The wait is over. We’re days away from the 2019 football season kickoff and our drafts have been settled. But if you also enjoy what daily fantasy football has to offer, you are probably still researching as hard as anyone to set the best possible lineup before time runs out.
If you are prioritizing positions such as those of running backs and quarterbacks over the often forgotten tight ends, fear nothing. It is normal. You are not alone. Everybody knows Patrick Mahomes will torch Jacksonville, or that Dalvin Cook will have all going his way against Atlanta on the ground. But those names come at a steep price and your budget might be tight by the time you have to fill the tight end slot.
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The following value picks will help you roster the best possible options at the position given their circumstances, expected production, and affordable prices. Prices courtesy of DraftKings.
Evan Engram, NYG (at DAL) - $4,800
Engram will be the go-to receiver for the Giants in Week 1. New York is missing Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard injured his thumb this preseason. Last season Engram averaged eight targets per game and 9.0 Y/T. He caught 70% of the passes thrown his way and has no competition at the position in New York. He will be given as many chances as he can handle in Week 1 against a defense in Dallas’ that allowed 7.9 fantasy points on average to tight ends in 2018. He’s the fifth highest priced tight end, but he could easily be the highest scoring at the position this weekend.
Hunter Henry, LAC (vs IND) - $3,900
Henry is $900 cheaper than Engram, Indianapolis is plain bad at stopping tight ends (10th-best matchup, allowed 8.7 points to TE last year), and Henry’s own ability to go with the Chargers historically heavy use of players at the position make this another really valuable pick. Phillip Rivers targeted Henry 12 times in the red zone back in 2017, only behind Keenan Allen (21 targets). Henry starts the season without health concerns and as one of the main options in attack for LA.
Austin Hooper, ATL (at MIN) - $3,200
Although the matchup is not the best (the Vikings ranked eighth in points allowed to tight ends), Hooper comes at a cheap price and could easily turn into the sleeper of the week. Even with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in the lineup, Hooper averaged 5.5 targets per game last season and posted 7.5 yards per target. In another game that profiles as a high-scoring affair, Hooper should see a fair amount of passes and turn into a touchdown target in the end zone.
Darren Waller, OAK (vs DEN) - $3,000
Derek Carr targeted Jared Cook more than any other player in 2018. Waller is his replacement at TE. On limited playing time, Waller caught six of six passes, racked up 75 yards, and averaged 12.5 Y/T! Antonio Brown is the only receiver sure to take opportunities from him on offense, but Carr is known to rely on tight ends as safety valves. Add a great matchup against last season’s sixth-worst defense against tight ends and you have a winner.
Mark Andrews, BAL (at MIA) - $3,000
The season has yet to start and Miami is already tanking and throwing it away. Baltimore has one of the most dynamic players at quarterback. Mark Andrews is the No. 1 passing option for Lamar Jackson. Yes, the Ravens will mostly (if the trend continues) run the ball, but when they turn to the passing game there is no better bet than Andrews to be the target. Also if there is a game with the potential to turn into a slugfest, it is this one.
Other potential targets: Greg Olsen, CAR ($3,200); Geoff Swaim, JAX ($2,900)