You want to bench Kyle Pitts. I know you do. I can’t blame you. I want to bench Kyle Pitts, too. I’ve only got him in one league, and I’d love to bench him, but here’s the problem: My only alternative is T.J. Hockenson. And I’m guessing that is one of the better alternatives out there for Pitts – and let’s not forget, for as frustrating as Pitts has been, Hockenson had one catch for 6 yards in his last game.
There are actually only 11 tight ends who have had 40 or more receiving yards in a game more than twice this season, and that list includes, among others:
- Tyler Higbee (one catch for 7 yards in Week 6)
- Tyler Conklin (one catch for 16 yards over his past two games)
- Gerald Everett (six catches for 31 yards over the past two games)
- Pat Freiermuth (in concussion protocol, may not be active this week)
- Juwan Johnson (career high is 43 yards in a game)
Pitts hasn’t been good. There’s no getting around that – you got bailed out by a touchdown if you started him in Week 6, and it was his first of the season, so it’s hard to say you saw it coming.
The Falcons are averaging 22.8 pass attempts per game this season, and that’s made it just about impossible for any of their pass-catchers to thrive. Pitts was also a bit limited in Week 6, playing 57% of the snaps after missing the previous game with a hamstring, and we don’t know if he’ll be ready for a full snap share this week. There really isn’t much to point to in favor of Pitts.
But there he is, still stubbornly stuck in my top 10 for the tight end position in Week 7. If you want to start Everett or Hockenson or Robert Tonyan or Daniel Bellinger ahead of him, I can’t really blame you.
All I can tell you is, I think at some point the Falcons are going to have to throw it more than they have been, and they’re probably going to have to throw it to their incredibly talented, physically talented tight end. I can’t guarantee it’ll be in Week 7. I definitely can’t guarantee it’ll happen often enough for you to feel good about having drafted him.
But I can say that I’m going to keep throwing a player with a ton of upside at a position with very little upside into my lineup. Hopefully it starts to work out for me. With most tight ends, hope is all you have anyway.
Here are the rest of my tight end rankings for Week 7, along with notes for some of the most interesting players from the rankings and projections process. Remember, the Bills, Eagles, Rams, and Vikings are all on bye this week.
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- Travis Kelce @SF
- Mark Andrews vs. CLE
- Zach Ertz vs. NO — It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to Ertz’s target share with DeAndre Hopkins healthy. It currently sits at 21% — a whopping 41% in the red zone, somehow — and Ertz is averaging just 5.9 yards per target. I’ll take the under on that target share the rest of the way.
- George Kittle vs. KC — Those of us who drafted Kittle needed a game like Week 6 to make us feel better about that. He benefited from an unusually pass-heavy game script as the 49ers fell behind early, but he also had a 24% target share, an improvement from his first three games. Kittle hasn’t been as much of a factor in the passing game as usual this season, but he’s still running plenty of routes, so I don’t think there’s much reason to be concerned moving forward.
- Darren Waller vs. HOU — Waller played just eight snaps in Week 5, but hopefully the week off allowed him to get back to full strength. Even taking Week 5 out of the equation, he’s averaging just 43.8 yards per game, a disappointing total for a guy who has been one of the best tight ends in Fantasy over the previous three seasons. I’m still not giving up on him, but it’s hard to see Waller getting back to his elite level with Davante Adams taking on nearly one-third of the passes here.
- David Njoku @BAL — Njoku remained productive in Week 6, but it’s actually a bit disappointing to see that he only had six targets in a game the Browns threw the ball 45 times. He’s still one of the better tight ends out there for Fantasy, but his usage means there’s both a lower floor and a lower ceiling than you might think, given his solid play of late.
- Kyle Pitts @CIN — Seeing Pitts reduced to a touchdown-or-bust tight end with one game of more than 25 yards through his first five is one of my least favorite storylines of the season so far. He’s so much more talented than the rest of the touchdown-dependent tight ends that I’m just going to keep ranking him higher than I probably should in the hopes that the Falcons start to pass enough to make him worth it.
- T.J. Hockenson @DAL — Hockkenson has dealt with some nagging injuries this season, so hopefully the bye allowed him to get back to full health. He’s sandwiched two four-target games around a massive 179-yard performance in Week 4, and he’s a risky start at this point.
- Robert Tonyan @WAS — Tonyan set a career-high in both catches (10) and targets (12) in Week 6, and it kind of came out of nowhere: He had just six targets in his previous two games combined. I’m not sure you can trust him yet, but it was enough to at least make Tonyan worth considering as a streamer.
- Gerald Everett vs. SEA
- Daniel Bellinger @JAX — Bellinger is seeing his role increase as the season goes on, and he played 94% of the snaps in Week 6, which was a great sign. That doesn’t mean Bellinger is going to be a must-start tight end or anything, but if you’re looking for a streamer, he is at least on the upswing here.
- Hayden Hurst vs. ATL — The Falcons are allowing the third-most points per game to tight ends, and it’s not like it’s come against a murderer’s row — George Kittle is the only tight end they’ve faced this season who was drafted among the top 12 at the position. I generally don’t love using player vs. position stats to make lineup decisions, but if you need a tie-breaker for your streaming TE, that’s a reason to consider Hurst.
- Evan Engram vs. NYG
- Mike Gesicki vs. PIT — Gesicki was impressive in Week 6, catching six passes for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but it was also just his first game with more than four targets, so it’s hard to get too excited about it. He’s just in the streaming TE conversation, but if Jaylen Waddle (shoulder) is out this week, it could help his chances.
- Taysom Hill @ARI
- Cade Otton @CAR — With Cameron Brate leaving a game for the second time this season with a head/neck injury, it seems safe to assume he won’t play in Week 7, at least. Otton played 94% of the snaps with Brate out in Week 5, and is in the streaming TE discussion with Brate likely out again. There’s no guarantee he’ll play that kind of role or be a factor in the passing game again, but if you’re looking for a roll of the dice, he isn’t the worst option.
- Tyler Conklin @DEN
- Kylen Granson @TEN
- Hunter Henry vs. CHI
- Logan Thomas vs. GB
- Greg Dulcich vs. NYJ
- Cole Kmet @NE
- Will Dissly @LAC
- Jonnu Smith vs. CHI