on just 25 total passes by the Rams, so he’s still getting a solid share here, and he responded with season-best efficiency. He’s looking like a very solid Fantasy starter as long as Van Jefferson is out, at least.
  9. T.J. Hockenson vs. SEA — Hockenson continues to get a decent amount of targets in what is looking like a pretty good offense, so it’s going to be hard to go away from him at a position with so few useful options. But his targets are nearly all of the short-area variety, and he doesn’t do much with the ball in his hands, which has led to limited production so far. You’re probably starting him, but you probably aren’t particularly excited about it, either.
  10. Evan Engram @PHI
  11. Gerald Everett @HOU
  12. Mike Gesicki @CIN
  13. David Njoku @ATL — Hopefully Week 3 was the beginning of the Browns realizing Njoku needs to be a bigger part of their offense. He should still be viewed as a low-end starting option, but Week 3 hinted at his upside.
  14. Tyler Conklin @PIT — Conklin’s raw target numbers look impressive — 24 through three games! — but his target share is just 15%, so let’s not overreact. The Jets are also likely switching QBs back to Zach Wilson this week, which makes it hard to know whether Conklin will still have the same kind of role. He’s a viable streamer, but not a must-start TE.
  15. Dawson Knox @BAL — Knox has a 9% target share and just one red zone target through three games, so it’s pretty hard to get excited about him even at the weak TE position. He’ll have better stretches moving forward, but I think this might just be who he is.
  16. Pat Freiermuth vs. NYJ
  17. Logan Thomas @DAL
  18. Noah Fant @DET
  19. Hayden Hurst vs. MIA
  20. Hunter Henry @GB
  21. Cole Kmet @NYG — Kmet did manage to have his best game in Week 3, but with just five targets in three games, you just can’t trust him. This team just has no interest in throwing the ball. 
  22. Irv Smith @NO
  23. Austin Hooper @IND
  24. Evan Engram @PHI

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